How to Make a Retro Game Console From Concrete

Mortar mix, Raspberry Pi Zero, and voila, a console for retro games
December 4, 2016, 2:00pm

Thwomp! Is exactly the sound this cement likeness of the hardened Mario villain of the same name makes when you set it down. Except this artfully cut cement Thwomp is also a gaming console capable of firing up retro video games.

Youtube maker Geeksmithing created the console by first filling a silicone mold of Thwomp's face and rugged exterior with concrete mix. Before the mix hardened, he carefully submerged a waterproofed Raspberry Pi Zero and USB hub into the back of it and voila, had a working Thwomp console made of cement.

While that sounds incredibly simple, however, the process was actually anything but. It took Geeksmithing some five different iterations to land on one that actually worked. He first tried a 3D-printed mold, but the sand and cement mix—more of a mortar really, it didn't have any stone aggregate in it—stuck to the mold and it messed up Thwomp's grimacing visage.

He followed this up by giving liquid rubber a go, sitting inside a frame of foam board, only to find that the rubber stuck to, well, everything. Even when he'd settled on the silicone mold design, the first duct-tape-covered Raspberry Pi Zero that he dunked into the cement proved not waterproof enough. That, Geeksmithing solved with a prodigious coating of hot glue.

Ultimately, with dogged persistence and not a small amount of ingenuity, Geeksmithing has constructed a glorious cement Thwomp console capable of playing retro games and literally crushing any Mario figurines.