Explore gaming on the Lakka console

DIY Retro Console

© Lead Image © donatas1205, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © donatas1205, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 248/2021
Author(s):

The Lakka Linux distribution comes with everything you need to play retro games and lets you install games directly in the user interface. All you need is a Raspberry Pi and, ideally, a simple gamepad.

In the pandemic, its not just Netflix series that are booming, but computer games, too. However, state-of-the-art gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch or PS5 are expensive, which makes Linux distributions like Lakka [1] all the more worthwhile. It even runs on the Raspberry Pi 3, which currently retails for $35 (EUR35, £34). In other words, you only pay a fraction of what you would have to fork out for a high-end console from Nintendo or Sony for a retro console that you can build yourself.

DIY retro game consoles require very little manual work. You simply plug the Raspberry Pi into a suitable enclosure and connect it to the monitor or TV. With Lakka, you don't even need a keyboard and a mouse; input can be managed with a gamepad like the Logitech F310 [2]. However, you will not want to do without a keyboard for convenience sake. It not only makes it easier to enter text, but you can also assign additional functions to the keys.

Features

The Lakka distribution is based on the LibreELEC [3] media player. The operating system does not need much space on the hard disk, with a pleasingly compact ISO image of about 400MB. LibreELEC also ensures that all files, including the kernel, are made current during the update, removing the need for you to install individual packages. RetroArch [4] is used as the graphical user interface, which results in Lakka self-configuring thanks to RetroArch's autoconfig feature. Gamepads, for example, are ready for use straightaway.

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    With the right software, you can turn the Raspberry Pi into a versatile console for retro games.

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