Play Arcade Games on a Simple Setup at 2021 (October)
You have the crave to play some quick arcade games, and you want to satisfy it when it comes without fussing with emulators, downloads etc.
Just setup a basic small arcade home environment which you can jump to whenever you feel the need.
Raspberry pie (the brains of the system)
SD card (storage of the OS + Roms)
USB cable (power for the RP [or use the RJ45 for POE if you use RP 4 or later])
LAN (rj45), keyboard - needed for first setup
Joystick of your choice (8bitdo?)
Supposing you have cables (hdmi, rj45, usb) lying around, and a screen to use as well as an SD card, then the only needed purchases are the actual raspberry pie and joystick, which don't accumulate to a lot of money.
Unless you want to emulate more modern systems (playstation 2 and up) then you can use a raspberry pie 3 (not even the plus version) and it will satisfy your needs without compromise.
Please note that I do recommend buying the RP 3+ as if you will need it for other projects later on then the plus has much better networking (much faster lan and wan) and the price difference is really minor.
I do recommend buying a case for the RP as well as a power cable (micro usb) with a switch so you will be able to shut down the RP without the need to disconnect it
The current software contenders are:
- Recalbox (All over winner)
- RetroPie (Winner in case of needed granular configuration)