Recalbox RGB JAMMA Brings Retro Arcade Hardware to the Raspberry Pi

Recalbox RGB JAMMA
(Image credit: Recalbox)

Recalbox, the popular open-source retro gaming OS announces version 9.1 of the OS and Recalbox RGB JAMMA, a means to use period-accurate arcade hardware with the Raspberry Pi via its GPIO.

Recalbox RGB JAMMA

JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machine and Marketing Association) was the de facto specification for arcade cabinets. Many cabinets used the specification, which meant that owners could easily swap out games without rewiring a cabinet.

Recalbox RGB JAMMA is a plug and play board that connects to the Raspberry Pi using the GPIO. The board is slightly larger than the Raspberry Pi 4, which means it is not a true HAT (the HAT standard was created to define the size and basic electronics of an add-on). Once connected to the Pi, the JAMMA interface sticks out of the side, enabling the user to connect their JAMMA harness (a collection of wires for video, inputs and general configuration) and get their game on.

Coupled with Recalbox 9.1, RGB JAMMA enables the use of period accurate inputs and ensuring that it uses the correct display mode, giving the player a massive dose of nostalgia. 

This isn't a retail product just yet, rather it is being crowdfunded with pledges starting from €60 (approximately $65). At the time of writing it is at 713% of its target with 23 days remaining. Units should be in eager hands from October 2023.

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.

Recalbox RGB JAMMA - Key points

  • ZERO CONFIG: you plug, you play
  • 15kHz pixel + frequency perfect: display rigorously identical to the original arcade game
  • < 0.5ms input lag: the lowest input lag ever recorded
  • 3/6-button mode: original or modified JAMMA compatible
  • KickHarness CPS1: the most widely used kick harness
  • Mono 15 Watts amp: send mono sound to the JAMMA
  • MONO/STEREO switch or stereo on an external amp
  • JACK output
  • Raspberry Pi 4/400/3 compatible
  • TATE MODE : vertical mode support
  • 40mm fan slot
  • Hotkey Patterns (multiple functions on one button, such as quit, credit, menu)
  • Voltage Barrier: 5v/12v compatible corner/service/test buttons
  • Resin case (optional)
  • OLED display of video signal frequency/resolution (optional)
  • Automatic launch of the game of your choice at start-up for a dedicated terminal

Recalbox 9.1 Pulstar

Recalbox 9.1, codenamed "Pulstar" has a series of updates, along with support for the RGB JAMMA board. Support has been added for retro gaming handhelds from Anbernic, popular alternatives to Raspberry Pi DIY handhelds. Talking of which, support has now been added for Experimental Pi's PiBoy XRS, a Raspberry Pi powered Nintendo Game Boy facsimile. This new release also provides a new image for the original Raspberry Pi Zero, and the GPICase2W (my personal retro gaming rig), another Game Boy shell compatible with the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

Recallbox 9.1 can be downloaded free of charge via the Recalbox website.

  • Add support for Anbernic rg353m, rg353p, rg353v
  • Add support for PiBoy XRS
  • Add TATE mode support for HDMI, CRT and handhelds
  • Add start a game from savestate menu
  • Add support for Super Game Boy games
  • Add new core for Philips CDI (libretro samecdi, for PC only)
  • New image for RPIZero (first one) and GPiCase2W
  • Add missing joystick support on GPi Cases
Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".