Gaming with Raspberry Pi

So I have this old Raspberry Pi 1 that I got back in about 2011. While it has many uses I haven’t utilized it in a while. What makes this interesting for the readers of this blog is that it can be used for retro gaming. While it is not able to run decently games that have 3D graphics it is perfectly good for playing retro video games like SNES games to give an example. Newer Raspberry Pis are capable of running some more advanced games that have 3D graphics. It is also not a bad choice to pick up a NVIDIA Shield if you are interested in emulated retro gaming and you want to be able to run games with 3D graphics. Shield can even run some Sega Dreamcast with Sony PlayStation games. If you want to be able to run PS2 games I think this is not, at least yet, your way to go.

So we have this Raspberry Pi 1. It has many ways that you can connect different equipment to it. It has two slots for USB. The connections are white which tells us that they are of type USB 2.0. This doesn’t affect us so much. The connections could be colored blue that only tells that they would be a bit more advanced and more effective in transmitting data through them. But for a USB controller or even Bluetooth dongle would work with USB 2.0s just fine. You can even expand these USB slots with an USB hub. It can provide you more USB slots.

If you don’t want to sacrifice one USB slot for Wi-Fi dongle you can connect your Raspberry Pi to your network and internet with an Ethernet connection. There’s no Wi-Fi built in the first Raspberry Pi but some newer models also have this feature included. So you might want to consider buying for example Raspberry Pi 4 instead of the first release. The first release also only supports SD memory card up to 32 GB. While this is just enough to support playing retro games, it might be too small for some uses. There is HDMI connection which delivers the sound and the picture from the computer to the display. There’s also a slot for video output and a small slot, actually a mini-plug connection, for audio output. Raspberry Pi also needs a power input that is provided with 5V micro USB connection. You can probably use your old smart phone’s cable for this, that is you have one available.

You get that Raspberry Pi needs a memory card  and a power cable to work. You will also need a keyboard, maybe even a mouse, a cable for Ethernet and an HDMI cable. That’s just for setting up. You have to install yourself a good operating system. For gaming I would go with RetroPie or Lakka OS.

Here’s some links:

https://retropie.org.uk/ and https://www.lakka.tv/

There are many ways that you can get the image file to your memory card. You can probably read some deeper instructions from those links that are above this text. It depends on your host operating system but I know that you are able to make the installation with Windows and Linux PCs.

After getting the software installed you need to fiddle around a bit with the settings. You can usually just connect your game pad and configure the controls. After that you only need to use the Raspberry Pi with your controller. You need to transfer the roms to your device also. This can be done in several ways. You can for example transfer them to USB stick or you can transfer them from your local network. I am not getting to this since this blog post is not actually a tutorial. I am only discussing about the possibilities and I am trying to give you a clear picture for what it is like to get your old, dusted, Raspberry Pi to work for you as a gaming device.

I really think that this is all about this subject. You can run your SNES, NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, DOS and Atari 2600 games like this (just to mention some of the most popular systems). I would recommend for your game pad Logitech’s or a USB SNES pad although there are plenty of possibilities. Some controllers might not work so don’t try to plug your PS4 controller in as it won’t probably work and would need some fiddling.

Some Thoughts About Writing This Blog

May it be a blog post or some other form of text it is clear that I enjoy writing. This is not the first blog that I have set up but this is definitely to this day the most popular. I first came up with the idea of this blog when I read very interesting book about blogging. The book was “The Million Dollar Blog” that is written by Natasha Courtenay-Smith.

My goal at first wasn’t to get money or anything like that. The first priority was to write about something that interests me very much. I am from Finland. I had to make a decision about in what language I would write to the blog. I finally decided to write in English. I thought it would make my blog international and I thought I would get more visits. I also figured out that I could practice writing in English this way.

Writing a blog is a nice hobby. I don’t have any big plans. I just want to write an interesting blog post at least once a week. Sometimes I write more and some times a bit less. I think this is a topic that I have knowledge about. If you have read my blog you can find out about my personal history. We got a computer to our house as I was only about four years old. I have been a player of video and computer games since that moment.

At first it was very easy for me to come up with ideas for blog posts. Now I have dealt with lots of subjects and it’s a bit harder to come up with a good idea weekly. If you have ideas or would be interested in some topic you can always contact me through comments or even sending me e-mail to the address that you can find from this websites Contact part.

I have had a huge inspiration which has grown even more as I have progressed with this blog. I hope you are all fine and keep reading this stuff. I just wanted to let my blogs readers know some thoughts about my motivation and in what direction is this blog going. I always keep gaming and I like to write about games and everything that is around me. There are some limitations however because I have other things in my life also that I have to keep also doing. At the moment I am not, at least yet, ready to be a professional blog writer.

