Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The World's Most Expensive Arcade Emulator?

At least one of the three heads of xena, the warrior system now has multiple purposes (for a sufficiently loose definition of purpose).

Last year, I put RetroPie (a wrapper for MAME, the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator) on a dedicated Raspberry Pi 3B+, and DOSBox (a game oriented MS-DOS emulator) on a spare Raspberry Pi 4B.  (They could not share the same machine because RetroPie needs an older OS version, but the newer faster Raspberry Pi 4B needs a newer OS.) The MAME host was fine, and the DOSBox host worked reasonably well but was running flat out with newer games. 

I love Raspberry Pi units for their low power consumption, which is why I run a use one for our router and two others to run emulated IBM mainframes on them 24x7.  But none of those units clutter my office desk; the two game emulator hosts sit mostly powered off right under my nose.

xena is also on the KVM at my desk, but while she's physically huge she is completely out of the way under the desk.  When running Ubuntu Linux, she supports both RetroPie and DOSBox, and while she is ten years older than the Raspberry Pi units, she was built for top of the line performance, not cheap efficiency. That means that even today she can handle MAME more easily than any Raspberry Pi.

So yesterday both RetroPie and DOSBox got migrated to xena, freeing the two Raspberry Pi units for other nefarious purposes away from my desk. xena has purpose!