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We made a Pi Zero W retro-games console! The nostalgia is making me dizzy!

If you'd like to build your own, we've put together a couple of wishlists to make things easier:

  • For the Pi Zero W build, like in this project, check out the PiGRRL 2 Zero W wishlist
  • To stay true to the original project, and have audio built into your PiGRRL2, check out the PiGRRL 2 Wishlist. This one uses a full-sized Pi 3 Model B, so you've got USB ports, audio, ethernet, and loads of processing power.

Project Description

This project is centered around the Adafuit PiGRRL 2. Rather than go with the more compact PiGRRL Zero, we stuck with the chunkier PiGRRL 2 design to retain that authentic retro-console aesthetic. We plan on taking this thing to makerfaires and conventions, so having marathon battery-life is a must. Dropping a Zero into the larger case leaves heaps of real-estate for battery upgrades!

The case is completely 3D printed. Our LULZBOT TAZ 5 was able to do the ABS case in one batch.


We broke out the flexistruder for the TAZ 6. This is the first time any of us had printed with ninjaflex filament. Things turned out pretty stringy - there's definitely some changes to make. Apparently, upping the print speed to 200% is the easiest way to get better quality prints. For now, I just clipped the strings with some side-cutters.


The construction process is pretty simple, the Adafruit kit integrates most of the electrical connections really neatly into the display and button boards. Here's the dry-fit and first power on.


I couldn't get ahold of the recommended screws, so I opted for some wood screws we had on hand - they were ok, but a little long. You can see a few white specks on the case where the screws are deforming the outer shell of the print. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to know when to stop inserting the screws - they very suddenly mark the case.

Here's the case opened up - look at all the space that's left! Without a Pi 3B or an audio amp there's plenty of room to build up your own NiMH battery pack for endurance gaming.


We followed the documented steps with a few modifications for this build:

  • Make sure to use the correct Retropie image (Raspberry Pi 0/1)
  • Connect the Pi to WiFi (instead of Ethernet). This is super-easy from within the RetroPie interface.
    • If your WiFi password has special characters, you might want to set up your keyboard first to make sure they are passed correctly. Execute sudo raspi-config
    • Proceed through internationalization options > Keyboard Setup and select the generic 105 keyboard option Select English (US) for keyboard layout (or whatever you need) and follow the prompts.
  • With our Pi on WiFi, it was a simple matter of opening the file explorer and navigating to \\retropie From here, you can drop your ROMs into the relevant emulator directory.

Have a question? Ask the Author of this guide today!