it seems there's some sort of giant build cluster for Raspberry Pi that builds binary wheels. Automatically! Now it's compiling pygame nicely. So `pip install pygame` works with the current release on raspbian now. https://github.com/bennuttall/piwheels/issues/52 These are built automatically when new things are released to pypi. So the pygame 1.9.4 release should go on there without us having to do anything. website: https://www.piwheels.hostedpi.com/ blogpost about what it is: http://bennuttall.com/piwheels-building-a-faster-python-package-repository-for-raspberry-pi-users/ FAQ: https://www.piwheels.hostedpi.com/faq.html ps. Anyone reading this with a binary package they maintain... you can just ask them to install the Debian dependencies... or submit a PR to do so.