Arcade cabinets are great. For many of us they bring back memories of a wasted youth pumping in coins for an endorphin hit of flashy graphics, joystick wiggling and button mashing. But what if your favorite games are text adventures like Zork, or Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy? Or you get your adrenaline rush from writing code in BASIC? Even Wordstar or DBASE II can get the blood pumping.
Well, recently Pimoroni relaunched their Picade cabinet, which is a desktop sized arcade cabinet designed to add a joystick, buttons, sound and screen to your Raspberry Pi to turn it in to a great little arcade emulator. Luckily, it can easily be turned in to a home for your RC2014!
So, the RC2014 is a great little computer. We all know that. However, to communicate with it, it is easiest to use the serial port and hook it up to a laptop or desktop PC. This makes detracts from the fact that it is small, portable and cheap as well as missing the point of running code on such a basic computer. So I’ve been looking for a solution to this.
Back when this was still running on a breadboard, I hooked up an Atmel ‘328 that was connected to a keyboard and 4 x 20 LCD display. It communicated with the RC2014 over the serial port and kind of worked ok, although 4 lines was very restrictive and the Atmel couldn’t really keep the screen running and listening at the same time. I have thought about using a ‘328 to drive a composite output, or maybe some kind of bigger LCD panel, but nothing really struck me as just right.
That is, until the kind people at Raspberry Pi released a cheap multifunction interface device a couple of weeks ago!