Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:19 pm

Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:40 pm

For a long time, I have been using an Ouya as my emulation console.

I've been very pleased with it for the most part, but the N64 is a little slow and the menu system is annoying.

I am impressed with the Raspberry Pi 3 and Retropie. I looked at Retropie a few years ago, but it wasn't quite ready at that point in time and I went for the Ouya.

I have installed Retropie on an old PC to try it out using this tutorial:
https://github.com/retropie/retropie-se ... x86-Flavor

I think it is awesome - definitely better than the Ouya in appearance and ease of use - even my five year old daughter can navigate the menus easily, which she couldn't really do on the Ouya.

I have a couple of questions before I pull the trigger on a Pi 3 though:

1. What is N64 performance like?
I'm running Retropie on a PC at the moment, and I thus have no real idea what the same setup will be like on the Pi 3.
I'm sure it can run most emulators just fine, but the N64 is a tricky one.
I understand that N64 emulation is imperfect on any machine, but I'm hoping it will be better than it is on the Ouya, which can be quite choppy sometimes.
Bonus points if you have played Perfect Dark on both an Ouya and a Pi 3 with Retropie.

2. Once you have everything set up, does it stay that way?
I like messing with computers, but not on a retro gaming console. I understand that there will be some setup involved, but I'd really like to just forget about it afterwards and enjoy playing games on it.
Does it have any irritating habits or quirks like forgetting controller configurations, giving problems with pairing etc?

3. How many different controllers can you use with it before it starts going nuts?
Ideally, I'd like to use wireless PS3 controllers most of the time, but also have the ability to use USB replicas of NES, SNES, and (dare I say it?) N64 controllers sometimes with the appropriate emulators.
Will it freak out if I try to teach it all of these different controllers, or if all of them are not connected at all times?
Will I be able to hotplug controllers at will and have them just work?

4. On the PC version that I am currently playing around with, the Amstrad CPC emulator doesn't work properly.
Attempting to quit brings up a menu (which resembles the Hatari Atari ST emulator one), and a huge mouse pointer, which won't move.
This isn't the end of the world on the PC, because I can just ctrl-alt-del out of it and then log back in, but I doubt that would work on the Pi.
This is quite important to me, as I briefly had a CPC464 when I was a kid, and there are a couple of games I would love to be able to play.
Talking of which...

5. Why no BBC Micro emulator?
The Pi is even gets its model designations from the Beeb, so it seems ironic that there is no BBC emulator.
There is a guide to adding on here:
but if you read down all the way, you will see that there are several pretty significant problems.
Has anyone got it to work satisfactorily?
If it had a BBC emulator on it, I would already have ordered a Pi 3, and would be waiting by my mailbox clutching a pre-flashed SD card :D

Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:21 am

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:18 am

There are other boards more capable of emulating 90's consoles.
I have tried N64 and only really got mario kart to work with a few controllers. Other games just struggle even with an overclock. The resolution of the monitor/tv also plays a big role.

I have never heard of BBC.. sorry

In my attempts to build an emulation station on the raspberry pi so that i could sell it.. I have found that it is false advertising to say it can play PSX, N64, Dreamcast. Anything before those consoles works well enough.

thats just my 2 cents. I have ordered an odroid C2 to see if it will play more games and I have heard the odroid xu4 is also good.

Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:42 pm

I have Nostalgia installed on my OUYA for an emulator front end.
I use the default n64 emulator also.
I think the only game with issues is yoshi's island from what I remember.

Even smash bros with hi-res textures works pretty good on my ouya if I keep it at 640x480.
Even at that lower resolution it looks good on my 720p plasma.

heck super mario 64 runs on a standard dual core android stick just fine.
I think emulation on android is just better.
I assume it's because of the video drivers.

I haven't tried n64 on RPI's though.
I mainly do mame and snes/genesis/c64/nes on my RPI's.

Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:52 pm

That's weird - I have seen videos of PSX and N64 working great on the Pi 3.

N64 emulation doesn't really run perfectly on any system, but I'm hoping performance on the Pi 3 will be better than it was on the Ouya, which was a bit choppy at times.

I got it running really well on retropie when I installed it on a pc, but that's completely different hardware so it's not really a fair comparison.

I sold my Ouya to fund the Pi 3, so I hope it works better!

Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:53 am

I just watched a load of videos on YouTube of N64 emulation on the Pi 3.
It appears that there are some very optimistic people contributing to the compatibility lists for Retropie/Pi 3.

The videos tell a different story. Games that are marked 'playable' on the compatibility list are still horrifically choppy.

The Ouya was choppy too, which is why I intended to 'upgrade' to the Pi3.

I have sent an RMA request to the seller, and when my Pi arrives tomorrow, I'll ship it right back.

The PC that I was using to test Retropie runs those same games flawlessly, even the Goldeneye 'gun barrel sequence' runs smoothly with no choppiness.
I don't even have to try different emulators or settings, the stock N64 emulator has played everything I have thrown at it with aplomb - turns out it just needed sufficient processing power.

I have realized that the perfect solution had been staring me in the face the whole time - Retropie on my old small form factor PC.

I'm sad that the Pi isn't quite up to snuff yet, but I'm sure the Pi 4 or 5 will have enough power, so I'm going to bide my time.

Posts: 469
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:58 pm

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:09 am

About BBC Mirco emulation, just install RISC OS, setup a 50Hz videomode in config.txt, and use this:


Good luck telling from a real BBC Micro machine...

Also, with this:

you can run A LOT of Acorn Archimedes (26-bit BBC Micro successor) games in a semi-native way. No tearing, perfect scrolls in the games that had it. Quite an awesome experience, nothing to do with other solutions/emulation.

Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:40 am

Re: Pi 3 & Retropie vs Ouya for Emulation. Honest Opinions?

Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:26 pm

the thing with using youtube videos and compatibility lists to judge the pi3's n64 videos is:
1) who knows what setup they're using (overclock, etc)
2) pi n64 development is in huge flux right now. literally by the day things change. i would tell anyone who's interested in setting it up to wait for a few months whilst the emulators are stabilized and the optimisation has tailed off.

i anticipate almost every n64 game to be at, or close to full speed, at native resolution, but it's work-in-progress right now. it's pretty close now, if you build something by source. see https://github.com/loganmc10/GLupeN64 and https://github.com/gonetz/GLideN64

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