I am considering about publishing commercials in this blog but this decision is still open for me to decide. This post was 77th post in this blog. I am glad that I have already written so much about my dear hobby of gaming.

Thinking About Strategy in Colin McRae Rally 2.0

There are basically two ways to think about your car settings in Colin McRae Rally 2.0. You can concentrate on driving and copy the best settings from a strategy guide (which is actually available through internet for free) or you can actually test your car with different settings and change them to your own liking. Testing your car to find a good setting can take time. In this text I would like to describe how these settings take impact on your car in this game. I will tell you what each setting will do. So let’s get to it!

There are different settings in this game for tires. Basically you have slick tires that are good for stages that are mainly driven on tarmac. Spikes are good for ice. There are also settings for wet and dry mud and wet and dry gravel. So yo have to choose your tires based on how the surface of the road is. This is pretty simple. You just choose a right tires for each type of road surface.

There are however some settings that aren’t so clear on what they have effect on. Well, actually “gearbox” isn’t so complicated. You can set your acceleration to maximum level but then you loose some top speed. And you can also set your top speed to maximum and you will lose some acceleration. Good acceleration is nice for stages that have many corners and high top speed is better on stages that have long straight parts. That makes sense doesn’t it.

“Suspension” can be adjusted to soft setting on stages that are bumpy or that have many jumps. When driving on flat stages and also stages that have tarmac on their road it is recommended to adjust suspension to hard. You can also adjust your breaks and power of your car to have a tendency to under or over steer. And finally the last setting you have to worry about, that is called “Steering” tells you how sensitively you can steer your car. It can react fast or it can react a bit slower to how you turn your driving wheel (or press the buttons if you are playing this game with a game pad).

If you don’t like to fiddle with the settings and you want to just drive here’s a link to the strategy guide of Colin McRae Rally 2.0.

Importance of Nintendo to Console Gaming

Nintendo was founded in 1889. It was originally named as Nintendo Karuta. As you can probably conclude – the end of 1800s wasn’t yet the time for this company to develop a gaming console to be played at thousands of living rooms worldwide. But it was the same company that brought NES or Nintendo Entertainment System to markets in 1983.

NES wasn’t the first video game console that was introduced to consumers. Atari brought their very popular console to the markets at the end of 1970s. It was very popular device but it got into real problems as the quality of games that were released did drop. These games included a game that was well-known and often named as the worst game ever made. It was a game based on Steven Spielbergs movie “E.T.” . This and many other games were buried to wasteland. And this is a true story. When Nintendo released NES the industry started to get over this crisis of games that didn’t have a good quality. Nintendo was making sure that only good and playable games would be released to the system.

If you have to name one game console you probably get your mind to NES. I remember clearly that it also was the first gaming device that I remember seeing ever. In the 1980s we had Commodore 64 but what Nintendo offered was something that revolutionized gaming.

Nintendo had to compete with Sega and later with such big names like Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo has been in gaming industry for a long time. Somehow Nintendo kind of missed mobile gaming and approached handheld gaming by bringing new handheld consoles to the market. Lately there was introduced a new handheld device and this device is the one I acquired very recently – Nintendo Switch Lite. Thinking about this makes me puzzled. I bought this for about 220 euros. A new smart phones price is from about 150 to 400 euros. Would you buy a handheld device for gaming if you have your smart phone already? This is something to think about. Although I have been very satisfied with my purchase this far.

So Nintendo was the company that brought 8-bit gaming to our living rooms. It might not have been the first but in my opinion it had the strongest impact on this culture that was already starting to rise it’s head. This brings out the question – Why are games so popular? I think Nintendo has come up with the answer and they are, after all these years, still coming up with new innovative devices and games to gamers worldwide. So the impact to the whole industry is undisputed.

 

Getting to Know Nintendo

I have played a lot of Sega Mega Drive, various PlayStation consoles, PC and even Xbox. I started thinking about what have I to this day missed. What would be something for me to get to know next? I figured I hadn’t played Nintendo so much and seriously. What were the titles I would like to get into and could I maybe purchase a new console. Could I learn something new about gaming?

I thought about this for some days. I had some plans about first getting some NES games. I figured also that I haven’t played any games in the Zelda series. It would be expensive to buy first or second game for NES. It was almost 50 euros and I would have only old retro game. It wouldn’t be a great experience.

I was thinking about this. I thought that I could buy Nintendo Switch. This would however cost over 300 euros and I would have to think about games and spend even more money to get them. I finally made my decision. I would get my hands on Nintendo Wii.

