Winamp Reborn With The Adafruit PyPortal

One look at the default Winamp skin is sure to reawaken fond memories for a certain segment of the community. For those who experienced the MP3 revolution first hand, few audio players stick out in the mind like Winamp and its llama whipping reputation. No, the proprietary Windows-only media player isn’t the sort of thing you’d catch us recommending these days; but it was the 1990s, and things were very different.

For those who want to relive those heady peer-to-peer days, [Tim C] has posted a tutorial on how to turn Adafruit’s PyPortal into a touch screen MP3 player that faithfully recreates the classic Winamp look. As you can see in the video below it certainly nails the visuals, down to the slightly jerky scrolling of the green track info which we’re only now realizing was probably the developer’s attempt to mimic some kind of a physical display like a VFD.

With minimal UI functionality, playlists must be created manually.

[Tim] has even included support for original Winamp themes, although as you might expect, some hoop-jumping is required. In this case, it’s a Python script that you have to run against an image of the original skin pulled from the Winamp Skin Museum. From there, you just need to edit a couple of lines of code to point the player at the right skin files. In other words, switching between skins is kind of a hassle, but you should at least be able to get your favorite flavor from back in the day up and running.

But before you get too excited, there’s a bit of a catch. For one thing, the Winamp UI isn’t actually functional. You can tap the top section of the screen to pause the playback, and tapping down in the lower playlist area lets you change songs, but all the individual buttons and that iconic visual equalizer are just for show. Managing your playlists also requires you to manually edit a JSON file, which even in the 1990s we would have thought was pretty wack, to use the parlance of the times.

Of course, things could easily be streamlined a bit with further revisions to the code, and since [Tim] has released it into the public domain under the Unlicense, anyone can help out. As it stands, it’s still a very slick media display that we certainly wouldn’t mind having on our desk.

23 thoughts on “Winamp Reborn With The Adafruit PyPortal

  1. I love the idea. Loved WinAmp back in the day and it’s actually still my primary media player on my PC today. It would be amazing to see this developed to full functionality, especially the equalizer feature, but nevertheless, for the time being this is a nice nostalgia piece.

    1. I thought I was the only one! It’s such a streamlined mp3 player, I make sure and install it on every pc I own. I think it’s version 2.95 and I keep an archive of it – there are a few mp3s I found it won’t play and then I let VLC play it, but it doesn’t take long and I’m converting the mp3 into something that will play on Winamp 2.95. Long live this 90s version of Winamp. :)

      1. Add me to the list of current Winamp users. Been using it since version 1 in 1997, when our family computer didn’t have enough memory to buffer an mp3. There’s no other player like it, and I’ve tried so many!

  2. While WinAmp has been dead to me for fifteen years, I still use the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) to distribute software commercially. Its a currently maintained (open-source) product and works very well in my experience.

  3. I like the idea, but why reinvent the wheel? Wouldn’t it be better to just use xmms and a pi with a winamp skin instead? Maybe theres a mpd plugin to modernize it with use of mopidy and spotify.

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