Mario is back!

If you were born in the 90s or earlier, you know that Mario is a timeless classic. In this episode I’ll show you how to recreate your childhood years at a common sense cost. ​

A few weeks ago, I was considering what I could buy with the Amazon voucher I received as a gift. For a long time, I was thinking about a Chicago Bulls jacket, but then I had an epiphany - I don’t have a Raspberry Pi yet (back in my student days, I had an Arduino, but I can’t locate it now). First and foremost, I wanted to complete a specific programming project (which is currently in progress - I may share more about it in the future, but for now, it’s confidential 😎).When the Raspberry Pi package arrived, I started looking for additional accessories and stumbled upon the botland store. I was particularly interested in getting a case and something for cooling. But when I was browsing the available accessories, I came across gamepads 😯. It caught my attention, and I started browsing GitHub projects related to Raspberry Pi. Finally I landed at retropie. Great shoot ! At that point, I already knew I had to put together my gaming setup. Below, you’ll find a list of purchases needed to set up a gaming station, and for simplicity’s sake, I will provide prices in dollars (based on the exchange rate from November 3, 2023).

  • raspberry Pi 4B 4GB RAM, botland, $74.27
  • charger, botland, $8.62
  • orginal case, botland, $6.47
  • fan for cooling (compatibile with case), botland, $6.46
  • microHDMI to HDMI adapter, botland, $4.54
  • SNES gaming pad, botland, $4.25
  • microSD Card (32GB), botland, $5.02

This adds up to $109.63 (101.96 EUR). Assembled kit looks like below.

raspberry pi

Next thing after assembling the kit is to install the operating system on the SD card, and for this purpose I use the Raspberry Pi Imager. After opening the app click on Choose OS -> Emulation and game OS -> RetroPie -> RetroPie 4.8 (RPI 1/Zero) - or whatever version of Raspberry you possess. From storage choose SD Card which is plugged into your computer. Click Write and wait unitl it ends (it can take couple of miniutes, as OS has to be downloaded first). Now you can connect raspberry with you monitor via HDMI and connect the power. After awhile you should see RetroPie splash screen.

raspberry pi imager retropie launching

By default RetroPie does not include any games. We have to manually install them with help of some ROM providers, like hustler or emulatorgames. There are couple of ways of installing them, I will show you simplest one. It requires usage of USB flash drive. First thing you create folder retropie inside USB stick and plug it into a turned on raspberry. Wait ~ 5 minutes and unplugg it. Retropie OS will create 3 directories inside retropie: BIOS, configs and roms. Inside roms you can see a list of all possible emulators supported. Now you have to identify with which system your pad is compatibile with. Mine is compatibilie with SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). In such case I’m downloading Super Mario from here. I’m unzipping archieve and drop SMC file into snes folder. My pendrive structrue looks like this (I’ve also downloaded couple more different games):

retropie folder

Last step is to plug pendrive into raspberry again (it has to fetch them into OS). Wait 5 minutes and reboot raspberry (5 minutes is just arbitrary value, in real it depends of number of games you want to upload). You should reboot raspberry now. Now we’re ready to go back to the ’90s! After launching please make sure to select appropriate emulator (you should recognize it by pad on a top).

snes mario

What a wonderful metaphysical experience! Btw. you can play Pac Man as well (and many other well known titles)! Currently I’m stuck in the ghost castle (this one with flying green blobs 🤣). I don’t want to cheat by googling for tips, instead I’m preparing for long winter (perfect situation to use phrase ‘Winter is coming’ again 😅). Thank you for reading and see you in next episode !