The trend among console companies to release miniature versions of their classic gaming systems shows no signs of stopping. In fact, given the success of the classic reissue was, it could be set to go beyond consoles and into the world of retro home computers.

But you really need to spend 100 dollars to the palm-sized version of your favorite 1980s game console? Surely there is some alternative?

Well, of course there is. This is a device that most retro gamers may have already heard of: the Raspberry Pi Here are five retro game consoles that can be easily emulated on the Raspberry Pi.

1.Nintendo Entertainment System

First of all, this is the NES, which can be easily emulated by the Raspberry Pi. It all depends on how you want to do it. One option is to use an emulation package like RetroPie or RecalBox. However, if you want to get more of the NES experience, you can try the standalone emulator.

Available on GitHub, the NesPI emulator is easy to install. Once you have manually downloaded or cloned the project on your Raspberry Pi and installed it, the NesPI emulator will play NES game ROMs. Here’s what your project might look like:

All you need is a ROM (they can be found online if you haven’t made your own) and a suitable game controller. Classic Nintendo Entertainment System controllers with USB connectors can be purchased online.

Remember: by law you must own the original games in order to legally download ROMs!

A real NES Classic released in 2017 will cost significantly more than a Raspberry Pi.

2. SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive

The SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive Classic has been in production since 2009, repackaged in various formats, most recently in 2016.

But you don’t have to spend all that money on one of them! Just install your Raspberry Pi with the default operating system, install an emulator, find some game ROMs and you’re done!

You can get started with a standalone SEGA Genesis emulation experience with the Picodrive project on GitHub. That’s how well the SEGA Genesis emulator plays some of the best games on the platforms. The video also includes tips for installing a Raspberry Pi inside an old SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive case.

There is literally no point in paying for a repackaged SEGA Genesis when you can build your own!

3. Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo’s place in the annals of the great video game consoles is guaranteed. They’ve released four great home consoles and two top handhelds (the jury’s still out on the Nintendo Switch). So it’s no surprise that the Super NES/Super Famicom can be emulated on a small Raspberry Pi computer.

All you need is a Pi, a Raspbian operating system, some suitable game controllers (USB versions of the originals available), and the PiSNES project, again available from GitHub.

Once launched, you will be able to fire up your favorite game ROMs and relive the classic gaming era!

Here is a great DIY build for your own Raspberry Pi SNES case from mods Youtuber Rated-e :

4. Atari game consoles

The Atari Flashback series of mini-console has been running for several years and often bundles around 100 games with compact hardware.

Of course, you don’t need to buy one of these systems if you can build your own. However, offline emulation is a bit tricky for Atari. While the Stella emulator will run on older versions of Raspbian, Post Raspbian Wheezy (Jessie was released in 2015), it’s a little tricky. While Stella is available through the Libretro project, it’s probably much easier to just install RetroPie if you’re looking for classic Atari games.

Here’s what it might look like, thanks to YouTuber ETA PRIME :

Naturally, Atari-style joysticks and paddles are available with USB connectors from Amazon and other online retailers.

5. Commodore 64

Hold on, you thought, Commodore 64 was not a game console! Well, not initially, no. But there was a version of the classic home computer called the C64GS. It was basically a C64 without a keyboard and a cartridge slot on top. So basically the console.

Sadly, this has been lost to history, but fans of the old beige box will be happy to know that a new Indiegogo campaign is about to revive the computer.

Of course, this doesn’t matter to the owner of a generic Raspberry Pi. With this handy device, you can assemble a portable Commodore 64 console or a small desktop computer. You have two best options here. Either rely on the VICE emulator as a standalone system, or the PiPlay (formerly PiMAME) disk image, which will also be included on the other systems listed here.

Other Retro Game Options for Raspberry Pi

It doesn’t end there. The retro gaming options for Raspberry Pi users are quite significant. As mentioned above, special sets of retro games are available (each of which consists of these and many other emulators) that emulate not only consoles, but also retro home computers.

RetroPie and its competing retro game suite RecalBox are among the most popular and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, in general they are easy to install, easy to use and provide good results. All of the above platforms can be found in these retro game packs. You can find many more for systems as diverse as the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari Lynx, the classic Apple Macintosh, the Nintendo 64 and even the Sony PlayStation 1!

Meanwhile, both systems have a Kodi media center. Embedded. In fact, they are complete TV entertainment systems! However, if you prefer to stay away from frills, check out the Pi Neil Munday entertainment system.

What’s next? 3D printed case!

With the game system installed and the game ROMs copied to it, your Pi’s microSD card you’ll be ready to play. But one thing you can’t do is make your Raspberry Pi look like an SNES Classic or a PC Engine.

Or can you?

Thanks to 3D printing, you can put your Raspberry Pi in a matching case. All you need is a 3D printer (or the means to place a print order) and a suitable case design. You will find many sites online offering 3D printing designs, but to get you started, here are 27 3D printed designs suitable for Raspberry Pi retro gaming systems.

Meanwhile, some game console cases can be bought on Amazon.

It’s safe to say that the Raspberry Pi is the perfect compact retro gaming system. What is your favorite console to follow? Have you tried it on Pi? Write to us in the comments!

Image Credit: LanaSweet / Depositphotos

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