Giving life to an old laptop. Recalbox – Part 1

Posted by in Operating Systems

This is the story of an old laptop that I had left at home, and that was forgotten, as new computers and laptops arrived home. And so, the years went by, until one day, looking for something different, I discovered that there are specific Linux distributions for gaming old games. . To be direct, today I must write about Recalbox, an special Linux distro based to play with old games, and also Kodi. As always, do not forget to colaborate with this blog with a small donation.

Related to the first topic, old games, I did know something, because back in the 80s I had an MSX computer that the wise men brought me, and where I spent a los of hours in front of a computer, even programming games in BASIC (od times!!).

What is recalbox

Recalbox is a free and open source Linux distribution dedicated to re-play a variety of videogame consoles. But it also includes Kodi, a software media player and entertainment hub.

I think that the description of the distribution makes clear that you are mounting a Linux for playing old games, such as Pac-Man, Tetris, Mario Bros, …. and more titles that you could find in the 80s.

Preparing the USB for recalbox

Preparing the USB for loading Recalbox is very easy, if you follow the steps shown on their web page. When you get into the download page, it recommends to use etcher.io for the creation. If you don’t feel like installing the program, you can use a portable version as well (for Windows 7 or more). The creation of the USB is simple: select thte image downloaded, select the USB o SD, and … wait a few minutes!

Preparing for USB

in my case, I downloaded the PC version because I will be using an old laptop, but there are several versions, depending in what system you will be using it: raspberri, or x64 PC, or 32x PC, … In any case, select the correct image and you’re done!

Next image warns you that the process have finished!

Loading Recalbox

This process has no problem at all, because the only thing you need to do it to be able to load from the USB in your computer.

When you boot from your USB, you will see something like this menu:

Grub de Recalbox

Here you can see in the next images my old lapton using Recalbox.

TYou must be careful the first time the USB starts, because you can notice that it takes some time, and it is true becuase some things must be configured (internally), and later on, the start is faster.

Iniciando Recalbox

Well… wait a little more and, you can see the main menu:

Recalbox funcionando

Recalbox has a wide variety of old consoles, such as Commodore, Amstrad, GameBox, PlayStation, MAME, …. lots of different consoles, if you liked your past.

In the default image you download, there is a few games and only a few consoles are available, but I am pretty sure that you won’t have any problem in getting access to new games and roms, where you only need to include them in their right directory.

If you have a console controller out there, no matter the type, but that can be connected to the computer (or Raspberry) via USB, you can use it (in fact, it sure is more comfortable for you than using the keyboard).

As additional notes to this first part, comment that you can find online Recalbox images of different sizes 16 Gb, or 32 Gb, or 64 or even more), with many games already preloaded simply when mounting the image.

Additionally, I was lucky to find a Telegram chat (and a channel) where they have some images prepared with a multitude of games, you can even download the EmulationStation so you don’t have to prepare anything, from a Windows 7 or higher.

I still have several things to learn, but it is important that you configure the Wi-Fi options to allow you to load games over the network, either connecting from a browser with which you share a network, or using an FTP file transfer manager.

Retropie

But recalbox is not the onlt available option. There is anocher distribution called retropie, similar, with which you can share roms, games. But I bet for Recalbox because it includes Kodi.

And that’s all for now, in this first part!