I’ve been playing with Pico-8 a lot lately. I’ve got a small Pico-8 project site to launch soon, but in the mean time I’m more occupied with getting Pico-8 running on things.
Enter Raspberry Pi, and with it the Waveshare Game HAT – this is a nifty bit of kit. A screen, controls, and battery circuit that you just plug a Raspberry Pi in to, and voila you have a portable games console.
I’ve got mine set up with Retropie and this works with the Game HAT pretty much out of the box.
Here are the tweaks needed:
Configure the display in your
This seems to vary from one Game HAT to another (according to the Retropie forum) but I found that the following config lines worked when added to the end of the
framebuffer_width=512 framebuffer_height=384 hdmi_group=2 hdmi_mode=87 hdmi_cvt=512 384 60
Configure the buttons
The buttons on the Game HAT will work if you install the
mk_arcade_joystick_rpi driver in
~/RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh and then edit
/etc/modprobe.d/mk_arcade_joystick_rpi.conf to contain:
options mk_arcade_joystick_rpi map=5 gpio=5,6,13,19,21,4,26,12,23,20,16,18
This is straight-forward. First you download the Raspberry Pi zip from your Pico-8 downloads page, extract it to your home directory, and install
# get Pico-8 $ cd $ wget <your url to pico-8_0.1.11g_raspi.zip> $ unzip pico-8_0.1.11g_raspi.zip # install wiringpi $ sudo apt install wiringpi
Boot to Pico-8 (and Retropie while holding L)
There are all sorts of approaches that people have detailed elsewhere online to launch Pico-8 from the Retropie launcher, but I prefer the approach of configuring this install to be Pico-8 first, and then Retropie only if we’re holding the
L shoulder button at boot. This took some fiddling, but it’s quite elegant:
First, edit your
/etc/profile.d/10-retropie.sh, you can do this over
ssh and run
sudo nano /etc/profile.d/10-retropie.sh. Replace the contents with this:
# launch our autostart apps (if we are on the correct tty) if [ "`tty`" = "/dev/tty1" ] && [ "$USER" = "pi" ]; then # if holding L shoulder button, start retropie if [[ "$(gpio -g read 23)" = "0" ]]; then bash "/opt/retropie/configs/all/autostart.sh" else # otherwise start pico8 by default /home/pi/pico-8/pico8 -height 320 -width 480 -splore && sudo reboot fi fi
We’re using the
gpio command from
wiringpi to check the value of GPIO pin 23 (
L shoulder button on the Game HAT). If it’s
0 (pressed) we launch the usual Retropie
autostart.sh, otherwise we default to running Pico-8.
With the Pico-8 command, I’m specifying the output resolution and launching it with
-splore to give us a games menu. The
&& sudo reboot bit means that if you exit Pico-8 using the menu options, it will then reboot the Raspberry Pi so you can get back to Pico-8 or hold
L and start with Retropie.
And that’s it. If you want to make the most out of this you’ll need to have your Wi-fi configured in Retropie. There are loads of great games on Pico-8 to enjoy, and they all work really nicely with the Game HAT controls. If you plug a keyboard in you can even create your own games!