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How to make your own gaming system using Raspberry Pi


Great gaming on ARM devices that have slightly poorer performance than an average x86 based PC device is possible. The only vital condition for that is using some kind of a game emulator. ​So, to clarify this issue, I’d like to look through the possible solutions to bring great games on Raspberry Pi as a bright representative device from the world of ARM-based devices. The gaming emulator for Raspberry Pi ​can be a piece of software to create a proper environment for the games to be set up and launched on this type of hardware. For that reason three options are
applicable. Find them below.

How to play console games on ARM

Basically, there are three main options to emulate console games on Raspberry Pi or any other ARM

Native Raspberry Pi Games – ​As all Linux users know, there is a great software and apps storage called “Repository”. So, in this repository a lot of DOS games are kept, that are adapted for Raspberry Pi.
Emulation Station​ – Ancient and very first game emulator. Emulate very old consoles and offers DOS games.
Retropie – ​modern analog of the first app. It includes features of Emulation Station, and offers much more, including all the modern consoles like Sega, Nintendo, and PlayStation.
ExaGear Desktop​ – This is a very powerful emulator of software, which is able not only port whatever Retropie and Emulation Station may offer but also add different PC games, from very old Dune 2000 to quite an up-to-date Diablo II or alike.

Native Raspberry Pi Games

As I have already mentioned earlier, there’s a Repository – supported by the community open source storage of different pieces of software and applications. Anyone can access that repository via terminal and download, setup or update the supported software with the help of the special commands.

So is about the Raspberry Pi games. The first command you may want to try is
$ apt-cache search games

You’ll see a very long-read of a list of everything that system will find, which includes the word “games”. Try to look through this list and find what you’ve already got pre-installed in your Pi.

But, in most cases, this will look really tricky and confusing. So, It’s much better and more convenient to use the list below. This list contains the games (and a few emulators) to be downloaded and launched with a simple “apt-get” command. The command is:

$ sudo apt-cache install Battle For Wesnoth

Instead of “Battle For Wesnoth” simply input the title of the game from the list. Almost all of them should work. This list is quite essential.
● Battle For Wesnoth
● Micropolis
● Widelands
● FreeCraft
● Funny Boat
● Which-Way-Is-Up?
● Openrena
● LittleCrane
● Freeciv
● Flare
● Blob Wars:
● Flight Of The Amazon Queen
● Beneath A Steel Sky
● Abuse
● Battle Tanks
● 20,00 Light Years Into Space
● XJump
● BlockOut 2
● Pingus
● SuperTux
● OpenTTD – simulator based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe
● Simutrans – transport simulator
● PyDance
● Angry Drunken Dwarves
● Nethack
● Monsterz
● PrBoom
● Sopwith
● Feeding frenzy
● Freedink
● Lincity
● Triplane
● 3D Chess
● 4digit
● Airstrike
● Allegro Demo
● Atom-4
● Atomic Tanks
● Battleball
● Desmume – Emulator for NDS (emulation not tested, the program only runs in X11)
● Freesweep
● Galaga
● Galaga:Hyperspace
● GNU Shogi
● Hexxagon
● Mancala
● Overgod
● Pipenightdreams
● Xye
● Qonk
● Rafkill
● RealTimeBattle
● Snake4
● Space Aryarya
● SpaceZero
● Spout
● Stax
● Tagua
● Teddy
● Tetzle
● Wing
● Wmpuzzle
● Xabacus
● Xball
● XBill
● XBlast-TNT
● Xboing
● XBomb
● XBubble
● Xchain
● xdemineur
● XGammon
● XInvaders 3D
● Xjig
● xmahjongg
● XJump
● xmpuzzle
● Xmille
● Xmountains
● Xonix
● Xpatience2
● XScavenger
● XScorch
● XShogi
● XSkat
● Xsokoba
● XSoldier
● X Solitaire
● Xtron
● Xvier
● XWelltris
● Yahtzeesharp
● Zatacka
● Xmille


The EmulationStation console emulator was the first attempt to gather everything that in one free and open-source emulation machine to be set up on Linux, Debian and other OS, including Raspbian.

The emulators, you can enjoy contains quite a famous names, such as Nintendo, Sega, SNES, Atari, NeoGeo and much more. The main feature of EmulationStation is that it works almost with any controller and you can regulate the number of emulators while downloading to save time on installation. So, to install the Emulation Station you need to open up a terminal and follow the simple steps.

