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Arcade-style Defender Gaming Console Powered by Raspberry Pi

December 31, 2015

This was a project I began about nine months ago. The objective was to create a wireless arcade-style gaming console for my dad's favorite arcade game, Defender. My dad has regaled stories of going to the arcade everyday after school and dumping quarters into the machines. Aside from pinball, my dad's favorite arcade game was the legendary white-ROM version of Defender; you know the game, you shoot down alien ships while avoiding enemy fire, and also rescuing abducted humans which look like little pixel-sticks. My dad and I have a shared passion for electronics and gaming, so this project is definitely a father-daughter bonding experience. This project is still underway, but I am documenting the progress here in the hopes that anyone else looking to work through something similar can use my experience as a guideline.

 

 

 

The present status of the project

 

Currently, the defender control panel has been built and the buttons and joystick wired and properly mapped. The gaming console has been modeled after the original Defender console, but two separate overlays have been created to play Asteroids and [OTHER GAME NAME HERE]. My father, who is an electrical engineer (and much better at soldering than me) connected the physical arcade controls to a [INSERT MODULE NAME HERE] which essentially transforms an analog map of controls to a digital one. See photos of the game console below.

 

The software to run the arcade emulation is operational and is installed on a Raspberry Pi 2. The software currently works with the control board (or a keyboard) to play the arcade style games while connected to a monitor via HDMI. An on-off switch has been added to the Raspberry Pi along with safe-shutdown software which prevents data-loss or corruption when the switch is turned off as long as the Raspberry Pi is still connected to the power source.

 

Presently, the project has achieved all objectives with the exception of the wireless requirement. There are two wires currently constraining the control board: one wire to the power supply for the control panel/ raspberry pi, and one wire for the HDMI display. With the help of my father, I selected an uninterruptible power supply. The benefit of such a power supply, is that it can be integrated with software on the Raspberry Pi to seamlessly switch from wired or large battery reserve to this battery backup which will initiate a safe shutdown of the Raspberry Pi.

 

The next challenges will require sourcing an adequate primary rechargable battery supply and accompanying battery life display on the console, as well as wireless display transmission. 

 

This will be updated as continuing progress is made. A detailed instruction of how to reconstruct this project will be detailed below. If you have questions or comments please leave them on the post below.

 

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