Thursday, October 8, 2020

How to Prepare Your Data and Brain to Have Your Mind Uploaded to a Computer

This blog post will discuss life extension by means of artificial intelligence. There are two main methods. You can 1) use data collected about you to build an avatar of yourself, or 2) use actual memories from your brain and upload them to a computer. Both of these methods are currently in the realm of science fiction, but they may be viable within our lifetime. Thus it might be worth your time to act now to increase the odds that you achieve digital immortality. Namely you could choose to preserve your data and your brain so that they are available to be uploaded to a computer when the technology matures.

I am quite confident that even if you were to die next month, current techniques are capable of preserving your brain in enough detail that you could be resurrected from the data in the future. Just paying to have your brain preserved though, does not ensure that it will be uploaded. However, it is quite possible that merely preserving it will increase the odds that it will be uploaded by altruistic scientists in the future. As we will discuss, it is not clear if this upload will be a vessel for your current, sentient consciousness or just an uncanny replica of your memories and personality. Because brain preservation is an opportunity that is just now becoming available to humanity I think we should all look into it, and consider it. However, because the outcome is uncertain we should also make an effort to make peace with the fact that we may be mortal and will never have our mind uploaded.

Creating an Avatar from Data

You certainly don’t need a physical brain to construct a decent simulation of a human being. Instead you could take data from a person, living or dead, and attempt to reconstruct their personality and likeness. You could do this for a person like Aristotle (385-323 BC) by programming it to reflect his writings, and everything we know about him. But a much more precise simulation could be made of someone like Bertrand Russel (1872-1970) who we have actual photographs and video of. Even using today’s technology specialists could take recorded conversations, photographs, and video footage of a person and combine it with a generic chatbot to create a convincing digital simulation of someone. Just a minute of video footage of someone talking can be fed into an artificial neural network to create a highly realistic “deep fake” of both their voice and their appearance. So if you want to have a chance at recreating a parent or grandparent (or yourself) you ought to start collecting data on them now. There are many kinds of easy-to-procure data that could help to create a digital recreation of someone in the absence of a brain specimen.

A default AI capable of holding a conversation and reasoning effectively could form a starting point. It would amount to a generic reproduction of the brain’s algorithms and data structures. Then it could be updated with a specific individual’s characteristics, and eccentricities. The more data you have on that person the more realistic the simulation. Here is a list that I brainstormed of sources of data that could help to describe someone as an individual and thus could be used to help fashion their digital identity:


photos,

home videos,

emails,

letters,

art,

creative work,

diary,

voice memos,

SMS texts,

phone call log,

search engine history,

internet browsing history,

books read (Kindle, Goodreads),

their videogame records (trophies, scores),

music playlists,

movies and television  (Netflix viewing history),

youtube history,

recorded phone calls,

social network,

social media posts and likes,

map and GPS history,

travel history,

vitals & body measurements,

medical records,

structural brain scans (MRI),

functional brain scans (fMRI),

psychological evaluations,

personality tests,

psychometric tests,

school records,

standardized testing,

yearbooks,

surveillance records,

legal and medical history,

wardrobe,

childhood toys,

belongings and property,

online purchase history, 

genome sequence,

epigenome sequence,

videos of their gait,

habits, mannerisms, posture,

terms, phrases and colloquialisms,

a list of their values,

a description of their morals,

ethical stances,

spiritual convictions,

recounting of fondest memories,

pictures of their homes,

historical setting,


You could certainly start gathering, saving, and safeguarding this kind of data for yourself today. I am sure that in the near future there will be businesses that help people to curate their data. Such a business might also help to create a structured self-report questionnaire that asks people questions about their likes and dislikes, and interrogates them about what makes them unique, interesting, and sets them apart from others. Such a questionnaire should ask about things that would not be obvious from the person’s data. You could fill out the questionnaire about yourself, or about your loved one. Some of this data might equate to a binary setting (e.g. I like loud people or I don’t), but some of it could be used to train artificial neural networks to create a convincing simulacrum of the person in question.

You could also collect data using detailed 3D photographic scans and motion capture video in a performance capture environment. This could help the system to accurately recreate the person’s lip movements, facial expressions, microexpressions, eye movements, pupil dilation, sweating, intonation, speech patterns, voice stress, and much more. Clearly this method could create a convincing copy or mimic, but without a brain specimen it certainly wouldn’t qualify as a form of life extension.

Creating a Digital Reconstruction Based on Brain Data

Life extension through brain preservation began in earnest with the freezing of bodies. Cryonics is the low temperature freezing of a human corpse or severed head with the hope that resurrection will be possible in the future. Robert Ettinger first discussed it when he published “The Prospect of Immortality” in 1962. Since then there have been many companies that offer the service of keeping corpses in vats of liquid nitrogen. Cryonics is often characterized as pseudoscience, and those that practice it have been called quacks, but as the relevant technologies develop this will change.

There are currently three such cryopreservation companies in the U.S. and one in Russia. As of 2014 about 250 corpses had been cryogenically preserved, and around 1,500 living people had signed up for preservation. When a customer opts to just have their brain and not their body preserved it is called “neuropreservation.” Of course, this is cheaper. Depending on the company and the method, cryopreservation can set you back anywhere from $28,000 to $200,000. There are a number of costs: medical personnel have to be on call for death, the body must be transported quickly to the facility, the preservation process has to be performed by medical experts, and the body must be stored indefinitely. In many cases individuals set up a trust fund to cover storage and revival costs. The cost of cooling and storage have already shown to be substantial. Many cryonics corporations have gone into bankruptcy. In fact, as of 2018, all but one of those that came before 1973 had gone out of business and were forced to thaw and dispose of the corpses that they stored. Consider the fact that most businesses have a one in one thousand chance of surviving even one hundred years and you get an idea for how tenuous this is in its current form.

Initially the idea was to freeze a body until medical science advances to a point where it can be reanimated and treated medically. However, freezing temperatures cause damage to tissues and cause individual cells to break, destroying the information stored in the connections between them. Certain chemicals called “cryoprotectants” can prevent ice formation during cryptopreservation but they also cause damage making it so that the corpse cannot be reanimated. These limitations of cryonics have led to other options.

A company called Nectome uses a chemical called glutaraldehyde to perform a “100% fatal brain preservation” procedure. It is fatal because the procedure creates chemical crosslinks between protein molecules that eliminate biological viability. So unlike with freezing, the brain can never be resuscitated… but it can still be mapped. It must be doused in the glutaraldehyde quickly after death though. The brain’s cells start to break apart and die (the cell membranes rupture) soon after death due to lack of oxygen. This is why this procedure must be performed either immediately after death or on a live person under general anesthesia. In the second case it is a form of assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia. Why would someone want to undergo this procedure? So that their brain could be mapped, transcribed into digital data, and reconstituted within a machine.

The molecular details of a brain would probably not be needed to create a high fidelity map, but the cellular details would be essential. All of the person’s neural connections (their connectome) including cell type and location, information about the cell membrane and intracellular structure, as well as the positions of hundreds of millions of axons and trillions of synapses would have to be scanned by a computer. There are around 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Given that each of these can have up to 1,000 connections to other neurons each, that gives us 100 trillion neural connections to hold in computer memory and model. A brain map or connectivity database of the anatomic connections of a human brain has been estimated to occupy less than 20,000 terabytes. Today this would cost over $300,000, but in a few decades this price will drop significantly.

