Picture of Portable Raspberry Pi Emulation Machine
Have you ever been in the situation where you wanted to play those nostalgiac Super Nintendo games with your friends while on a 200 mile long trek through the rainforests of Madagascar? Probably not, but if the situation ever arises you could use this sweet emulation machine that you are about to learn to build. The emulation machine runs off of a Raspberry Pi running Retropie, this allows it to support various emulators such as NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, MAME, PlayStation One and can even emulate an Apple II.

WARNING: Neither Instructables nor I condone illegal activities. As long as you own a hard copy of the game, you may use a digital backup within your emulation console for personal use.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Acquire Your Supplies

Parts list

Raspberry Pi Model B ($35)

Pi compatible USB Gamepad(s)

32GB SDHC SD Card ($28)

Micro usb power cable (Free, comes with many electronics such as phones, kindles)

Anker 10,000mAh battery ($50)

Phillips 9012 slave screen ($15-$50)
      Any portable 9v or 12v screen should work as long it has the required ports.

Brief Case ($5)

Velcro ($2)

A/V Cable (Free, come with many camcorders)

3.5mm to RCA audio female adapter ($2)

Pick and pluck foam ( Price varies on size of brief case. Make sure the dimensions are larger than the brief case. You will cut it to

Tools list

Craft Knife

Ethernet Cable


PC with SD card reader

USB Keyboard and Mouse

USB Memory Stick


Normal RCA cable

Step 2: Choose Your Path

Picture of Choose Your Path
There are two paths you can take now. The easy way where you will learn nothing about the Linux operating system but it will grant you quick results. Path 2 will separate the men from the boys. If you choose this path be prepared for some troubleshooting and sifting through the innards of the Linux OS. For path 1, skip to step 4. For path 2, continue like normal.
1-40 of 49Next »
Skrathe1 month ago

Working on it.

RobertoK13 months ago

Can i use the same battery for a 15" laptop lcd?

instructageek4 months ago

What website will have the correct roms i need

Crafterkid1236 months ago

is it possible to make a slim version with a keyboard and trackpad and have controller ports in the front?? also how reliable would a n64 to pc adapter be??? would it require any drivers?

pizzapim7 months ago

I'm having some issues: When my Pi was finished compiling the emulators, it said could not compile <emulator>, where <emulator> is the name of the emulator. This happened to 2, maybe 3 emulators.

I ignored it and went on to the next step. I made it to boot on startup.

But now when I reboot my Pi it says:

/usr/bin/emulationstation: line 11: /opt/retropie/supplementery/EmulationStation/emulationstation: No such file or directory.

Also when I type: cd RetroPie/emulators/RetroPie/tools it says this:

bash: cd: cd RetroPie/emulators/RetroPie/tools: No such file or directory.

Anyone knows what to do?

tinker0008 months ago

I know this is an older post but I am building a similar system and have many ROMs which are all in a zip format. Do I have to unzip them into each folder or can I just put the whole (unzipped) file in there?

xXTedward00Xx8 months ago

Just realized something Zaqq you put an Anker battery that has no DC out. So I found one right here.

xXTedward00Xx8 months ago

making this soon :D probably just gonna get most of the stuff for free considering i have most of this stuff already :D

love the blow darts
Zaqq (author)  segavoyager1 year ago

Haha, I like to use what I have on hand.

WatFaffles1 year ago
Do you know what emulators work best? And the ones that don't work as well?
jjdub37011 year ago
Cheaper method? Sorry,it's just I added the stuff together and it comes up as £172 not including the foam and the tools but its a bit too much out of budget.
Zaqq (author)  jjdub37011 year ago
Nope, it is in dollars bud; however, we got some good deals through eBay in order to buffer the price.
shadii2211 year ago
I just have two questions. 1 What kind of battery life are you getting out of that anker with it running the screen and all. 2 Are you still able to access the Rpi OS? I think it would be cool if you could use the Pi to download the Roms or check email and browse the web as well as play our retro games.
Zaqq (author)  shadii2211 year ago
Yeah, all access to the RPi OS still exists. All you have to do is exit EmulationStation and plug in a mouse and keyboard.
Will a Ps3 or a Xbox 360 controller work for this project? Ive ordered all the parts for it and they should be here soon but i need some controllers that dont cost 50$
troutpouch1 year ago
What model controller are you using?
Zaqq (author)  troutpouch1 year ago
Here you go.

