an alternative to the Nintendo Classic Mini

In the wake of the presentation of the Nintendo Switch, i thought it would be fitting to share a little thing i did with you.

Lets start this with a story: I had a Nintendo Classic Mini on pre-order. I was assured that they already overordered and there is no way Nintendo won’t produce enough. And with the vouchers i had from left from a birthday, it would have cost me 20 bucks less, which i wanted to invest in a second controller. Know what i did instead? Cancelled the pre-order and used the the coupon to get a couple of components to build a prototype for a new chain-hoist control box. I was to lazy to walk to the next cash machine that dsy. “There’s no way Nintendo won’t produce enough units, right? Those things will become stuffing material.” was my reasoning.
How wrong i was.
When i went there on release day the whole chain of stores had received ten units, which were sold as soon as their front door was unlocked.
And there are several people who share a similar story like this one.

Here is an alternative to spending ridiculous sums of money on the secondary market: use a Raspberry Pi and run Retropie on it.

Raspberry Pi 3

Recently i was reminded that i had a Raspberry Pi as part of a project at work that got dropped. I had tinkered around with it since then, used it as solar powered data server, mined some bitcoins[1], used it as a hardware firewall and a media center.
Until i listened to the end of the year episode of the Spieleveteranen[2] podcast. They guys are enamored by Nintendo’s nostalgia engine but pointed the listener towards Retropie[3], an emulator platform.

The thing emulates a lot of systems[4], even the Atari Jaguar[5] and the 3DO[5].

Setting the whole thing up was easy, documentation is neat and easy to follow. You don’t have to spend any time with using Terminal because every option can be accessed and altered via a menu.

I hooked up an XBox controller and it works fine, although i’m contemplating to get a controller from 8bitdo[6].

Now, getting the ROMs, rips of the read-only-memory of the old game cartridges, is tricky. I had the fortune of having attended a technical college were almost all of my co-students were video game enthusiasts, therefore we made backup copies of our games to play with the emulators we had installed on the computers at school. Today one could use a Retrode[7] adapter to make legal copies of his SNES/Super Famicon and Mega Drive/Sega Genesis games.

So far i played Mega Man X, Super Star Wars and The Adventures Of Batman & Robin and realized that, while i still know them like the back of my hand, my reflexes aren’t as good anymore.
Probably because i’m not using a proper controller.

Next step is getting a small screen and put it and the Raspberry Pi into a case to make it a sort of “Retro Nintendo Switch”. I’ll keep you in the loop.

[Controller update]
I picked up this controller from Buffalo because it seems like it manages to capture the feeling of the original the most.

Buffalo Classic USB Gamepad

What makes it stand out for me is the box it came in. Japenese packages have this special flair about them because they try to keep the footprint as small as possible. It’s a shame we did not get the Super Nintendo games in their native packaging instead of the black boxes with the smaller artwork and big red logo.

Buffalo Gamepad Box

Have fun building your own Retropie! And if you do, please tell me about your favourite classic games and why they enamored you.

[1] rather bitcents, are they called satoshi?
[2] Link Spieleveteranen Podcast
[3] link Retropie
[4] link List of supported Systems
[5] Things we thought would win the next gen battle back in the days.
[6] link 8bitdo
[7] link Retrode


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