How Piepacker brings online retro gaming to web browsers

Piepacker has aspirations of bringing old-school gaming to web browsers and also making sure you don't play them by yourself.


There have been a lot of different ways to play old-school games over the past few decades. There have been classic collections, emulators, and various hardware bundles, just to name a few. The team behind a new service called PieReader and a device called PiePacker would like to help you play retro games through a simple web browser. Not only that, but they'd like to help you play with friends.

"None of these pirate solutions or open source solutions were offering multiplayer," PiePacker co-founder and CEO Benjamin Devienne told Shacknews. "You could play these retro games by yourself or with your friends at home, but not over the internet or it was very complicated to do it, requiring some external service or setup that will take time. Nothing was as simple as a web browser, so this is the premise of Piepacker. We're like 'Okay, let's do this. Let's be better than piracy by bringing the online multiplayer.'"

Devienne and the rest of the team then got to work on Piepacker. He discusses the early Piepacker prototype, designing the hybrid Piepacker device/PieReader cloud service, running games through standard web browsers, implementing GGPO netcode, licensing games, and the process of connecting users from around the world. He also goes into some of PiePacker and PieReader's many features, including the ability to chat through text, voice, and video during games.

For the uninitiated, PiePacker is an external piece of hardware that can plug in to your PC or laptop. Users can play their games directly through their Chrome browser and connect to friends over the internet. There are over 60 licensed games pre-installed, but players can also use their own NES, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis catridges and run them through the hardware.

Those interested in learning more about the PiePacker can check out its Kickstarter page. There are a few days left in the campaign, so if you're interested, you're welcome to donate. For more interviews like this, make sure and hit the Subscribe button for Shacknews and GamerHubTV on YouTube.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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