I have a buddy. He’s 13 and some kind of computer wizard. I have professional IT experience and this little guy knows more than me. And recently he got into Raspberry Pi’s. He is the mad genius that inspired me to make an arcade emulator.

This is my MAME machine. It is a Raspberry Pi 2 B with RetroPie installed, along with two custom built (crappy) wood boxes supporting six buttons and one 8-way joystick each. I had originally planned to build a full cabinet like an old arcade machine but I no longer have the tools or work space to take on such a large woodworking project. In all it took me about two weeks—from research to actually playing it.

Wires!

It runs like a dream. It should play anything N64 and older (including but not limited to the PS1, Amiga, Dreamcast, DOS, and Apple II), but I’ve only played arcade and Gameboy Advance games on it so far. I also do not have to use the arcade controllers, any USB controller will work (and alternately the arcade controls will work with my PC).

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This comes up when an arcade game is booting.

Part of the fun is that all of the arcade games are fully emulated, i.e. they have weird boot screens and expect you to insert a coin before you can play (which I’ve frugally assigned to a button).

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Now I’ve seen a lot of articles on how to build emulation stations, but I could do a full tutorial on how I made mine, which was a bit more budget oriented than others (from nails to Pi this cost me around $100, the controllers being the most expensive and costing around $65 to build both).

Is that something you would want?