Much of the mystique of the originals lied in the cabinets and controls. Anyone can load a game on a smartphone or tablet…but the physicality of the arcade machine and its clicky buttons made them rare objects of desire back in the day. We wanted to capture a small taste of that, using the tiny Raspberry Pi computer. The result is a DIY kit we call Cupcade!
Cupcade isn’t the first, but it’s notable for using the Adafruit PiTFT display. The direct digital interface delivers a pixel-perfect rendition of classic games with none of the blurriness you’d get with a composite screen.
- Adafruit PiTFT Mini Kit
- Analog joystick with breakout board
- 16mm Buttons (4)
- Arcade Button Quick Connect Wires (4)
- Female/female jumper wires (strip of 4)
- Cupcade Raspberry Pi interface board and related components
- 26-pin ribbon cable
- 8 Ohm 1 Watt speaker
- Right-angle 3.5mm audio plug to pigtail cable
- Acrylic case parts (15)
- 4-40 and 2-56 screws and nuts (15 and 3 ea., respectively)
- Nylon board standoffs (2)
- Piece of heat-shrink tubing
- Blank 4GB SD card
- USB charger/power supply
- USB A to micro B cable
Earlier “beta” kits had some additional parts not listed here; new kits have these pre-assembled on the interface board.
You will also need:
- Raspberry Pi Model B computer (Model A also works, but with only half the RAM this may impact performance). If you have a Model B on-hand, the earliest ‘V1’ boards will not work with this project (easy to spot — they have no mounting holes). The new Model B+ is not currently compatible, but will likely be addressed in the future.
- Soldering iron, solder, stranded or solid core wire (24 or 22 gauge) and related paraphernalia
- Masking tape
- For setup, you may temporarily need a keyboard and monitor
- Game ROM files
Our original Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi guide is a little easier — same goal, fewer pieces, using a regular computer monitor for the display. You might want to start there if this project looks a bit overwhelming.