How to make a portable Windows 10 based retro game system for a $110
Step 1: Overview and Materials
This one was inspired by my 11 year old son's desire for a cheap portable game system This is easy. Purchase a $64 Windows 10 tablet, a $37 Ipega game controller and load RetroArch. Voila, handheld Windows 10 gaming system. It’s powerful enough for some pretty fun retro gaming.
This little table is all right. It runs Windows 10, has a z5-Z8300 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Its running most of the RetroArch just fine. So far I've tried MAME, GameBoy Advance and the Super Nintendo emulators with pretty good success. Adding the Ipega-9023 bluetooth controller makes it a self contained handheld system.
NuVision 8" Windows 10 Tablet (32GB storage, 2GB RAM, z5-Z8300 processor) - $64
Ipega PG-9023 Bluetooth Game Controller - $37
RetroArch game emulator
ROMS for games - you will need to source those yourself but if you look around on the Internet it wont be hard...
Step 2: Tablet Setup
After you go through the initial Windows 10 setup you will need to get your tablet setup. Then you'll need to do the Windows 10 updates. I've gone through three tablets doing this. Two have been pretty painless one was a pain. If you have trouble with the updates (likely due to lack of space) I recommend using a Micro SD card as additional storage. In the Storage settings for Win 10 you can set the SD card as the default location for installing new apps.
Once the tablet is updated its time to install RetroArch.
Step 3: Install RetroArch
RetroArch install is pretty straight forward. You can get it from http://www.retroarch.com/.
Its a good idea to have the ROMS you want to download transferred on to the table in a ROMS directory prior. I break mine down into subfolders based on emulators.
After its installed you'll need to configure it. Here's a link to the video I used to walk me through it:
The basic steps are to:
- Download the emulators you want to use
- Configure a your joystick
- Scan the directories that have the ROMS you want to use.
Its a little tricky and you need to use the keyboard to initially configure it. However, I've found lots of tutorials and its not that bad.
Step 4: Connect the Ipega Controller
Lastly, if you have not already, connect the Ipega-9023 controller. Most of the tutorials will step you through it but you can find it under Settings> Input tab. Here's a pretty good video:
Step 5: Gaming
Here's a couple of vids of it in action: