What is R-Kade Zero?
R-Kade Zero is one of the smallest and minimalist gaming controllers around. If you add a tiny Raspberry Pi Zero and a case and you've built yourself a tiny video gaming platform.
The central idea to this is an interchangeable gaming controller gives the player a choice for their favourite style of play. You can choose from a single joystick and 4 control button experience or go with a two joystick experience as an alternative. There's even a classic D-Pad design lined up as a stretch goal.
R-Kade Zero + Raspberry Pi Zero = Tiny Video Gaming System
Games, games and games
The key to any gaming console is video games and lots of them. You can design your own video games using Scratch or Python or if playing games is your thing there's no shortage of great video gaming emulators that will run on the Raspberry Pi. With so many different video gaming emulators for the Raspberry Pi (and Raspberry Pi Zero) there's no shortage of classic and awesome video games waiting to be played:
- Want to write you own games, there's Scratch and Python
- Arcade games, no problem there's emulators for the classic stand up's.
- Console Video Games, yeap, there's emulators for them too.
- Retro Home Computers, sure there's emulators for them as well.
The Development Process
The R-Kade development process has been an exciting adventure since 2012 when the arrival of the first Raspberry Pi board sparked an idea and made it a reality.
The first R-Kade took shape in late 2012 and was built in early 2013. It was a classic arcade cabinet shape only shrinked to be down to a desktop size. It made its world debut at Maker Faire UK in 2013. Since then it has appeared at every Maker Faire UK since, as well as various Mini Maker Faire's around the country and numerous other maker events.
Honey I shrunk the desktop arcade...
Even through the first R-Kade was small-ish by full sized arcade cabinet standards, it was still a heavy and bulky thing to carry (more like lug) around. So plans we're made to shrink it again. So early in 2015, a new design based on a smaller LCD display was made. When the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced its official 7" display the design was updated to use this and desk top arcade was shrunk into a mini arcade, the R-Kade Mini.
A change of plans...
So far so good, then the Raspberry Pi Foundation did something that made us change our plans. When out of no where it announced the Raspberry Pi Zero.
The newest and smallest Raspberry Pi Zero is just perfect to be made into an Arcade/Video Game Console platform. The R-Kade Mini Arcade is still here but we couldn't resist the prospect of making something evening smaller with the Zero.
So here we are: R-Kade Zero
R-Kade Zero JS/4 - One Joystick, 4 Control Buttons
- Joystick x1
- Joystick Button x1
- Buttons x4
R-Kade Zero 2STIK - Two Joysticks
- Joystick x2
- Joystick Button x2
Prototyping R-Kade Zero was quick and easy as we have various joysticks and switches in our project boxes from previous arcade projects. As well as those parts we also had a couple of PCB modules with joystick and buttons lying around so they were put into service as well.
Once we were happy with the prototype, two PCB (printed circuit boards) were designed, one with a single joystick and 4 control button which we called JS/4 and a second with just two joysticks which we called 2STIKS. Yeah we know pretty original names (or perhaps not). We had PCB's made from these designs and they are the actual ones used in the various pictures.
We also made a "slice" case to accompany the PCB's. This was laser cut at "Maker Space" our local maker community.
So far, we got RetroPie / EmulationStation working on the prototype and we are busy testing PiPlay and PES.
If soldering isn't your thing, then grab yourself an Early Bird assembled unit:
Finally: DOUBLE POINTS
There will no video games included with R-Kade-Zero. You will be responsible for any games.
We will include those video game emulators where their license permits us to. This includes popular emulators, such as Mame and AdvMame which were made FSF-approved open source software in the recent announced on 4 March 2016,
For those emulators we can't include because of their license arrangements. We will have guides and instructions for how you can install those popular video gaming emulators and front ends.
Kickstarter's, we need your support:
We have successfully created and tested R-Kade Zero prototypes but now we need your support to begin production and to help us deliver this amazing gaming experience to the masses. Please support our campaign.
You can help us share R-Kade Zero with other retro gamers out there:
Our first stretch goal is for £32,768
DPAD - A classic controller for the best video game console experience. Looking to recapture the best game play from the classic console video games then DPAD is the controller for it.
Please help us achieve this stretch goal.
All copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade dress, product names and logos appearing in the video and photos are the property of their respective owners.
Risks and challenges
Our initial concerns was the availability of the Raspberry Pi Zero but we've had some great news:
Production of the Raspberry Pi Zero has been ramped up to 50,000 a month. More Details here:
“I placed another 150,000 POs [production orders] – well, a pair of POs, a 50K and a 100K – in the last couple of days,” Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Eben Upton explained during an interview in early February. “It’d be good to get to a point where we’re doing at least 50,000 a month for Zero. I think we could do 50,000 a month on Zero pretty comfortably.”Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (48 days)