May 14, 2016 | By Benedict

Adafruit’s Ruiz Brothers have posted a tutorial for the PiGRRL Zero, their latest Gameboy-style, 3D printed emulator. The PiGRRL Zero, which packs 14 buttons and a 2.2” color display into its tiny landscape casing, is built around the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero.

If you happened to play video games throughout the 1990s, you will surely have fond memories of the Nintendo Gameboy, N64, Playstation, and all the other beautifully pixellated consoles and games that the Spice Girls-loving, Titanic-watching decade had to offer. Unless you’re still playing those consoles, that is…

It’s true: some people just can’t stop playing retro games. Perhaps because they provide a nostalgic return to childhood, perhaps because their no-frills graphics and storylines remain genuinely captivating, the popularity of old video games is fully evident. But for some retro gamers, plugging in the old equipment is no longer possible—HDMI cable for your SNES? Tricky, even with loyal makers creating 3D printed replacement parts for the N64 and other consoles.

A better option for retro gamers is perhaps the PC-based emulator. These have been around for a long time, and allow gamers to play old console games on a computer. Best of all, gamers can store huge libraries of games and consoles on their hard drives, since the file sizes of old games are relatively tiny.

Unfortunately, playing Pokémon or Mario Kart on your PC definitely loses some of the magic of the original. Sure, the screen might be bigger, and you can keep Facebook open in the background, but without those bright plastic consoles, it all feels a bit sterile. Thank goodness then for Adafruit and the Raspberry Pi…

Over the last few years, Adafruit has been pioneering a movement for 3D printed, Gameboy-style game consoles built around the cheap and tiny Raspberry Pi computer. These consoles all run RetroPi, an all-encompassing video game emulator, but retain the lovable aesthetics of real 90s handheld devices like the Gameboy. The PiGRRL 2, unveiled in January, had everything you could possible want in a new/old 3D printed console, and now the PiGRRL Zero gives you everything you want… but smaller.

Actually, more has changed than that. The PiGRRL Zero flips the gaming device on its head—or, rather, flips it horizontally, so you have the buttons either side of the display instead of below it. The Zero uses 14 buttons, including D-Pad, L & R shoulder, Start/Select, A, B, X, Y and two extras, and boasts a 2.2" Adafruit PiTFT 320x240 color display.

The PiGRRL Zero is very much a DIY project. The enclosure and buttons of the device are 3D printed, with all 7 STL files provided by Adafruit for free on Thingiverse. For creative types, Adafruit has also provided the Autodesk Fusion 360 files for the design, so makers can chop and change the console as they see fit.

On top of the 3D printed parts, makers will need a handful of extra components to build the PiGRRL Zero. These include the 2.2” display, Pi Zero, PowerBoost 1000C, 2000mAh battery, Wifi adapter, and a few other bits and bobs. Adafruit has already readied the Raspberry Pi image, loaded with the RetroPi emulator and a bunch of games.

Check out the Ruiz Brothers’ guide, get printing, and take yourself back to the good old days.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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