Jump to content

Your "Retro Gaming" Hardware or Emulators?


Recommended Posts

I am curious what everyone uses for their "Retro Gaming". What hardware do you use? Modern, classic, emulation, controllers, other things, etc.

Basically, how do you do most of your retro and classic gaming?

For me, it's 99% modern hardware and emulation. Like I have said in other threads, I don't have the room or time to have a house full of classic hardware that I know I would if left to my own devices. So, I condensed and moved it almost all to emulation.

On my Windows/Ryzen based PC, I use WinUAE 64 (Amiga), PCem (PC/DOS), MAME, and DOSBox for most of my classic hardware emulation. With a spattering of other software for my console or machine specific needs. I also buy up a lot of old/retro and indie/remake games on Steam to play directly.

Here is what I use for a vast majority of my gaming, outside of my "modern" PC...

 

retrogaming.jpg.4e6e66943bd188dc443a1ee1d3856b6d.jpg

 

I am a huge fan of the Raspberry Pi (as you may have gathered form other threads), I am currently running 3 of them, either with RetroPie or the latest Raspberry Pi OS. You can see the Pi 4 8G model sitting there with an Ice Tower cooler since I have it overclocked. I mainly use that for N64 and other emulation the Pi 3 can't handle all that well. Speaking of the Pi 3, that's sitting in the Sega Genesis style MegaPi case, and it's where I do most all of my 8-bit, 16-bit, and Arcade emulation. I have it setup using RetroPie of course, and it took me weeks to get it setup and looking/running just the way I wanted it. Lastly, there is an original Pi 1 B+ sitting in that NES style case next to the MegaPi, and it mainly gets used for 8-bit and earlier games, though since I got the Pi 3 setup, it has not seen much use and I am thinking of re-tasking it.

You can also see the C64 Mini in there, for what it is, it's an awesome little device, as many of you probably already know.

Right below that is a Sega Genesis portable from AtGames that I have had for years. It has seen a lot of use and is still working wonderfully!

 

Finally, the controllers! For me, this is where I have the most fun!

Yeah, I like to be as close to the original "feel" as possible when I play, especially when it comes to console emulation. So I managed to put together a nice collection of  my favorite controller styles, all with modern USB hardware. I am lacking an N64 and Sega Genesis style controller because the SNES ones work just as well for my needs. Though I still want one of each, just becasue. haha

The SNES controllers from 8BitDo (SN30pro) are awesome! Very comfortable, responsive, and all the buttons needed to handle just about all your input needs across most platforms. The NES ones are a set I got off Amazon for about $12 I think it was, and shockingly, they work and feel great. The stand alone SNES controller is what I was using before getting the 8BitDo controllers.

The Atari style joystick is from Hyperkin, and is an excellent quality option, with 6 buttons, for your Atari and joystick emulation needs. My wife picked it up for me and and I love it!

The Nintendo Switch controller was one I picked up for playing games on the switch with my daughter. I was using it on my PC and RetroPie for a long time. Great controller, just not "retro" enough for me. haha

At last, we have the Mayflash Arcade stick taking up all my space! I love all the other controllers, but for that true classic arcade feel, you need micro-switches! So I picked it up on Amazon as well. It's a fantastic controller that's easily maintainable and up-gradable for a good price.

Also, wired is a feature, not a hindrance in my humble opinion. I really dislike wireless controllers. 😛

 

So there you have it, that's how I handle my "retro gaming", how about you? 🙂 

Edited by Strider
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, TomXP411 said:

MiSTer or emulators on PC. 

On both, I use some cheap NES style controllers I picked up on Amazon. 

I was looking at MiSTer not long ago actually, over the past couple weeks. That looked like a really cool project and something I would have loved to try out!

Sadly, the overall price of the hardware, especially since I already have a lot sunk into my Pi's, and looking at doing a handheld using the Zero and GPi Case...

