The Raspberry Pi 3 is an excellent base for retro gaming projects. With its speedy 1.2 GHz processor and wireless networking, you can set up a console in your front room and bounce ROMs to it from another computer.
Retro gaming consoles need a controller – arcade games are little fun to play with a keyboard and mouse. And if you’re building a retro games console, this Wireless USB Game Controller (£14, The PiHut) is a great companion device.
The style will be familiar to Sony gamers. To our eyes, it’s based on the PlayStation Dual Shock from the PlayStation One days. It features a D-pad, four buttons, two analogue control sticks, and four trigger buttons. In the middle are Select, Start, Analog, and a mysterious Turbo button.
All of this is powered by three AAA batteries, which we find easier than charging up via a USB cable. On the rear of the device is an on/off switch that is used to connect and disconnect from the Raspberry Pi.
The feature we like most is the 2.4 GHz Wireless USB receiver dongle. Instead of going through the awkward Bluetooth pairing process, you plug in the USB dongle, and it connects straight away.
We tested it with RetroPie and are pleased to report that it worked first time without any issues. As soon as we booted into RetroPie, the Wireless USB Game Controller appeared as a device, enabling us to assign buttons to controls. You will find a RetroPie video installation guide here.
During a game test, we found the Wireless USB Game Controller comfortable to hold and perfectly fine to use. It’s not quite up there with the original Dual Shock, but it’s not far off, and better than most third-party controllers.
You can also use the Wireless USB Game Controller to control robots – we looked at building a Remote Control Robot in The MagPi issue 51.
One of the best games controllers we’ve found. Works right out of the box and is a comfortable, professional, and slick piece of kit. A perfect companion for retro gaming.