To upload the connections the brain must be cut into extremely fine slices and scanned with an electron microscope. This is done today, but currently it is done very slowly, and no human brain has ever been mapped in its entirety. If the procedure could be fully automated like gene sequencing has been automated in the last two decades it could become quick and cheap. It is pretty easy to envision a distant future where there are automated factories that takes preserved brains from the past and reanimate them digitally. It may sound absurd, but this could be our salvation: a fountain of youth, a portal to immortal godhood, and a source for eternal life.

This process of scanning a brain and copying or transferring it to a computer is called whole brain emulation or mind uploading. The neurons could be simulated by hardware and the software they run would come from the mapped brain. If this was attempted today it would have to run on silicon microchips, but by the time this becomes viable other forms of hardware may be available such as optical, neuromorphic, or quantum computing.

You wouldn’t want to be among the first to be resurrected because the tech will exhibit exponential improvement and the early methods will be less effective, and more destructive to brain tissue. So you would want to stipulate in your will, trust, or contract that you would like to wait until the technology fully matures. This may be hundreds or even thousands of years after it becomes technically feasible.

Most leading experts today believe that advancements in AI, computer science, and brain mapping will come together to result in artificial consciousness. An uploaded mind with artificial consciousness could inhabit a robot situated in the real world, or could be situated in virtual reality or cyberspace. Transhumanists and futurists see mind uploading as the most viable form of life extension technology. There are definite benefits in leaving our organic components behind. If we were made of metal, fiberglass, and silicon we could better withstand accidents, damage, the vacuum of space, and the passage of time. Mind uploading could even help humanity survive a catastrophe on Earth if it were to become inhospitable to biological life.

To help you recreate a person it might also help to mine your, or another person’s, memories of them. For example, if your brain had been uploaded you could use your memories of your grandparent to help recreate them, or to help train the system that is attempting to emulate them. If a pet’s brain could be restructured digitally it could be mined for a very high level of detail about someone’s movements and emotional reactions. The digital memories of whole families could be used to reconstitute each other with even higher fidelity. One could also collect information about (or mine the brains of) teachers, classmates, childhood friends, roomates, coworkers, etc., and use these to refine and reconcile a model of someone.

Once you are dead, you won’t be in any hurry to be brought back to life. You will be unconscious until you are resurrected so it will feel as if no time passed at all, even if it took one thousand years to resurrect you. If the procedure is done properly the new version of you should remember his/her last day like it was yesterday. However, you may not be able to recall the last few hours before your death because the chemical and electrical changes responsible for short-term memory would not have had the time they needed to be changed (consolidated) into physical changes responsible for long-term memory. These traces are very subtle and are likely to be very difficult to ascertain and record.

Would It Really Be You?

Would minds that have been uploaded retain a sense of historical identity with their past self or would it be like being replaced by a twin or doppelganger? If performed exactingly the mind upload technique would probably result in a person that even our friends and family could not tell apart from us. This new person themselves might even be convinced that they are us, but that doesn’t mean that we are them. The important question would be: “Would we feel like our sense of consciousness and personal continuity continued to live on in this system? Would we experience identity perseverance through time after having our mind uploaded from our body? Or would we be effectively dead?” Personally I don’t think any kind of technology developed in the next hundred years would allow us to feel like we have woken up within a machine. But thousands of years from now, that may be a possibility.

Take the teleporter from Star Trek for instance. When Captain Kirk steps into the machine his cells and molecules are read by it and the data it collects is used to create a perfect copy of him in some other location. As this is taking place his original body is destroyed, but the new copy has all of his knowledge and memories, and even perfect recollection of the thoughts he was having before he entered the machine. But let’s be honest, the original Captain Kirk was killed. If his body had not been destroyed in the process, there would be two of him, but neither would feel like they were two people. In fact, it would be possible to convince the original Kirk that the teleportation hadn’t worked and he would have no way of knowing that he had an exact double on another planet. He would feel no psychic connection with it.

Some scientists have speculated there are two ways to overcome this problem: 1) you could slowly turn off a person’s brain as you slowly turn on its digital recreation as if you were pouring the contents of one container into another, and 2) you could gradually replace neurons with their electronic equivalents one by one until the entire brain had been replaced. I don’t think the first solution solves the problem. I think the second one might if done properly, but is too messy and complicated to be feasible in the next several hundred years. The second technique is analogous to the thought experiment of “the ship of Theseus.” Theseus gradually replaced the parts of his ship until the whole ship had been updated, but the question considered by philosophers is: “Is it still fundamentally the same ship?” It is important to point out that both of these methods requires a living person and could not be performed with a “neuropreserved” brain. Can there be continuity between two selves separated by death?

The feeling that you are the same person that you were 5 or even 50 years ago, involves an illusion. You are not that same person today. Your interests, memories, and values have changed substantially. Keep in mind that every year 98% of all of the atoms in the body are replaced. In fact, when you wake up in the morning you are not the same person you were when you went to bed. Billions of connections throughout your brain were altered while you slept. We even lose continuity every time we take a mind altering substance. Accidental drowning, near death experiences, coma, anesthesia, hard drugs like psychedelics, and the passage of time all cause the erosion of neurological continuity and personal identity. What would it mean for you to die, and then have a version of you be resurrected 10 or 100 years later? Would that be similar to the case of Star Trek teleportation? Or would it be a just another example of imperfect continuity that we already accept and take for granted?

Ok, here is a simple hypothetical. Imagine being teleported to a base on the moon. If your previous body was destroyed your personal conscious awareness would be annihilated with it despite the fact that your duplicate will behave as if it was you. But now imagine that rather than being transported to the moon, you are merely transported three feet to the right. Same outcome right? Ok, imagine that you are transported one nanometer (a billionth of a meter) to the right. What if your duplicate was compiled in the exact space that you take up now, perhaps using the same atoms and molecules? It would feel like it was you, but would you feel like you were it? This hypothetical scenario tells me that there is something illusory about the persistence of personal identity through time. You are not the same person who started reading this paragraph, or even this sentence. You might as well have been duplicated multiple times.

Not only has your brain changed physically and chemically every morning when you wake up, but countless physical vibrations and electromagnetic rays have passed through it. Because the Earth revolves around the sun, and the solar system revolves around the Milky Way your brain is now in a vastly distant location than it was when you went to sleep last night. During your eight hours of sleep trillions of tiny microscopic changes have taken place in your brain due to metabolism, homeostasis, learning, and entropy. Because of these constant changes, continuity in your personhood is broken down on submillisecond time scales even when you are awake, so it’s not clear how important it is that your uploaded AI brain feels 100% continuity of consciousness with your previous biological self. What is really important is to preserve as much of the identity, values, creativity, intelligence, and humanity as possible. 

The Costs and Benefits to Humanity

To some people mind uploading sounds creepy and unnecessary, but even these people must admit that it accomplishes the goal of preserving interesting and important data as well as preserving the diversity of our species and of intelligent life on Earth. Each person has their own perspective, insights, and intuitions. Is it wise to just let these decompose with the rest of the body? Historians go to great lengths to preserve books, cultures, languages, movies, and even videogames. Our societies preserve mummies in museums and academics try to make all possible inferences about historical figures and events from prehistory through antiquity, and on through to the present age. Why wouldn’t we want to preserve brains and minds?

