The Raspberry Pi began as a hacker's dream and has become something of a phenomenon. It's now used to power everything from scaled-down Mars rovers to millions of science and tinkering experiments in schools across the globe.
While it's not the most powerful computer on the market, the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi can do just about anything you need a desktop PC to do. That includes browsing the web, playing HD video and even using word processors and spreadsheet programs. It can also run a wide variety of games, including older titles like GoldenEye 007 and Doom, assuming you have the right emulators installed.
Raspberry Pi models 4 and above have a new graphics chip that's faster than ever and is capable of running many classic arcade games. This makes the system a solid choice for those who want to immerse themselves in a gaming experience that harkens back to the days of their youth.
Aside from the hardware, you'll need a monitor and a keyboard or mouse for input. A wireless keyboard and mouse will make things much easier, although you can use wired devices too. You'll also need an SD card with an operating system on it. Raspbian, the official Linux distro for Raspberry Pi, is the obvious choice. However, there are other lightweight distributions that are suited to media center and A/V use, as well as specialized distributions that focus on retro gaming or home automation platforms.