How well does it work? Do you like it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Strider said:

I was looking at MiSTer not long ago actually, over the past couple weeks. That looked like a really cool project and something I would have loved to try out!

Sadly, the overall price of the hardware, especially since I already have a lot sunk into my Pi's, and looking at doing a handheld using the Zero and GPi Case...

How well does it work? Do you like it?

It's easily the best integrated solution I've found.  None of the individual cores are as good as the best software emulators in terms of features, but MiSTer makes up for it in actually running the cores and the quality of the actual emulation. Using the computer cores on MiSTer is a lot more like using the actual computer, since you don't have all the Windows or Linux chrome getting in the way.

It is a bit costly, compared to a Pi based solution, but I think the final result is just much smoother and easier to use than trying to maintain a RetroPi solution. 

 

 

Edited by TomXP411
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, TomXP411 said:

It's easily the best integrated solution I've found.  None of the individual cores are as good as the best software emulators in terms of features, but MiSTer makes up for it in actually running the cores and the quality of the actual emulation. Using the computer cores on MiSTer is a lot more like using the actual computer, since you don't have all the Windows or Linux chrome getting in the way.

It is a bit costly, compared to a Pi based solution, but I think the final result is just much smoother and easier to use than trying to maintain a RetroPi solution.

So it's more of a "closer to metal" solution, hence better performance. Not as close as actual hardware, but closer to emulating from within an OS, etc. If I am reading it correctly?

Grrr... The more I think about it, the more I wanna play with it... lol

I do really like the Pi hardware, and use it for more than emulation, but I also like to try different things and tinker. I may still circle back to it, I just have that feeling it will eat at me. haha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's actually closer to running on metal than running software emulation, since it's implementing (most) all the chips of the original hardware on the FPGA.  You'll get more speed (turbo modes, etc) with emulators, FS-UAE gives me a ridiculously fast Amiga, where the MiSTer's MiniMig is more like a slightly souped up A1200, but it's a lot closer to cycle accurate than any of the UAE implementations.  I'm enjoying the MiSTer and am looking forward to the MiSTix board which will be an adapter board for mounting the DE-10 Nano in a Mini ATX case, with the ports coming out the back.  I plan on using it to put my MiSTer setup in the Checkmate A1500 plus case to finish off the Amiga look & feel.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mostly emulation. I have few old machines I want to fix and install (can't find time to do that). Recently got RPi 3, plan to use it for different things, retro gaming is one of them.

But one device I got about a year ago I want to mention is the one in picture. It's a chinese clone of NES in GameBoy style case with about 300 games built in. Quality is poor, but it works. It was a gift to me, and I did not have high hopes for it, but I was actually surprised of some of its advantages:
- very cheap (about $8)
- turns on instantly, games start instantly (so it looks like it has real hardware and no emulation)
- play portable on built in screen or on TV (it has TV AV output)

sup.jpg.bbe9a5fad76e414f7c2c841de0fc41b3.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Cyber said:

Mostly emulation. I have few old machines I want to fix and install (can't find time to do that). Recently got RPi 3, plan to use it for different things, retro gaming is one of them.

But one device I got about a year ago I want to mention is the one in picture. It's a chinese clone of NES in GameBoy style case with about 300 games built in. Quality is poor, but it works. It was a gift to me, and I did not have high hopes for it, but I was actually surprised of some of its advantages:
- very cheap (about $8)
- turns on instantly, games start instantly (so it looks like it has real hardware and no emulation)
- play portable on built in screen or on TV (it has TV AV output)

The Pi3 can easily handle most all classic consoles easily, I really like mine.

I have looked at a lot of those Chinese "clones" over the years, but never actually picked one up. I have read and watched a lot reviews on popular models, and seriously looked into getting one many times. What ended up stopping me was my plans to drop a Pi Zero W into RetroFlag's GPi case and "make my own".

