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Raspberry Pi Arcade Cabinet Shines With Swappable Controllers

RetroDimSum's Revocade
(Image credit: RetroDimSum)

Homemade arcade machines are often a compromise, employing a gamepad or a stick-and-buttons arrangement that plays many games, but isn’t ideal for those that require steering wheels or weird trackball arrangements like Missile Command. A Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) by California company RetroDimSum (opens in new tab) and brought to our attention by Hackster (opens in new tab), however, aims to change all that, with a Raspberry Pi (opens in new tab)-powered emulation station with swappable controls.

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Called the Revocade, the controls attach using a USB port and four spring-loaded touchpoints. Two locking buttons hold it in place, and thanks to the USB interface, you can use the controllers on other platforms or connect your favorite arcade stick to the front of the machine.

Controllers include an arcade stick with six buttons, a racing wheel with a pedal, and a trackball and spinner for the likes of Breakout. Adding extra controller types is a future possibility, with light guns, flight sticks, and two-player arrangements mentioned. The decals on the front of the unit, shaped like a traditional arcade machine, are also customizable.

The Revocade's 17-in square IPS screen (1024x1024) means it's usable in both landscape and portrait orientations for those who like vertically scrolling shooters as well as beat 'em ups that scroll horizontally. Inside, you'll find a Raspberry Pi 4 (opens in new tab) with 4GB of RAM (although the creators are looking at sourcing other boards given that Pi 4s are particularly hard to get hold of (opens in new tab) right now). Unfortunately, there's no mention of what software it's running, but we'd be surprised if it wasn't RetroPie (opens in new tab). The creators also point out that, despite being advertised as running potentially 'thousands' of games, the machine doesn't come with any games or ROMs.

With 55 days to go, the campaign has raised almost $20,000 of its $200,000 target. Remember that crowdfunding a project is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment; you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product. 

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • King_V
    Ok, I have ZERO skill with building, but, this is something I'd thought about for some time, except for a full-sized arcade cabinet running an emulator.

    I often wondered why there couldn't be a setup where the panel with the controllers couldn't be swapped out to accommodate exactly the sorts of things that Revocade is doing here... done in a full-size, stand-up cabinet, that's exactly what I'd go for.
    Reply