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Picade Review: DIY Mini Arcade Cabinet

Playing games from can fill your childhood with fun. Muscle memory usually kicks in with the old classics you spent days playing, even if it was decades ago. Sliding back into that groove is almost like coming home. No wonder retro gaming has never been more popular. You can buy a variety of great retro gaming consoles, each with its own allures and drawbacks, or you can build your own.

The Picade is a mini arcade cabinet kit. It includes all the hardware you need, packed in an organized box with clear assembly instructions. Add a Raspberry Pi, a USB-C power supply, and a microSD card with RetroPie OS, and you’re ready to game. With everything set up correctly, you can play games for any retro system you can think of on the emulator (Atari, Nintendo, Sega, NeoGeo, Amiga, Amstrad, ZX Spectrum — the list goes on), although you have to provide the game by law Reason to make ROM yourself.

Picade Assembly

Photography by Pimoroni

Photo: Pimoroni

The Picade comes in two sizes, with an 8″ or 10″ screen (I made the 10″ version). If you follow the instructions carefully and work with confidence, you can probably have the Picade assembled in less than two hours. It’s for beginners who like to build their own PCs, and if you’ve ever upgraded RAM or installed a new hard drive, there’s nothing here to confuse you. But it’s a hassle, and you need a clean, uncluttered work surface with plenty of space.

As an impatient idiot, it took me over three hours, but that’s because I didn’t read the instructions properly and forgot to remove some of the protective film on the acrylic screen, which means Then I have to disassemble it. Then I had to take it apart again because there was a hair between the acrylic and the screen that was driving me nuts; the screen assembly was the most challenging part. Connecting everything is tedious and requires a steady hand. A video guide with several steps can come in handy.

Your reward is a small, sturdy desktop street Cabinet, looks great. Artwork and stickers are included in the box, but you can always design and add your own (it’s easy to switch the cardboard cutout under the acrylic panel). The 10-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, the speakers are really loud, and you also get an arcade-style joystick with six buttons.

A keypad is essential for initial setup. I connected the Picade to my Wi-Fi network and used the web interface to drag and drop ROMs from my PC, but you can load them to a microSD card or use a USB flash drive. There are several ways to find ROMs for RetroPie, but please proceed with caution as it is illegal to play licensed games that you did not purchase.

Game On

Picade is a great way to play arcade games and old console games. The full-size joystick and buttons feel responsive and durable. Classic arcade controls are far less taxing on the fingers and hands than controllers, especially the cheap ones that come with many retro consoles. All that’s missing is a volume knob (I found it annoying to have to go into the menu to change the volume).

I had a great timeGalaga Played with Ikaruga some )Shadowrun and Super Bomberman, and fired Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (my old favorite). Before long, the beeps and noises lured my kids away from the Xbox and they tried some classic games. Multiple sclerosis. As it turns out, Pac-Man is the most popular. It’s easy to configure the controls in RetroPie, but they don’t work with every emulator, so be prepared to dig into the settings occasionally and figure out how to map them.

Thanks to Picade With a Raspberry Pi inside, you can modify the software as much as you like. The recommended RetroPie OS is a fusion of projects like Emulation Station and RetroArch. There’s an active community of retro gamers here, and you’ll find tons of themes and scripts that people have put together. There is a learning curve, so it will take some time to adjust, but you can usually find answers in the forums.

Photo: Pimoroni



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