Tag Archives: Gaming

RetroPie Project

This month I managed to complete a project I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I picked up a Raspberry Pi back in February, installed RetroPie and was enjoying it just hooked up to my TV with my old Xbox 360 Hori EX2 Joystick.

I had seen various projects online involving fitting a Raspberry Pi into an existing, or specially built, arcade stick enclosure. This way you have a portable system that just hooks up to power and a screen, and you’re ready to play. Having worked a little bit with customising a stick for my PS4 previously, I figured I’d give it a go.

In deciding on a colour scheme, I was inspired by this classic Namco Playstation Arcade Stick. I am pleased with how mine has turned out.

Components used:

  • 6x fire buttons – Went with the screw in version of the same buttons I used in my PS4 stick. SANWA OBSN-30 Screw in buttons
  • Start and credit feed buttons – These are the smaller buttons at the top. Although I usually prefer SANWA parts, I went with Seimitsu for these because I wanted the translucent yellow. SEIMITSU PS-14-DN-K 24MM Screw in buttons
  • 2x Side buttons – spare originals taken from my Venom PS4 stick, decent enough for function buttons and I like that being a darker colour they look unobtrusive.
  • Ball Top Joystick – Again I went with the same stick I used in my PS4 one, have been very happy with that. SANWA JLF-TP-8YT Ball Top Joystick
  • USB encoder – I got this from Amazon, mostly because I wanted it next day. Seems pretty good so far. Reyann Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder
  • Enclosure – Out of stock at my supplier of choice, so I imported one from China. It’s the same as this, with two extra button holes in the side. BLACK EMPTY FIGHT STICK CASE
  • 64gb flash drive – Got this one based on size and speed, but I’ve since learned it runs hot, will need to keep an eye on that. SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse – Had these already, the USB receiver for it is tiny, so it’s very convenient to keep installed.
  • Panel mount ports – I just grabbed short extension leads for USB, Micro USB and HDMI from eBay. Only the USB one has proper panel screw fittings, I figure I’ll just glue them in place.

Installation

I originally had the power and HDMI cables plugged directly into the Pi, routed through small holes in the rear of the case. However I wanted to be able to easily detach the cables for storage, so decided to mount power and HDMI ports to the case, along with a USB port for hooking up a second controller. Unfortunately I’m impatient; rather than order some decent attachments for my dremel I only had the couple that came with it. I ended up using a small drill bit to cut the holes, which is why they look hideous. I’m going to glue the ports in place more neatly later, so I’ll tidy the holes up at the same time.

 

I did briefly look into building the enclosure myself (or getting my Dad involved), but found these pre-cut boxes were so cheap that it wasn’t worth the effort. Almost didn’t get the one with the side button holes, glad I did though, it’s quite nice to have them for hot keys etc.

The RetroPie software is installed on a 16GB SD card, then it’s setup to load roms from the 64GB USB drive. I find this setup preferable to using a larger SD card. Flash drives seem less prone to data corruption as well as being cheaper and generally easier to work with. Now it’s all set up though, I just use WiFi if I want to add any games or change anything I can’t do from within the RetroPie software.

We’re done, for now…

On the whole it was quite straight forward, and gives me confidence for possible future projects. I’ve also got a Pi Zero W from my birthday that I’m still deciding what to do with…

May Gaming

Played a whole lot of games unsuccessfully during May, at least we managed to conclude a Telltale Game so as to avoid a zero completion month.


Games completed during May

Batman Telltale: The Enemy Within – PS4

Another really good Telltale game, as with the previous Batman series I really enjoyed the story. The game engine felt much more stable than the last one too.

 


Also played this month

Darkest Dungeon – PS Vita

Struggling a bit with this, the theme and art style are great and really hooked me. Finding it brutally difficult though, and making very little progress. I’ll try to persevere and see if it gets any easier. Or maybe I’ll consult some guides and see what I’m doing wrong!

