Raspberry Pi emulation love

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C64_Critic
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Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby C64_Critic » March 25th, 2018, 5:20 pm

After reading previous and more recent posts about the NES Classic, the SNES Classic, and emulation/roms in general, I decided to throw my hat into the ring (again) and purchase a Raspberry Pi setup, 128GB microSD card, and download a pre-populated image file for Retropie/Emulation Station that a netizen named VirtualMan has built. The Critic asked me comment on it with pics here, so I am.

TL:DR
This particular image is jam packed with retro games - 6,904 in all. The breakdown of these games follows as: Arcade = 1,092, Atari 2600 = 630, ColecoVision = 140, Dreamcast = 5, Gameboy = 557, Gameboy Advanced = 1,037, Sega Master System = 271, Sega Genesis = 767, Sega 32x = 32, Sega CD = 53, N64 = 25, NeoGeo = 141, NES = 781, SNES = 784, PSP Mini = 290, PS1 = 120, ScummVM = 52, TurboGrafx16 = 94, Vectrex = 25. For a video review/preview, check out this YouTube vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Eth3ormto

As you can see, the UI for this image is great. I've messed with CoinOps before on an old Xbox and while it was a fun experiment and a great use for an old console, navigating to find the games you want to play was always a pain in the rump for me. The 'wheel' style menu system that VirtualMan uses is perfect, and once in the emulator of choice you can bring up a menu and jump to, say, the "S" section (like, if you go into Arcade and want to play Spy Hunter) so you don't have to scroll past 785 games to get to where you want to be. He also included an 'attract mode' you can leave it in,say if you're going to stick this into an arcade cab and leave it running in your basement or something. I don't use it myself, but I think it'd be a neat thing to do if one were into that and I appreciate that he thought to include it.

I've been picking away at the Arcade games, and one of the cool things this guy did with his image is to overlay a bezel for each game to give it an authentic 'Old School arcade cabinet' look, and since the games are all vertically oriented to begin with it does something with all the extra space on either side when displaying to a 16x9 screen like most people will be doing. Here are a couple of screenshots I took from Ghosts and Ghouls with the bezel overlay... note, the white-ish looking 'scratches' on the screen (bottom left) are actually part of the bezel overlay, not on my monitor!:
GnG1.jpg
GnG1.jpg (124.99 KiB) Viewed 882 times


Luckily, since on some games the bezel overlay actually goes into the field of play, it can be turned off either for all games or just an individual game (and then saved so you don't have to turn it off for the same game every time you boot it up). Here is the same screen with the bezel overlay off... if you look closely, you can see that with the bezel overlay on it obscures a small amount of the playfield on either side, so for this particular game I have turned it off as the default:
GnG1_no_bezel.jpg
GnG1_no_bezel.jpg (103.5 KiB) Viewed 882 times


I think this setup is a FANTASTIC alternative to the NES and SNES Classic systems... for about the same price, you get *both*systems (he put the complete game list for each in their own section), plus a few thousand other games. You can even purchase retro-style NES/SNES controllers to go with, either wired or BlueTooth, although pretty much any USB or modern wireless controller works fine. I'm using an extra Xbox 360 controller I had laying around.

Basically I purchased an all-in-one Raspberry Pi kit from Amazon (using the Critic's link, of course!) that comes with the Pi, an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an SD card (didn't need it though) and a miniature SNES looking console case as a housing: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075Z ... UTF8&psc=1
Then I purchased a 128GB microSD card to use for the particular image I wanted to run: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XW ... UTF8&psc=1
After finding/downloading the 128GB image, I formatted the microSD card with SD Card Formatter and the wrote the image to the card with Win32DiskImager. It did about 3 hours to copy the image, but I have a 2.0 USB connection on my desktop so if you have a 3.0 USB port it'll most certainly go a lot faster.

Note that VirtualMan is on the verge of releasing a version of this image designed for a 256GB card, that has 8,704 total games. It looks like he added a bunch of PS1 games, made several more 'theme' collections (Capcom Classics, Beat-em Ups, etc.), and tweaked the UI a bit. Check out a preview of this newer build at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCmisq9hBUI.

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 25th, 2018, 9:11 pm

Very informative Scott, but you omitted the best part - the Berzerk arcade screen scratches!

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby C64_Critic » March 25th, 2018, 9:42 pm

... forgot to mention, the only obviously, horrific, glaring flaw in the whole build is that it doesn't come pre-loaded with any C64 games!!!

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby C64_Critic » March 25th, 2018, 9:43 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:Very informative Scott, but you omitted the best part - the Berzerk arcade screen scratches!


No, I mentioned the faux scratches:
"note, the white-ish looking 'scratches' on the screen (bottom left) are actually part of the bezel overlay, not on my monitor!"

They are present for all the bezel overlays, not just Berzerk. As you said, the only thing it needs now is fake cigarette butt burns on the bottom to complete the illusion!

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 25th, 2018, 9:46 pm

I liked the Berzerk screenshot best because you could really see the scratches like an arcade cabinet would have. Post that pic.

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby C64_Critic » March 26th, 2018, 1:55 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:I liked the Berzerk screenshot best because you could really see the scratches like an arcade cabinet would have. Post that pic.


Hopefully this will turn out... I have to shrink the picture down in resolution in order to make it small enough to upload, but here is Bezerk - with the bezel feature enabled - and you should be able to see the fake 'scratches' on the screen with the black background to the bottom left-ish:
Berzerk_bezel.jpg
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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 26th, 2018, 10:50 am

Came across fine. Thanks.

Those aren't real scratches and that's not a glare, people! That's a filter applied by the Raspberry Pi to emulate the true arcade experience of being in the "closet" they called an arcade at the local 7-11 circa 1982.

It's hard to explain why I love it so much.

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby snakeboy » March 26th, 2018, 11:51 am

The Raspberry Pi is pretty great. I have mine hooked to a 4:3 Dell monitor that I can easily rotate vertically to play games like Donkey Kong and Pac-man.

I've been thinking a lot lately about attempting to build a tabletop arcade cabinet using a Pi. The only problem is, with having a 5 month old in the house, it can be really hard to find the time!

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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby C64_Critic » March 27th, 2018, 1:08 am

snakeboy wrote:The Raspberry Pi is pretty great. I have mine hooked to a 4:3 Dell monitor that I can easily rotate vertically to play games like Donkey Kong and Pac-man.


I love that idea, and I looked at getting a vertically rotating monitor stand for my monitor initially for that very reason, but it doesn't support them so I'm stuck until I get a new monitor.

Here is the same game with the bezel overlay turned off, so you can see that the scratches are, in fact, part of the overlay:
Berzerk_no_bezel.jpg
Berzerk_no_bezel.jpg (71.29 KiB) Viewed 735 times

Sut
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Re: Raspberry Pi emulation love

Postby Sut » March 27th, 2018, 2:18 am

I’d like to make a Sega arcade game console one day and the Raspberry Pi might fit. Is it capable of running Model 2 and Model 3 games Daytona 2, Scud Race, Sega Rally, etc ?


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