UPDATE 2021/06/30: This whole procedure is now super simple if you go the EmuELEC way following this guide: https://retrogamecorps.com/2020/11/12/guide-pico-8-on-retro-handhelds/#EmuELEC It’s basically just to put the pico-8 in a specific folder, and any roms (unless you just use splore) in another.

Last weekend I built the ODROID-GO Advance Black Edition with my daughter. (Apart from re-experiencing my childhood’s Commodore 64 an Amiga games,) One of our goals was to run PICO-8, the great little fantasy console, on it. That seemed possible, given that it shares a similar CPU to the Raspberry PIs – where it runs great.

However, it was not that easy to get it up and running. Here’s what worked, but first, what didn’t…

Official image

First we installed the official image from HardKernel on it. But alas, no luck getting things to run properly.


Next up was EmuELEC. There we managed to get PICO-8 to run in all it’s 8-bit glory! But! Controls didn’t work when launching from EmulationStation… What worked though, was to go to bash mode, ssh in from another device and launch joy2key.py and then PICO-8… What also worked was to plug an external controller into the device before launching PICO-8 from EmulationStation… This made me suspect that PICO-8 didn’t have the right SDL joystick config file. I couldn’t find the config for this new odroid online, but! I found this forum post on batocera linux: https://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=193&t=37256&start=800#p295789


So, I installed batocera and followed the steps outlined in the link above. Basically:

  1. Create folder /userdata/roms/pico-8 (for the carts)
  2. Create folder /userdata/bios/pico-8 and extract the contents of the Raspberry Pi version of PICO-8 here. (As of this writing: pico-8_0.2.0i_raspi.zip)
  3. Make pico8_dyn executable by ssh’ing into the odroid and running:

    chmod a+x /userdata/bios/pico-8/pico8_dyn  
  4. Create a file called pico-8.sh in /userdata/roms/ports with the following bash script in it:
    /userdata/bios/pico-8/pico8_dyn -splore -home /userdata/bios/pico-8 -root_path /userdata/roms/pico-8 -joystick 0  
    This makes Batocera’s emulation station add pico-8 to the “Ports” part of the launcher.


  5. PICO-8 still wouldn’t get signals from the controller, so we need add this to /userdata/bios/pico-8/sdl_controllers.txt:
    // add SDL2 game controller mappings to this file  

    This is a slight adaptation of the config outlined in the forum post mentioned above – to handle the extra buttons on the BE version of the Odroid-GO Advance. Basically it seems that the two new trigger buttons has, bizarrely, gotten codes that used to be taken by up and down (‘b6’ and ‘b7’) – even though the ID of the controller has been kept the same… (To make the UI of Batocera work properly you need to do a similar remapping there… and that is actually how I found the proper button numbers – from the config file resulting from remapping the buttons.)

So, there goes. PICO-8 on a handheld device.