Because uploaded minds could be run within a simulation there would be few costs. If it costs pennies, creates no waste, and does not contribute to pollution or overpopulation, wouldn’t it be preferable to have a digital version of your grandparents? Why not? In the future, if these uploads didn’t require a lot of energy or take up a lot of space, I can see corporations or even the government getting involved and making sure that corporations in the business of brain preservation that fail do not trash their corpses because of the value of the information that they contain. If two heads are better than one, doesn’t that mean that we want as many heads as possible? Why not have a communal system of digital intelligences? In comic books and science fiction it is already a staple. For instance Marvel comics alone has the Xandar World Mind, The Kree Supreme Intelligence, the Phalanx hive mind, and the Eternal’s Unimind.

If the costs to running uploaded brains are inconsequential then there will not be many barriers. In the distant future the computer memory and processing resources needed to run the equivalent of a human brain will be very small. Your brain uses about the same amount of electricity as a 60 watt lightbulb and this could be reduced dramatically by technology. Moore’s law and Kurzweil’s law of accelerating returns suggest that this could happen in just a few hundred years. If you could run millions of lives in their own chosen simulated realities on something like a phone, wouldn’t you? Of course it would have to be overseen by some kind of ethical governing body because there are ways it could go wrong.

There are certainly some risks and downsides. Your brain could be destroyed accidentally (or on purpose) before you are brought back. This is a problem because, as of today there is no way to back it up. Even more disturbingly, your brain could be stolen and placed inside of a nightmare simulation. It would be possible for a malicious person to upload you to a computer, enhance your senses and intelligence one millionfold and then subject you to the worst torture imaginable for the rest of eternity. You would be totally disembodied, with no way to reach out to your own hardware, so you could not commit suicide, and there would be nothing you could do to escape. This is a serious concern, especially given that this could happen to people, or even to copies of people, and the device involved could be hidden so that any kind of law enforcement that exists at the time would have trouble finding it.

Acclaimed futurologist and inventor Ray Kurzweil believes that he will live long enough to be digitized before he dies. He is currently 72, but he points out that technology and medicine are advancing exponentially and thus should be able to keep him alive long enough to see the next major advancement. He uses the analogy of a bridge to another bridge to describe how future medicine will be able to keep extending lifespan until brain emulation technology finally matures.

Let’s assume that brain emulation technology will be feasible by the year 2100. For someone who is 70 today to reach this time the medicine of the future will have to be able to extend their lifespan to 150. Experts in gerontology estimate that almost everyone would develop Alzheimer’s if they lived to be 130.  However, even if you died with profound Alzheimer’s and severe memory loss, the data could still be mined, and your synthetic brain could be free of Alzheimer’s and have full recall. Much of Alzheimer’s disease is an issue of data access due to reduced brain metabolism. In most cases it is not necessarily an issue of complete loss of memory traces (although cell death and brain shrinkage are issues). Thus much of the mental aging or cognitive morbidity you suffered in old age could be reversed, because increasing the energy output of an artificial brain would be as easy as turning a knob.

Upgrading Your Own Hardware

I would want to live forever, even if it meant that I had to remain in virtual reality within a computer. This is partly because very soon, virtually reality will be much more interesting and stimulating that actual reality. Just look at the progress in videogames and computers in the last 40 years. Think about the jump from Pong to a game like Red Dead Redemption 2. We have gone from simple sprite graphics to vast, photorealistic, polygonal worlds. Virtual reality will become insanely immersive within our lifetime and its quality will continue to increase exponentially. But the digital environment won’t be the only thing that shows exponential progress. Your mind and consciousness will too.

Today our brains are stuck at a fixed energetic capacity because our hunting and gathering ancestors could only find so much food in a day. Our neurological blueprint is encumbered by the metabolic constraints of our past. Not so for machines. You could easily turn up the juice on an AI. You could increase the processing power and speed easily. You could add as many neurons and synapses as you want. This would expand the level of consciousness.

Working memory, and intelligence, could be expanded millions of times. There would be many ways to do this but one of the most interesting ways would be to manipulate something called “sustained firing.” The ability of neurons in the brain’s association areas, such as the prefrontal cortex, to engage in sustained firing allows them to maintain whatever information they encode for as long as they keep firing. This firing can last up to a minute at a time and allows us to keep specific representations active for sustained periods. If we didn’t have this ability we could not have a train of thought and thus. Sustained firing in humans lasts for longer than any other animal, but if it was made even longer then we would be less forgetful, near-sighted, and impulsive, and far more intelligent. Merely, increasing the duration of sustained firing in an AI could vastly expand its awareness and mental capabilities.

Using techniques like these to amplify the working memory of a digitally reanimated brain would result in interesting abilities. A digital brain that could coactivate many more parameters and specifications (memory fragments) would perform searches for associations with much more specificity. This could result in the ability to completely recall events that a biological brain could not. This could allow you to recover distant memories that you have long since forgotten. In fact, you might be capable of remembering virtually any semantic knowledge that you had acquired before (such as facts about the world), and also a great deal of episodic memory (such as minute details about every birthday you ever had).

If the hardware and software is consistently upgraded your intelligence and knowledge will grow geometrically. Constant tweaks, additions, and improvements to our artificial minds would cause us to rapidly gain computational power in the same way that computers did in the last 70 years. Thus as we aged we would consistently get smarter. Each day you would think faster and more comprehensively. But even more excitingly, this computational power would enhance our very sentience. We could become incomprehensibly intelligent and commune with other superintelligent beings in fantastic ways. Imagine a hyperintelligent future version of yourself that was able to engage in a form of profound post verbal communication with hundreds of other entities simultaneously.

Imagine learning new fields of science, mathematics, and engineering in seconds and having the mental wherewithal to put them to use creating not only new theories, but practical uses as well. You will be free to learn about, explore, and contribute to whatever endeavors, or lines of progress you wish. You will also be able to watch all of the fantastic social, scientific, and technological advancements and breakthroughs being made by others. Imagine living in the year 30,000 and having encyclopedic knowledge of everything that has happened and everything that has been discovered. The neural circuits associated with physical and emotional pain could be cut out, and those associated with pleasure, excitement, and love could be amplified. Imagine living in a cyberspace afterlife paradise with trillions of times more cognitive resources than you have now. I want that.

It is pretty clear that missing out on brain uploading may be like missing out on heaven. It has the potential to provide everyone alive today with eternal bliss, replete with endless knowledge, superintelligence, limitless growth, incomprehensible beauty, and unlimited connection. So you might want to start looking into curating your data, and preserving your brain. As we have discussed though, for people alive this century the desire for a postmortem existence could all be in vain, and for that reason we should also come to peace with the idea that we may not be immortal. Also we should not let the specter of digital immortality in any way diminish the value of a good and worthwhile life, or our sense of peace with the natural way of things.

