As a finisher prize in the PiCasso Design Challenge I received a Pimoroni PiCade and a Raspberry Pi 3B+ to power it.

This blog is is an unboxing / build / test of that system.

The build actually took several hours and getting the software properly configured took a bunch more hours.

The kit is complete (except for the Raspberry Pi and a power supply) and there were even some spare parts left over (I assume they are spare parts )

Every thing fit without being forced and it seems solidly designed.

The only mechanical issue I had was the spade terminals connecting to the power switch LED were too tight - they need to be carefully opened up a bit.

The buttons don't snap into place because the panels are too thick for the switch design, but they are a tight enough fit that I don't expect them to pop out. If the do get too loose, a dab of glue would solve it.

The display is much higher resolution and quality than the TVs these games were originally developed for, so in some ways it has a modern look and feel to it, right down to longer boot times.

I found it was possible to hang the system up in a state where no button does anything - even the power button. Part of the problem might be that when setting up the button preferences, I couldn't set the Hot key - it wouldn't accept any buttons I wanted, so it defaulted to the Select button. The Hot key sort of exits from the current program when pushed. However in some menus this prevents selecting a menu choice and jumps back to another menu in an endless cycle.  In particular I cannot "select" to change the Hot key. Hopefully there is a file or something I can edit to fix it.

If you are building one in North America, beware that the keyboard default is set for the UK and you will have to set the keyboard to "US" before you can follow the installation instructions.

There is a pretty good guide to building here:

https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/assembling-your-picade

It is pretty impressive that games developed for multiple platforms can run on this system and it is a very nice scale to enjoy the gaming experience, but it is quite a bit more complex than your average game box. Just the assembly alone is quite a project, and you pretty much need a a keyboard and another computer to get everything working properly.

Overall, the PiCade is a pretty solid system that can take the kind of pounding typically encountered in action games, so although you can run Retropie on any Raspberry Pi, if you want the console and arcade experience you will have to build something like this.