Price: $251.08 at Pimoroni
Retro gaming on the Raspberry Pi is a go-to project for most new makers. It’s easy to install RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi but the real fun comes with all of the add-ons. This kit from Pimoroni includes much more than Pi and controllers—it’s a full-blown arcade cabinet complete with a 10-inch LCD display, buttons, and a joystick for that classic arcade experience. We reviewed the Picade kit in the past and still stand by it as one of the best Pi kits around for new and experienced makers alike.
Price: $145.20 at Pimoroni
The Pi Zero M.A.R.S. (Mobile Autonomous Robotic System) Rover Robot kit from 4tronix is modeled after the Curiosity and Mars rovers created by NASA that currently reside on the next planet over. You can use a Raspberry Pi Zero or a micro:bit with this kit, neither of which are included with this kit, unfortunately. However, you do get everything else you need to build the robotic rover including the wheels, custom frame and PCBs, as well as a variety of components ranging from motors and servos to an ultrasonic sensor.
Price: $23.29 by Pimoroni
The Keybow Kit 3-key edition is a tad smaller than the regular Keybow and is more affordable in comparison. It comes with a custom PCB supporting RGB-illuminated keys with hot-swappable switches. The keycaps are clear, so the LEDs can shine through. This edition is for the clicky-switch version, but there is another edition available with more quiet keys. It connects to machines via Micro-USB and functions as an HID.
Price: $299.99 at Amazon
Snagging a Raspberry Pi alone isn’t enough to get started with most projects. You’ll at the very least need a power cable and a microSD card. This kit from GeeekPi has gone up in price recently but at least contains everything you need to get the beefiest Pi on the market along with critical accessories.
The kit comes with an 8 GB Raspberry Pi 4B, a black ABS case, a power supply, fan for cooling (somewhat of a must with the Pi 4 as it tends to run hot), a 64GB microSD card and a 4K HDMI cable.
Price: $130.99 at Amazon
This kit from SunFounder includes over 300 components to get you started with tinkering on the Raspberry Pi. In addition to the provided huge supply of modules and sensors, you also get a kit to create a robotic car complete with a camera module and distance sensors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a Pi, but you get everything else you need to start programming and get your project ideas off the ground as a new maker.
Price: $77.63 at the Pi Hut
Like we said before, retro gaming on the Raspberry Pi is huge—but what if you don’t want to create an arcade cabinet? In that case, you’ll need something a little more low profile, like this Raspberry Pi 4B retro gaming kit available at The Pi Hut.
It comes with a Raspberry Pi 4B, a power adapter, a case, two retro gaming controllers, an HDMI cable, and a microSD card. You’ll need to provide your own games if you want to play anything, but if you’re not sure how to do that—we’ve got you covered with a guide on where to find free ROMs. The kit sells out frequently, so check back often to wait for it to come back in stock.
Price: $32.99 at Amazon
This electronic clock kit from Waveshare uses the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. It comes with a custom PCB made just for the Pico and features an RTC module for keeping track of the time even when it’s unplugged. It has a matrix of LEDs on the front for displaying the time, but also has indicators for the date, temperature, and more.
It’s programmed using C++ and can be customized with additional features, including an alarm feature that triggers its built-in buzzer module. Check out our Pico Clock review to get a closer look at this kit.
Price: $49.95 at Adafruit
It wouldn’t be a Raspberry Pi kit list without at least one kit from Adafruit. The MacroPad RP2040 is a popular choice for makers that want to create a custom Pi-powered keypad.
It comes with an original PCB fitted with an RP2040 processor featuring a matrix of 3 x 4 keys that support MX-compatible switches. Users can program RGB LEDs that illuminate behind each key thanks to its clear keycaps. The MacroPad RP2040 also has a potentiometer at the top that can be programmed with custom effects as well.
Price: $24.95 at Adafruit
This matrix kit from Adafruit comes with a custom PCB designed for any Pi from the Pi Zero up to the Pi 4B. You will need to supply your own Pi; however, the kit includes an original HAT PCB, a 2 x 20 female socket connector, a 2-pin terminal block and a 2 x 8 IDC socket connector.
The PCB features onboard level shifters as well as a DS1307 RTC module. Users will need a CR1220 coin cell to use the RTC module, as the kit does not come with one to make shipping easier. This RGB Matrix HAT is compatible with 16 x 32, 32 x 32, 32 x 64, and 64 x 64 sized matrices that use HUB75 connections.
Price: $89.99 at Amazon
If you want an all-in-one retro gaming kit for the Pi that’s low profile, you’ve got to check out this PiStation case from RetroFlag. This kit doesn’t come with a Pi and is only designed for the Pi 4B. However, you do get a snazzy case that looks like the original PlayStation that has a custom PCB inside for routing ports to the exterior of the case for things like HDMI support and USB controllers.
We had the opportunity to review the kit and really appreciated it as not just a mini PlayStation emulation platform, but also a general retro gaming system. While we recommend the edition that comes with an LCD panel, there is a cheaper one available that comes without the screen. Both are admirable additions to the retrogaming market and definitely worth looking at whether you grew up with the PS1 or not.