This week, Avram Piltch brings us up to date on one of his projects for his new favorite toy, the Raspberry Pi 4: the Picade by Pimoroni. This project features a 10-inch screen, mini arcade body, 6 player buttons, 4 utility buttons, and a joystick. The goal is to create a fully functional arcade cabinet that can run one of a variety of system emulators. Because this model is designed for the Raspberry Pi 4, as of publishing, there are still compatibility issues with some emulators and the new hardware. However, once those platforms are optimized for the new hardware, you'll have full system capability. It is important to remember that emulators and ROMs live in a legal grey area, so proceed with caution.
While Avram is still semi-early in his personal build of the project, he is familiar with Raspberry Pi emulator projects. He built another arcade-style gaming system based on a previous version of the hardware and learned a lot about the process. The inclusion of the utility buttons is an important one, as a Gameboy looking project only featured the original 4 buttons, making it difficult to escape a game. The utility buttons should help alleviate this problem.
On another project, he learned the difference between snap-in buttons and screw-in buttons, which has caused a small amount of concern. The Picade uses snap-in buttons, which can fit loosely, causing them to push through the cabinet if too much pressure is added. The benefit with this project is that the holes in the cabinet are pre-drilled, meaning they should be the perfect size for the buttons.
Obviously, with the current limitations of the Raspberry Pi 4's backward compatibility, or lack thereof, finishing this build is not exactly a priority. However, Avram is very excited to see the project completed and the beginning of playing games.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.