FREEPLAY CM3 Raspberry Pi 3 CM Powered Portable GBA

I’ve just watched this video by ETA Prime and I’m pretty impressed with what I’m seeing.

I love the idea of a portable Pi and although it’s not quite that simple, this is essentially a Pi 3 CM inside a real Game Boy Advance shell. I wasn’t aware of it but apparently it was a Kickstarter at some point.

I’ve had a similar project currently pending where I want to try and get a RetroPie Zero to work in a Gameboy Pocket. Great to see that kits for GBA are on sale.

Emulation-noob time! :smile:

Would a Raspberry Pi3 be a good way to emulate - let’s say perfectly (as in, at the correct speed, aspect ratio, with no frame-skipping and other glitches… I’m not looking for impeccable 1:1 fidelity) - 2D arcade games from Double Dragon to Street Fighter III? As I don’t own a desktop PC and I don’t really want to run emulators on my MacBook, I’m looking into the RasPi3 scene, as I read and saw great things about it.
I’m not interested in emulating any console or retro computer, just 2D arcade games, and I’d like to use my 27" monitor with it (for tate convenience).

Thank y’all in advance. ^_-

For the most part, it works great. Arcade can be a little bit tricky on the PI because there are many different versions of mame (each with their own specific romset) and some games work great in some and horrible in others. If you’re insterested in doing this, keep in mind that you’ll have to do quite a lot of tinkering if you want your games to be just right.

Final Burn Alpha is the PI’s main emulator and you should prioritize it over any other. It’s updated to the latest version so all the game fixes are up to date. Anything from NeoGeo, CPS 1-2-3, 80’s games, etc. work without issues.

If a game runs slow or have glitches, you need to try that game on Mame2003. For example, Midway games like Mortal Kombat don’t work on FBA but they run fine on Mame2003. Same goes for some shmups.

Final Burn Alpha will cover 80% of your roms and the remaining 20% will be scattered across different version of mame (mostly mame2003).

The PI is a nice little machine but as I said earlier, be prepared to spend a loooot of time tinkering with it.

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Thank you, super helpful!
If you don’t mind me asking a couple more things: is there a website - or a comprehensive list - that tells exactly what works with each emulator? Or is it purely trial and error? As a retro collector, other than gamer, I’m not really interested in emulating stuff I already own and play original on actual systems, but I would love to be finally able to try arcade games I’ve never even had the chance to see in person… Obscure titles like Osman, Battle Circuit, Denjin Makai II etc.
Also: I don’t mind the tinkering part of the whole experience - to be fair, I enjoy it quite a bit :smile: - but is it still meaningful, on a Pi? What I mean is, is it possible to come to a point where you’re pleased with the result - games run fine with nice CRT shaders, in my case - or is it going to be an endless struggle, compared to emulation on a fairly decent PC? Because I’d rather not bother at all, if the results are going to be sub-par anyway.

Thanks again! ^_-

There are compatibility lists for many systems on their site. For example, Final Burn Alpha.

Personally, I don’t trust them and test everything myself. The reason for this is because people have different standards so you may see a game that says “OK” in the spreadsheet but in reality it has sound issues or whatever or a game that says “Don’t work” but it worked just fine for me (happened a lot with PSX).

As for the second part of your post, I can only talk about my personal experience. I spent 6 months testing all sort of things to improve the games and I’m pretty happy with the results. The main fixes you need to do are:

  1. Overclock the Pi3. It’s safe but you’ll need a heatsink and a fan for the device to stay cool. The gain in performance is pretty nice and many games go from working with sound glitches to working perfectly (even Arcade).

  2. There are several options that are turned on by default that add a lot of input lag. These can be turned off and the input lag is reduced a LOT. I tested it with games like Dance Dance Revolution, Bust a Groove and Parappa the Rapper where you have to be precise in your imputs and they worked perfectly after the fixes.

Those two are the most important imo. You do that first and you’re pretty much set. I don’t use CRT filters but I tested one called CRT PI and it seems to work fine. You won’t be able to use advanced filters like crt-hylian though.

As for the struggle, just avoid N64, Dreamcast and DS (currently has a memory leak). Everything else can be set up quite easily and performance is great across the board.

If you get a PI in the future, just create a new thread if you need advice or something so we don’t derail this one even further. Sorry mods.

Sure thing, and HUGE thanks again. :wink: