During the Covid lockdown, I have challenged myself to use a Raspberry Pi 4 as a daily driver computer and so far, it has lived up to the task.
The Pi 4 is using Raspberry Pi OS (formerly ‘Raspbian’) running off of an SSD. I have a DAC/ADC, CD-RW, external SD card reader, and several other accessories connected to it using a powered USB hub. This hub is connected to and taking full advantage of the USB 3.0 capabilities. The case it’s housed in has full HDMI ports and spreads the connections out in the back, so there’s no cables going in at all angles. I created a guide so you can build and of course, customize your own system.
I take a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I’m using a very inexpensive computer to do all of my tasks, even audio/video editing and CAD/3D modeling! There’s even a section telling you how to run Retropie on top of Raspberry Pi OS for all of your video gaming needs. Please check out the guide. There are plenty of great tips and tricks for using a Raspberry Pi 4 as a PC. If you see anything I missed or any issues, leave a comment and I’ll make additions/corrections.
Once the Retro-Pie install script is running, you will want to do a Basic Install and then navigate back to the menu and install the desired optional packages.
One thing I have learned: if you copy the retropie directory to a thumb drive (once it’s setup) each time you have a new setup, if you plug the thumb drive in, the computer will automatically copy the roms and bios files to the new install when emulation station is running. 🙂
Did you ever want to transfer files from your old Commodore 1541/1571 drive between your computer and a real drive? Did you also want to use a real Commodore floppy drive with the VICE emulator? Me too! 😉 Both of these things are possible with the zoomfloppy device being offered by Retro Innovations. You can download basically anything you want from arnold.c64.org (or any other commodore software source) and transfer it right to your floppy device so it can be used on a real Commodore 64 or Vic 20.
This device is unlike other solutions that only worked with specially built cables and DOS. You simply plug a USB cable between your zoomfloppy and your computer and then the serial cable between the zoomfloppy and the floppy drive. Once the physical connections are made, you simply run the OpenCBM software to transfer files or backup disks.
Here’s how to install a zoomfloppy device to your Ubuntu computer.
I can confirm this install method (source) worked with a Raspberry Pi 4 using Raspbian Buster.
Compiles Vice and installs into /usr/local/bin. Initial launch reports a sound issue. If you go into settings (F12), there’s a sound configuration you can change to “Alsa”.
# get dependencies – this may take a long time and ~ 1.5 GB
sudo apt install autoconf automake build-essential byacc dos2unix flex libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libgtk2.0-cil-dev libgtkglext1-dev libmp3lame-dev libmpg123-dev libpcap-dev libpulse-dev libreadline-dev libswscale-dev libvte-dev libxaw7-dev subversion texi2html texinfo yasm libgtk3.0-cil-dev xa65 libsdl2-dev
mkdir -p src
svn checkout https://svn.code.sf.net/p/vice-emu/code/trunk trunk
sudo make install
The 8bitdo Genesis Receiver allows your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive to use a modern gamepad such as the PS4, PS3, XBox or Wii U (pictured) as well as a wide assortment of Bluetooth controllers. Also pictured on the right is another device used in a similar way for devices that accept USB such as the Nintendo Switch, the Mini Playstation, PCs, etc.
If you are unfamiliar with the 8-Bit Sega Master System, the game system that Sega sold before the 16-Bit Sega Genesis – you are in for a treat. This third generation video game system debuted in 1985 in Japan as the Sega Mark III. The name wasn’t very well revived so when it debuted in 1986 in North America, it was relabeled the Master System. The system competed with the Nintendo NES, which debuted a year earlier. In Japan and North America, the system was far less popular than it was in Europe and Brazil. The incredibly popular Sega Genesis followed in the market two years later, making the Master System a footnote outside of Europe and Brazil. Despite this, many great games were created. I put together a list of the best games, though there are many more. If you are interested in checking out what the system offered, check out the titles below. Also, just for fun check out this embeded youtube video with 25 popular Master System titles.
A Sega Master System console will run you around $50 on ebay. Just like any other retro game system, the game cartridges can run anywhere from $10 to $300 depending on the rarity, condition, desirability, and completeness (box, manual, etc.)
Another option is to buy a Mega EverDrive X7, which will allow you to load up Master System, 32X and Genesis cartridge roms. Don’t ask me for roms or where to find them!
Another interesting option is to emulate the system with a Raspberry Pi using RetroPie. There are plenty of youtube videos around to show you how to do this. Essentially, you are going to install an OS image onto a micro SD card, put it in your Raspberry Pi, then install your rom images to the rom directory. This is a great option and highly encourage!