My Nintendo Wii came with one game that was Super Mario Galaxy. The price tag was 80 euros. Shipping didn’t cost anything since the purchase was expensive enough which was a nice deal for me. I was a bit surprised of the size of the console – it was definitely small and light.

I haven’t played any Wii games before. I have barely seen it. I knew the controls were very different if compared to PlayStation or Xbox. I had ordered a gamepad with my Wii. It was a bit of an surprise that I had to plug the gamepad to this other controller called “Wii Remote”. And I didn’t get the gamepad to work. What to do next? I started the device. I even had to go to the store to buy some batteries for this new and exciting thing I had just added to my gaming collections.

So it was soon getting late and I just had this thing called Wii in my hands. I knew also that I could play GameCube games with it. I had ordered also one game for GameCube. I found out that I would need at least an original GameCube controller and maybe even a memory card. So I had to order them also. I did that next morning.

Nintendo Wii is a very nice product. I connected it with my television through SCART. There was a HDMI adapter also available but I haven’t, at least yet, ordered one. That would surely make the display more detailed and sharp. I found out that playing a bit of Super Mario Galaxy introduces this system for a complete beginner. The controls aren’t so difficult once you get the hang of it. You have to be a bit careful not to slash your friend or drop a bottle of lemonade from your table while playing. But after all it works great. You are playing with both of your hands and not only with your thumbs and index fingers. You have several buttons and sometimes you have to shake your Wii Remote for Mario to spin fast around for couple of times.

I am going to play my Wii some more. I already have three games and one GameCube game. Those three are Zelda – The Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4 and, the one I already mentioned, Super Mario Galaxy. The GameCube game I got is Resident Evil and it’s a remake of the original one that was released for PS1. If you want to get yourself a Wii just remember to check if it does run also GameCube games. Newer versions of the console don’t support this feature. And remember that you have to have yourself at least a controller of GameCube and preferably also a memory card. I might write a post or a few about Nintendo Wii games in the future so stay tuned.

Before buying a new game…

How do you make a decision about what new game to buy? There are many things that can be considered. Sometimes cheap price is something that triggers this process. The game might be a sequel to some other great game that you have some pleasant experiences with. It might be your favorite game of your childhood if you are thinking about getting your hands on a retro game. Sometimes this leads to thoughts about buying some retro gaming console or even a brand new PS5 or Xbox Series X. But we are talking here about how to make good choices when buying a new game.

You can buy the game as a physical copy or as a download. When I am making my choice I usually check out some video with some gameplay. Then I check what other customers that have already bought and played the game are saying about it. I usually also skim through some reviews. Good places to find these are Metacritic and/or Gamereactor. I somewhat follow two Finnish gaming magazines that are called “Pelaaja” and “Pelit”. Some of the most important web shops that you can buy your game as a digital copy are Steam and GOG (“Good Old Games”).

Usually I also take to consideration how long will it take to finish the game. There is a reliable website for that purpose. It is called “How Long To Beat”. You can find the time for beating a game that can be an old retro game or a new game. Members of the site can add the time that took to beat a game. There is also an estimation of how long would it take to complete the game in all of its content (“completionist”).

I like flee markets because you don’t have to make so sharp decisions on what game are you going to buy. The price is usually low. If I’m going to spend 60 euros to a game I have to make a smart decision. I want to know if the game is worth the money. If I really like the game there is a chance that I could buy a special collectors edition of the game that would cost a bit more. It’s cool to have big decorative gaming pieces comparable to old PC releases that came with a big box. One example of this kind of a release is Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2 which had a skateboarding deck included with its collectors edition (that was actually sold out by the time I was making my order of this game).

Differences between serious and casual gaming

What really is casual gaming? Does it refer to playing at easier difficulty level? Does it mean not playing so many hours daily or weekly? In this article I try to explain this matter. There are many things that are or seem to be more important than playing. But sometimes you can combine playing with writing an essay or getting to spend some free time. We can go even further – what if you could also create new games and use your knowledge to your advance?

In my thoughts casual gaming means passing some time that you just seem to have to something that you don’t fully want to do. You are just spending time or even wasting time because you might be bored or you are waiting for something to happen for example waiting for the oven to warm so you can bake some pizza in it. This means that you are not so passionate about the actual game and all the difficulties and experiences inside the game are not the thing that you are interested in.

Let’s for a moment think about serious gaming. You are obsessed with the game you are playing. You want to find every piece of equipment, turn over every rock you find and reveal all the secrets that the game has. You are willing to receive everything that specific game has to offer. You are deeply inside this games world. You want to focus on the main character and side characters also. You seem to understand the story.

