Like most people who are into retro gaming, I have long been a fan of the RetroPie.
I would say there are a few categories of retro gamer and I am in multiple:
- Desktop computer emulation
- Raspberry Pi/Android-based emulation
- “Mini” and recreation (eg. TheC64)
- MiSTer FPGA
- “Premium” retro consoles (eg. Arcade 1UP)
One of the advantages of the Pi kind is the number of computers and consoles you can replicate in one compact box.
Another advantage is the form factor can be customized to suit your needs, hence my “barcade” laser cut wooden case.
The problem I have found is this rickety thing no longer gets updated as often as I should because it has become a pain to put together and take apart over and over.
I first got interested in using the Pi for retro emulation when my online friend started building his own mini arcade. Here is Eben and Liz from the Raspberry Pi foundation showing it off.
If ever there was catnip for me it would be retro gaming AND electronics tinkering AND laser cutting!
Of course every time a new Raspberry Pi has come out I have gone and put it into my setup to see what the improvements and differences have been. Here is me all excited about getting a performance boost with the Raspberry Pi 2.
Now with the Raspberry Pi 4 we can even emulate things like Dreamcast. Where will it end?
Well, the latest update is the Pi 4 has a 64-bit operating system, recently out of beta and into production. Many people were expecting a Pi5 to drop around the Pi birthday, but just as many people were saying the Pi Foundation would be hit by global parts shortages so wouldn’t be able to hit their target price-point.
What difference does 64-bit make? Right now, not much, but for memory-hungry processes, it is a huge boon, and this means the Pi going forward will be able to emulate much more bloated systems, especially those with high-resolution texture mapping.
It also makes the humble Pi (get it?) much closer to being a desktop replacement …
No news yet for the Pi5 other than some teasers from Upton (see below) or when RetroPie will get a 64-bit update.
Upton states that the Pi 5 would likely have a faster SoC than the Pi 4 Model B, along with better USB I/O, greater than 8 GB of RAM and improved Ethernet/Wi-Fi connectivity.