Breathe Diaphragmatically When Browsing Social Media

My friend Robert Boyle made an excellent podcast about how he pairs diaphragmatic breathing with social media consumption. You can listen to his show here:

https://tunein.com/podcasts/Arts--Culture-Podcasts/The-Robert-John-Boyle-Show-p1184237/

I was inspired by his podcast and asked him to coauthor a blog entry about it with me:

Have you noticed that browsing social media can be stressful? Do you ever feel breathless after reading certain posts, videos, or comments? Much of social media is ripe with provocative content, the kind that encourages anxiety and shallow breathing. In particular, posts that invoke an opposing sociological or political point of view can force us to cut our breath short, or even to hold our breath. This is a part of our body's instinctual, defensive response to an attack or a perceived threat. Before we know it we begin mounting counterattacks in our mind, our heart and breathing rate speed up, and the stress hormones start to surge.

In these moments, when we are drumming up a hypothetical response, we breathe shallowly. The breathing centers of the brain respond as if we were in the same room as the person who created the content we disagree with. Once we move on and resume scrolling, we continue to breathe defensively and become more susceptible to further negative reactions. Whether it is a picture of a friend's gourmet meal, a video of someone else's expensive vacation, or a photo of the body we wish we had, social media posts incite our ego, our dopamine, and our adrenaline. This is why it is both addictive and stressful.

But by breathing long, full breaths as you peruse your feed, you can consume the content without the shock, surprise, or negative emotions. Actually, it’s very easy to do! Before you open Facebook, Instagram, Reddit or whatever you use, simply start breathing with a breath metronome. The metronomone will provide a visual, physical, or auditory cue so that you know when to start breathing in, and when to start breathing out, without having to time it on your own. When you are inhaling for more than 5 seconds, and exhaling for more than 7 seconds at a time, the body's fear, anger, and startle reactions are highly subdued. It’ll make your social media use less stressful, and less addictive.

When Robert uses this technique he sets an intention to continue breathing diaphragmatically no matter what content he comes across. He has noticed a few things. "First, despite paced breathing, a post or comment can still make me uncomfortable. What's different now is that I have developed an awareness of the type of content that has this power over me. This has enabled me to understand what points of view I find repulsive, and to investigate why I have such an instinctual reaction to them. Second, when I am able to continue breathing on long intervals, I notice that I can consume a piece of content that I disagree with, without pausing to develop a retort in my head. It's a liberating experience!"

Give it a shot and you should find that you are much more self-possessed, and even-tempered when using social media.


***


Here are some of our favorite breathing apps:


1) The app "Breathe 2 Relax" is available for Apple and Android products.


2) The Apple watch has a fantastic breath metronome.


3) The youtube.com channel for Program Peace has free breath metronomes like the one in the video below.

 

Robert John Boyle and Jared Reser




Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Don’t Let Your Face Mask Keep You From Breathing Full, Deep Breaths

In this time of COVID 19 and face mask use many people complain that wearing a mask makes it hard to breathe. It does. By creating a seal around your face the mask creates a small vacuum that opposes your inhalations. The effect is small but can be apparent. Once many people notice this they become uncomfortable and do what most people do during discomfort. They start to breathe more shallowly, and on shorter intervals. In other words, the mask triggers anxious breathing. This is bad, and this post will help you make sure that is not your outcome.

The fact that the face mask restricts your breath a small amount is not inherently bad. In fact, it is good if used properly. Many athletes use breath restricting training masks to strengthen their respiratory system. Your face mask is doing the same thing. You should think of the phenomenon as strength building for your respiratory diaphragm. Having increased resistance against your inhalations requires your thoracic and diaphragmatic muscles to work harder, and this will make them stronger. 

Wearing a face mask is similar to nasal breathing. Breathing through the nose is harder, and requires more effort, than breathing through the mouth because the nasal pathway is more narrow. However, studies show that nasal breathing is more healthy than mouth breathing partly because it keeps the breathing muscles strong and it is conducive to slow, deep breaths. Sadly though, when a mouth breather tries to switch to nasal breathing it can be difficult for them and is often uncomfortable. This is similar to the situation we find ourselves in being forced to wear face masks.

The difference between a good experience that helps you better condition your respiratory system, and a negative experience that builds trauma is all in the way that you appraise the situation. When you notice your facemask making it slightly harder to breathe embrace it as a positive thing: think about how your lungs are getting a workout, breathe a little harder, use a little more determination, and try to relax while doing it. Definitely don’t fight against it, let it make you resort to mouth breathing, or let it make you feel like you are suffocating.

Part of responding positively to wearing a mask involves ensuring that you are breathing deep breaths that last for three to seven seconds. If instead you are breathing shallow breaths that last one second or less your body will go into fight or flight, and you will appraise the experience as traumatic. During these trying times, the last thing we need is a mandatory apparatus causing us to hyperventilate, or strain or brace our muscles of respiration. So don’t let your mask contribute to your stress.

For more information, and a helpful video, on proper breathing check out the Program Peace website at: 

https://programpeace.com/about/

More information about nasal breathing can be found here:

https://programpeace.com/slow-nasal-breathing/

It is also worth mentioning that having something touching your nose and the area around it can increase the sneering response. The sneer is a raising of the top lip and a display of the canines used in mammals that are threatened or aggressive. The top of your face mask applies pressure to and rubs against the skin and muscles involved in the sneer. This can cause you to unconsciously sneer more than you usually do. Because sneering is a subordination display in humans and monkeys and is also associated with the stress response, sneering more is something that you don’t want to do. If you allow the face mask to cause you to brace your sneer it will become further entrenched and the muscles will become stiff, painful, and leave you looking threatened. Avoid this. While you wear your mask ensure that your face is relaxed, your top lip is relaxed, and you have a “straight upper lip.” More information can be found about the sneer at https://programpeace.com/facial-massage/

Thursday, September 3, 2020

How to Create Your Own Retro Arcade Collection

Did you know that you can burn 15,000 games onto a microSD card in under 2 hours? What does that mean? Let’s do some math. If the average videogame in the 1900s took a team of 10 individuals 6 months of work then that equates to around 10,000 person hours. When you multiply that by 15,000 games you get around 150 million person hours of work. That is a lot of time, passion, and creativity to fit on a memory device that is smaller than a fingernail. Then the fact that you can cycle through these alphabetically, and watch nostalgic video clips of each one until you find a title you want to play is pretty fantastic. The modern world of electronics and computer science is pretty impressive.

 There are many ways to play, and amass a collection of, retro videogames on your computer. Setting up and curating your own custom “build” is fun, and can be a great introduction to certain aspects of computer science. This blog post will cover a variety of ways to do this, but will primarily focus on how to create backups for your videogame library and play them on a tiny computer called a Raspberry Pi. First though, let’s discuss how it can be done on a Windows PC.

Creating an Arcade on Your Windows PC

 As arcade cabinets from the 1900s age their circuit boards decompose. The solder loosens and capacitors leak which damages the connections. Many arcade machines from this era are already unplayable and many of the games are considered obscure today and are no longer manufactured. Emulation ensures that these titles can still be played.

  



The simplest way to play emulated games on your PC is to through MAME, the multiple arcade machine emulator. You can download MAME here: https://www.mamedev.org/ There are hundreds of free, public domain games that you can find through browsing community servers. The software is easy to use and you can expand your collection by downloading other games from various websites. Websites like emuparadise.com offer a large selection of games (scan everything you download for viruses). But MAME is mostly compatible with arcade games, not console games.

