Run Your Steam Games on the Retro Arcade Kit With Raspberry Pi

About: I make things.

Do you have a Steam account with all the latest games? How about a Retro Arcade cabinet? If so, why not combine them both into an amazing Steam Streaming gaming machine. Thanks to the folks at Steam, you can now stream the latest games from your PC or Mac. It's a lot easier than you think, especially if you have a Raspberry Pi B+. OK, let's get started. [This instructable was sponsored by Micro Electronics Inc.]

Step 1: Required Components

Keep in mind this system is not running the actual game on the Pi. It's just streaming the video output of your computer to your Raspberry Pi. Why would you do this? Well, in my case it's because I want to run it on my Retro Arcade Cabinet in a game room, which is in different room from my computer. It's a great way to let people play games without letting them have access to your computer.

What you'll need:

  • Computer running STEAM (Windows 7 or newer)
  • STEAM Software installed and running on the PC
  • Wired or wireless network (Wireless may work, but you may experience some lag)
  • Retro Arcade cabinet from Micro Center (or similar Pi based arcade)
  • Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+ setup and running Raspbian Stretch (keyboard, monitor, etc.)

Technically you can run this on your Mac, but in my experience, it has caused crashing (kernel panics) and I can't recommend it just yet. Hopefully the Steam team is working on an updated version for Mac OSX.

Step 2: The Raspberry Pi Software

You will need to install the latest Raspberry Pi software, Raspbian: Stretch. (Named after the purple octopus in Toy Story). If you don't know how to install the Raspberry pi software, head over to the official Raspberry Pi site to grab your software and learn how to setup your Pi. Raspberrypi.org

Step 3: Installing Steam Link

Once you have your Raspberry Pi up and running with the latest software, go ahead and turn on your PC. Next, launch Steam and log into your account on your PC. Now, make sure your Raspberry Pi is connected to the same network, either via Ethernet (preferred) or WiFi. Once connected, open a terminal window on the Raspberry Pi and type the following command to make sure everything is up-to-date on your Pi.

sudo apt update

Followed by the command for installing Steam Link.

sudo apt install steamlink

Step 4: Launch Steam Link

Now you can launch Steam Link on your Raspberry Pi, which can be found under the Games menu. It's so nice to have it found right in your Games menu!

Step 5: Updates on Your PC

Once you launch the Steam Link app on your Pi, you will most likely need to update a few things back on your PC. Not a big deal, just click OK for any necessary updates, and let them install.

Step 6: Running Your Newly Installed STEAM Link

Now that everything's up to date, go ahead and restart your Steam Link on the Raspberry Pi to make sure everything is running smoothly. You will be guided through a very simple menu that allows you to custom configure your buttons and choose the games you want to play. This is a great way to play the latest games, or retro classics on your Retro Arcade Kit.

Step 7: Next Steps: Adding the Xbox One Wireless Controller

In my next instructable, I'll be looking at adding a wireless XBox controller to the Retro Arcade.

Thankfully the Xbox One drivers are now part of the latest Raspbian kernel. However, you may need to update the firmware, and you can only do that by connecting it to a PC running Windows. Keep in mind, if you want a wireless connection via Bluetooth, you will need to have or buy a newer Xbox One controller that was introduced when the Xbox One S was released. If you don't have one, they are fairly inexpensive, and you can even buy them used at many video game stores.

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