Raspberry Pi Retro Arcade using RetroPie (with NO programming) // How-To

Make your own retro Raspberry Pi Arcade!
For more info and a list of everything you’ll need visit

RetroPie linux distribution:


Want to support ILTMS? There are lots of ways .. find out more at



If you’ve been around my site for a while, this may look familiar. That’s because I’ve written blog posts, here and here, about this exact build. If you look at those, you’ll get a MUCH more in depth look at the process that I went through to make the original version of this Pi arcade.
I’m not one to repost content, but since I’m starting to move toward building the full size arcade cabinet, I thought it’d be good to make a video of this portion of the project, so that my newer audience members have the context.
While making this video, I actually found that the software that I use, RetroPie, has been updated and SIGNIFICANTLY improved! It’s fantastic !! Kudos to those guys for making a really stellar package that is free for anyone to use!!! Since I made my original version, the controller board, IPAC2, has also been updated. The newer version has some new options, and looks pretty great, although I have no real reason to replace mine.
Obviously, this one isn’t much to look at. It’s just a prototype to explain how the controls go together and will be put into a much better package (and wired in a nicer way) in the final arcade cabinet.

Here’s what you’ll need:
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)

– IPAC controller
– Raspberry Pi
– 8GB Micro SD card
– Female wire connectors
– Hook up wire
– Arcade LED Buttons
– Joystick
– Wire Stripper
– Wifi USB Adapter
– Power adapter (for Raspberry Pi)
– Silhouette Portrait
– Transfer paper
– Black vinyl

You’ll need a control board like this IPAC-2.
Also, a Raspberry Pi and a small SD card.
Using free software, add the disk image to the SD card, in one simple step.
Plug in the SD card, HDMI cable, USB keyboard and power to the Raspberry Pi.
It will boot right up and be ready to play with the keyboard.
Add your own games by putting them on a thumb drive and plugging it in.
The system will automatically add them.
I made button designs in Adobe Illustrator.
Then cut them out, in vinyl, on a craft cutting machine (Silhouette Portrait).
Cut and apply a piece of transfer paper over the vinyl.
Roughly cut out each individual sticker.
Take apart a button by twisting the switch.
Peel the back, apply the sticker to the button, and peel the front off.
It will leave behind the cut out shape.
Make a wiring daisy chain with one female plug per button.
Make three daisy chains in red, black, and green.
Make a single wire, with female plug, for each button.
Layout your control board (this was a very rough prototype).
Drill holes for each button and joystick.
Add a simple frame to lift it off the table.
Screw in the joysticks from the back side.
Drop in buttons from the front.
Screw on rings from the back to hold buttons in place.
Attach wires as shown on each button.
Also add wires to the joysticks (no LED = no red & black daisy chain)
Wire the joysticks and all buttons to relevant terminal on IPAC.
Attach the end of the green daisy chain to the ground terminal.
Daisy chain the right sides of each button (red) and the left sides (black).
Wire the ends of the daisy chains to a 12v power supply.
Plug it in for light up buttons!
Plug in IPAC to the Raspberry Pi (via USB).
PLAY AWESOME GAMES FOR HOURS!!! Second channel: bit.ly/iltms-2


27 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Retro Arcade using RetroPie (with NO programming) // How-To”

  1. how does everyone get 1,000+ games on the retro pi in such a short amount of time because I don't wont to download 1,000 roms manually can anyone help plz

  2. Hi, I have a question in regards to the TAB button. When I configure the imput with the board IPAC 2, it appears as a Keyboard. Scrolling down I cannot find any letter for the TAB button. How I can do it? Thanks

  3. I am confused on how you put the games on the pi. Do you have to download them all separately and move them to the USB drive the plug in and pi does the rest?

  4. Can someone go a little more into detail on how to set up the raspberry? Which app is he talking about? I’m stuck on this step 😞 I already made the board and everything

  5. Hi! Thanks for your video, I have one question, I can't find the Ipac in my country, but we have Arduinos, can I replace that board with an Arduino Leonardo and simulate the key press with code?

  6. if you did a table arcade machine were its the screen is on face of the table, would it be the same steps electronically as this?

  7. Hello, I just received my joystick and push buttons in today from China and no instructions. Also of course they will not return my emails. The problem I have is that my illumination buttons have 4 connections and the kit came in with only 2 wires per button and none for the lights. The board also has a spot for only a 2 pin connection. Looks like none for the lights. Any ideas what I can do? Can I add extra wires for the lights. The button is ready but how would I power them? Any help would be great.

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