Building a Retro Arcade Emulator

While arcade emulators aren’t exactly unique, they’re tons of fun, and that essentially is what drove Sehaj to build one at Maker’s Asylum Delhi.

He says the idea popped in his head on a recent trip to Mumbai, when boredom led to a friend and him to go watch Pixels.
Watching the retro-inspired imagery on screen, he decided to build an arcade emulator as soon as he got back to Delhi. Which is exactly what he did.

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He teamed up with his friend Akshay, and showed up at the Asylum with a bag full of components.

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The heart of the machine is of course a Raspberry Pi, running an image of RetroPie. That particular combination lends great flexibility in terms of gameplay, by allowing multiple consoles to be emulated.

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We used the laser cutter at the Asylum to cut the plywood that was to be the housing for the electronics. I designed the case while Utkarsh pieced it together. Meanwhile Akshay and Sehaj worked on the code, and getting the Pi to behave.

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To make it look sleek, we painted the entire thing black, and added lights inside an 8-bit cutout on top. Of course you can’t have an arcade without the buttons and controllers, so we made a trip to Chandni Chowk to procure those as well.

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A week of tinkering and tweaking later, we have a beautiful fully-functional retro arcade, and people have been going nuts over Mario & Donkey Kong (not that those are the only things you can play).

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The total cost came to about Rs 5000 INR, which includes the Raspberry Pi, the buttons & controllers, the plywood and the lights.

We do have plans to keep adding to this arcade. Some of the ideas we’ve discussed, include:

• External controller support
• A phone charging station
• Aux ports

So if you’re ever in the mood for some good old Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, drop by the Asylum, and have a go at it.