How 3D Printing Can Put Ultimate Creativity and Fun in Your Life Through Your Favorite Retro Game Consoles

Disclaimer: When 3D Printing retro game consoles, be careful to not violate any copyright laws and always utilise the mechanics of these devices at your own risk.

We live in a unique time in history. We live in an age where you can have groceries delivered to your home within just a few hours of ordering and practically an entire lifetime can go by while we are endlessly surfing the web. So much information, fun, and entertainment is great, but where did it all start. When did we first begin immersing ourselves in a virtual world? Truth be told, it all started with gaming.

If you grew up in the late 70s or early 80s, you had an Atari or Nintendo game console. These devices we our initial introduction into a technology driven world. If you still have one of these devices, you best hang onto it. An original Nintendo can sell for hundreds, or even thousands, depending on the collector and condition of the console. People pay additional fees for these games, not for the overall graphics quality, but for the nostalgia of the whole experience.

The average kid could spend hours playing Duck Hunt, Mario, or in the earliest years, Pong. We drove our parents crazy with blips and blurp sounds while we remained glued to those screens. Although we may state that kids today are different and always stuck to their phones, we were the first generation to be mesmerised by the wonder of play on our analog television screens. If you want to relive those spectacular years or would like to introduce your kids to such amazement, 3D Printing can help you do it.

3D Printing retro game

The Original Atari originally released in 1972.

How Expensive is It

When you begin talking about 3D Printing your own retro game console, the thought of costs may come up. However, when you begin researching how much you will spend purchasing an original device plus the cost and overall rarity of games, you will quickly realise that the 3D Printed version will be far less expensive. For the cost of filament, a Raspberry Pi, and an inexpensive computer board, you can relive the days of retro gaming once more without breaking the bank.

Raspberry Pi

The first thing you will have to figure out is which Raspberry Pi to invest in. There are many versions and although you will be making a retro device, the latest Raspberry Pi 4 Model has thus far proven to be the best option for this type of build. It maintains wireless connection, Bluetooth, and even dual band Wi-Fi. For this device, you will have to provide a high quality power supply.

Essentially, the Raspberry Pi in question will require a simply micro USB with an output of 2.5A for adequate power. However, remember to invest strongly in this area as not all micro USBs provide adequate power. The more powerful and reliable one you can acquire, the better and more glitch free, your final product will be.

Storage Needs

You may be used to more modern game devices that have intense graphics and games that take up gigabytes of space. Remember, back in the day when these retro games were introduced, storage capacity was remarkably limited and game consoles rarely had any internal memory at all. Therefore, games were much smaller. The Raspberry Pi 4 will not come with its own internal storage device. You will have to supply your own SD card to make up for the lack of storage. A 32GB SD card can be purchased practically anywhere and will provide plenty of space to produce all of those wonderful retro games you have been missing.

The Casing

Game consoles have always had their own distinct look. Whether a boxy style, as with original consoles, or a more slender, curvy variety as featured in today’s consoles, the point of the casing is not merely to look good but provide protection for the interior components. When 3D Printing your retro game console, keep this aspect well in mind. Your Raspberry Pi needs a case to keep it protected. Purchasing a general case is an option, but if you are going to build a retro gaming device, why not 3D Print the casing as well.

Companies such as Thingsverse have an array of models to choose from to help your retro game console look completely authentic, but you do not have to simply download a generic program. You can opt to design your own. If you have ever wanted a specific color or design to the exterior to your console, now is the time to take advantage of it. Design everything to make it uniquely your own with the help of your very own 3D Printer.

3D Print retro

Retro style 3D Printed Nintendo Casing for your nostalgia fix.

Controller Needs

A controller is an essential thing for gaming. Game controllers have evolved considerably over the past 30 years or so. No longer are we tethered to the device by a cord. However, these older style games just seem to be a bit more fun when using an old school style controller. Due to the Raspberry Pi’s wireless capabilities, a standard Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller will work. You may also want to have a regular keyboard on hand as well to ensure easy navigation of menus within your 3D Printed retro game console. For those that desire a truly old school experience, there are many options for purchasing your controller such as 8Bitdo and Retro-bit.

The OS System

All of this equipment will help you look like you have a 3D Printed retro gaming device, but without a quality OS system in place, it is little more than a box and controller. The OS system helps it function as a gaming device and Retro Pie is the place to make it all come together. Retro Pie offers a wide range of options you can download to make your 3D Printed game console all it can be. Configuration needs, tools, games, and practically everything to make your gaming system functional is found at Retro Pie.

What About Coding

Retro Pie has made it remarkably easy to make your very own 3D Printed retro game console. Unlike manufacturing the original game, there is virtually no need for additional coding. However, if you are an expert coder or have a background at all in coding, it is not difficult to retrofit the game to your specifications. This is where you can completely produce a new retro game yourself or modify an existing game to your desires. Change out characters, put in new levels, or just make new challenges for the character. The possibilities are truly endless.

Do I Need Special Licensing?

This is where 3D Printing your own retro game console can become a bit tricky. You may not need a license to produce a console to the specification of the original device for personal use. However, should you decide to sell these devices for profit, you can potentially run into legal trouble. Each manufactured game console is licensed to the company, so if you do not have written permission from the company directly giving you license to distribute, do not sell your 3D Printed retro game console.

Uses for 3D Printed Retro Game Consoles

For the vast majority of individuals, they will make and use their 3D Printed game console in their own home. These devices can bring a family together or be a fun time for your crew wishing to relive the glory days of old school gaming. Here are some more uses for these remarkable devices.

Help with Dexterity

Gaming is a unique entity and where our parents may have initially thought we would all lose our minds playing these games for hours on end, the opposite has actually occurred. Old school games were designed for fun, but also promoted dexterity and focus. If you have a person in your life that could use a bit of help in these areas, a 3D Printed retro game console can significantly help without breaking your bank account.

Christmas Gifts

Many people are turning to homemade Christmas gifts as a means to make the holiday feel a little brighter and mean a bit more. Others may be giving away hand-made scarfs and sweaters, but you can be the bright and shining star on Christmas morning by giving those you love something to play with. Yes, it technically still falls into the homemade Christmas gift model.

Birthday Presents

We all have that one kid in our lives that seem to have everything. It can be increasingly difficult to find just the right present for this individual, but with a 3D Printed retro game console, you can give them a customised game, provided you can code, along with a fun place to play it on.

3D Printers have given us much in the past few decades. They have delighted and encouraged ultimate creativity. For those looking for something a little different, a 3D Printed retro game console is the perfect option. Expand your mind and find the joy in life once again by taking your gaming old school with your very own 3D Printed retro game console.

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