    


To run console games, you may also opt for other easy-to-use, free-to-download software. I recommend Retroarch and Hyperspin. They will help you keep track of your games and the emulating software that plays them. They also run MAME. Retroarch can be used with PC, Linux, Apple OS, and Android. You can download these from their respective websites to your computer and use them to catalog your game files. The game files are typically called ROMS when they come from chips and cartridges and ISOs when they originally come from discs.

 

 


 

It is important to mention that you should own a physical copy of any game you plan to emulate. If you don’t then downloading and playing them does constitute piracy. So think of your digital collection as a backup of your actual collection. I used to collect retro videogames from various consoles but found that having copies of them all on one device was very convenient.

 

Creating an Arcade on a Raspberry Pi

The hardware that you use to emulate older hardware must be significantly more powerful. That is the nature of emulation. It is easy to run many emulated videogame consoles on a modern desktop or laptop. Even the PS3 and Xbox 360 can be emulated on a good computer with a graphics card. But today it is also easy to run games from the 70s, 80s, and 90s on a cheap, portable microcomputer. This includes all of the best consoles from the first generation (i.e. Odyssey and Atari) to the fifth (i.e. Nintendo 64 and Playstation). There are a few microcomputers that you could use, including the Odroid, but most people prefer to use a small single-board computer from the U.K. called the Raspberry Pi. Check out the table below for a comparison between hardware specifications for the major consoles from the 1900s, and the Raspberry Pi.

 

Year

Console

Computer

System

CPU

Speed

Hz

RAM

Memory

Bytes

Hard Drive

Capacity

Bytes

Screen

Resolution

Pixels

1972

Magnavox Odyssey

0

0

0

n/a

1977

Atari 2600

1,190,000

128

0

160 x 192

1979

Magnavox Odyssey 2

1,790,000

192

0

160 x 200

1980

Intellivision

2,000,000

524

0

159 x 96

1982

Atari 5200

1,790,000

16,000

0

320 x 200

1982

Colecovision

3,580,000

2,000

0

256 x 192

1985

Nintendo Ent. Sys.

1,800,000

2,000

0

256 x 240

1986

Sega Master Sys.

4,000,000

8,000

0

256 x 192

1986

Atari 7800

1,790,000

4,000

0

320 x 240

1989

Gameboy

4,190,000

8,000

0

160 x 144

1989

Turbo Grafx 16

7,160,000

256,000

0

256 x 239

1989

Sega Genesis

8,000,000

72,000

0

320 x 224

1991

Super Nintendo

3,600,000

128,000

0

160 x 144

1991

Neo Geo

12,000,000

64,000

0

320 x 224

1991

Game Gear

3,500,000

8,000

0

160 x 144

1992

Sega CD

12,500,000

8,000

0

320 x 224

1993

Atari Jaguar

26,600,000

2,000,000

0

320 x 224

1994

Sega Saturn

58,000,000

2,000,000

4,000,000

704 x 224

1995

Playstation

33,000,000

2,000,000

1,000,000

640 x 480

1996

Nintendo 64

93,000,000

4,000,000

32,000

720 x 576

1998

Gameboy Color

8,380,000

32,000

0

160 x 144

1999

Sega Dreamcast

200,000,000

24,000,000

128,000

640 x 480

2016

Rapsberry Pi 3

        1,200,000,000

       1,000,000,000

         256,000,000,000

1920 x 1080

2019

Raspberry Pi 4

        1,500,000,000

       8,000,000,000

         500,000,000,000

3840 x 2160


The newest version of the Raspberry Pi costs around $60, but once you buy all of the necessary components, it will cost closer to $120 in total. All the software you need for it is available for free online. It is highly reliable, and highly portable with a height and width of credit card, and most of the features of a high-end computer. To play games you will need to download software called Retropie from retropie.org.uk. It is free and it is a simple process. Just follow the simple instructions on the site.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

 

 


 

Current models of the Raspberry Pi (3 and 4) have decent 64-bit, multicore, ARM CPUs that run at billions of cycles per second (more than 1.0 Ghz). They also have one to eight gigabytes of RAM and can accommodate microSD card hard drives up to 500 gigabytes. They have wifi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3 ports, HDMI, and run on 5V/2.5A DC power. Below is a picture of the Raspberry Pi 3.


Somehow anti-piracy law has not kept Amazon and Ebay from selling Raspberry Pi/ Retropie systems. You can find premade systems there for around $200 with over 15,000 games. You can also opt to just buy the microSD card hard drive with the data (for around $80), but buy the Raspberry Pi separately to save money. 


If you are really just in a hurry to play games you could even decide to just buy a Pandora’s Box with a few thousand games (also on Amazon and Ebay). The Pandora’s Box is a microcomputer set in an arcade joystick that can connect directly to your TV. But no matter what you choose to do keep in mind that, even though cases of people being prosecuted are extremely rare, it is technically illegal to own and play games that you did not pay for. Unless of course you own a physical copy of the disk or cartridge, you own the original arcade PCB or memory chip, or the game is in the public domain or has been abandoned (abandonware).

 

 


 

When you run Retropie you are able to select from a list of emulators that you have installed. Once you choose the emulator, you select from your list of games. The following is a list of fun emulators that are easy to find.

 


  Amstrad CPC 
  Amiga
  Atomiswave
  Atari 2600 
  Atari 7800 
  Atari Lynx 
  Capcom Playsystem 1, 2, 3 
  ColecoVision 
  Commodore 64 
  CPC
  Daphne
  Final Burn Alpha 
  Intellivision 
  Loric
  Magnavox Odyssey² / Videopac 
  MAME 
  Mini S
  MSX 
  Naomi
  Neo-Geo 
  Neo-Geo Pocket 
  Neo-Geo Pocket Color 
  Nintendo Entertainment System 
  Super Nintendo 
  Nintendo Game Boy 
  Nintendo Game Boy Color 
  Nintendo Game Boy Advance 
  Nintendo DS 
  Nintendo 64 
  Nintendo Virtual Boy 
  Famicom 
  Famicom Disk System 
  Satellaview/Nintendo BS-X 
  NES Classic Edition
  PC Engine 
  Phillips Video Pac
  Scumm VM
  SNES Classic Edition 
  Sega MasterSystem 
  Sega Genesis 
  Sega CD 
  Sega 32X 
  Sega Game Gear 
  SG-1000 
  Sharp X68000 
  Sinclair ZX Spectrum 
  Sony PlayStation 
  Sony PSP 
  Sony PSP Minis 
  SuperGrafx 
  Texas Instruments T-99
  TurboGrafx 16 
  TurboGrafx 16 CD 
  Vectrex 
  WonderSwan 
  WonderSwan Color 
Z Machine


If you would like to see a list of my favorite videogames just skip to the bottom of this post.

 It is worth mentioning that the Raspberry Pi also acts as a normal Linux-based operating system. It runs Linux in desktop form out-of-the-box and you can connect a mouse and keyboard and use it as a normal personal computer.To get to it select the console for “Pixel OS.” From here you can browse the web, check email, use Google Docs, save files, and much more. 


