How to turn a Raspberry Pi 4 into a game console

Assembling a computer to play or acquiring a gaming laptop ready for this pleasant activity can mean excessive spending for any pocket. The truth is that less than a thousand euros is not an amount that can pay for this project.

Use a Raspberry Pi 4 as a game console

That is why we present you with a very interesting alternative: the Raspberry Pi 4 mini computer, the latest version of this low-cost computer model, whose excellent processing power and performance have made it a bestseller. In addition, it supports 4K resolutions, has Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi and Ethernet network connectivity, USB ports, among other interesting features.

Its software component is another point in its favour, since it can work with Linux distributions from which it is possible to emulate retro consoles, RetroPie being one of the most outstanding, due to its ability to emulate the gaming environments of Nintendo GameBoy, PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, among many others.

Download games from Google Play on Raspberry Pi 4

It is even compatible with the Android TV platform. Indeed, your micro-SD card, the equivalent of a Windows or Mac computer’s internal hard drive, can host the Android TV system after a very simple installation process, which means that it is capable of running all existing titles on Android TV. the Google Play Store, including racing games, action games, strategy games, etc.

The recommended hardware configuration may vary depending on the demands to which the mini computer will be subjected. But with the Raspberry Pi 4 version that comes with 8GB of RAM, plus one or two additional micro-SD cards (around 20 euros) with at least 64GB of capacity on which to install alternative operating systems other than your system Raspberry OS (formerly Raspbian), may be more than enough.

In the case of installing the Android TV platform on the Raspberry Pi board and making it work as a TV Box in order to play TV games from the Google Play Store, it will also be necessary to have a Bluetooth game controller. A generic game control is enough, but with a PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller or its later version (DualSense for PS5) the experience will improve ostensibly.

Next, we show you how to configure the Raspberry board with the two alternatives mentioned above, that is, use it as a retro console or as an Android TV TV Box.

How to turn a Raspberry Pi 4 into a retro game console

For this, it is necessary to install the RetroPie distribution on the micro-SD card, and we will do this process from Windows.

Open your internet browser and go to the download page of the RetroPie distribution. Click the Raspberry Pi 4/400 button and wait for this image file to download.

Next, connect the micro-SD card to the computer’s card reader. Now, download and run the Balena Etcher tool. Once opened, this program burns the RetroPie image to the micro-SD card.

Safely remove the micro-SD card and place it on the Raspberry Pi board. Also connect USB game controllers and other USB peripherals that may be unplugged. Turn on the Raspberry and wait for the system to load. Then, proceed to configure it according to your preferences.

How to turn your Raspberry Pi into an Android game console

This procedure has been detailed in the following tutorial:

How to turn a Raspberry Pi 4 into a Android TV Box

It goes without saying that Android TV works quite smoothly on a Raspberry Pi 4, being able to run not only the games published in the official store, but also those that are distributed over the Internet in the form of APK files. To know how to install APK files on Android TV, check the following article:

How to install an APK on your Android TV using your smartphone

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