I will admit that these controllers are rather finicky and there are probably better choices out there.
Hi! I'm planning on making this for a Gameboy advance emulator. I was just wondering how I would go about setting up the controller, as the controller is the Gameboy advance. Please help!
Zaqq (author)  Element_Ike1 year ago
That is beyond my skill level but I am sure it is possible. I have seen people do it using the original gameboy.
alaiacano1 year ago
this is definitely the best emulator setup Ive seen!!! Ive only got a few issues. I cant seem to spot the genesis folder. did it not compile right, or is it named something weird? and also my mame games are not showing up on the list of games. is there a different way to get them to play?
Zaqq (author)  alaiacano1 year ago
The Genesis folder is probably under its Japanese name, Mega Drive. The Genesis/Mega Drive emulator is somewhat finicky but will work after some tinkering. I have yet to play any MAME games but they may be the wrong file type or just in the wrong ROM folder.

Thanks for the compliment too!
bbousman1 year ago
Whenever I boot the Emulation Station it's starts on an Apple PC emulation and not the main screen, how can I fix that?
Zaqq (author)  bbousman1 year ago
The Apple emulation is just one of the different options, scroll right and left to find the other emulators.
Wiggmaster1 year ago
This is the best portable emulation system that supports multiple games. A definate must build:)
jhunmar1001 year ago
Where can i buy Brief case?
mkarvonen1 year ago
Very nice build! I have to build myself one too!!! :)
Jesse L1 year ago
There doesn't seem to be any listing for that screen even close to $15. The best there is, on ebay, is a single listing for it at $50, from there it's the whole set at around $80.
It doesn;t have to be that exact model..pretty much any screen with RCA or HDMI will work as long as it runs on 12Volt.

$15 is probably a bit of a stretch though.
cheapest is to buy a car 7" flat screen that has the same inputs as this. i got one for 20 dollars and it was new from the store. Its just luck that you can find one for cheap. Don't always check ebay or something like that for cheap products. Go to the store and see for your self for good deals. Internet is not always the cheapest. And i'm a living proof for that, Check my instructables. I build them with not using any money on them. Mostly its recycled stuff that i use in them that i got for free or with a few dollars.
Zaqq (author)  razamatraz1 year ago
Now that I look I cannot find one for that price but I can assure you that I bought one for that price. The seller listed it at 5 dollars originally and I placed a bid for 15 and won. After viewing the current prices, I will change the pricing in the instructable. Also, the battery can switch from either 9 volts or 12 volts. The screen we used has a built in restrictor to transform 12 volts into 9 volts. Have a good day.
Usablerain1 year ago
Would this DIY game pad ( work with this project?
Zaqq (author)  Usablerain1 year ago
I couldn't tell you if it will work or not. Some game pads work with the Pi while some do not. I was just lucky with the controllers that I picked, there should be a list of working controllers somewhere on the web. I would link it but I am on my phone right now...
capnjack781 year ago
I thought RPi emulation had sound issues. Notice any problems with sound? Lots of forum posts have mentioned this in the past, especially for Mame.
Zaqq (author)  capnjack781 year ago
I have only noticed sound issues with Playstation 1 emulation and I have yet to try MAME. Everything else works pretty well besides the occasional sound hiccup.
Berns12241 year ago
I'm new to the Raspberry Pi scene and was wondering if this will work with larger screens without modding the software/hardware or is it limited to the smaller size monitors? I have two boys (7 and 5) that this would be ideal for, but I personally would like it to have a 13 inch screen....thoughts?

Thanks for the feedback!
Zaqq (author)  Berns12241 year ago
It should work on any screen as long as you can plug it in through HDMI or RCA. Those are the ports the Pi comes with by default. If your screen lacks those ports there are other, more difficult options.
Incredible. That is a great Raspberry Pi project! Good job and good luck in the competition!
1-40 of 49Next »