Playing video games on custom-configured hardware is becoming increasingly popular, with the Raspberry Pi proving particularly adept as the heart of a retro gaming machine. Sticking the compact computer into your self-built gaming cabinet is probably the easiest step. Considering the woodworking and painting that is required (not to mention electronics for game controllers and lights, and even a plastic fascia), installing RetroPie onto a microSD card and copying some game ROMs across is comparatively trivial.
But you don’t have to use a Raspberry Pi to build your arcade machine. In the video above, the game station was built using a Steam Link, an HDMI streaming device from Steam. Occasionally these devices go for a massive discount (drickman156 writes on his Instructables page that he paid just $5!), making them perfect for low budget gaming projects. While a partner PC is required for running the games, as long as this is on the same network, it can be situated anywhere (although Ethernet is a more reliable option than Wi-Fi). Any game in your Steam library can then be streamed via the Steam Link and played.
Not much bigger than a Raspberry Pi, a Steam Link is also easily installed in a custom arcade machine. But if you own a PC with the right type of NVidia GeForce GPU, and a Raspberry Pi 3, you can get the same effect. That’s right, a Raspberry Pi can be used as a DIY Steam Link box, and if you follow the steps in this video, it can be incorporated into RetroPie.
A Raspberry Pi-based arcade cabinet that plays both retro and current games? This is some sort of gaming Holy Grail – and it’s achievable with the right planning, a suitable PC, and a reliable network.
Why not give it a go? Let us know how you get on.