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Lets play old console games on Raspberry Pi 3 in the NesPi case!

дата May 24, 2020

The mouse and keyboard are the real gamer weapons, the rest is not worth it. Honestly, in the 90s I didn’t play consoles at all, although a little earlier, I used to play on the Atari 2600. But the rest of the people played a lot …

…and the old games are still fascinating, they are no longer graphically suitable, but each one has its own charm and they are really complex. So the retro game simulator must be in every home! 30 years ago I saw Star Wars and did not know that there was such a detailed world, there were already so many games of consal that expanded that universe, judging by the first level, I could not go to the next, it is very hard!

Raspberry Pi 3 – I did not want to buy it from the beginning, I thought that Orange Pi Pc Plus would be enough for me. So I bought an elegant retro case for NES, we have never seen it in Russia, we only got clones: Dendy, etc. But it entered our culture, here it is in the drawing “Arkady Parovozov”.

However, the orange did not fit in it. So I urgently bought Raspberry Pi 3, I knew it gets hotter and it’s too productive for a retro sim, but the Chinese Raspberry Pi 2 was more expensive … I don’t understand why!

I bought it here for 2 181,82 RUR and dc power for RUR 272.30. By the way, Raspberry costs only 600 rubles cheaper than off-line here, but only OEM. In a Chinese box under the Chinese raspberries it is written made in the UK, well ok hope it works! Bad PCB smell present.

I compare the Raspberry Pi 3 with the Orange Pi PC:

In general, they are not similar, neither elements, nor connectors, nor even mounting holes. Why is Orange called a Raspberry clone? !!! It is not at all!

For testing you should quickly install Raspbian Stretch Lite in this version, there is no desktop environment.

I’m preparing an SD card, criticism has come that I use the Gparted Partition Editor, in the sense that you’re sitting in Ubunta and formatting with window editors – you’re right.

We will connect the memory card and see in the system where it is
sudo lsblk
In my case it is sde which is 16GB
It should now be removed (but still remains on the disk icons)
sudo umount /dev/sde1
sudo mkfs.vfat -I /dev/sde
unmount againe
sudo umount /dev/sde
Unzip the Raspbean image and write on the map, it takes several minutes
sudo dd bs=1M if=2017-11-29-raspbian-stretch-lite.img of=/dev/sde

We insert the card in Raspberry Pi 3, there is no receiver card like in the Orange Pi, the card simply drags and is not attached, you must click on the card in the orange to remove it.

It started, but I had to play with ssh. The site tips helped: on the BOOT section map you need to create a file called ssh and then it will work.

What IP does it have, I looked at the router, you can go to raspberry with your hands and see it with the command

Name: pi
Password: raspberry

Install benchmark
sudo apt-get install sysbench

CPU 1 test starts with command
sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 run
Then increase the number of threads
sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 --num-threads=2 run
In response, the main indicator is execution time (avg / stddev) the less isthe better

And in 4 cores
sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 --num-threads=4 run

To test disks, you must create files for the test (very long)
sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=8G prepare
Run the test
sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=8G --file-test-mode=rndrw --init-rng=on --max-time=300 --max-requests=0 run >
The results are wonderful, better than oranges, especially in terms of SD card speed. It only loses write speed in eMMC, but there are no raspberries with eMMC (until now).

And the Nespi case. I took it with radiators and fan for 1,003.25 RUR. The fan makes noise, the radiators make you laugh, but the Chinese have it all small! Here are the three Chinese with one Chinese but big!

The case has disappointed me a little. The top cover is not light gray enough, but an opaque cream. The black part is not painted but glued with a black film. I doubt that the glue is sufficient for more than a year. Some say they don’t have grooves at the top, I do.

nd underneath the SD card compartment, the latches seemed weak to me and the card itself is difficult to remove from the case, don’t do this after cutting the nails!

I assemble with a fan, only low radiators fit!

