Do you own a Raspberry Pi2 or Pi3? Have you always wanted to use it to set up your very own gaming station? The SparkFun PiRetrocade provides you with all the control hardware and arcade software you need to play almost any retro arcade and console video game! Included in this kit are five concave arcade buttons, a joystick, an SD card preloaded with Porta Pi, and all of the connective tissue. The only thing you need to provide is your own Raspberry Pi (we recommend the RPi3) and a screen to play your games on! We even designed the box the SparkFun PiRetrocade comes in to be converted into a custom game pad. Just cut out the designated points with the included utility knife and you’re ready to play!
The image on the SD card is called Porta Pi Aracde and is a collage of several programs compiled by Ryan Bates at Retro Built Games. The image contains RetroPie, Emulation Station, RetroArch and Retrogame. The only thing you need to worry about is powering your Pi, attaching a monitor through an HDMI cable, and loading up your desired games.
Other than the Raspberry Pi 3 (and a means to power it), you’ll need wire strippers and crimp tools to assemble your PiRetrocade, as well as a monitor, HDMI cable, and speakers or headphones. Make sure to check out our Getting Started Guide below for complete assembly and installation instructions!
The SD card we include with this kit only works with a Pi2B or Pi3. There are two different versions of the Pi2B. (Pi2B and Pi2B v1.2) The 2B v1.2 has a ARM8 like the Pi3 and the older version has a ARM7.
Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.
Skill Level: Rookie - Basic hand tools are required and instructions will allow more freedom. You may need to make your own decisions on design. If sewing is required, it will be free-form.
See all skill levels
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
See all skill levels
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
See all skill levels
Based on 7 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I thought this was a very cool project and fun to put together. Now that I’ve built mine, I went to Hobby Lobby and found a plain wood box that was very close tot he size of the cardboard box and built my new permanent place for these controls. I already have plans on making that installation better, longer wires, that way when I open the top it doesn’t pull the wires out of the GPIO pins on the Pi. Also, plan on using a GPIO extender so I can remove the pi by disconnecting a ribbon cable vs having to plug each wire back into the pi each time. This kit helps teach you be basics, then you can expand from there. Well worth the money.
Easy build. You best have a raspberry pi 3 as recommended in order to use the whole thing immediately. Everything else is included! Great!
Had a great time building with my son. Inspiring us to go further to build a cabinet. Sparkfun was great when we cut the holes wrong, they shipped out another box free of charge. Note when you cut the whole to cut the white area only so they are not too big. Tons of fun, you will lose some sleep.
This is a great kit, and the software that comes with really helps out. A couple of notes. It would be nice to have longer than 6" wires, so that if you use a Pi in a case and want it to rest on the bottom, the wires don’t accidentally disconnect if the box is opened.
Also, I don’t like the ESC being mapped to SELECT (on the box); it’s confusing. A couple more buttons (one for SELECT, one for a Y button) would be great. And the C button should be labeled X.
But that’s all nitpicky. The components are solid, the instructions are great, and this thing is a blast. I’m planning on building mine into a lapdesk with an add-on USB attached second lapdesk controller.
The box is cool. The joystick and buttons are huge and nice and would work on an original arcade.
The wires are jumpers for small projects. So you have to cut off one end (or both) of the tiny jumper wires that are too small for the crimping and crimp them. Then the wires do not reach, and so I had to add more jumpers to make it reach and not pop-out half the wires when you open the box.
Then you have to count little points on the Raspberry Pi to get it working (not the kits fault–but it still is a bit funky). Finally, all is good. The software is a bit odd, but I did play DOOM, and that is just wonderful.
I bought more crimp ends (I have about a 75% hit rate with crimp), and I used solid core wire for one wiring harness as it was still too short when completed.
So be prepared from crimping, I bought Sparkfun’s tool for next time, and expect to add some jumpers to make everything reach when the top is fully open. Still fun.
This is a game emulator, and the product page should state that clearly. The guide goes into more detail, but I really feel the ROM file information is lacking. There are very few open source ported games loaded. The buttons and joystick are good quality, but the jumpers are too short. This really makes the RPi hookup a pain, as the GPIO connections will pull out unless you secure the RPi on the lid near the buttons. I could deal with the hardware issues, but the work to get ROM files (legally) is glossed over here.
I’ve totally got the retro gaming bug now and am planning on building a full-sized gaming cabinet. This is a great kit for learning some basics about electronics and Raspberry Pi.