When building our Mame arcade cabinet, we wanted to crawl before we ran. So, we proceeded in
1. Setup the Raspberry Pi, load ROMs and test with a store bought controller
2. Build a test control panel
3. Build the arcade cabinet
4. Build the final control panel
By doing things this way we were able to ease into the project and build confidence that everything
would work. In this post we’ll focus on step 1 above.
Obviously, you will need a Raspberry Pi and a controller. We used CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – 32 GB Edition and a Mayflash PS2 PS3 PC USB Universal Arcade Fighting Stick as the controller.
We installed Emulation Station and RetroPie – see
http://www.emulationstation.org/gettingstarted.html#install_rpi_retropie for current instructions.
This allowed us to install the gaming ROMs.
You will need to use Google to find the ROMs. This is not difficult (we found over 4,000), but
remember there are copyright issues – so download at your own risk.
Once you have RetroPie installed and some ROMs, see https://github.com/retropie/retropie-setup/wiki/Transferring-Roms for instructions on how to get your ROMs onto your Raspberry Pi. We found that USB stick was easiest.
Connect your controller and your monitor to the Raspberry Pi. Turn everything on and hopefully you
will be able to play at least some of your games. If you added classic arcade games they will be
in the Arcade area. We found that many of the older games (Space Invaders for instance) just did
not work no matter what we tried.