Make your own Retro VGS for under $100

Dan Camaro
23 Dec 20:00

The concept of the Retro VGS is pretty cool were it not for the hefty $300 price tag. If you're looking to re-create the retro console experience, you can do so pretty easily for under $100.

All you will need

  1. A Raspberry Pie ($38.70)
  2. A case ($6.99), USB power cable ($6.99) and SD Card ($22.99)
  3. A Logitech Gamepad F310 controller ($15.99)

The total comes to just $91.66; however, you will need a spare Ethernet cable ($5.99), HDMI cable ($10.99) and USB keyboard ($13.99) lying around to complete the setup. This ran me an extra $30.97 and was all I needed to start rockin' and rollin'. I'm also assuming you have a spare USB power adapter lying around. If not, you should install one of these bad boys (and try not to electrocute yourself).

Setting up the RetroPie

Now it's time to setup the software. RetroPie is a really cool project that gives you a Linux based retro gaming platform, out of the box, with support for Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation and many more emulators.

To get started you'll need to download the latest image.

In order to get it onto your RaspberryPi you will need ApplePi-Baker (Mac) or Win32 Disk Imager (Windows). Unpack the file to your SD card and you are ready to go. The link above will show you exactly how to use ApplePi-Baker to load the image onto your SD-Card.

Once the file is loaded onto the SD Card, insert it into the RaspberryPi. Then you just need to plug everything in (ethernet, power, keyboard and controller) and turn it on.

RetroPie will walk you through setting up your controller. Once that's done retropie will show up on your network and you can start copying your awesome old-school roms into their appropriate directory.

That's really all there is to it. RetroPie makes setting up the console a piece of cake. If you like the system, you may even consider donating to the RetroPie project.

A few last tips

Setting up the system went pretty smooth for me, there were just a few little gotchas I ran into:

  1. If your Mac is having trouble recognizing your SD Card, you may need to clean the contacts - check out this YouTube clip.
  2. After copying the roms to your RetroPie, you will need to reboot the device for it to recognize them.
  3. If you feel you are out of space on your SD-Card prematurely, you'll need to "expand the filesystem":
    • Press F4 to exit out of the emulator
    • Press return a couple of times so you don't jump back into it
    • Type "sudo raspi-config"
    • Select option 1. "Expand the Filesystem"
    • Select "Exit" and reboot
    • Now you should have access to all your hard-earned memory.

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