Custom virtual pinball machine packs Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 and a full PC

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Wim Dewijngaert)

The Raspberry Pi has become deeply intertwined with custom gaming rigs over the last decade. Whether you're looking to emulate systems on the Pi itself or using it in tandem with other boards, there's no shortage of possibilities when it comes to what you can do to create the gaming machine of your dreams and no one knows that better than Wim Dewijngaert. If you're a fan of pinball, you've got to check out this incredible table top virtual mini pinball machine Dewijngaert built with his father and a Raspberry Pi Pico type board.

We reached out to Dewijngaert who explained that the plan was to create a smaller version of a virtual pinball machine they had created in the past. However, this project would need to be smaller and easier to transport without compromising any of the features. Dewijngaert's virtual pinball machine is decked out to the nines with support for force feedback, nudging and LEDs controlled by the pinball's activity.

The main board driving the pinball machine is an AsRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX fitted with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600G CPU. The Ryzen chip has onboard AMD Radeon graphics, rather than a dedicated GPU, and is capable of outputting to five separate displays. The main screen for gameplay is a 24-inch Samsung T350 monitor.

In addition to the screens, there are a few WS2812B LED strips around the perimeter that rely on a Teensy 4.0 microcontroller using the OctoWS2811. The buttons are operated using an Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect module programmed using a custom sketch. This allows the buttons to act as USB input which makes it easier for the PC to read for input.

Dewijngaert confirmed that the machine is running Windows 10. To get the virtual pinball game to launch on start-up, Dewijngaert is using Instant Sheller, an application designed to let you customize the Windows Shell to a unique front end.

If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original thread shared to Reddit by Dewijngaert.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.