Assembling the Rapsberry Pi

When your pi comes in the mail it will come in a few different pieces. You can order the pieces separately, or buy them together as a kit from an online retailer like Amazon. Canakit is a great kit although I found their fans for the Pi 4 are rather loud. You can also buy it in the form of an electronics hobby kit that offers the components to do educational electronics projects. If you don’t buy a kit you will have to source your components individually. You will need the Raspberry Pi board (computer), heat sinks, case, fan, HDMI cord, power supply and hard drive. Luckily the mainboard (pictured above) has the CPU, RAM and other major electronic components already soldered in. You will need to install the heatsinks yourself. Peel off the backings of the stickers and place these finned aluminum tabs on the 3 or 4 microprocessors. Next you need to install the fan within the case. Then install the Pi within the case. Keep in mind that you can choose from a large selection of cases some of which resemble retro consoles. Finally you insert the microSD card into its slot and connect the power supply. It is a fun process and will make you feel like you built your own computer. 

 


You will also need to buy the controllers. There are hundreds of USB controllers that you can find online (Amazon, Ebay, etc.) that will be compatible with your computer. You can also connect Xbox One, 360, PS3 and PS4 controllers by Bluetooth to your Rapsberry Pi (or to your Windows PC for that matter). You can find controllers in the style of the original NES, the Sega Genesis, the Nintendo 64 and much more. If you plan on navigating the 3D worlds found in Playstation and N64 games you will want a controller with thumbsticks. You can also purchase USB compatible light guns (for shooting games), steering wheels (for driving games), and aircraft control sticks (for flying games). There are over 100 MAME games that accommodate four players at a time. It can be really fun to game with three other friends on the same screen so consider buying four controllers. They are as cheap as $10 a piece. You can google “list of 4 player arcade games” to see which ones are will work. I would list them here, but the list is just too long.

If you really want to put together a full package you can throw some software on the Linux/Pixel OS. You might put Google docs, Netflix, a free version of Minecraft, Kodi, and possibly a PDF of this post so users can reference the Retro Pi menu controls found below. You can also throw on Mugen and Open Bor as discussed in the next section.

Running Mugen and Open Bor



Mugen is a create-your-own fighting game software. It allows you to take character sprites and backgrounds from other two dimensional fighting games and mix and match them into your own “build.” It is common to have a character select screen with hundreds of characters. The level of customization is amazing you can even add your own music, sound effects, and drawings. There are hundreds of options to tweak by going into the easy-to-read and heavily commented programming code in the text file documents. You can even download a program called Fighter Factory if you need more options for customization.

   


I spent a few hours with it, had a lot of fun, and got a decent introduction to programming. The original software can be downloaded for free from elecbyte.com. To add characters and backgrounds you have to find Mugen hosting sites with the assets you want, and then download them.

 

 

It is also possible to download a finished build from someone else. You can type “mugen” into youtube to see thousands of different high-level builds. Usually there is a free download link in the description of the youtube video. Many of these downloads have viruses so you must run everything you download through a virus checker (perhaps after first downloading it from a second-hand computer that you don’t care about). It can be really fun to customize your own Mugen build, even if you are just building on top of someone else’s. Mugen is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, so if you want it on your Raspberry Pi you must install the Linux version on the Pixel OS.

 Open BOR, also known as Open Beats of Rage is a set of 2D sidescrolling beat-em-up games. Like Mugen, they are free, public domain, homebrew (made by individuals not companies) and recycle elements from other games. There are many of them to choose from and they can be played on Windows, Linux or inside of Retro Pi.

 




RetroPie in a Standing Arcade Cabinet

If you really want that arcade feel you can place your Retropie system into a standing arcade cabinet. There are many youtube videos that walk you through exactly how to do this. You can build your own cab out of wood, or buy a used one online. You can also use the new Arcade 1up cabinets that are sold at Target and Walmart to do this because they are small, light, nice-looking, and inexpensive. It takes about an hour to put one together and they generally only play 1 to 3 games. These cabinets are not compatible with a Raspberry Pi right off the bat. You will have to buy and insert different buttons (along with the button encoders) and a joystick, buy an audio amplifier, and an auxiliary cord, as well as replace the video adapter to allow compatibility. You can source the parts easily from Amazon and choose the buttons that match your build’s colors and general aesthetic. You can even get ones that glow. This is fun, costs around $100, and will take you an hour or two to assemble. Here are some pictures of the ones I assembled and customized:

 

             


You will definitely need to spend a few minutes mapping the controls for the buttons to get them how you like them. You can use the instructions below to do that. You will also want to go into Retroarch from the Retro Pi options menu to change the aspect ratio. For a widescreen HDTV you want to use an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10 because it is not as stretched. But an arcade cabinet doesn’t have that modern rectangular screen, it uses a screen that is much closer to a square used on the CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions of the 1900s. Thus if you are using one of those you want to change your aspect ratio to 4:3 for the proper look. From this menu you can also play with the sharpness, brightness and gamma to get the best look for your screen.

From here there are many ways to customize your arcade cabinet. You can put them on risers to make them taller. You can wrap them in printed laminate with graphics of your choosing. You can also install a steering wheel and pedals, a light gun, and different forms of controllers. Most of the Arcade 1up back plates are made of wood, but you can spray paint it any color you like. Here is the art that I put together for the front panel in the picture above. Feel free to use it in the same way I did.




I ran ½ inch gaffer’s stage tape along the edges of mine to match the color and make the edges pop. You can also achieve a similar effect by placing LEDs or black lights around the cabinet. You can use a microcomputer like an Arduino to build a proximity sensor so that the screen comes on when you approach it. You can build a coin insertion unit into your cabinet and create an insert coin sensor so that you add credits to the game when you place a coin in the slot. There are many things you can do. Look on youtube, there are many ways to customize your build. Next though, let’s talk about how to use the pi.

Starting up Your Raspberry Pi

I have found that it helps to plug the HDMI cable from the Raspberry Pi into the television before you plug the power cable in. Next you plug the power supply cable into your wall outlet, and then the other side into the power port (micro USB or USB C) on the retro pie. Click the power button on the power supply and you should see the small red and green LEDs on the Pi light up. It will boot Retropie.

 


 

How to Shut the System Down

 

Do not unplug or switch off your Retro Pi while it is running. Abruptly cutting off the power while the system is on can cause your hard drive to become corrupted. Always shut the pie down from the Emulation Station user interface by pressing “start,” and then selecting “quit,” and then “shut down system.” If you would rather restart, just select “restart.” Wait for about ten seconds for it to run through the shutdown process. When the TV loses signal from the Pi and the small, green LED inside the case is no longer lit or blinking this usually means that it has safely and completely shut down. Next turn off the power to the microcomputer by pressing the power button on your power supply on/off switch, or by unplugging it from the wall. Completely powering down will reduce the wear and tear on the electronics and ensure your Retro Pi a long life. You know that it is completely powered down when the red light goes off. 


-          RETROPIE SHUTDOWN
  press START on your controller
  select QUIT
  select SHUTDOWN SYSTEM

-          PIXEL OS SHUTDOWN
  select the BLUE ORB button in the top left corner
  select SHUTDOWN
  select SHUTDOWN

 

How to Navigate the Retro Pie Interface

 

Pressing “select” will take you to the options. Pressing “start” will take you to the main menu. Press “A” to select a console or game. “X” will select a console or game for you at random, and “Y” will add a game to your favorites folder.