Blood Bowl 2 – PS4

Played a mixture of the campaign mode and some online matches of this. I think I prefer playing the game on the tabletop, but it’s nice having the system do all the dice rolling for you. Although I am a bit dubious about the math, since my Elves seem to constantly fail picking the ball up, despite an alleged 83% chance of success…

Blood Omen – Legacy of Kain – PS Vita (PS1)

Restarted this recently for what is probably the 6th time. I’ve never finished it as I always end up leaving it too long in between sessions and forget what I was supposed to be doing. Maybe this time will be different.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – PS4

Also returned to this in May, enjoying myself back in Wolfenstein. I’m not sure it’s as good as The New Order, but I am enjoying the story and the context of the game.


May Pickups

Stardew Valley – PS Vita

Had almost given up hope of the Vita version of this ever getting a release. Hoping it’ll fill the current Animal Crossing void, but so far I’ve struggled to get into it. I might have to put my farm on hold until I finish my current studies and can focus on it with less guilt.

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection – PS4

Been looking forward to this since it was announced, and as it released the day before my birthday, it seemed appropriate to treat myself to a pre-order. Pleased to confirm that it’s a worthy collection, pretty much essential for fans of the series.

 

April Games

In which we mostly just played hundreds of hours of Castlevania.


Games completed during April

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin – Nintendo DS

Only finished one game this month, but it’s a great one. One of the best Castlevania games, thoroughly enjoyed this. Might be a while before I seriously tackle another Metroidvania one though. Need a bit of a vania break!


Also played this month

More Castlevania – Everything

This month I was invited onto the Maximum Power Up podcast, to talk about Castlevania. I started this during March, and played very little else for most of April, as I strove to fill the gaps in my knowledge of the series. You can listen to the Castlevania episode featuring yours truly here.

Sega Dreamcast

I’ve just started spending some quality time with my Dreamcast, and also with an emulator on my PC, as my console is getting a bit temperamental. Might have to pick up another.

 

Forza 7 – Xbox One

Yes I’ve gone back to this. The game is still frustrating, I really hate the ‘mod’ system and ‘prize crates’ but the racing is very satisfying, and it has been a nice change of pace from all that Castlevania.

 


April Pickups

Slay the Spire – PC (Steam, early access)

Not directly a pick up, but a steam gift this month from one of my friends. I’ve spent a little time with Slay the Spire now. It’s an excellent deckbuilder card game / rpg hybrid.

Panzer Dragoon Orta – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

The one game I’ve been hoping for since Microsoft announced a selection of classic Xbox games would be added to Backwards Compatibility on Xbox One. Support was finally added this month, and I grabbed it from the Xbox Store. I’ve had a few goes, and it’s glorious. Tough though!

 

March Gaming

This month we are mostly just pleased to see the end of Shoppe Keep.


Games completed in March

Shoppe Keep – PS4

Hurrah! Great addictive fun for the first 12 hours. A tedious, but sadly still addictive grind after that. I’m calling it complete as I have all but one trophy collected after 25 hours gameplay. To get the last one would take another 60+ hours of just maintaining the status quo. Nope.

Rez Infinite VR – PSVR

This is one of those essential games, that I just never got around to playing despite owning several times over. This month however, I took the plunge and jumped straight into it in VR. I haven’t tried the new Area X yet, but played the full main game in one sitting. An absolute gem, and a real VR showcase.


Also played during March

Armed Police Batrider – PC (MAME)

Played quite a bit of this as part of a high score challenge for an online league. I don’t usually include those games on here, but I really enjoyed Batrider, and want to remind myself to come back to it again.

 

Batman: The Enemy Within – PS4

I’m three episodes into this, and the 5th and final episode has now been released so I expect I’ll wrap this up in April. Really enjoying this series, and it’s great that it has its own storyline, and is able to divert enough from the comics that things are still surprising.

All the Castlevania – Almost Everything

Trying to fill some gaps in the Castlevania series that I haven’t played before, I’ve been dabbling in a lot of this lately. I’ve specifically been focusing on Portrait of Ruin and Lords of Shadow, but trying to get a good feel of them all. I have only previously completed Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow, so there are plenty of gaps.


March pickups

Wipeout VR! – PSVR

Not a proper pickup since I already owned the game, but the VR patch for the Omega Collection finally came out at the end of March. I’ve played about an hour, and it is absolutely superb. Might be the best experience I’ve had in VR yet.

Otherwise I haven’t picked up too much this month, aside from buying a few Castlevania games as mentioned above.