Raspberry Pi: Retro Gaming Mania Part 1 – RetroPie/RetroArch

March 27, 2013 10:12 pm 14 Comments

Retro PieAs you may have read,  I played with my Raspberry Pi last weekend. One of my objectives was making the Raspberry Pi my retro gaming station. At first I tried to go down the normal (clunky?) way of downloading and compiling different kinds of emulators.

Obviously I went through library dependencies, memory limits, etc. That is until I found the amazing installer called Retro Pie. Basically this is a super convenient installer for RetroArch.

I will detail the steps that I took here so you can just follow from the beginning to a fully installed retro Raspberry Pi. The basic installation commands are taken from the official RetroPie github page.

Check Your Pi’s Connectivity

If you follow my previous instructions you should have a working wireless network connection. As always you can also use wired connection.

So do something like wget and see if your Pi manages to download the index.html.

Prepare Your Memory Split and Updates

Give at least 128MB for the video memory, do do this:

Then use 128 MB memory for your video card.

After this, just to be sure make sure you update your Raspberry Pi completely.

Install RetroPie

If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to install Git console. This is used to pull source codes out of git repositories. RetroPie is currently hosted on GitHub.

Go to the directory where you want to download the source code. Let’s assume our directory is “Download”

When the cloning is completed, go inside the RetroPie-Setup directory, then execute the setup process

In the setup menu you will be asked how you want to install the emulators. Let’s make life easier and choose binary installation. This way, RetroPie will download pre-compiled binary to your machine, you won’t have to deal with compiling at all.

Load Your ROMS and Play

The default ROM locations is: ~/RetroPie/roms/<systemname>/

So if you want to load SNES rom then it’ll be ~/RetroPie/roms/snes/

There are numerous ways to load your ROMs, you can do it through SCP or network share. Of course you can also download it directly from the Raspberry Pi.

I just choose the simplest way which is using a USB stick with ROMs in it and copy it to the Raspberry Pi, its just faster to browse the ROMs with my powerhouse machine. Also, my Raspberry Pi setup has a powered USB hub so there is no shortage of USB port.

After loading your ROM, all you have to do is start:

Default Keyboard Keys

Keyboard keys configurationSo what are the default keyboard keys? They can be found in the~/retropie/configs/all/ retroarch.cfg.

By the way, in the screenshot on the left I’m running the graphical desktop, this is just to illustrate the file location. The emulator is best played from just the terminal.

I haven’t setup my custom controllers on my machine, when I do that I will update this page with my setup.


So there you go, your first step to the retro gaming fun on Raspberry Pi has started!

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