The joy of retrogaming

The last generations of gaming consoles are great. Super powerful, always connected, 4K-60FPS-HDR10-Blablabla. I believe, however, that the overall experience of gaming is not directly related to the power of the gaming engine or hardware.

My first memories of videogames goes back to mid 90s. Super Nintendo (SNES) was the first console I remember with some of the most innovative games: Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Street Figher II: The World Warriors, Mortal Kombat, Kirby…

I’ve got vivid memories of the time spent with friends racing with Super Mario Kart on a split screen, fighting versus my brother or the CPU at Street Fighter II (SNES).

So, for Christmas vacation, I resurrected a forgotten Raspberry 3. I googled “raspberry retrogaming” and I found the RetroPie project.

RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi, ODroid C1/C2, or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favourite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up.

When they say minimal setup, it’s true. This is mine:

  • Raspberry Pi 3.
  • SD Card.
  • SD Card reader/writer
  • A dusted TV screen + HDMI cable
  • An old keyboard
  • An forgetten mouse found in a drawer
  • An XBox One X controller and a mini-USB cable

When the setup was complete (about 30 minutes to 1 hour) I showed Super Mario World to my two kids (4 and 6 years old). The moment the soundtrack started playing I was teleported back to when I was 6 years old. I told the story of Mario, Princess Peach and Bowser to them and started exploring the world. They didn’t care about the low quality of the graphics and the flat music, we laughed together when I fell from the screen, and we celebrated when we defeated the Koopas inside the castles. I hope they will remember these moment together as I do.