Retropie: Taming the nostalgia

If you’ve followed the news recently, you might have heard that Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Edition for the end of September. Nintendo is setting up us up for another dose of nostalgia (or, more likely, disappointment, such a that experienced by those trying to get one of those NES Classics).

Super Mario 3 NES
Super Mario Bros 3. One of my all-time favorites

I’ll be the first to admit that the announcement brought memories of countless hours spent playing some of the games announced mixed with some excitement for those I never played (such as Earthbound). To be fair, some of those memories are not so much about the games themselves, but of my friends, those I shared those hours with (I guess this goes along the definition of nostalgia, isn’t it).

But guess what? September is still several weeks away and I got two new gaming buddies (aged 3 and 5)!. so I started wondering if I could make better use of what’s currently lying around in the house. That’s when Retropie came to mind.


Retropie is a Raspberry distro which comes pretty much ready to use on any Raspberry Pi (It runs better on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (or so people says), but I’ve had little issues running NES and SNES on the RPI1). It’s not 100% plug and play, but if you l have tinkered with running Linux on older PCs, it shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll also need the gamepads. I went with some cheap USB SNES controllers I found on Ebay. The downside of the cheap ones is that these are wired (I have already used to wired controllers), so it might be a challenge to find a suitable place for it. I people using PlayStation 3 controllers with the RPI3, but the model 1 doesn’t have support for it, and I don’t want to burden it with a 3rd party dongle (also, I don’t have a PlayStation).

Super Mario NES
It’s been a long time since wires coming out from the TV were common place. You can see the naked RPi on this Pic (I’m still waiting for a case for it)

A USB keyboard/mouse might come in handy, I used some I had laying around in the house.

PS: If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi already, it might be worth to start with a a Kit. If you want to buy things separately, the most critical parts, in my opinion, are the Power Supply and the SD card. Make sure you don’t skimp on these.

PS2: I’m sorry for the grainy pictures, these two are from our basement, taken while my gaming buddies were at play 🙂

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