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Piepacker is a new online multiplayer platform for retro gaming

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Another attempt to bring back the glory days of retro games and local multiplayer is here with Piepacker, a browser-based platform for playing the classics with your friends.

Browsers nowadays are ridiculously powerful and feature-filled, so much so that now various streaming services let you play entire AAA games in a browser tab. More and more of this will come, and in some ways it's probably the eventual future (like it or not). Piepacker are jumping into this now with their idea:

Piepacker is a new multiplayer gaming platform to play retro games with friends on your web browser. It comes with a constantly growing pre-built catalogue of more than 60 awesome retro games from the NES to the PlayStation 1. To make the online living room experience complete, we included a video chat to see and talk to the people you are playing with.

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While other platforms already exist to play retro games from the likes of the free and open source RetroArch, various emulators and other streaming services, Piepacker and trying to separate themselves with the built in online multiplayer along with video chat all tightly integrated. Having it available in a browser tab also makes it highly accessible, to anyone with a reasonable internet connection with no extra hardware needed.

The base service with 60 built in games will be free too, with a Premium option for extras like early access to new games and a private server to bring your own games. The team mentioned on Twitter very clearly that it will work on Linux, as long as you're in a Chrome based browser. Other browser support is planned for the second half of 2021.

On top of that they're also bringing out the PieReader, a hardware platform to work with cartridges from the NES, Super NES and Sega Mega Drive / Genesis - enabling you to bring your own cartridges onto their platform directly. They claim that will also work fine on Linux.

You can see their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter which was funded quickly and has smoothly sailed through the $75,000 goal so their idea has clearly proven to be popular.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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12 comments
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dpanter Apr 23, 2021
Wow they used Micro Mages (NES) in the trailer, an awesome game released in 2019!
Mezron Apr 23, 2021
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Man. I am down for this. Most of my library is local MP and while online gaming is decent I really miss playing the games I like with my ppl. Parsec was good but no way to host on Linux. Steam Remote Play is OK but does not work all the time the last time I tried. Hamachi was been more and more difficult to get new ppl get on with. RetroArch's MP is also OK but does not work all the time. I also tried Antstream but did not have the library of games that I own and played all the time when my ppl and I were able to get together.


Last edited by Mezron on 23 April 2021 at 1:57 pm UTC
slaapliedje Apr 23, 2021
I tend to think this is the one thing that was really missing from Antstream, which is a pretty decent service otherwise, just missing multiplayer! Though it is really fun to see how well you can play a game compared to people around the world, I'm pretty sure the top players on that service are AIs or something, as no one is THAT good...

Edit: or they are 10 year olds.


Last edited by slaapliedje on 23 April 2021 at 2:56 pm UTC
Lofty Apr 23, 2021
Quoting: RafiLinuxParsec was good but no way to host on Linux. Steam Remote Play is OK but does not work all the time the last time I tried. Hamachi was been more and more difficult to get new ppl get on with. RetroArch's MP is also OK but does not work all the time. I also tried Antstream but did not have the library of games that I own and played all the time when my ppl and I were able to get together.

Pretty much the exact same here.

Steam remote play is a no go for me unless they change how it works, seen as it seemed to to trip up with my (very basic) firewall on both pc and router. Not to mention steam link that now requires the internet to stream locally on your LAN, so that's useless to me also. It would be nice if they opensourced the client and removed the effective DRM.

Retroarch is an amazing application but i find myself not using it as configuration is endless, especially when you trash your distro and find yourself going back to the drawing board (🤭). Retroarch is best on a dedicated machine like a RPi, setup&forget so it's always just pick up and play.. or just buy one of the dozens of those things that are already setup.

Quoting: Liam DaweMore and more of this will come, and in some ways it's probably the eventual future (like it or not). Piepacker are jumping into this now with their idea

So, im not too hyped about cloud streaming for a variety of vaild reasons, but for retro gaming i think it's a neat idea. Not only for the remote multiplayer but for having a platform for saves, achievements and everything ready to go at the touch of a button. And this should actually work for me unlike steam.

(Now, if we could only get reliable cloud streaming of those pesky AAA DRM infested shooters i can't play on Linux via steam, id have all my gaming needs covered
elmapul Apr 23, 2021
so... the games are licenced? and how the hell they get the licence from nintendo to run games from their catridge formats?
slaapliedje Apr 23, 2021
Quoting: LoftySo, im not too hyped about cloud streaming for a variety of vaild reasons, but for retro gaming i think it's a neat idea. Not only for the remote multiplayer but for having a platform for saves, achievements and everything ready to go at the touch of a button. And this should actually work for me unlike steam.
Problem with streaming older games is they have a lot dependence on no to little latency between controller and game. Unfortunately with how USB works, you have latency there, along with on the internet. Hell, I play most things with no emulation at this point. :)


Last edited by slaapliedje on 26 April 2021 at 2:32 am UTC
Protektor Apr 23, 2021
Quoting: elmapulso... the games are licenced? and how the hell they get the licence from nintendo to run games from their catridge formats?
Not every NES or SNES game is owned by Nintendo. So other companies are free to license out their old games to whoever they want and Nintendo can't say a word about it. Nintendo doesn't own the copyright for every NES or SNES game out there.
Protektor Apr 23, 2021
Quoting: RafiLinuxParsec was good but no way to host on Linux.

Parsec talked about making a Linux server over a year ago but they never followed through and never released anything. I have repeatedly asked about it but seem they don't see my posts and messages or they are ignoring me asking about the status.
https://twitter.com/parsecteam/status/1189682101257482248?lang=en

Parsec did work out a deal with Plex and released a Mac based server for Plex server but so far they haven't released the Mac server beyond their deal with Plex.
https://support.plex.tv/articles/plex-arcade-faq/
https://support.parsec.app/hc/en-us/articles/115002702331-Setting-Up-Hosting-On-Windows
denyasis Apr 23, 2021
Quoting: dpanterWow they used Micro Mages (NES) in the trailer, an awesome game released in 2019!

Wow, seems like it was only yesterday...
elmapul Apr 24, 2021
Quoting: Protektor
Quoting: elmapulso... the games are licenced? and how the hell they get the licence from nintendo to run games from their catridge formats?
Not every NES or SNES game is owned by Nintendo. So other companies are free to license out their old games to whoever they want and Nintendo can't say a word about it. Nintendo doesn't own the copyright for every NES or SNES game out there.

i'm not talking about the games, but the catridge support.
https://youtu.be/-4cDI8jL47M?t=45
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