How to make a retro portable console with Raspberry Pi? - Quick and easy

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Catherine Le Nevez
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The Raspberry Pi is the computer single board most popular currently on the market. Its value for money is excellent, as well as being useful for multiple functions. Find how make a retro handheld console with Rasberry Pi with few configurations.

The advantages that Raspberry offers are exceptional and every day a new function is discovered that this computer can bring. It allows you to integrate most of the components necessary for its operation on your motherboard and can be used with different operating systems.



In this case we will turn it into an attractive retro console to play all the classic games. You can install emulators for Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and even a emulator of the legendary PlaySation.

Materials to make the retro console

The Raspberry it works like any computer, but with fewer resources. To install the new console, you need the following materials:

  • Raspberry Pi.
  • Power adapter
  • MicroSD card
  • Game controller
  • HDMI cable
  • Mouse and keyboard

The most recent version of the Raspberry is on the Pi 4 and there are places where they sell the motherboard with some of the components needed to assemble the console, such as the HDMI cable and power adapter cable.

Some include a clear case to protect the board and components, as well as a heat sink to prevent overheating. This version supports up to 4GB of RAM and has HDMI, network and USB ports.

The Micro SD card is required for the Raspberry Pi does not include storage memory, which is extremely necessary for software installation. Installing the Raspberry is a simple process, but you have to be patient to avoid making mistakes when assembling the connectors and laying the cables.



Build a portable console with Raspberry Pi

Now comes the interesting part of putting the console together. Once you have all the hardware implementations, let's move on to the next level, which is the operating system installation. 

Install RetroPie

Download and install the RetroPie image on the Micro SD card from its official website. In the download section, select the version of the image corresponding to your Raspberry Pi.

The download may take some time, but it will mainly depend on the speed of your connection. Once the download is finished, you now need to save the image to the Micro SD card. There are specialized applications for that activity like win32diskimager and Linux users only need to use one command to perform this action.

Start and set up the Raspberry Pi

Put the Micro SD in the Raspberry and in theory you already have a classic game console out of the box using mouse and keyboard. By installing this way, you have several types of default emulators installed.

Connect the keyboard next to the controller to make the necessary settings to play. At the first start, an automatic configuration is started which will end in the interface of EmulationStation. 


Set command control

With the game controller connected to the Pi you will go to configure the controller's direction buttons in parallel with the on-screen indications pressing up, down, left and right. In addition to the movement buttons, you can also configure control shortcuts to simplify many processes during the game, such as saving games.

Access your ROMs remotely

The latest versions of the Raspberry Pi include a Wi-Fi adapter so you can connect to your home network in wireless mode. You can even flash downloaded ROMs on your main PC to the Pi.


You just need to connect to the Wi-Fi network from the Raspberry dai EmulationStation system settings. Now make sure both the Pi and your computer are connected to the same network and from your computer's file explorer go to retropie.

When you connect with the Pi, add any legally obtained ROMs you want to use to play the game. After this process is complete, restart the Raspberry Pi for the changes to take effect.

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