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November 2012 Retro Gaming Article


November 3, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Miniature iPad arcades are swell, but what if you could play ANY game (ROM) you wanted?

If you read our post about the $35 Raspberry Pi CPU on a card, it is labeled by the manufacturer as an educational device. The premise is to be able to cost-effectively supply computers to kids who might not otherwise be able to afford one. Having more kids grow up with computer skills will only benefit the future job market.

But what about those of us who've already grown up and want to revel in retro gaming?

Picade arcade for Raspery Pi
There's a kickstarter for the Picade, an arcade enclosure based around the Raspberry Pi - complete with arcade buttons and a joystick. It's not based on a tablet computer like the iCade (or Atari Duo), so it can take on other useful functions like doubling as a second monitor for your computer. Based on the Raspberry Pi, you can run Linux and do all the slick stuff capable on a moderate desktop PC when not playing games.

The benefit to the Picade is it's design as a shell around a CPU that is far more independent than any tablet OS. Thus you can load up your favoriet emulators and as many ROMs as your HD/SD card can store. The tablet-based solutions require games to support the iCade controls. An iPad doesn't know it's been shoved into a mini arcade with buttons and a joystick, it defaults to touch screen input unless the game is configured for the external controls of the iCade. The game library for the iCade is barren compared to the thousands of ROMs that can be played via emulators. The Picade simply acts as an alternate input device to control games that would ordinarily require keyboard commands.

In this scenario, the Picade becomes a mini arcade that can handle all the ROMs you already have on your PC. This seems like a much more robust and flexible mini-arcade product than the "shove in a tablet" models.

TPicade arcade for Raspery Pi
From the Picade Kickstarter site:
Don't know what to do with your Raspberry Pi? Want an awesome mini arcade cabinet for your home or desk at work? Want it to double up as a second screen for your computer when not playing arcade classics? Want to build it yourself? You've come to the right place!

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