Building a custom retro console running RetroPie
Ever since I first heard about Raspberry Pi and the RetroPie project, I’ve wanted to build a retro console. Something with all my favorite old game systems emulated in a compact classy box, with nice controllers and fully customizable.
Back in the day I used to have a soft-modded Xbox original to play retro games, but it was loud, bulky, and the controllers weren’t great. When I got my first Raspberry Pi, I tried to make my custom console, but I ran into several problems:
- Power issues: A non-clean shutdown meant corrupting the SD card, which isn’t user-friendly, and no power switch
- Weak ports: Connecting straight to the light-weight Pi meant it was often left hovering in the air, which would strain the HDMI and USB connections
- Available cases: Raspberry Pi cases all seem to fall into the category of tight as possible, giving no internal room to address 1 and 2 above
My first successful attempt was of course building the Picade, but it has two major limitations:
- One player only
- Kind of heavy to play on a couch
Since then I’ve been planning a new machine. The goal has been a small, two-player console that connects to modern TVs. Then after I discovered this lovely Polycase ZN-40 electronics enclosure, I new it was time to get to work. Yesterday was Pi Day, and I’d just cloned my Picade SD card, so I decided to finally try putting a console together.
It went together way faster than I anticipated! Now I can’t wait to make a couple more: one for home, one for work, one for the game room… the opportunities are endless.
Okay, enough typing, time to play!
P.S. Here’s a quick video and some development pics: