The Raspberry Pi Has Revolutionized Emulation

Every geek goes through a phase where they discover emulation. It's practically a rite of passage.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

If you want to build something tiny you can use the GPIO pins for input.

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Compare these two builds I did from 2005:

Sooooo much harder!

I should have also mentioned there are lots of classic controller USB interfaces out there if you want a control perfect experience.

The nice thing about the Pi, if you want to quickly play a game with an unusual control scheme like a driving game or dual stick or trackball, you can connect a specialized controller via USB or Bluetooth as needed.

Ordered a Pitendo after hearing about the Nintendo release of the NES classic. Having those USB ports and SNES options makes it a deal. I always enjoyed a game of 4 player Bomber Man! I agree about the Pi as retro hasn’t ever been so accessible.

There’s big, and then there’s authentic. The biggest you can go without committing the sacrilege of using a 16:9 screen is 21". If you don’t want to spend a fortune, the biggest you can reasonably go is a used 20" 4:3 IPS monitor for around $100 (ebay prices may have changed since I last looked). (I guess you could get a 20" 4:3 TN monitor for cheaper, if you wanted to have a completely miserable experience. Even animals deserve better than TN).

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It’s less tn vs IPS then who makes it, I’ve seen some wonderful TN panels and some crap ones(more crap though) also seen some crap IPS displays just not often I just say if at all possible get a Samsung, sony, Asus, etc… just get a name brand and your(usual) golden

Hmm, cannot agree with that, some other panel types other than TN can be OK, but as a wise man once said:

On a TN display, every pixel is a bad pixel

I strongly suggest sticking with IPS, the cost difference is quite low these days.

Challenge accepted!!

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N64 and DC emulation are far from being perfectly playable, though. Some simpler games work quite well, but even early games such as Wave Race 64 have noticeable framedrops and sound stutter. Playable sure, but not in a way I’d say enjoyable. The compatibility lists have still lots and lots of yellow and red entries, and configuration via retroarch is still a big pain.

It’s more a moot point since any of the big manufacturers don’t really make
tn anymore honestly the cheapest route is to get a old Dell monitor and use
that there cheep as dirt since everyone had optiplexs back in the day some
of the better ones were around 1920x1440 if I remember correctly and you
can get those for like 10$ for a 4x3 20"

Dreamcast I would expect to be marginal. Most N64 titles do well on the Pi 3, though:

It is possible to easily overlock the Pi 3 a fair bit right from RetroPie if you get a good sized heat sink on it.

Speaking of heatsinks, I find 20x20x15mm is best, it fits well in “box” style cases:

However, you may need a heatsink that fits the CPU exactly if your case goes around the CPU like so:

There are these “HAT” boards which layer on top of the Pi so you may need to worry about height as well, either 10mm or less?

These old Zalman (video memory, actually) heatsinks pictured here are 13x13x13mm. It seems the CPU dimensions must be 10mm square.

The actual dimensions are 85mm × 56mm, total height is around 21.5mm, but the board plus the CPU definitely use a few mm of that.

There’s also been an explosion of retro game boy projects using the raspberry pi zero, thanks to wermy’s very detailed guides on his site and even 6 accompanying YouTube videos.

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Sadly, the very best you can get in 4:3 (I have checked, extensively, because I hate modern gunslit monitors with a passion) is 1600x1200. The very largest ones that exist are 21.3", are targeted to specialized markets, and cost close to a grand. And yes, it’s true that used 20" 4:3 IPS Dells are available quite cheaply (under $100) on ebay.

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If you’re looking for and quick and simple build, you can always knock up a case from Lego. I built this NES case last year for my Pi 3. Some more detailed internal pics here.

I’m running RetroPie and have attached a couple of USB imitation SNES controllers. I’ve had hours of fun from this little box :blush:


Sounds like you need to get into a gunslit bunker with a bunch of old iPads, learning how to repurpose their (excellent!) 4:3 displays into other devices. :sunglasses:

This is good timing! I just finished my very first arcade box build and am hooked. I love what these little devices have added to our abilities.

Heres a picture of my build. I have a youtube video of the build if you want to see more.


I don’t suppose you have a handy link similar to the RetroBuiltGames Bar Top Kit for those of us interested in full, stand up cabs?

I was likely wrong on the res I ended up picking up one of those monitors for 10$ and 35$ for a old optiplex from the local school system since they were trying to clean out all the old systems they decommissioned from there wearhouse but they literally had thousands and they needed them gone, was a few years back at this point

They don’t build a bar top kit as far as I know. I did find this one custom build on eBay which I like a whole lot:

It’s cool because

  • it uses a regular LCD display, with stand (not specially mounted), and fits up to 23" LCD.
  • it uses regular small powered desktop speakers hidden behind the top panel.
  • the control panel can detach (it’s held with magnets) and is connected via USB, so you can take it and plug it in somewhere else like your living room, or put your Pi inside the lid of the control panel and treat it like the brain.

The two piece bartop arrangement is really smart and flexible. It’s easy to break into all its component pieces, if needed, and simple to transport. I recommend it wholeheartedly! You can buy it here:

The flat pack wood kit pictured in the blog post can be purchased as a basic kit:

I would also check eBay, Etsy, and a general Google search:

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I’m looking for a full stand up cabinet (not the bar top) in a similar pre-put together ‘kit’. Would just as soon do that instead of converting an existing cab (though I suppose if I found one cheap, it would be worth it).