Preface

Like many others, I grew up playing what is now considered as retro games. I started with an Atari 2600 and computer that played text-only games. I then “progressed” to going to arcades and having a Nintendo Entertainment System. Fast forward about 30 years and although there are modern games I absolutely love, the nostalgia bug has always bit me.

About 5 years ago I discovered MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) and installed it. It allowed me to play all the classics like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Galaga, Centipede, Mat Mania, etc. Back then as cool as it was pretty archaic. The frontends sucked and MAME was only about arcade games.

About 6 months ago the retro bug bit me again. I heard about this cool new thing (to me) called HyperSpin. I saw a few videos about it and was blown away. Finally someone had a different approach. A front-end to multiple systems, multiple emulators, a kick-ass interface, and most importantly to me, open architecture.

I weighed my options before delving into HyperSpin. There are perfectly viable alternatives that simplifies it. RetroPie (for Raspberry Pi) and LaunchBox both work great, but seeing the capabilities of HyperSpin, I chose that.

Seems like the ultimate solution, right? It’s not. Setting up HyperSpin can be at times the most frustrating thing you’ve ever experienced.  As a developer I can tell you there’s a huge bridge between programmers and people that actually use the software. The HyperSpin devs have done a horrid job of making it easy. That pretty much led to 3rd parties selling HyperSpin drives.

Not only are those absolutely illegal since they include ROMs, they are unethical in that they took things like media the HyperSpin and EmuMovies communities contributed and sell it for a profit. I’m a White Hat Hacker, and can tell you some HyperSpin drives can contain all sorts of keyloggers, malware, adware, etc. That’s enough for me not to trust any of them. Additionally, good luck fixing them if something goes wrong.

HyperSpin isn’t that hard to setup and does not cost a penny. There are optional costs like an external drive depending on the amount ROMs and media. Another optional cost for premium accounts on HyperSpin and EmuMovies, which allow FTP access to their systems, the syncing of media, themes, etc. These accounts are $50 and $45 (with discount) respectively.

So this site will be mainly about my trials and tribulations setting up HyperSpin, with a slew of tutorials and utilities with my personal caveats for each.

Video Tutorials

Obviously view these in full screen. I recommend that everyone install from scratch instead of buying a pre-installed HyperSpin drive so you know how everything works.

From Simply Austin – Very detailed.

From The AV Archivist – Another great set. More concise, but less in-depth information than what Simply Austin provides.

Required Software

Recommended Software

Cool HyperSpin Plugins/Utilities

HyperSpeech

HyperSpeech is an interesting plugin that adds text-to-speech to HyperSpin –

It’s pretty outdated, but still works pretty well. It uses the built-in Windows text-to-speech (TTS) voice, which is entirely different than the voice you hear in the video. 3rd party companies offer additional voices

To achieve that voice effect, it involves voice morphing. It’s actually pretty tricky to setup, but here’s how I did it.

Downloads:

Installation

  • Install HyperSpeech to X:\HyperSpin\HyperSpeech
  • Rename “HyperSpeechProxy.exe” to “LEDBlinky.exe”
  • Enable LEDBlinky in HyperHQ or settings.ini and set the LEDBlinky path to the HyperSpeech root folder.
  • Overwrite Handle.exe in the HyperSpeech folder.
  • Install Loquendo_TTS_7-Win32_Engine_Full_Distribution_7.9.5 (The TTS Engine)
  • Install a voice (such as Loquendo TTS 7 Steven 7.3.0)
  • Install Virtual Audio Cable and run vcctlpan.exe. A good tutorial is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eORvrujMcyg
  • Run C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Speech\SpeechUX\sapi.cpl

My Setup

My setup consists basically of Simply Austin’s tutorial. Since at the moment I need a bigger external drive, I created a Virtual Hard drive to separate the HyperSpin install using Visual Subst. Structuring it like this now will help in the future, for example if I get an SSD specifically for ROMs and media. Some even use multiple drives for ROMs and the HyperSpin install itself, for example –

  • C drive for HyperSpin
  • E drive for Arcade (MAME) ROMs
  • F drive for all other ROMs

In total, if you were to set up all systems, all emulators (just 3 covers about 95%), all ROMs for every system, all media (box art, wheel art, intro movies, etc), you’re looking at about 6 TB, yes Terabytes, of storage space.

HyperSpin How-Tos

To add a new game system

  1. p

Simply Austin has a good tutorial about this that you can generally follow in his Arcade Classics video.