Two person living room gaming with a Raspberry Pi 2?
January 21, 2016 9:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a Raspberry Pi 2 that I bought from Kano. It's fun... for one kid at a time. I want my boys to be able to indulge in some silly two-person gaming as well. What is the Pi capable of? And how can I get two of them playing on the same box?

Ideally there would be some controllers involved instead of having them share the tiny Kano keyboard. I'm not a gamer so I don't have any clue what to get. XBox controllers sound popular...?

I'm a Windows developer by day, so I'm no Linux expert but I'm perfectly comfortable with the command line and mucking with config files. I would be cool with loading up a separate SD card for gaming if I can't use the Kano OS (Debian variant I think) for any reason.

What kinds of games can I get running on the thing? Even Atari emulation would be great fun. The kids are pretty young (7 & 4).
posted by rouftop to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't got it to work myself, but RetroPi is apparently a pretty complete distro for game emulators. The only thing lacking in the stock distro is the actual ROM files. You can get any number of generic USB game controllers to work with it apparently. It emulated pretty much every historical console you can think of.
posted by GuyZero at 9:42 PM on January 21, 2016

Yeah, I've got a RetroPie install going with a pair of knock-off Xbox 360 controllers and it works great for NES/SNES/Atari 2600 games. Some MAME games work better than others, but it's a surprisingly capable little system overall.
posted by hades at 9:45 PM on January 21, 2016

Knock-off Xbox 360 controllers? Can you link to an example of this?
posted by rouftop at 10:02 PM on January 21, 2016

Logitech makes one for $16.

And funny timing; I just got my first Pi up and running minutes ago. Excited to try RetroPi myself.
posted by good lorneing at 10:07 PM on January 21, 2016

Sorry to piggyback on this, but what's the best solution for attaching two usb controllers to a Pi with only one usb port?
posted by 256 at 5:51 AM on January 22, 2016

A USB hub?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:23 AM on January 22, 2016

The Pi B 2 has more cpu power and 4 ports and is probably a better choice than an A+ or Zero. But otherwise, yeah, a cheap hub.
posted by GuyZero at 7:53 AM on January 22, 2016

I have RetroPi set up with a couple of these Buffalo SNES controller clones that work well if you don't mind being tethered to the actual Raspberry Pi.

4 and 7 sound like good ages for retro stuff, although it might depend on whether they've seen/fooled around with any new fangled 3D/HD games. (I saw the Lego Marvel Superheroes game for X-Box One for the first time the other day, and my mind was blown at the thought of growing up with graphics like that. Our 9 year old niece was completely underwhelmed by all the NES/SNES/Genesis games she tried.)
posted by usonian at 8:03 AM on January 22, 2016

RetroPi, suggested earlier, is a great highly customizable platform for emulation gaming. If you're looking for a relatively hassle free alternative that provides a lot of the same functionality, RecalBox is great for getting up and running quickly. (a little faster to boot and fairly stable Bluetooth pairing compared to RetroPi's default config).

Bluetooth is a little pricier however. If going that route I highly recommend regular old PS3 controllers..there's great cross platform support there. For my personal build, I use 8bitdo NES30s for the added nostalgia....also very solid (but may be a tad pricey compared to the alternatives)
posted by samsara at 11:50 AM on January 23, 2016

The specific knock-off 360 controller I'm using is this Rock Candy version, but it's twice as expensive as those Logitech ones, which I'm sure also work fine.
posted by hades at 1:06 PM on January 25, 2016

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