Introduction: How to Create a Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Console

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RetroPie is a hugely popular app among users of Raspberry Pi devices as it helps them to run different retro games on their RPi devices. They include arcade games such as Pacman, Donkey Kong or Galaga. Also, Retropie resurrects a lot of emulators of consoles of Dendy, Sega, Nintendo etc.

RetroPie includes all of those emulators tiered with open-source ported games in one package. But usually, emulators have low performance. And in case of the x86 platform, you can mainly run only very old games. But fortunately, there is a better option. So it becomes impossible for those who like more up-to-date PC games made for Windows or Mac to enjoy on their Raspbian or Debian devices.

But it's possible to emulate the environment on the mini-PCs and still bring the games to the place you really need. How to do that? By turning your development board (Raspberry Pi one in this case) into an all-in-one Raspberry Pi gaming emulator console.

My instructions will contain the case of creating such a thing on Raspberry Pi model 3, using emulator ExaGear Desktop. The same guide is valuable for any other type of emulator for your choice.

Step 1: X86 Emulator Installation Instruction

Choose the emulator and download it. Let's assume that you've chosen ExaGear.

1. Download ExaGear Desktop archive with the license key in the same folder using the

command line Terminal. As soon as you are done with that, Unpack the archive
$ tar -xvzpf exagear-desktop-rpi3.tar.gz

2. Install the emulator and activate it with your license key (given whicle purchasing the license - ED is a paid software):
$ sudo ./install-exagear.sh

3. As soon as the installation is finished, activate the guest x86 system:
$ exagear
Starting the shell in the guest image /opt/exagear/images/debian-8

4. You are in the x86 environment that can be checked by running the ‘arch’ command:
$ arch i686

4. It is recommended to update apt-get repositories on the first launch of the guest system:
$ sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Install Wine

Picture of Install Wine

Our purpose is starting Windows games on Raspbian, so we will be using Wine inside ExaGear emulator to make it happen. This can be done easily:
1. You can install Wine using the Terminal (it's free):
$ sudo apt-get install wine

6. Then I recommend to configure it for the further convenience (but it's optional):
$ winecfg

For best configuration, you need to enable the “Emulate a virtual desktop” bar. If you don't do that you may errors when the application will try to switch to full-screen mode. (See the screenshot for the settings)

As soon as you are all set with Wine and ExaGear and have everything switched on, get to the installation of the games and enjoy playing them. I understand that every game may be the individual case, so I've decided to borrow different cases from the emulator's website to give you an example of how it usually goes. So, see the examples of launching Arcanum, Disciples 2 and Fallout games on Raspberry Pi below.

Step 3: Play Arcanum on You Raspberry Pi Device

Picture of Play Arcanum on You Raspberry Pi Device

Download Arcanum from some source (e.g. I use GOG) (the link is safe and isn't an affiliate)

Then go inside the "Downloads" folder and follow these simple steps.

To view the game installer will show up:
$ exagear
$ wine setup_arcanum_2.0.0.15.exe

After the installation for better user experience add ‘-doublebuffer -no3d’ options to Arcanum launcher. Click on Arcanum launcher with a right button on your Desktop and select Options. In the window go to Desktop Entry tab and add ‘-doublebuffer -no3d’ options to the end of Command field and then press the "OK" button.

Step 4: Play Disciples 2 on You Raspberry Pi Device

Picture of Play Disciples 2 on You Raspberry Pi Device

Downloading Disciples II from GOG (the link is safe and isn't an affiliate).

Then go inside the "Downloads" folder and follow these simple steps.
$ exagear
$ wine setup_disciples2_gold_2.0.0.7.exe

The graphical interface of the game installer will show up and you can proceed with the installation. After installation is finished you can run Disciples II directly from Raspbian Desktop. Wait until the game is loaded and then you will see the main menu.

Step 5: Play Fallout on You Raspberry Pi Device

Picture of Play Fallout on You Raspberry Pi Device

I recommend downloading Fallout from GOG (the link is safe and isn't an affiliate).

Then go inside the "Downloads" folder and follow these simple steps.
$ exagear
$ wine setup_fallout_2.1.0.18.exe

After installation, you can run Fallout from Raspbian Desktop. It’s better to skip the video at the beginning as it is a bit laggy. But the game itself runs flawlessly.

Step 6: Finally

So, it's obvious that you can enjoy much better gaming than a free app Retropie may offer, using some extra software.

If you would like to get ExaGear, here is ExaGear Desktop product page.

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The original article, that inspired me to try is Gaming Beyond Retropie (by Eltechs)

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Bio: I like coding, making thing based on ARM processors, IOT stuff and other things connected to development and IT.
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