Picade and RetroPie

I've always wanted to build a MAME arcade machine emulator or some type of bar-top arcade. However, I'm not great at woodworking so a prebuilt kit would be an ideal solution. I initially started to build my Picade after my wife kindly purchased one for me for Christmas 2015. Originally I had used the first generation Raspberry Pi model B but I have since upgraded to a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. That original Raspberry Pi is now running Pi-hole which you can read about here. I may soon upgrade again so that I can emulate newer consoles such as the original Sony PlayStation.

The Picade Console kit was an ideal solution for me as it's relatively portable as it doesn't have a screen attached. The HDMI port allows the Picade to be connected to any screen of any size, even a projector!

The Picade also comes with an Arduino-compatible board with an integrated 3W stereo amplifier and behaves like a HID keyboard when plugged in via USB. This addition resolves the major headache (if you were to build you're own) of converting input from the buttons and joystick into a signal the Raspberry Pi will understand.

I do need to find a way to enable two people to play at the same time as there is only one joystick available. Perhaps a second controller can be added via usb or Bluetooth?

Picade in it's raw form

There's quite a lot of parts to put together!

Building the Picade was relatively simple as you can follow a guide or now a YouTube tutorial (updated) on how to do so. All you need to do is add your own Raspberry Pi and away you go.

Picade complete!

I've added an Edimax nano wireless usb apapter so that I can connect and transfer files wirelessly with WinSCP. I also use a wireless keyboard and mouse when necessary to maintain portability.

Adding RetroPie for playing retro games

Now that I had my arcade, I now needed a way to play the games I enjoyed playing in my childhood. RetroPie is the ideal solution as it allows you to emulate many different machines such as the ZX Spectrum, Amiga, SNES, Mega Drive and many more.

RetroPie is simple to install and has an interface that is easily controlled with the joystick and buttons alone. The RetroPie operating system can be downloaded from the RetroPie website and burnt to a micro-SD card with Raspberry Pi Imager.

Some of my favourite retro games are below;


Super Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog for the Amiga

Sensible World of Soccer

The best football game ever made?

I once scored without the opposition touching the ball!

Streets of Rage 2

Fond memories of playing this with my uncle.

Final Fight

A game I spent way too much money on, playing in a local video rental shop.