Would you like to have a Raspberry PI? No not the food. I am referring to the credit card sized computer that was introduced in 2012 by the Raspberry PI Foundation. It was originally intended as a learning tool to teach basic computer science in high schools and colleges around the UK, however it has grown in popularity in the community. The PI has been used in many applications since then, media centers, servers, wireless network printer, video game emulator, and the list goes on.
There are several different models that are available: Raspberry PI Zero, 1 A+, 1 B+, 2, and 3. The varying models all have different specs for what you need to do and you can find the details here. https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/ The Raspberry PI 3 has the must power of all the units boosting a quad core possessor, 1 gig of ram, built in wifi and bluetooth. Of course this wont be winning any awards and you wont see anyone playing Battlefield 1 on it but when you consider the size it is quite a feat.
“So how much will this thing cost me?” You might be wondering. They sell these as just the board, think of it as purchasing a desktop and it not coming with a mouse, keyboard, or monitor. The most expensive is the PI 3 and it runs $35.00 the least expensive is the zero and it runs $5.00. That’s right Raspberry’s are cheaper than Apples, who new? Now in order to do anything with these you will need a couple of things. A power supply, this comes in the form of a 2 amp cell phone charger. The “hard drive” which is an SD card or a micro SD card, depends on the model. Mouse and keyboard of your choosing and a monitor which in most cases is a TV connected by HDMI cable. There is another option for this as I have seen a 7in touchscreen that can be connected to the PI and it costs $70.00. When it comes down to it I would purchase one of the starter kits. The are around $59.99 and it comes with everything pre-installed.
The price is cheap now let’s make it an emulator. This is a project I have recently been working on. I had it completed in one afternoon. I used a PI 1 first generation. All you have to do is go out to the website https://retropie.org.uk/ and download the package off of their site (free). Next you will write the image to the SD card. After that you put the SD card into your PI. That’s it, you now have all the emulators installed. You will have to use a flash drive and install Rom’s from here. Of course only installing roms that you already own the physical game. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, use YouTube and search how to do it. There are several great videos on how to get this accomplished.
If your interested in having a cheap gaming emulator this is the route to take. Look at the new mini NES from Nintendo. That thing costs $50.00 and can only play NES games, the PI has a lot more consoles. NES, SNES, all of the Sega consoles, Atari, N64, gamecube, PS1, PS2… And if gaming isn’t your thing (you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog) there are a slew of other projects that can be done. Let Google be your guide and Game On!