Arcade is for retro 2D sprite-based games.
Arcade supports a 160x120 screen with 16 colors, and has a 2D game engine with sprites, platformer-style collisions, tile maps, particle systems and more!
Arcade is a web-based code editor.
Arcade is friendly to beginners!
Get started with building your own retro games, using the block editor and the many guides. You don't need to be a programmer to get started!
Arcade is friendly to seasoned programmers too!
Arcade runs on hardware (in particular SAMD51)!
While all games can be shared and played via the web, the fun starts when you compile them for SAMD51-based boards, like the Adafruit Itsy Bitsy M4 Express.
What is MakeCode Arcade?
This guide will show you how to build a MakeCode Arcade from a Raspberry Pi Zero. If you are looking for Adafruit M4 boards, try this guide.
- a Raspberry Pi Zero (we won't be using WiFi, but it's fine to buy the Pi Zero W if you want)
- a HDMI to mini-HDMI cable or converter
- a microUSB cable
- a micro SD card (capacity and speed don't matter much)
If you want to get all in a single kit, get the budget packet. If you don't feel like soldering, get the Pi with headers.
If your SD card comes with files on it, delete them, or just format the SD card as FAT32. Then download the ZIP file below, unzip it, and copy all files to the root directory of the SD card.
After this, there should for example file named
9.0.3.gz in right in the root folder of the SD card. There should not be an
arcade folder on the SD card. The ZIP below above contains binaries built from https://github.com/Microsoft/uf2-linux .
If you want to use a big joystick and buttons, it's quite easy! All you have to do is to tell your Pi where the buttons are connected. This is done by editing
arcade.cfg file on the SD card.
If you have the Arcade Cabinet Pack, follow the assembly guide. If you plug in the buttons the way it's described in there, you will need the following in the
If you are building a custom player arcade cabinet (1 or 2 players),
Feel free to connect them differently, just follow these instructions and update the file with the right GPIO numbers.
To add new games head to https://arcade.makecode.com !
Once you have created your game,
- Press the Download button and say you don't want to pair anything if asked. You should then be given options to select type of board.
- Select Raspberry Pi (it will have the image of the menu above). This should create a file named
- Copy it to
ARCADEdrive that should be visible on the computer to which your Pi is connected with the USB cable.
ARCADE drive doesn't show up, make sure the USB cable is plugged into the USB port on the Pi that is closer to the HDMI port. The other one is power-only. If using a case, make sure it's plugged all the way in.
There are plenty of ways to share games with your friends, family and anyone else who you think might enjoy something you've created!
Let's quickly go over a few of your options.
Downloaded .uf2 files also contain the game code. You can import them or drag and drop them into the editor to reload the code.