Playing retro games is easy on a Raspberry Pi - and the pocket computer is pretty good at it too! All you need is a little help to connect buttons and a joystick up and you can custom design your own arcade console, desktop or stand-up machine, even just a simple controller box. It makes for a fun weekend project that will last all year.

This Adafruit Arcade Bonnet is designed to make small emulator projects a little easier to build. Here's what you can look forward to!

  • It is the same size as a Pi Zero, so for really compact builds, this is super small. You can use it with a Pi 2, 3, B+ or any 2x20 connector Pi.
  • It has JST sockets so you can plug in six arcade buttons easily using our quick connects
  • Header breakouts for use with both clicky-type switched joysticks and...
  • Header breakout and converter for using analog-type joysticks or thumbsticks with potentiometers inside
  • A 3W speaker output that can drive 4-8 ohm speakers for when using with a TV output, HDMI display or PiTFT
  • Switches are all managed with an I2C-GPIO converter with interrupt out. The converter is very fast and frees up all the pins so you can use this Bonnet with a PiTFT or any other accessory/device that uses a lot of pins!

If you don't need an amplified speaker output, analog-joystick input or minimal pin usage, check out our plain-jane Retrogame tutorial which just plugs all the buttons and joysticks right into the Pi directly.

This item as sold as a mini-kit, with a Bonnet and headers that need to be soldered in to attach it to a Raspberry Pi! It only takes a few minutes but soldering iron and solder are required.

It also doesn't come with any of the extras, so you can choose which buttons/joysticks/speaker you want! Here is a list of the items you can use:

Arcade Buttons

The JST connectors on the Bonnet mate perfectly with these quick-connects, which we really like.

Any of our Arcade buttons will work. You can use any switch you like, really - doesn't even need to be a button!

The translucent 30mm ones work nicely with the quick-connects and are recommended!

This guide was first published on Feb 22, 2017. It was last updated on Jul 21, 2024.

This page (Introduction) was last updated on Feb 20, 2017.

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