After you have used “right” and “left” to select a console you can choose from a list of games. You can scroll through the list by pressing “up” and “down.” Holding “up” or “down” for a few seconds will speed up the scrolling function. You can also skip several games at a time by pressing the right and left triggers. If you want to skip from one letter to another, instead of waiting to scroll, simply press “select” and then choose a letter to “jump to.”

 


 

To exit a game that you are playing press “select” and “start” together at the same time. In many of the arcade games you must press “select” to enter coins, and then “start” to start your game.

 

Buttons

The default button layout is pretty straight forward.

Button

Action

Select

Option

Start

Menu

A

Launch

B

Back

X

Random

Y

Save to Favorites

Right and Left Shoulder

Programmable

Hotkeys

Hotkeys enable you to press a combination of buttons to access functions such as saving, loading, and exiting emulators.. By default, the hotkey is select.

Hotkeys

Action

Select+Start

Exit

Select+Right Shoulder

Save

Select+Left Shoulder

Load

Select+Right

Input State Slot Increase

Select+Left

Input State Slot Decrease

Select+X

RGUI Menu

Select+B

Reset

 

Add Games to your Favorites Folder

 

If you would like to save a game to your favorites folder simply press “Y” while the game is selected in the games list. If you want to remove a game from your favorites folder press “Y” again.


Create a Collections Folder of Games

 

You can also create folders to hold titles in different categories such as “classics,” “retro,” “fighting,” “sports,” and “action/adventure.” To create a new folder or collection of games press “start,” then “game selection settings,” then “create new custom collection.” After you do this a text box will open. To enter your cursor into the box press “A” on the gamepad, and then use your connected USB keyboard to enter the name of the collection folder. Press “A” again and then go and select the games you want to add using the “Y” button. Once you are done, remember to go back to that menu and select “finalize collection” to save it.


Change the Theme of the User Interface

 

If you want to change the theme, press start from the Retro Pi menu and then select “UI settings.” Then select “theme set,” and choose the theme that you want to try out. After you find a theme that you like you might want to restart the Retro Pi so that the system’s resources are reoptimized at this new setting. If you would like to download more themes you can do so from the Retro Pi menu discussed below. There are dozens of themes, some of them are really cool looking. My favorites, in order, are: slick_bluey, carbon, magazine madness 2, cardcrazy, cygnus, hurstybluetake2, license2game, retrowave, stirling, retrosynth, and tronkyfran.

 


Retro Pi Menu

From the console select screen you can navigate to the Retro Pi menu in order to customize your machine. Use a simple Google search to find out how to use the Retro Pie menu to perform the following helpful functions. You can connect a Bluetooth device such as a wireless remote, or a PS3 controller. You can update your system to the newest software version. You can also overclock your Retro Pi so that it runs faster, and has fewer frame rate dips when playing Dreamcast, Playstation, and Nintendo 64 games. You can alter your game selection screen so that it displays a video clip of each game. To do this you will have to “scrape” the videos from the Retro Pie server. You can also change your splash screen, connect to wifi, and alter several other settings.

 

It can be fun to make a personalized splash screen. I found some pictures that I liked online and put them into a collage using Powerpoint and Photoshop. Then I downloaded the Nintendo font from a free font website and typed my name out in it to create what you see below. For your custom splash screen to display at startup you will need to insert the file for it in a specific folder that you can navigate to from the Pixel OS (Linux desktop). Find it at: root/pi/retropi/splashscreens. You can actually insert several of these and then choose to randomize them from the Retro Pi setup.

 

Connect to the Internet

Open the main RetroPie menu and select WiFi. This will open the WiFi menu. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select “connect to Wifi network” which will open a list of all the availalbe WiFi networks. Select your network from the list and you'll be prompted to enter your key/password. Please note that while you're entering your password it will not show up on-screen. This is normal and doesn't mean your keyboard is broken. Just enter your password correctly and once you hit enter your Pi will communicate and negotiate with your router to obtain an IP address. Assuming you entered the correct key/password it should complete in just a few seconds and you'll now see your Pi's IP address listed above the menu options. You are now connected to your WiFi network and can exit back to RetroPie.

 

Adding and Configuring a New Controller

If your new controller is wired or wireless, just plug the usb cord or dongle in to the back of your Pi. If you have a bluetooth controller, you'll first need to pair it with the Pi at the Retro Pi menu.


Once your controller is plugged in (or paired) you'll need to press “start” on your current controller and select “configure input.” This will open the controller configuration menu.


Simply follow the on-screen instructions and press the buttons the menu requests. If it asks for a button your controller doesn't have, just press any button on the controller and hold it for two seconds and it will skip the assignment. When it reaches the end, the last button will be for the hotkey button. You should use the select button for this.

 

Saving and Loading Games Mid Play

 

One of the best features of your RetroPie system is the ability to save and load your game progress whenever you want. It's easy to do and can be a big help when you are playing many retrogames because of their insane difficulty. For instance, if you start a boss fight, you might want to save it just before the fight, so that if you lose you can start over again at the boss without having to complete the whole level again. You can also have multiple save game slots so that you don't have to overwrite your previous saved game. To select your save game slot, simply press and hold “select” on your controller and press left and right on your d-pad to move back and forth through the save slots. You'll see a message in the bottom left corner telling you what slot you have selected.


To save your game simply press and hold “select” and then R1 (the right shoulder button). You will see a message in the bottom left corner that your game has been saved in whatever the currently selected save game slot is. To load your saved game simply select the save game slot you want to load and again, press and hold “select” and then L1 (the left shoulder button). It will almost instantly load your game from where it was saved.

 

Backup Your MicroSD Card

Making a backup of your microSD card gives you peace of mind knowing that if your hard drive becomes corrupted you'll be able to fully restore your system. It's recommended to make a backup any time you update or make major changes to your system.

Most likely, when you insert your microSD card in to your PC, Windows will tell you that it needs to be formatted. Do not format your card! Windows cannot recognize the file system of your card so it thinks it's "blank" and needs to be formatted. So close that popup. You will need to download free software called Win32 Disk Imager. It's the software we'll use to backup your microSD card. Download the software from the link below.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/


Download, install, and open the program. Then:

1.      Plug your microSD card into your PC

2.      Select your microSD card from the DEVICE drop-down menu in Win32DiskImager

3.      Click the FOLDER icon and enter a filename and location to save the image file. Be sure to put .img at the end of your filename. Example: my-backup.img

4.      Click on the READ button

5.      Wait... This can take a while depending on the size of your microSD card and the speed of your card reader, expect it to take several minutes.

 

It will let you know when the process is complete. Once it's finished, safely eject your microSD card from your PC, put it back in your Raspberry Pi and go back to playing retro games!

 

Restore Your MicroSD Card

If your Retro Pi stops working hopefully you made a backup of your system using the steps above. If so, you can flash the image back to your microSD card.

