Building a Retro Arcade

Akshay Baweja
3 min readJan 15, 2018
The Arcade

While arcade emulators aren’t exactly unique, they’re tons of fun, and that essentially is what drove me and my friend Gursehaj to build one at Maker’s Asylum Delhi.

I teamed up with my friend Gursehaj, and showed up at the Asylum with a bag full of components. The heart of the machine is of course a Raspberry Pi, running an image of RetroPie. That particular combination lends great flexibility in terms of gameplay, by allowing multiple consoles to be emulated. We used the laser cutter at the Asylum to cut the plywood that was to be the housing for the electronics. Premankan designed the case while Utkarsh pieced it together. Meanwhile Gursehaj and I worked on the code, and getting the Pi to behave.

Testing PacMan with the designed controller

To make it look sleek, we painted the entire thing black, and added lights inside an 8-bit cutout on top. Of course you can’t have an arcade without the buttons and controllers, so we made a trip to Chandni Chowk to procure those as well.

Working on the Structure

A week of tinkering and tweaking later, we have a beautiful fully-functional retro arcade, and people have been going nuts over Mario & Donkey Kong (not that those are the only things you can play). The total cost came to about ₹ 6,200 (~$100), which includes the Raspberry Pi, the buttons & controllers, the plywood and the lights.

Woah! That worked.

We do have plans to keep adding to this arcade. Some of the ideas we’ve discussed, include:

  • External controller support
  • A phone charging station
  • Aux ports

So if you’re ever in the mood for some good old Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, drop by the Maker’s Asylum, Delhi and have a go at it.

Arcade at display at UA Festival held in Delhi



Akshay Baweja

A creative technologist interested in exploring non-screen based human computer interactions