I just really like RetroPie and it's configurability/compatibility with so many systems and emulators. That, and I am used to working with it. :)

Still, there are a lot of them out there that get pretty decent reviews for how "cheap" they are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Pi3 can easily handle most all classic consoles easily

I know RetroPie is very popular OS for retro gaming on Pi.
But I also want to try Faux86 and Dosbian for DOS gaming.
Thoigh I still have my old DOS PCs, which I need to check if they still work, I don't know where to install them, and PI is so small. )
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Cyber said:


I know RetroPie is very popular OS for retro gaming on Pi.
But I also want to try Faux86 and Dosbian for DOS gaming.
Thoigh I still have my old DOS PCs, which I need to check if they still work, I don't know where to install them, and PI is so small. )

Yeah, RetroPie just works so well and supports so much. :)

I have run Faux86 on my Pi3 and it worked really well. I tried it on my Pi4 and could not get it to install, let alone run, but its also not supported yet.

I fully understand the problem of not having enough room. haha

I also use PCem for DOS emulation on Windows. I actually like it more than DOSBox, but still use both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Emulations are my secret weapons.

 

For MS-DOS and Win9x, I use DosBox-X, but sometimes FreeDOS. (the latter of which ain't an emulator, but rather a complete reimpementation of DOS)

For PlayStation 1, my go-to emulator is Mednafen, which is also my go-to emulator for NEC PC-FX.

To use games from every Commodore 8-bit machines, I use VICE.

Mesen is my NES/Famicom emulator, as it's 100% compatible with NES/Famicom, even supporting FDS and bootleg Dendy. It can even fake stereo sound.

I use Kega Fusion for Sega Genesis, CD and 32X.

MAME when I play arcade, mostly Neo-Geo MVS/AES.

reicast libretro as a weapon for Dreamcast emulation.

And lastly, Phoenix, for 3DO.

 

I don't use PCXS2 since I already have PS2, the slim model one, with FreeMcBoot software mod I added.

Edited by xanthrou
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Specifically, I use the following emulators for classic consoles.

  • Atari 2600 - Stella
  • NES - NEStopia
  • SMS - NeoSMS
  • SNES - SNES9X x64
  • Genesis/SegaCD - Gens
  • TG-16 - PCE/Hugo
  • N64 - Project64
  • PS1 - ePSXe
  • Arcade- MAME

I really don't emulate anything later than the PS1/N64. 😛

I was looking at Phoenix for the 3DO, mainly becasue it also does the Atari Jaguar, so killing two birds with one stone. I just have not done it because there are only a couple games on each system that I actually liked. haha

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard of 1/2 of that stuff but I have an original GameGear in mint condition somewhere and a Sega Genesis that I bought in the 90s.  Kids have had each console along the way since GameCube but aside from William and Namco I've never been interested.

I do have a deep love for 80's Arcade and therefore have an original Atari Millipede cabinet that some maniac fitted with a 60:1 board and a Dell monitor (and two buttons and a joystick to play Scramble).

And I also have a Mame-ish system (it's actually a fully loaded and licensed Ultracade system) that I installed in an old Sega cabinet retooled with Williams clothing (see pic).  It has my favorite suite of games of all time: The Atari System 1 and 2 Marble Madness / Paperboy, and Williams Joust/Robotron/Stargate plus a rarity: Crazy Climber.  As I think I posted elsewhere in "General Retro Chat", elusive Excitebike and Kung Fu Master are on my bucket list though I enjoy the imagery Excitebike track on 'Switch" MarioCart that my kids play.  Nintendo has really kept it together over such a long span.  What a franchise!

IMG_4790.thumb.jpg.4bec1673bf6242b544288496130fb13f.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, EMwhite said:

I've never heard of 1/2 of that stuff but I have an original GameGear in mint condition somewhere and a Sega Genesis that I bought in the 90s.  Kids have had each console along the way since GameCube but aside from William and Namco I've never been interested.

I do have a deep love for 80's Arcade and therefore have an original Atari Millipede cabinet that some maniac fitted with a 60:1 board and a Dell monitor (and two buttons and a joystick to play Scramble).

And I also have a Mame-ish system (it's actually a fully loaded and licensed Ultracade system) that I installed in an old Sega cabinet retooled with Williams clothing (see pic).  It has my favorite suite of games of all time: The Atari System 1 and 2 Marble Madness / Paperboy, and Williams Joust/Robotron/Stargate plus a rarity: Crazy Climber.  As I think I posted elsewhere in "General Retro Chat", elusive Excitebike and Kung Fu Master are on my bucket list though I enjoy the imagery Excitebike track on 'Switch" MarioCart that my kids play.  Nintendo has really kept it together over such a long span.  What a franchise!

Now that's proper "retro" gaming! Nice setup you have there!

If I only had the room for a cabinet... sadly, that's just not an option. I have wanted to build a full cabinet MAME system for a long time now, maybe someday, but for now I j ust don't have the space. 😛

Those were the good old days I remember so fondly, I spent untold numbers of quarters in the arcades of the 80's and early 90's. I did repair/maintain a few cabinets back then for a couple local businesses. Dig Dug, Asteroids, Rampage, Pole Position, and a few others. I did have a Pac-Man machine setup for my dad in their garage in the early 90's, he loved that machine, but ended up selling it when they bought a new home. I think my mom didn't want it coming with them. haha

Good times! 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Sega cabinet (Ultracade that has Crazy Climber on the screen) used to be something called "Sega MVP baseball".  Sega used that 'platform' for Pengo and a few other titles;  It's not perfect for Robotron/Joust type games but having loved them so much, I opted to strip the old cabinet, get my hands on Williams Multi-game side-art, that repro Robotron marquee, makeshift control panel.  

A very peculiar and interesting feature of this Sega cabinet is the control panel which snaps out and can be easily swapped.  I've since purchased two additional (similar) panels which have diff configurations and affixed Xarcade keyboard interfaces which plug into Ultracade.  That one is my go-to because it has a trackball, spinner, general left right thrust fire buttons so can play many games.

I had the cabinet for a good 10 years before I finally got something running and as you can see, I still need a smoked plexiglass/lexan bezel to hide the fact that it's an HP monitor and not a proper Wells CRT.

What you do not see in that picture is 8 pinball machines.  Here is a look at one of my favorites on the 'other' side of that small room; the rest is out by our [little used] Pool table.

I worked all my life and put 4 kids through college (two get their masters degree later this year); still have a 12 year old but intend on retiring in 5 years so I can solder/weld/woodwork and restore vintage tech full time... if I live to see it the other side of retirement.  Meanwhile, a kid and makeshift engineer at heart, this (and this forum and related tech) is what drives me.

If you ever watched the Vintage Compute (VCF '19) interview of Ken Thompson (Bell Labs legend and Unix great), in the final minute of the interview, the moderator asks the crowd of mostly grey, bearded, and in many cases, balding participants "raise your hand" if your career trajectory was heavily influenced by what K&R and Thompson and Pike etc. did in the 70's; 95% of the hands went up.  I am one of those hands and would not be 'here' if I had not first used the original Commodore Pet in middle school, the 4032 in 9th grade Computer Math, and learned Pascal in AP Computer Science in 11th grade which lead me the AT&T 3B2 and Sun Microsystems in College.  And I would not have been interested in the first 8 bit computer I laid eyes on had it not been for Space Invaders and Asteroids within walking distance from where I grew up.  It's all connected... 

image2.thumb.jpeg.febcab2a3a44ff207a0d300dfc675d32.jpeg

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I got the Pi Zero W up and running in a GPi Case, RetroPie installed, now I just have to set it all up like I want it to look. I had done a lot of research on the GPi Case, so I knew what I was getting, but I am still pleasantly surprised at the quality of the case. Dual power options is  nice (3AA battery or USB), and the buttons actually feel nice, and they are not super loud to press so that will make it easier on those around me. Overall, it's just a great case, I see why so many people like it.

gpi1.thumb.jpg.b79fd55aa6d4e2aff3dc33cadcdb350e.jpggpi2.thumb.jpg.c2969b1646dd953fb4d080c9536c4c6c.jpg

 

 

On 3/14/2021 at 6:30 PM, EMwhite said:

*snip*

Like I said, I would absolutely LOVE to have the space for some proper arcade cabinets. You have a really nice collection going on there! I really like the Black Hole Pinball, I actually remember playing that a lot at a local bowling ally. Pinball was a favorite of mine years ago, I enjoyed playing those as much as the video games, sometimes more. I got the love of those from my father, who used to repair them when I was still in diapers. My father was a mechanical and electrical wiz, did that sort of work for most of his life, on top of being an MP in the guard for almost 30 years.

For me, my love of computers came from my uncle (who worked for McDonnell Douglas at that time), he got me my first (TI-99/4A back in 1981), and the rest is history. So between my dads love of tinkering/fixing and my uncles love of computers, I ended up getting a bit of both.

I have 4 kids as well! The 3 oldest are grown, moved out, and have their own lives. The youngest (19), is still at home. One of them was a technology nut like me, spent some time in the Air Force doing data security.

I agree, it is indeed all connected. One thing leads to another. I enjoy technology, I enjoy building, repairing, learning, and generally just having fun in so many aspects of it. Far more than I actually have time to actually do these days. Still, it's how I like to relax on my days off and how I like to spend my downtime when the family is not doing much, or when I am not camping.

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Right now I have a raspberry pi 3 running Retro Pie for arcade, a couple NES games, and a couple 64 games.  I have two old usb game pads that I got at the thrift store that I use to play games on, but I am working on a proper arcade control panel.  Right now, the Pi is connected to a 52 in TV that is mounted on the wall in my games room, and when get all the buttons wired up and into the control panel, I'll mount that right under the TV.

After that, my next project is to 'make' a Commodor Pet inspired cabinet for an old PC that I have.  I have installed LUbuntu on the PC and I have a couple emulators on it -- DOSBox, CommandX16, VICE (for C64 stuff).

I think maybe I should post some pics or videos of the progress...

Greg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use many emulators like Altirra (Atari 8 bits), DosBox, Steem SSE (Atari ST), Hatari (Atari ST,TT,Falcon), WinUAE (Amiga), WinVICE, MAME and few others.

For real hardware, I have an Atari Falcon and a Jaguar.

falcon_jaguar_s.jpg.a40771ce9d0019df12f8127064539696.jpg

I'm still writing homebrew games for the Jaguar.

Hopefully, one day the Commander X16 will join them!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/18/2021 at 9:52 PM, iGregory said:

Right now I have a raspberry pi 3 running Retro Pie for arcade, a couple NES games, and a couple 64 games.  I have two old usb game pads that I got at the thrift store that I use to play games on, but I am working on a proper arcade control panel.  Right now, the Pi is connected to a 52 in TV that is mounted on the wall in my games room, and when get all the buttons wired up and into the control panel, I'll mount that right under the TV.

After that, my next project is to 'make' a Commodor Pet inspired cabinet for an old PC that I have.  I have installed LUbuntu on the PC and I have a couple emulators on it -- DOSBox, CommandX16, VICE (for C64 stuff).

I think maybe I should post some pics or videos of the progress...

Greg

Nice! That sounds like a cool project. Would not mind seeing it. :)

6 hours ago, DrTypo said:

I use many emulators like Altirra (Atari 8 bits), DosBox, Steem SSE (Atari ST), Hatari (Atari ST,TT,Falcon), WinUAE (Amiga), WinVICE, MAME and few others.

For real hardware, I have an Atari Falcon and a Jaguar.

I'm still writing homebrew games for the Jaguar.