Studying is a lot like learning a new game. Some people try to figure what things are the most essential and learn them and even memorize some phrases or images or something that they find important. But if you want to learn things more deeply you want to understand why things are the way they are. You want to fully understand the matter you are trying to learn. Not just some phrases that some expert thinks are important. You want to understand what the game is. You want to know everything about it. So this basically is the difference. Casual gaming is a way to pass some time. Serious gaming is when you want to understand what you are doing inside the game.

As I’ve learned some programming as I was studying I came to understand games more deeply also. It opened some doors for me. My role would not be an artist or 3D modeller or graphical or texture designer. I would be the creator of games logic. That’s what game programmers do. They design the logic. You need a key from that room that opens a door to that next room. And so on. You can build on it.

This text is just one post in my blog. It appears to me that I have touched something important here and we can propably think about these matters in some other posts also. Some things like how can you get so much valuable information from games and how can you even make gaming from your hobby to a profession. I’d like to write more about game designing and eSports. I think there are many valuable things here and that gaming can be more than a simple way to pass time and it can bring you valuable things.

Getting your old PS3 racing wheel and pedals to work with PS4

I had an issue with my old Logitech G27 racing wheel and pedals. I couldn’t get them to work on my PS4. Originally G27 works with PS3 and PC. I was a bit sad as I thought I’d have to spend hundreds of euros to buy a new product. It didn’t make any sense to me. I was glad to find a solution to my problem.

And the solution was simple. I found a company called Brook. It had a “Super Converter”. It actually had many kinds of converters, but I was interested in this PS3-to-PS4 functionality. It was hard to find, but finally I managed to succeed in my search. I found the piece needed and made my order.

This product is actually called, or named or whatever, Brook Game Controller Super Converter. Its main function is to transform any PS3 controllers, joysticks or steering wheels output to match PS4s. Don’t ask me so much about the technological side of this issue. Though I can tell you that I had to update this devices firmware to the latest. You can find this software from Brooks website. Basically you just plug the converter to a PC and run the update process. Once that is trough you can just plug the thing to your PS4 and plug your PS3 device to the USB block. So it’s easy to use and even more eaasier if you have some tecnical experience with PC and embedded software installations.

This product works nice. And it wasn’t so badly priced if the other option would be to buy a new steering wheel. Since my G27 is in great conditon, working nice and I’m very satisfied with it, I’m not going to buy a new one. There seems to be some problems with consoles not being compatible with each other. This is understandable when considering Xbox and PlayStation but I can’t understand why it isn’t possible to play PS4 with my PS3 controller or steering wheel. As we have seen USB devices being compatible I don’t understand the reason why Sony would want its users to not be able to do this. That would make gamers happier and maybe make their life a little easier. Money might be the reason. I had to pay about 80 € for this converter. But now I’m happy and able to play Dirt Rally 1 and 2.0 and maybe even pursue a career as eSports driver. Everything seems to be possible!

All in all this situation is not nice. You have a device that’s not working right. You do have a solution for this. You just have to pay some very clever electronics and/or software engineer working at Brook some money-money to clear this issue. It would be nice to have some standards, but you’ll find your way to solve this issue. And I’m glad to bring this answer to you and write a post to this blog.

What to expect from PS5?

Sony is releasing their next gaming console, PS5, some day later this year. It contains very fast SSD hard drive that has capacity of 825 GB. Although this is much more than PS4 had when it was released this brings to mind that you may havet to upgrade the hard drive to install more games.

When PS4 was released it had 500 GB of hard disk space. Many users upgraded their disks to for example 2 TB which makes it four times bigger. If you install games that take 50 GB space each you have room for ten games. So after upgrading you have space for 40 games. There will probably be also external hard drives available to purchase.

How powerful is this device going to be? For optical media it has a newer before seen format, in gaming, that is Ultra HD Blu-ray and one disc has more capacity than one PS4s Blu-ray. CPU included is 8-core AMD Zen 2 with variable frequency. PS5 has 16 GB of GDDR6 SDRAM and Custom AMD RDNA 2 as a graphics processing unit. It is clear that you could build more powerful personal computer but PS5s price is still not yet certain.

What about games? Will PS5 have games that are not released on any other competing gaming platforms? These PS5 games are already confirmed: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Watch Dogs: Legion, Gods and Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Outriders and Godfall (which is the first game released on PS5).

We are waiting and already there has been a decrease in sales of PS4 and Xbox One systems as people are saving their money to the next generation of gaming consoles. Also backwards compatibility will include most of PS4 games. We are not going to see PS5 to support earlier consoles games which is a little bit sad.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial