Rpi 1B vs 3B+
I first started reading about what a Raspberry Pi (Rpi) was in roughly October 2004 and a register to pre-ordered one. It was so far backordered, I almost forgot about it until I got an email telling me I could finally place my order and I ordered a couple 1B’s. It’s wild to think that it took 8 years to make it to market with enough that hobbyist could get their hands on any, but I was excited to play with it once it got to me.
They arrived fairly quick and I’ll be honest, I didn't know what to with them first. I connected them up with a mouse, keyboard and my tv and started making a media center, then desktop PC's and a finally used the included programming platform for Python. They are surprisingly powerful, and I can see why they are so popular. After a little while I found Retro Pie and I immediately knew I had to build one.
Using an RPi with a Retro Pie build allows you to turn your Rpi into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favorite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up. For power-users it also provides a large variety of configuration tools to customize the system as you want.
I wanted to mainly play some NES and Sega games again, relive some memories. There were a few games that I didn't get to beat because the weekend ran out and I needed to return the game to our local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. Skitchin' on the Sega was one of those games that I got so close, but never got to beat. I stayed at my cousins house for the weekend and we were playing virtually the whole weekend on minimal sleep to beat it, and to no avail. Skitchin' was more than a game for me, I had many good times on roller-blades and even did some Skitchin' myself through parking lots and up and down city streets. After the weekend ended and we had to go back to school, we just never picked it up again the following weekends, but it never left my memory; it just felt it was a lost opportunity.
Knowing I might have the ability to finally beat the game, I eagerly setup the Rpi and started researched how to find ROMs. I quickly found ROMs were easy and plentiful to come by but harder was to get quality ROMs. I ended up going with Emuparadise and Free ROMs . They seemed to work as expected and got me started. The PlayStation games were even harder to find. I had a PS1 and wanted to get my old games back; however, the games took tons of editing and even if I got it running, the graphics where an issue. The PS1 incorporated graphics rendering in their console, making getting an exact copy impossible. There is a PS1 fighting game that really set a different that I played a lot of and that’s Ehrgeiz – God Bless The Ring. I ran into a lack of enough RAM issue loading PlayStation and N64 as well with the 1B, having only 512MB RAM; however, I was able to run many games for NES, Sega, Mame, and any other 8-bit & 16-bit games, so I stuck to that.
Years after getting the 1B, the 3B+ Rpi was released. Initially, I got a 3B+ to create a robot for LetsRobot.tv. I have been happy with the games I’m able to play with the Rpi 1B. However, the 3B+ has a whopping 1GB of RAM and 1.4BGHz processor, which could run the PS1 games and any of the others. I decided to install the new build of RetroPie on the 3B+ and loaded up Nintendo-64 Mario Cart, and it ran much better and the 1B couldn't run past the loading screen.
It's no surprise that the 3B+ operates far better than the 1B in menu's and games. One of the games I really missed at the arcade is called Toki, and it wouldn't run on the 1B, and I am happy to say the 3B+ had no problem running it. Toki is another one of those games I wanted to spend more time on to beat but took a back seat to other games. The 3B+ ran all the games I wanted to play on NES, SNES, Sega, PS1, MAME, and played N64 acceptable. There is a slight sound glitch now and then, but nothing to get upset about.
Overall, the 3B+ is the way to go if you want to setup a RetroPie for yourself. There is still plenty of customization that is needed to get a smooth picture, but it’s well worth the effort. The preinstalled filters are still as much a part of the 3B+ as they are with the 1B. Filters are video configurations that display a game better than just outputting a video signal on an LCD screen. If you want to play Atari, NES, Sega you can go with the 1B with no hassles, but if you want the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Sega 32-bit games, PlayStation games, you will want to get a 3B+. The 3B+ is easier to find at this point for the same price also.
Want to build your own? Visit RetroPie in related links to get the main image and be sure to make sure the µSD card is compatible by visiting the RPi SD cards link.
PlayStation Update !!! PSX Update !!! PlayStation Update !!! PSX Update !!!
Three things are needed for playing PlayStation games on the RetriPie, a BIOS file named SCPH1001.BIN (caps needed) and a .bin and .cue file for each game. The SCPH1001.BIN file is easy [direct link]. There is a critical component to using .bin files for the PSX, and that is the supporting .cue file. Since PlayStation generally used one track for the game, a cue file only functions as a starting point but the game will not work without one. What is harder to find, is the supporting .cue file with the .bin files in any downloads. All the downloads I came across only have the .bin file for the game. A good piece of knowledge is you can create a .cue file in a text editor like notepad or notepad++. There are programs that you can buy, but this is free and will not try to load any extra software on your machine.
There are only a few things you need to remember when creating a .cue file.
1) The .cue file has to be named the same as the .bin file
2) File names and extensions are case sensitive
3) The .cue file has to be in the same directory as the .bin file on the Pi (PSX)
In the example below, the PlayStation game .bin file being used is named GT2.bin. The .cue file will look like the following:
FILE "GT2.bin" BINARY
TRACK 01 MODE2/2352
INDEX 01 00:00:00
Save this file as GT2.cue (matching the .bin name) and uploaded to the same folder on the pi and it is ready to go.
For those games using a .cue file that is more complicated or if you want help creating one, there is a CUE creation website that allows you to drag the .bin to the page and it will create the correct .cue file needed. You can do this by using copy/paste into notepad and save it.