Hopefully, one day the Commander X16 will join them!

I never owned a Falcon, friends did, cool system. :)

The Jaguar, highly underrated system in my humble opinion. I loved mine back then. It had so much potential... I played many  hours of Hard Drivin', Club Drive, Cannon Fodder, Tempest  2000, Doom, Wolf 3D, Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story, and many others.

I often thought about tracking down a dead unit to gut and put a Pi in. I really liked the case and aesthetic of the Jaguar and think it would make a cool home for a RetroPie build.

Good times.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone looking to score an Amstrad Portable Computer PPC640?  They have on auction at "shop goodwill dot com".  It is damaged not sure how bad.

Have several other systems there too:  TRS-80 1's and CoCo 2; IBM 5150 Computer W/Keyboard; an Atari 130XE, Commodore 64; Commodore SX-64 Executive etc..

Just throwing the idea out there in case you don't know about the Goodwill store and are looking for hardware..

This one threw me.. Never knew it existed..

@Strider if you consider this a hijack of the thread, let me know and I will open it up under another topic.

amstrad.JPG

Edited by evlthecat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found a lot of cool older computers at my local GW stores over the years, more so in the past than recently. I know there are more online but the prices on so many just keep climbing. I think that's why I don't see many locally anymore, people find out they are worth a fair amount of money and put them on eBay rather than donate.

I know I keep saying I don't have any room in my home to keep much retro tech, but if I ever found a decently priced C64 or Amiga 500 sitting on a local store shelf or yard sale, I would pick it up and bring it home. I mean, if I am willing to buy a C64 Maxi, then I should be able to talk my wife into at least one actual retro system. 😛

Even locally though, the prices I have seen on the few systems I ran across at resale shops or yard sales is crazy. Hence why I am so willing to get a C64 Maxi and stick with emulation. 😞

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

I can't seem to stop...

I love these Raspberry Pi cases from RetroFlag! The GeeekPi kits are nice, they add a fan and some heatsinks, as well as a carrying/storage bag. Normally, they are either the same price as the standalone case from RetroFlag, or just a couple dollars more. Either way, for around $20, they are worth it in my opinion. Though, my poor little desk is getting pretty cluttered. lol

Do I NEED this one? Not really, but I have a Pi 3B+ that needs a home...so.... 😛

Also, this NESPi case is a bit smaller than the MegaPi case my other 3B+ is in, so it will fit into my travel case better, not so tight.

But now I want to try their SNES case too.... 🥺

nespi.jpg.921b873adfc3ccdec43c81462a21d1b4.jpg

rpcase.thumb.jpg.22f7cc40a2ef5050fd7c62644ef4a476.jpg

snesgens2.jpg.cbd9a5464b881440793ad94e0c8fda0a.jpg

Edited by Strider
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Well, the SNES Themed case arrived. Now my collection is complete! It's a neat case, the "slot" where a game cart would go is your micro SD storage, and the cartridge itself is a magnet that holds itself to the door. Pushing eject opens the door. While I won't use it, it is neat.

superpi-1.thumb.jpg.3bc51205512358ba1213611036c2d2a3.jpgretropi1.thumb.jpg.06661dafa022379546522db1d50c9fff.jpg

Now, if I could only track down the cause of this issue....

I have seen it mentioned in a few other places, so at least its not hardware... Part of the screen will go randomly blank... Thankfully it don't happen all that often and will be addressed in the next version of RetroPie.

retropie-issue-1.gif.27b5d35ac148e0a5d0e16994b34a586f.gif

Edited by Strider
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it looks like you're using the 8bitdo controllers. Which ones in particular, and what is your opinion of the feel/responsiveness of the controllers? I'm looking to get a couple of them, and am torn between which ones I want along with which adapter dongles - I know they make native SNES -> bluetooth adapters that pair with certain models, and then there are (S)NES-mini wireless adapters that pair with some models, and there are models that pair natively with the Switch, etc.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use