Linux Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi as Retro Arcade Games emulator

I am not going to attempt to provide a guide as there are much better guides out there than anything I can produce.

In addition to the arcade function, we wanted to display a slidedeck when not being used for gaming.

Two main approaches I see are

1) install RetroPie, then add X packages
2) install Raspbian, then install RetroPie on top of that

The reason we want X is to run a presentation software such as pipresents, which we are already familiar with.

For approach 1) I roughly followed this installation order.

Install lightdm and lxde
This takes a long time, maybe 30 minutes:
sudo apt install lxde lxde-core lxterminal lxappearance
sudo apt install lightdm
sudo apt-get install xutils
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg

But one of my games didn’t run properly afterwards, so I am focused on method 2) for now.

I’m having trouble running startx from a non-console terminal. One thing I’m trying is:
sudo usermod -a -G tty pi
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-legacy
These two commands still didn’t do the trick, so I edited this file


and replaced allowed_user=console with allowed_users=anybody, and that worked! Once.

Then I installed RetroPie, turned it off so it does not autostart, and tried startx from a non-console terminal and I see this error:

(EE) xf86OpenConsole: Cannot open virtual console 2 (Permission denied)

then I re-installed xserver-xorg-legacy and startx once again worked. Hmm.

The instructions for installing RetroPie on top of an existing Raspbian installation are here:

You should be comfortable with the linux command line. In the end I like this method of installation the best. I’ve done it several times now.

Equipment ideas
These $15 speakers only use the USB port for power. They have a standard mini-stereo jack that is compatible with the Pi. I bought them. The Pi has enough juice to power them, which is convenient.
I went with NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) games. This pair of USB controllers I am told are a good approximation of the real thing: they’re only about $14.
Two player arcade quality controller from Recroommasters. About $349.

How to configure two player setup when you have an arcade-style console with only one USB connection
I find the documentation available on the Internet on this particular topic is terrible. In fact I never did find it. This YouTube video was just created. Although it’s specific to their Xtension console it looks to me applicable to any similar console:

It takes a little getting used to. There are two main places where you do some configuration. There’s the RetroPie Configuration. Then there’s the emulationstation menu. The main thing to do from the emulationstation menu, which is launched by clicking Start from the main emulationstation screen, is to map the controller keys. For instance I program for an NES controller at home, and bring it to school where there is a cool two-player arcade-style controller which will have to be re-mapped.
The RetroPie configuration shows up from the main screen when you hit the down arrow key or something like that, then A. From here you can launch traditional raspi-config. I also used it to go into RetroPie setup, then into configuration and have emulationstation autolaunch at boot-up. You can also do a reboot from RetroPie setup.

To force sound out of the 3.5 mm stereo jack, go to RetroPie Configuration|RetroPie Setup|Configuration/tools|801 – audio settings|Headphones – 3.5 mm jack.

To get volume to 100% which you will need with the speakers I list below, go to emulation station menu|sound settings|system volume. By default it seems to be 77% which just isn’t enough juice.

References and related
Good discussion on X windows, display managers and desktop environments:
Speakers for about $15:
Nintendo style USB controllers, $14:
Two player setup with an arcade controller that has only one USB connection.
Arcade style two player console. Very cool.