Two PIs Are Better Than One! Dual Boot XBMC/Kodi + Emulation Station
My ongoing quest to get the most out of the humble raspberry pi led me to two main uses: media playback and emulated gaming. The pi is powerful enough for both and can handle a huge variety of formats and emulated platforms, but can it do both on one install? Not exactly, but thanks to a great tool called BerryBoot you can 'dual-boot' into two different pi operating systems as and when you need them. Theres a great tutorial here that will guide you through how to prepare your SD card and get up and running pretty quickly. Having had a good old tinker with the two main media installations Im of the opinion that openelec is superior to raspbmc. Both are well supported pi-ports of the ever popular XBMC media system, now known as Kodi (no idea). Dont get me wrong the raspbmc build is stable, but its neither as upto date nor as easy to configure as openelec. In truth the absolute clincher here is that the BerryBoot folks have included this as one of the operating system options, whereas raspbmc requires a manual install which is very time consuming for no noticable gains.
As with my choice of media platform my choice of emulators has been swung towards those already supported by BerryBoot. Thankfully in this instance theres no sacrifice at all; they support the awesome RetroPie! By far the greatest feature of this installation is EmulationStation, a catch-all emulation program that drags together a bewildering array of different systems you can play with. Seriously this is the easiest installation of an operating system you will ever go through; its significantly faster and easier than say an xbone or a PS4 and a lot less like having teeth pulled. Lifehacker have a great guide on how to configure this part of your install.