Game HAT with Raspberry Pi

Set up the Game HAT and 3D print a custom enclosure for it

Written By: Cherie Tan

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The Game HAT offers a simple, convenient and versatile way to turn your Raspberry Pi into a portable retro gaming console. 

In this guide, we'll show you how to quickly assemble it in ten steps. 

Complete this guide to play your favourite games on the go! 

Step 1 Overview

The Game HAT offers a simple, convenient and versatile way to turn your Raspberry Pi into a portable retro gaming console. Basically, it is a printed circuit board with speakers, buttons and a 3.5 inch IPS HDMI display soldered on to it. All you need to do is flash the image that Waveshare provides to your Raspberry Pi SD card, plug your Pi to the GPIO header on the back, connect the HDMI connector, carefully attach a 18650 battery into its slot, turn it on and voila - play your favourite games on the go! 
While there isn't a d-pad, there is an analog stick and two shoulder buttons which is more than enough to play literally thousands of retro games on it.
It comes in one colour (sleek black) and you can always customise it to your heart's content. We've even 3D-printed a custom enclosure for it and you can do the same with any PLA filament of your choice! 
The 3.5 inch IPS screen provides 480x320 of crisp resolution. Its full set of buttons and joystick controller, convenient battery charging circuitry so it can be powered from a 18650 lithium battery, an on-board speaker and earphone jack enables you to listen to nostalgic BGM tunes, and much more! 

Compatible with Raspberry Pi A+/B+/2B/3B/3B+ (Raspberry Pi Zero/Zero W/Zero WH requires another HDMI cable).

Step 2 Attach the Raspberry Pi to the Game HAT

First, plug the Raspberry Pi (in our case, we've used a Raspberry Pi 3B+) to the GPIO header found on the back of the Game HAT.

Step 3 Connect the HDMI connector

Next, connect the Raspberry Pi's HDMI port to the Game HAT's port with the HDMI connector.

Step 4 Attach 18650 battery

Take a look at the polarity markings found on the Game HAT printed circuit board. 
Carefully attach the 18650 battery into the Game HAT in the right polarity. Make sure '+' on the battery is attached to the same side as '+' on the battery holder, likewise for the '-' marking.

Step 5 Prepare microSD card

Flash the image onto the microSD card.
Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi.
Make sure the microSD card you are using has been fully formatted.
Download the provided Image found on the Waveshare wiki by clicking on Retropie for Pi 2/3B/3B+.

Step 6 Insert smaller standoffs to top

Assembling the black acrylic plates to the Game HAT is simple with the provided short and tall standoffs. First, insert the smaller standoffs into the Game HAT as shown.

Step 7 Attach taller standoffs to shorter standoffs

Then, simply screw the taller standoffs into the shorter standoffs.

Step 8 Connect screws to standoffs for front plate

Now attach the front acrylic plate onto the Game HAT.
Then secure it by attaching screws to the standoffs as shown.

Step 9 Connect back plate to game hat

Next, connect the back acrylic plate with the screws, likewise, attach screws to the standoffs. 

Step 10 Complete build

Finally, attach the momentary pushbutton caps onto the Game HAT and that's it! Power it on by flicking the switch on the top and play your favourite retro games on the go.