For many of us, the ubiquitous TI-83 graphing calculator was more than just a tool for math, it was also a gaming platform. The extremely popular TI-83 has been a requirement for high school math classes for years, and you could find one in virtually every teenager’s backpack for most of the last two decades. But, while a handful of simple TI-83 games got passed around between students, they weren’t exactly top quality offerings.
Luckily, we now have tiny computers in the form of Raspberry Pis, so you can up your covert gaming …game. Reddit user ecefour has put together a short guide and how they made this happen, and how you can to. The build is fairly straightforward on the surface: simply load a Raspberry Pi Zero W up with RetroPie, and shove it into a gutted TI-83.
Of course, there are a few additional details that make this project more interesting. To make it portable, ecefour used a 1200mAh LiPo battery from Adafruit, along with a charging board. A small sound card and speaker were added to get the retro video game audio we all love. And, a small 2.4” touch panel TFT LCD screen was used for full-color gaming (though it would be nice to see a better-fitting screen).
The best part is that the TI-83 buttons are wired to the Raspberry Pi, so using it looks natural. While we don’t condone gaming in class (study hard kids!), this is definitely a better way to do it then just playing the brickfall and breakout games that run on a normal TI-83. If you’re jonesing for some covert gaming, this is a fairly inexpensive project to consider.