Ultimate Retro gaming setup on Nvidia Shield with Arc Browser
After literally years of striving for the ultimate Retro gaming setup in my lounge, I have finally managed it!
For those looking for a way to display their retro games in a beautiful, arcade style browser – original cover art – with links to Retroachievements.org (more on that later) … I highly recommend using a combination of RetroArch and Arc Browser on an Nvidia Shield.
In the past I have tried various setups, numerous emulators and every frontend available – but I now have something which is close to being perfect.
I have ‘fiddled’ with RetroArch in the past, and found it a bit cumbersome, overly complicated and a bit frustrating. But things have since changed! In it’s latest format, it is a breeze to use. Just keep in mind you will need the right emulator bios in the ‘system’ folder… and make sure the first thing you do is set a main menu hotkey in the control settings panel! And for the easily confused – “cores” are “emulators”! Visit the Retroarch homepage here!
I was first put off by the price on Google Play. There are lots of cheaper alternatives, along with a good many free frontends. But since I wasn’t 100% satisfied with any of the rest, I decided to shell out my hard earned money and see what all the fuss was about. I was glad I did. With the new ‘Arcade view’ and being able to view your retro achievements on the game cover screen – along with compatibility for almost every emulator out there – Arc Browser is truly a retro gamer’s dream. Read more about Arc Browser here.
Spectrum Emulation…with pokes!
When I first booted it up, I was a bit disappointed find one of my favourite emulators (Spectacol (by Bogdan Vatra) – one of the only ZX emulators which supports pokes – and spectrum gaming just isn’t spectrum gaming without pokes) wasn’t supported. I sent an email to the developer, more out of hope than expectation, and he replied the very same day – saying the emulator was no supported. You can’t get any better support that that!
I know have all my spectrum games with original cover art and Arcade view on my big screen TV. Pokes are easy to enter, and the emulator is also linked to World of Spectrum – so you can download new games at the touch of a button! It’s a retro gaming miracle!
BTW, if you love Spectrum games, as I do, please check out this — the dizzy games, ranked from best to worst!
And the cherry on top… finally decent Amiga emulation!
I have been battling with Amiga emulation since Noah was a boy… and it’s been incredibly hard work. That’s why it’s so satisfying to finally get it working on my big screen lounge TV – using my wireless Nvidia Shield controller. Imagine – I can now play Alien Breed 3D, Ruff n Tumble and New Zealand Story from the comfort of my sofa!
Thanks to the new RetroArch Amiga core “PUAE” – emulating Amiga CD32 is simply a case of loading the core and pointing Retroarch to your folder with your ISOs (or zips). And what’s best… PUA even supports WHDLoad – which, if you know anything about Amiga emulation at all, is absolute gold. I was expecting the setup to be a nightmare, in the past I’ve had to draw up a seperate config file for each seperate game. NO MORE! Simply put all your WHDLoad zip files in one folder, and point RetroArch in the right direction. (Don’t forget to make sure all your kickstart roms are in the RetroArch system folder!)
Then, add the Amiga as a new system on ArcBrowser (you can add the Amiga CD32 as a separate system)… and ArcBrowser will then scan your files and, as long as they are named correctly, will download the cover art and screenshots for you. Wallah!
Being an avid Retro-gamer, I’m kind of late to the part with Retroachievements.org, only finding out about them through Arc Browser. But what a find! If one was needed, I now have a new reason to tackle my favourite games, this time competing against other retro gamers!
Take one of my favourite games for example, Banjo Kazooie. Here’s the page on retroachievements. As you can see, a wide variety of achievements are available, which, when completed, appear in-game just like with a modern game. Your progress is even recorded in Arc-Browser, you can see what achievements have been completed, and which ones are still to be done.
One gripe is that they still don’t support Amiga or Spectrum games (my two favourite retro consoles as you can tell). Imagine competing against others in Jet Set Willy. It really does add a new layer to retro gaming.
So there you have it, thanks to these apps and the work of some fantastic developers, I now have the ultimate retro gaming setup. I just need the ultimate girlfriend now to bring me a cup of tea whilst I play some Silkworm!
P.S – You can buy and Nvidia Shield from Amazon (natch!). Comes with a fancy gaming controller, too!
(The Goblin & Sausage does not condone illegal downloading of roms!)