And so, I will soon get to RetroPi, but for now the fan! It spins slowly, blows weakly and makes a lot of noise. I will try to replace it with a large radiator, and before that I will organize a raspberry stress test.

You can see the processor temperature like this
cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp
The result must be divided by 1000 to obtain degrees Celsius.

Install stress test
sudo apt-get install stress

I don’t know what it does (but it definitely warms up the processor)
cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp && stress -c 4 -i 1 -m 1 --vm-bytes 128M -t 100s && cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp


For 2000 seconds I showed the same 84 degrees, I keep it! Is that

This is how it looks. I didn’t break the fan mounting latches, one goes between the radiator fins and will hold it if it falls … but to keep from falling, I put a thick double-sided tape on the cap over the processor so the radiator.

Time to move on to installing RetroPi and games!

Joysticks two pieces for 419.05 rubles will definitely be better than the ones you bought 20 years ago.

I go to the RetroPi website and download
We will connect the memory card and see in the system where it is
sudo lsblk
In my case it is sde which is 16GB
It should now be removed (but still remains on the disk icons)
sudo umount /dev/sde1
sudo mkfs.vfat -I /dev/sde
unmount againe
sudo umount /dev/sde
gzip -d retropie-4.3-rpi2_rpi3.img.gz
sudo dd bs=1M if=retropie-4.3-rpi2_rpi3.img of=/dev/sde
We insert the card into NesPi, connect a pair of joysticks and HDMI and the vuyalya works, you only need to configure the joystick: when you finish with the buttons and pressing A, you can skip the choice. And it’s empty and silent: I compare it to OrangePi, it’s more colorful and has a couple of pre-installed games like Doom. There is nothing in RetroPi. To copy, you need to take a USB flash drive, at the root make the folder retropie paste it in Nespi for 5 minutes, remove the rom folder there and stack your own roms there, and put it back for a couple of hours, maybe less need to follow the Raspberry Pi 3 indication but in NesPi it is not visible!

To play! You have to know that to exit the game you have to press on select + start joysticks

Atari 2600: yes, just like in my emphany. DethStar: I don’t remember that game, but splitting on two screens looks amazing

Sega Master System: 8-bit horror, in fact, you don’t have to torment yourself, all of these games are on the next generation consoles. The Golden Ax is barely recognizable in the screenshot: no juicy calves and biceps, no colors

Well, the Super Nintendo system if you move further away from the TV or if you have low vision, you can already play tolerably well, without looking at pixels!


UPD:I have few screenshots, these were made by connecting the keyboard and pressing F8: they were not made everywhere, as in the menu.

I do that, enter RetroPie on the console (by ssh)

mkdir screenshots
cd screenshots
sudo apt-get install libpng12-dev
git clone
cd raspi2png
sudo ln -s /home/pi/screenshots/raspi2png/raspi2png /usr/bin/raspi2png
cd /home/pi/screenshots/

The screenshot is taken by the console command, but it is not comfortable being on tv

Therefore, we launch a screenshot with said command in the console, we take screenshots every two seconds automatically
while sleep 1; do raspi2png -p "screen$(date +"%d%H%M%S").png"; done

Here are screenshots of the game machine emulator, where amazing games were played in the 80s-90s.
From those

After one like that

Even some like that

By the way, playing them is very easy, putting a coin over and over again, not like on consoles
Or here is an emulator for the same slot machines but called Arcade: I normally only started in pseudo CRT mode. By the way, when loading the game, if you press A, you will access the start menu, there you can select the emulator and the screen mode; sometimes you need to find a combination that has no problem

The RetroPi menu has multiple styles, but at the end of the year they introduced the new Favorites feature if their default style supports it. And it works crookedly, remember favorites only if you reboot from the menu; if you turn off the menu or from the outlet, you won’t remember anything

There is a feature for downloading game covers: Scraper works for a long time and the covers are not very informative.

But I downloaded the already prepared RetroPie image from eDonkey, there were roms with such screenshots there, I just took folders with rum and those images started to appear

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