I am thinking about turning my Raspberry Pi into a game console but I was wondering how much it will cost and how difficult it actually is. I tried finding some guides to do this but it did not help me that much. For example I found this:


I need a good start. So I have to get the product but I don't know that much about what would work for the Raspberry. Like a controller (joystick etc), a small screen, a case for everything and I want the console to be running wireless. As I don't know which controllers, screens etc. would work, I really need some help with this. Also an easy and good tutorial would help.

I would love to have it not too expensive.

Can I get an explanation of how to start this?

2 Answers 2


Here is a great guide on Lifehacker. I'll list all of the supplies that you need, and the basic idea of the steps you will have to follow. You'll have to read the entire post on their website for a complete tutorial (it's too long to post everything here).

Here's what you need:

  • A Raspberry Pi (duh)
  • At least a 4 GB SD card
  • USB Controllers (optional, but makes the whole thing a lot more fun. Here are cheap USB SNES controllers from Amazon)
  • A USB keyboard and mouse (just for the initial setup, you won't need it afterwards)
  • A router (to transfer your ROMs)
  • TV/monitor, AV/HDMI cables, power supply (you can find a full list of compatible SD cards, power bricks, and everything else on the Raspberry Pi Wiki)
  • A Windows/Mac/Linux computer to transfer your ROMs
  • A copy of the free software Cyberduck (or any FTP, SFTP client)

List of steps:

  1. Download and Install RetroPie on a SD Card

  2. Boot Your Raspberry Pi and Set Up EmulationStation

  3. Configure Your Controllers for the Emulators

  4. Transfer Your Roms from Your Primary Computer

To make the console wireless, you are going to have to power the system as a whole from a USB battery pack (one with multiple USB outputs is better). You will also need a small wireless USB dongle to transfer the ROM's.

  • Thank you very much. I do have some questions by the way. The Tv/monitor link, goes to the kickstarter website (which I dont quite understand), but at the 65 pounds it says:"All gone" So I can't get it anymore? Also can you tell me how to make the console wireless? (So sort of like a gameboy)
    – Loko
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:08
  • @Loko If you go to the Kickstarter website, it says, "Once this KickStarter campaign finishes, you'll be able to find the latest information about HDMIPi here...". I put that link in, but I don't think they have an official website yet, so it redirects to the Kickstarter page.
    – syb0rg
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:12
  • So I should wait a bit? BTW how about the wireless part?
    – Loko
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:13
  • @Loko I edited in a part about wireless, there isn't much difference. You should wait a bit for the screen, if you want a streamlined, fully portable system with a 9' HDMI screen. Otherwise you could settle for smaller screens (but I would be wary for Raspberry Pi support).
    – syb0rg
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:19
  • Okay the USB battery pack is kind of expensive. Is this a regular price for an usb battery pack? Anyway so making this would be pretty expensive?
    – Loko
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:22

The Lifehacker post is a bit outdated by now. Below, my sugestion:

  1. Get a Pi2 with 16GB+ SD card (8GB will not do when you want actual games on the SD card)

  2. Get the extra's you need for the wireless/handheld stuff

    2.1 a battery pack

    2.2 get a USB controller to hack up into the handheld (PS3 - Xbox like controllers so you have enough buttons)

    2.3 get a low power display to connect to your handheld build

  3. install retropie

  4. configure retropie (I.E. do like most people and get it working on a TV)
  5. make sure everything is stable
  6. try the same but from the display instead of the TV and make sure it works.
  7. try powering the pi from battery pack
  8. start hacking up the controller into a case for your handheld.
  9. curse yourself for ever undertaking step 6-7-8
  10. ???

  11. profit

If the above fails at the part where you move from set-top box to hand-held; you can get a bluetooth dongle and some wireless ps3 controllers and still use it as a console/mediaplayer.

BONUS: Get a wifi dongle, so you can access the pi with smb/ssh (default enabled in retropi) this will help you loads if you don't want the thing plugged into an ethernet cable while working on it.

You can mount an NFS or smb dir with roms aswell, so you could easily have all your games on a NAS or something if you do run out of space.

note that you most likely will not be able to overclock the pi since the battery will run out quicker. so forget N64 games and some ps1 games.


Do know you are not threading an unwalked path here. Many people have made or atleast started this undertaking, like this guy.

  • I reviewed those controllers. I wanted enough universal controller so I ended up in the product PowerA Mini Pro because of its analog buttons and joystics. The display gets power from external power source apparently when not considering only handheld console. Can you give some examples about the displays here, please. I think N64 and PS1 games are possible when using charger always. Jan 26, 2016 at 15:10
  • 2
    I never suggest going wireless /w a battery pack, ofcourse when you go wired and you do a lite overlclock you can play nearly all ps1 games and some n64 games. I can't say what the driver support for your powera mini pro is, and I can't say how the internals are batter/harder to hack up. I also don't know if retroarch has the proper configs for those controllers by default. you tell me ;) I don't know what display you have in mind, I would guess it draws power from the battery pack as well?
    – Havnar
    Jan 26, 2016 at 15:41
  • 2
    Masi, as I warned you when you posted this bounty JUST LIKE STACK OVERFLOW, THIS IS NOT A DISCUSSION FORUM. Please do not pester people to write books for you and string follow up questions together in comments. If you have another question, ask another question.
    – goldilocks
    Feb 1, 2016 at 13:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.