One of the best aspects of the game play in the Grand Theft Auto video game series is the radio that plays while you’re driving. Even going back to the very first top-down Grand Theft Auto title, the in-game drive time radio stations played an entertaining combination of satirical social commentary and popular music. Redditor Ryancey didn’t want that to be limited to the game play, so he built a dedicated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas radio.
Ryancey started with what appears to be a beautiful TO100 portable radio built by French company Optalix in the mid-’70s. The TO100 is a work of art in it’s own right, and any retro tech enthusiast would be happy to get their hands on one. But, Ryancey wasn’t just looking for a pretty radio, he wanted something that could play his favorite Grand Theft Auto radio stations. To make that possible, he turned to everyone’s favorite single-board computer: the Raspberry Pi.
Rockstar, the publisher of the Grand Theft Auto video game series, has graciously made the radio soundtracks available to download as MP3s. So, playing them on a Raspberry Pi is as easy as playing any other music. But, Ryancey wanted to simulate the experience of tuning into a real radio station. So, he used two potentiometers — one for volume, and one for tuning — to recreate that experience with some Python code running on the Raspberry Pi. That makes it feel like you’re actually living in San Andreas when you turn on the radio.
If you want to create your own, Ryancey has even provided the code to get it working!