How to build a Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Rig

If you want to build your own Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Rig…

You’re in the right place.

I’m going to give you the quickest rundown of everything you need. This won’t answer every problem you may run into.

But I will address any issues in the comments.

[Note: CanaKits doesn’t pay me. I bought my kit from them though. It’s awesome and that’s why I recommend it. Amazon might pay this website commission if you buy through them.]

CanaKits

CanaKits is a great, and verified Raspberry Pi distributer. You can buy directly from them or from Amazon. The kit I’m recommending is the best value.

It has everything you need and nothing extra you don’t. This kit is what I used for my Retro Pi gaming system and it worked perfectly.

Click here to check this CanaKits web page.

To buy on Amazon: go to the Starter Kit page:
(recommended)

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (B Plus) Starter Kit (32 GB EVO+ Edition, Premium Black Case)

or the Basic Kit page:

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Kit with Clear Case and 2.5A Power Supply

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Starter Kit (recommended)

If you want to save yourself some hassle, buy the whole kit. You’re getting an awesome portable computer setup (except a monitor) for around $80.

It includes a 32 gig SD card, which is plenty for 100s of ROMs and dozens of emulators.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Starter Kit Includes:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (B Plus) with 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (BCM2837B0)
  • 1 GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN, Enhanced Ethernet Performance
  • Class 10 High Performance Micro SD Card pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • USB MicroSD Card Reader
  • CanaKit 2.5A Micro USB Power Supply with Noise Filter (UL Listed) specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 3 (5-foot cable)
  • Premium Quality Raspberry Pi 3 Case
  • Premium Quality HDMI Cable with CEC support (6-foot cable)
  • Set of 2 Aluminum Heat Sinks
  • GPIO Quick Reference Card
  • CanaKit Full Color Quick-Start Guide

If you want the bare minimum build, the basic kit will work

as long as you already have an SD card. Their basic kit is around $45.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Basic Kit Includes:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (B Plus) with 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (BCM2837B0)
  • 1 GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • CanaKit 2.5A Micro USB Power Supply with Noise Filter (UL Listed) specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (5-foot cable)
  • Set of 2 Aluminum Heat Sinks
  • CanaKit Quick-Start Guide

You will need 1 HDMI cable and an SD Card. You can get 16 gig SD card here on Amazon. (8 gigs will do). And a good HDMI cable here on Amazon.

A case is not technically required if you want to be super minimal. But the Raspberry pi is small and you don’t want anything to happen to it after you spend all this time putting the entire package together.

Best Quality Retro Gaming Controllers

2 Controllers wireless or wired. There are a lot of options here and most of them suck actually.

There is nothing worse than getting your favorite “old-school” game loaded and realize that the controller you just bought feels like a hollow piece of crap.

Poorly weighted buttons will ruin your fireball throwing capabilities as Mario or Luigi. Don’t skimp in this area.

I am giving my best wireless and best-wired recommendation. The iBuffalo SNES styled controller is my favorite all around.

Best Wired Retro USB Gamepad

Buffalo iBuffalo Classic USB Gamepad for PC

Best Wireless Retro USB Gamepad

8Bitdo SN30 2.4G Wireless Controller for SNES Classic Edition

Software Setup Programming Stuff

The software setup is beyond the scope of this article. Plus, this link is very comprehensive, so why reinvent the wheel.

Official Raspberry Pi / Retro Pie Docs Page

You can use the above guide to set up the Raspberry Pi with it’s the operating system, and setting up the Retro Pi for gaming.

Now just upload games and you’re ready to go.

Other Retro Gaming Consoles

If you just want a retro system that can play all your old cartridges (ie NES, Sega, Megadrive, SNES).

Retron 3 Gaming Console

RetroN 3 Gaming Console

Hyperkin RetroN 3 Gaming Console 2.4 GHz Edition for SNES/ Genesis/ NES (Laser Red)

It has cartridge ports for all the most popular gaming systems.

The best part is you don’t have to program anything, just plug in your favorite cartridge and start playing!


What’s your favorite retro videogame? Let me know in the comments. My favorite is Super Mario Bros.

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