So recently I tried to make some upgrades to my RetroPie-based gaming console, running on the Raspberry Pi 3. Specifically, I put a fresh install of RetroPie on a 32gb MicroSD card, then enabled USB Transfer Service and installed all of my ROMS on a 500gb external USB drive.
It didn’t work.
Okay, that isn’t fair. It actually did work, briefly, but that really isn’t the point. If something works once or twice, then fails after a couple of reboots, that pretty much counts as not having worked at all. In short, this process isn’t stable enough to be reliable, and as such is completely useless.
Anyway, the reason I was doing this, was so I could play all of my many Playstation games on my RetroPIe console, and they need a whole lot of space. I have a 128gb MicroSD card for this device, but that is a bit of overkill for my 8 and 16 bit games, but not nearly large enough for my disk based systems (Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, etc). So, what am I to do about this?
Well, I think I found the limitation of the RPi3, in regards to gaming, and that is with the Nintendo 64, and disk-based games. While I can play Playstation and Nintendo 64 games on it, they tend to heat the poor machine up way too much, and N64 games especially cause a lot of lag from overworking the processor. So, really, I should just play those games on something else than the Raspberry Pi 3.
Specifically, I have a nice setup for everything through Nintendo 64 on my “RetroTop” gaming laptop, which runs RetroPie x86. I can also run Playstation, Playstation 2, Sega Dreamcast, and Nintendo GameCube games on my primary gaming laptop. So really, there’s no need for anything but 8 and 16 bit games on my Raspberry Pi. Which is good, because it means I can just use my wireless Super Nintendo controller from 8bitdo on the Raspberry Pi, rather than going through the absolute pain of setting up my wireless knockoff Playstation 3 controllers.
I am sure I will miss playing Mario Kart 64 on my console, but since I have Super Mario Kart to fall back on, it will be just fine. Plus, my console should be a lot more stable overall, since it shouldn’t have overheating issues running just the 8 and 16 bit games. That said, I am eagerly awaiting the day that the Pi folks put out a system like the Raspberry Pi 3, but is powerful enough to easily handle systems up to and including the Playstation 2 and GameCube, that can also work properly with an external hard drive for ROM storage, so I can enjoy all of my games on my nice, big television.