1. Update the system

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
$ sudo rpi-update

2. Set the minimum amount of RAM to the GPU

$ sudo nano /boot/config.txt
# add or replace "gpu_mem = 32"

3. Reboot to apply the changes
$ sudo reboot

4. Install the necessary libraries for SDL2
$ sudo apt-get install -y libudev-dev libasound2-dev libdbus-1-dev libraspberrypi0 libraspberrypi-bin libraspberrypi-dev

5. Install the libraries for EmulationStation
$ sudo apt-get install -y libboost-system-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-locale-dev libfreeimage-dev libfreetype6-dev libeigen3-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libasound2-dev cmake g++-4.7

6. Compile SDL2

$ wget http://libsdl.org/release/SDL2-2.0.1.tar.gz
$ tar xvfz SDL2-2.0.1.tar.gz
$ rm SDL2-2.0.1.tar.gz
$ pushd SDL2-2.0.1
$ ./configure --disable-video-opengl --host=arm-raspberry-linux-gnueabihf
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ popd

7. Set up the EmulationStation

$ git clone https://github.com/Aloshi/EmulationStation
$ cd EmulationStation
$ git checkout unstable
$ cmake -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=g++-4.7 .
$ make

8. Reset GPU RAM and reboot

$ sudo nano /boot/config.txt
# change "gpu_mem = 32" to "gpu_mem = 128" or "gpu_mem = 256"
$sudo reboot


Retropie is the next step forward in retro gaming and console emulation. The main advantage of Retropie is that it’s more user-friendly and contains the ultimate number of possible emulators from the most ancient NES to the modern Playstation, PSP and even Wii. Moreover, Rertopie also has got other console emulators like MAME or ScummVM already pre-installed!
This reach retro-gaming collection can allow you to play absolutely different games, from the very first arcade ones to the most recent. Just have a look at this list of Retropie emulators!
● 3do
● Amiga
● Amstrad CPC
● Apple II
● Atari 2600
● Atari 5200 and 8 bit series
● Atari 7800
● Atari Jaguar
● Atari Lynx
● Atari ST/STE/TT/Falcon
● CoCo
● Colecovision
● Commodore 64
● Daphne
● Dragon 32
● Dreamcast
● FinalBurn Alpha
● GameCube
● Game & Watch
● Game Gear
● Game Boy
● Game Boy Color
● Game Boy Advance
● Intellivision
● Macintosh
● Master System
● Megadrive/Genesis
● Nintendo 64
● Nintendo DS
● Nintendo Entertainment System
● Neo Geo
● Neo Geo Pocket
● Neo Geo Pocket Color
● Oric-1/Atmos
● PC
● PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
● PlayStation 1
● PlayStation 2
● ResidualVM
● SAM Coupé
● Saturn
● ScummVM
● Sega 32X
● Sega CD
● Sega SG-1000
● Super Nintendo Entertainment System
● TI-99/4A
● TRS-80
● Vectrex
● Videopac/Odyssey2
● Virtual Boy
● Wii
● WonderSwan
● WonderSwan Color
● Zmachine
● ZX Spectrum

After getting acquainted with all that Retropie gaming diversity, you’d probably want to install it on your Raspbian. This isn’t a tricky thing. As I’ve already pointed out, Retropie is much more user-friendly. So, you’ve got two options: make an SD card to boot the Only Retopie as an operating system or to install Retropie atop your own OS (Raspbian in this article).

Making a Retropie image on an SD Card

The things you need to do are:

1. Download the proper image for your Raspberry Pi model from their official website: https://retropie.org.uk/download/
2. Find some Windows PC and insert the SD card in.
3. Download the auxiliary app – Win32DiskImager. You need this to create the proper file system as it differs from the Windows one.
4. As soon as you install the Win32DiskImager, simply launch it, find the Retropie archive you’ve downloaded from their website and push the button “READ”.
5. All set. Now you can safely eject the SD card and insert it into the Raspberry Pi device. The Retropie interface will boot automatically

Installing Retropie on Raspbian

This way is a bit more complicated and fulfilled from the terminal with special commands. So, open up a terminal.
1. Update the system
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

2. Verify your “Locale” settings
$ locale

3. You should see:

If anything is unset, use the command to correct the parameter:
$ sudo update-locale

4. After you’ve made sure the locales are set, install the prerequisites for Retropie:
$ sudo apt-get install git lsb-release

5. Then download the setup script
$ cd git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup.git

6. Then, it’s time to launch the script and install Retropie:

$ cd RetroPie-Setup
$ chmod +x retropie_setup.sh
$ sudo ./retropie_setup.sh

If everything was done correctly, you should see:

Playing PC Games on Raspberry Pi

All that we’ve looked through above was about console retro gaming. Now, I’d like to add one more feature for your Raspberry Pi top male it the complete gaming machine. Bring PC games on your RPi!
What I mean isn’t just the old DOS games but literally PC ones, such as Counter-Strike, Diablo II or Stronghold Crusaders, for example. This is possible because of the new emulator for Raspbian called ExaGear. The main peculiarity of this emulator is that it supports the hardware graphics acceleration and is able to run x86 exe files on ARM-based devices.

All you need is to install ExaGear , then install Wine, which is an additional app. Launch ExaGear to create the x86 environment within ARM-based processors. And finally, launch Wine to install and
start any x86 Windows game. The only thing you should bear in your mind is that the number of Windows games, unfortunately, is limited. The limit is set with the hardware limitations., so it’s, of course, impossible to run Destiny 2 on your Pi, as it is simply way too weak device for that. If you’d like to get the full installation step-by-step guide and the games it’s possible to start this way, read the Ultimate Retropie Guide for 2018.


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