Day-off project: Retropie

Madness in boxes

So around black friday I was running through my card board boxes that have all sorts of cables and other PC accessories.

I wanted to a buy a new mouse for my desktop, because the previous one's scroll wheel was pushing me into madness.

But I managed to find a usb mouse that was from ASDA and it was still in its original box.

Here, I got the idea that I wanted to put my other boxed/packaged things to use as well.

I've two Raspberry Pis from years ago and I used them a lot for years.

Then I put them into these boxes, because managing four x64 machines were a lot simpler after moving,than mixing armhf and x64 arches.

I'm mostly referring to building my own docker images and starting to write my own ansible playbooks.

Focusing only on one arch at the time seemed to be a better idea.

Raspberry Pis

I wrote a post on wanting to make these Pis useful again here.

As update to that previous post, I managed to find a functioning SD card for the Pi2.

Where I got the idea to try out Retropie

One day at lunch break at work, I was talking to my colleagues about having a Nintendo as a kid, and remembering playing a tank game.

Turns out they also remember playing this game, but nobody could recall what is was called.

I had talked about this game to some other people for more than years, but nobody knew the name of this game.

So I started searching on Google, and it turns out my favourite game on Nintento was called Battle City.

I found it funny enough, that it took me about 2 minutes of effort to find something I was looking for about 10-20 years.

I found a Nintento NES emulator called Nesoid for Android on Fdroid, however the last uploaded version is years old.

However, it still ran on Android 9/Miui 11. I must say that a touch screen is no way to play any NES games.

Retro games on modern Raspberry Pi 2b

So the following day, I burned Retropie 4.5.1 to an SD card and slot it into the Pi 2.

The following example with dd should work, when replacing of=/dev/sdx with the correct hard drive location.

sudo dd if=$HOME/Downloads/retropie-4.5.1-rpi2_rpi3.img of=/dev/SDZXXZZX;sync

My old pi booted up and I manually started messing with Retropie's Emulation Station.

Since I never used Emulaton Station/Retropie, the interface was kind of strange at first.

I also don't have any controllers, so for the time being I'm setup with a keyboard.

I configured WASD for up, left, down and right.

Then right arrow for A and down arrow for B.

F for start, and G for select.

Game ROMs

Well, this is an interesting topic, and I'm sure people will have their own sources to get game ROMs from.

Some links to note:

My setup with Retropie

Here are the items I have for my Retropie:

  • Raspberry pi 2b
  • 8GB Sd card
  • RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter
  • USB keyboard
  • Monitor with HDMI/VGA converter
  • 5v@2.1A micro-usb charger

Most of these things can be bought on Amazon/Asda/B&M/Ebay.

What's interesting is the free memory reported on the Pi is ~750MB and I thought it had 1GB memory.

Then I found this page on the Github wiki , which explains why.

Using Ansible on Retropie

Since Retropie's just lots of packages on top of Raspbian Stretch, it means I could run Ansible against it.