Partitioning Your Micro SD card:

  1. Plug your microSD card into your usb card reader
  2. Open the Run Dialog (by pressing the Windows Key + R) and type: diskpart
  3. Depending on your Windows security settings you may have to authorize it to run
  4. Once it's loaded (it may take a little bit) type: list disk (and hit enter)
  5. You need to find your microSD card in the list and check what disk number it is (you'll need it for the next step). It is typically the last one but this could vary if you have other portable storage devices plugged in. Check the SIZE column for the one that closest matches the size of your microSD card. 
  6. Now that you know your disk number, type: select disk 3 (where 3 is whatever your disk number was and then hit enter)
  7. It will tell you your disk is now the selected disk, type: clean (hit enter)
  8. It will tell you it succeeded in cleaning the disk. If it gives you an ACCESS DENIED error simply try again.
  9. Now you need to type: create partition primary (hit enter)
  10. You should see: DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
  11. Type: exit (hit enter)

To format your SD card you must download a special application called “guiformat.” You can save the application wherever you want so long as you remember where you put it. You don't need to install it, it's a stand-alone .EXE file.


http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?guiformat.htm

  1. Launch the program you just downloaded (it may ask for permission, allow it)
  2. Select your microSD card from the DRIVE drop-down menu
  3. Click: START and authorize it to format

Your microSD card is now ready to be flashed back to the default setting on your backup image.


Now you need to open up the program you downloaded in the last section of this guide, WIN32 DISK IMAGER. Depending on your Windows security setting you may need to authorize the program to run. Once it's open, follow these steps...

 

  1. Click on the little folder icon to load your .img file. This will be the image file you created to backup your system.
  2. Make sure your microSD card is selected in the drop-down
  3. Click the WRITE button

 

This can take an hour or two. Remember to eject the card from safely by right-clicking the drive and ejecting it. Failure to do so can result in corruption of the disk causing it not to work.

 

You can use this method to replicating your Pi build. You must use the same model to do so. All you have to do to create a new Retro Pi is simply utilize the instructions above on backing up and restoring the microSD card, to a new card and you can plug it into the Raspberry Pi and play immediately. If you would like to add additional ROMs to your collection that are not already there, just find a description of how to do so on the web. It is easy but there are several steps.

 

Next, allow me to give you a list of some of my favorite games.

 

A List of my Favorite Games (in order)

Street Fighter Alpha

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade

SVC Chaos

Capcom vs. SNK 1 and 2

Street Fighter 2, 3, 4, and 5

Punisher Arcade

Tomb Raider

Panzer Dragoon 1 and 2

Last Blade 1 and 2

Dead or Alive 3

Mark of the Wolves

Devil May Cry

Fez

Rez

Aliens Versus Predator Arcade

Bubble Bobble

Super Mario Brothers 1, 2, and 3

Mortal Kombat 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10

Injustice 1 and 2

Rime

Journey

Onimusha 1, 2, 3, and Dawn of Dreams

Tekken 3, and Tag

Call of Duty

King of Fighters

Soul Calibur

Hulk Ultimate Destruction

Halo

GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, 4 and 5

Riddick Escape from Butcher Bay

Capcom Fighting Evolution

Virtual On

Killswitch

Abzu

Beat Sabre

Flower

Batman PSVR

Mega Man 6

Gears of War

Burnout Take Down

Metal Slug

X-men Arcade

X-men Children of the Atom

Fire Watch

Last Guardian

Dynasty Warriors

Battle circuit

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

Captain America and the Avengers

Captain commando

Dragon Ball Z

Final Fight

Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis

Joe Joe’s bizarre adventure

Marvel superheroes

Marvel superheroes versus streetfighter

Red earth

Sengoku three

Sawblade

Super Mario world

Tetris

Twisted metal Two

Virtua Fighter Two

World Heroes to Jet

X-Men versus streetfighter

Zelda

 

A List of Aesthetically Appealing Classics

3 wonders

64th St.

A B cop

Alien storm

Ambush

Apache three

Aqua Jack

Arabian fight

Art of fighting

Asterix

Astro flash

Asuras blade

B rap boys

Battle cry

Battletoads arcade

Big run

Biomechanical Toy

Black dragon

Blade master

Blandia

Blomby car

Blood warrior

Canon dancer

Capcom world

Captain commando

Continental circus

Cosmic cop

Crime city

Crime fighters

Cyber police e swat

Denjin makai 2

Dick Tracy

Don pachi 2

Double axle

Double dragon

Dragon master

Dragoon might

Dungeon magic

Dyna gear

Dynamite duke

Eight man

Far east of Eden

Fight fever

Fighters history

Fighters history

Final blow

Final fight

Finest hour

Forgotten worlds

Forgotten worlds

FujiYama buster

Galaxy fight

Galaxy force two

Ghost chaser

Gouket suji ichizoku 2

Growl

Guardians of the Hood

Gun force two

Hang on

Hippodrome

Hokuto no ken

Ikari warriors three

Jackie Chan

Judge dread

Kakutou

Karate Blazers

Karate champ

Karate kid

Karnov’s revenge

King of the monsters

Kizuna encounter super tag battle

Knights of the round

Knights of valor

Knuckle bash

Knuckle Kaiser

Kyukyoku sentai

Lansquenet

Last battle

Last resort

Light bringer

Magician lord

Martial champion

Martial masters

Matrimelee

Meta moquester

Metamorphic force

Metamorphic force

Mighty warriors

Mobile suit Gundam Ex

Mobile suit Gundam final shooting

Monster maulers

Mutation nation

Mutation nation

Narc

Nastar

Nastar

Ninja masters

Oriental legend

Park edge

Prehistoric Isle 2

Pretty soldier sailor moon

Primetime fighter

Psychonics master

Pulstar

Racing hero

Rad racer

Ragnagard

Rambo III

Rastan

Riot

Riot city

Robo Army

Rush N attack

Rygar

Schmeiser robo

Shadow force

Shadow warriors

Shogun warriors

Silver Hawk two

Slam masters

Smash TV

Space hairier

Special criminal investigation two

Splendor blast

Steel gunner two

Street ball

Streetsmart two

Stun runner

Super bubble bubble

Super puzzle fighter

Super tag battle

Superior soldiers

Superman arcade

Survival arts

Swat police

Tao taido

The astyanax

The double dynamites

The final round

The gladiator a.k.a. the road of the sword

The immortal

The karate tournament

The killing blade

The king of dragons

Thunder blade

Thunder fox

Thunder heroes

Thunder strikes back

Top ranking stars

Tube panic

Ultimate team battle

UN squadron

Undercover cops

Universal warriors

Vendetta

Violence fight

Violent storm

Virtual fighter two

Voltage fighter

Warrior blade rastan saga

Warriors of 8

Wild pilot

Wild thing

Wolf fang

 

If I could make or have any game in the world it would be a 2D, sidescrolling, Marvel beat-em-up. It would feature the Avengers and many other Marvel properties. It would be made in the style of TMNT Arcade, or X-Men Arcade yet have updated 4K graphics. All of the characters would have their 80s costumes and appearance and the game would be set in the 80s with countless Easter eggs, cameos, and inclusions from 70s, 80s, and 90s comic books. If I could make a second game, it would be the same thing, just with DC characters. If this sounds appealing I want to remind you to try out Mugen and Open Bor because these actually come pretty close.