Portable RetroPie Suitcase For Multiplayer On The Go!

Portable gaming — and gaming in general —  has come a long way since the days of the original Game Boy. With a mind towards portable multiplayer games, Redditor [dagcon] has assembled a RetroPie inside a suitcase — screen and all!

This portable console has almost everything you could need. Four controllers are nestled beside two speakers. Much of the power cabling is separated and contained by  foam inserts. The screen fits snugly into the lid with a sheet of rubber foam to protect it during transport.

Tucked behind the monitor rests the brains of this suitcase console: a Raspberry Pi and the associated boards. [Dagcon] resorted to using a dedicated sound card for the speakers, diverting the output from the HDMI port. An LCD screen controller was also necessary as the screen had been re-purposed from its previous life as a laptop screen. [Dagcon] offers some tips on how to go about accomplishing this yourself and a helpful Instructables link.

RetroPie Suitcase Console Insides Additionally, two USB ports peek out from beneath the screen if a keyboard, mouse, or any other USB device is needed after the initial setup. At present, there are a few cooling issues that arose after a few hours of gaming. Not to worry though, [dagcon] is working on a solution for the problems.

The suitcase runs on external power, so that limits how truly portable this console is. Therein lies potential for a future upgrade. While the $350  price tag is on par with modern consoles — most of that cost is the four controllers, of which there are cheaper options. Even with that cost, the portability of this system and the bonding of couch co-op make it an easy pill to swallow.

Speaking of incredible things jammed inside a humble suitcase, you may have heard about this one, seen this one scuttling around, or maybe even this remarkable triple threat.

11 thoughts on “Portable RetroPie Suitcase For Multiplayer On The Go!

  1. It’s a real shame one has to use these HDMI-converter boards in-between the Pi and the display, making the whole thing so much bigger and using quite a bit of extra power, too. The only display the Pi can drive via the DSI-connector has a terribly low resolution and size, making it very unappealing.

    1. you are free to use parallel to LVDS converter chip and drive LVDS LCD directly from the PEE
      >only display the Pi can drive via the DSI-connector
      is NOT a DSI display, but LVDS + DSI bridge

  2. This is very “hacked” together. I mean, the results aren’t absolutely terrible, but they’re not great either.

    Why use foam? And multiple layers of it? If he had it, it’s fair and is totally in the spirit of hacking things together, but it’s a crappy medium that makes his project look amateur at best. Like one knock on the lid and everything would come apart. Balsa wood can’t be that expensive, neither would be a thin sheet of acrylic and they would both look better while offering a bit more structural rigidity.

    Wireless controllers are cool, but when are you going to be gaming 6+ feet away from this? You’ll also need batteries for these adding to the inconvenience. The Xbox 360 controllers have a horrible D-pad to boot, and Buffalo SNES-like controllers are cheap and would be perfect for this project.

    As a weekend quick project for a friendly gaming session when you have all things on hand, sure, but as an actual project this can be executed in better fashion with nearly no additional skills, time and money.

    Looking forward rev 2.0!

    1. Foam is cushy. It can protect things if they get bumped around. This reminds me of many cases that are purpose made for carrying expensive electronics. Usually that is for transport though, not use. I imagine the foam contributes significantly to the overheating problem he mentioned. It still might be worth it for the protection though. Just place some holes in the proper places for ventilation and if necessary add a fan.

      1. Some have a funny idea of camping. Plus, in bad weather, sometimes you’re better off just staying put at the campsite, and a device like this would have its uses.

        I’d use caution with solar though … solar means heat and that battery may not like being in an oven.

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