The Raspberry Pi Portable Console You Wish You Had

A retro game console is a fun all-arounder project. You’ve got electronics, mechanical design, and software considerations. For this year’s Hackaday Prize, is going all in. The Portable Retro Game Console with 7.9-inch Display is a work of art, and everything that a retro console could be.

This build is based on the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ instead of the B model for space-saving considerations. The screen is a beautiful 7.9 inch IPS panel with 2048 x 1536 resolution. Stereo 3 W speakers pump out the tunes, and an 8000 mAh provides somewhere between 3 and 6 hours of play time.

While using a Raspberry Pi 3 for retro gaming is fun, there’s a world of oppurtunity for emulating bigger and badder consoles thanks to more powerful single board computers. The Nvidia Jetson Nano is far more powerful than the Raspberry Pi 3, and could conceivably emulate N64 and PlayStation games. The Atomic Pi, the fantastic computer that totally isn’t industrial surplus repackaged as an educational computer, already is proven to emulate N64 games. Imagine taking a portable console out of your backpack and playing Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the bus. Oh, that’s cheeky, but it is possible thanks to the amazing work of hardware creators.

35 thoughts on “The Raspberry Pi Portable Console You Wish You Had

    1. And that is somehow a constructive comment because…

      At least the computer that anyone can buy anywhere is getting more people exposure to electronics, and some of them may follow a career path to hopefully make useful products in the future.
      No matter my opinions on raspberry pi computers, that can only be a good thing in the long run.

      1. Maybe not constructive, but at least has a positive benefit.
        One more post to increment the counters showing people want to see more raspberry pi articles! So that’s a plus.
        It may not be the outcome dke wanted, but I’m certainly not complaining over their mistake

      2. Hi,
        I totally agree with you!

        These kind of devices like the rasperry pi are bringing back to life some feelings that you were able to have only with old generation computers. That feeling of “you can do whatever you want, if you just have the parts, and the knowledge to make them work all togheter”.

        I’m a big fan of portable devices, compared to consoles. My first videogame was a GameBoy, and even if it was a lot simpler than a PSX, it gaved me a lot of satisfaction. There’s a little magic into each cartridge, in so much little amount of memory you can find very often a unique game, with very enjoyable music (songs that was so particular and good that you can remember them even after 20-25 yrs).

        Maybe I will buy the parts and build one…ore buy one already mounted. The screen looks great.
        Apart from that, I’ve seen special bluetooth controllers for smartphones, wrapping around the device and turning it into a portable console. Even that is not a bad solution. Nowadays, we are no more into the “one-thing-for-each-thing” we are more into the “one-thing-for-everything”.

        Building the raspberry pi portable is more for nostalgic people I think.

        Bye!
        Federico

    2. Why would anyone bother with anything other than the gpd win 2 or the 3 coming out next year.

      Upscaled emulation of anything from nes to PS2 to Wii u.

      Plus its windows 10. Absolutely no contest.

    1. I couldn’t quickly find any internal shots of the this project so I can’t say how the Pi 3 A+ was installed, but the Compute Modules need a carrier board of some sort.

      That would add some serious cost and possibly (likely) physical volume to this portable build. It would absolutely be possible and pretty cool, but not at all cost effective unless the goal was to produce a saleable product.

      Source: Worked on commercial product that uses 16 Compute Modules.

        1. I thought the compute used a standard laptop ram stick style socket (which would be dirt cheap as it is a common widely used part). All that they would need to do is design a little carrier pcb then (which they are likely already doing for the lcd driver, button and power/battery control portions).

          1. You are correct, the compute modules use a DDR2 200-pin SODIMM slot. I don’t believe they’re as common now as they once were. I recall we had a difficult time finding exactly what we wanted and had to switch vendors at one point due to a non-stock or end of life. The still weren’t terribly cheap either (on the order of $5/ea, not $0.25/ea).

            Also, I haven’t soldered one myself, but I can guarantee it wouldn’t be the most fun thing to do.

      1. Well, the A already has some volume. A carrier board designed to fit wouldn´t be that large.
        Also, they don´t say ( or deny ) that this is for sale. Actually, it seems there is only that picture of the thing, not pictures of its internals.

        Maybe the CM is a little costlier, but it has more oomph to run things, hasn´t it ? That would offset the difference in cost, for a one-off. And if there is already a board being designed to host lcd, battery circuit and the like, not much more work to include a sodimm connector for the CM.

        But of course, it all depends on the creator´s intentions , funds and what is/was available to him.

  1. I don’t think it exists – except as renders? I’d be happy to be disabused, though!
    Also, again I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Rpi3 can resolutions support beyond 1080p? Driving that LG screen is going to be a nice challenge!

  2. I dont wanna poo poo these rpi portables cause the engineering that goes into them is wonderful but if you dont really want the hassle and the hundreds of dollars to make one of your own you can always invest in something like ther bittboy its like $50 AUD and works with gb, gba, nes snes has a battery and a decent screen and can be played for at least 3 hours.

    However thats for people just interested in playing retrogames, this is a hacking website afterall.

  3. Is there a version with that uses a model B+, even if it is a little bigger, model As are like rockinghorse shit in this part of the world, unless you are willing to wait a month for delivery from EU or US. Model B+ are everywhere though.

  4. The screen size is about the same as the 8 inch Samsung tablets.
    The resolution is about the same s the S2 model.
    Not sure how thickness, weight, battery life compare – would be interesting to see that.

  5. The Raspberry Pi 3+ (A and B) can already emulate Playstation with no issues that I’ve found, beyond limitations and quirks common to the emulator software itself.

    As for that screen (iPad mini LCD?), the Pi can only output max 1920×1080, so the display will either be full HD stretched or set at a lower 4:3 ratio and scaled up (perhaps the LCD driver has scaling built in?).

      1. A boring, useless article deserves a boring, useless comment. What’s next? posting articles about blinking an LED?

        On second thought, an article about blinking LEDs would be less boring and less useless than this one.

  6. I keep hoping that when I click on the next HaD RPi handheld it will be configured like a Gameboy SP so you can plop it on a table and button-bash arcade-style. The PSP/Switch case clones are OK for some games but NSM for others.

  7. Any chance the publishing system could incorporate a spell- and grammar-checker?

    I realize there are a lot of technical terms that can’t be spell-checked. “oppurtunity” is 4th-grade vocabulary and easily checked.

  8. I feel like this project isn’t exactly in the spirit of what I would expect a major player in DIY and maker culture to endorse, let alone be awarded any prize. The creator doesn’t really have a detailed BOM, no case design files, and the only way to obtain one of these things seems to be buying one for a ridiculous $450 on etsy.

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