RetroPie for the Raspberry Pi

September 18, 2015

Those with nostalgia for the games of yesteryear or those with the need to make something cool for the Raspberry Pi can look to the RetroPie Project. A nice collection of “works” including scripts, EmulationStation and over 30 game emulators, RetroPie does the heavy lifting for creating a retro-game station.

RetroPie Logo

RetroPie Logo

Get RetroPi

Start by downloading the RetroPie image at https://retropie.org.uk/download/. Select the appropriate image for your Pi model 1 or 2. Once downloaded, extract the image. Transfer the image to an SD card using a program like Win32DiskImager for Windows or Apple Pi Baker for Mac.


Setup your Raspberry Pi and connect a USB input device – keyboard or game controller. Game play with a keyboard is possible with many games, but a game controller will provide a better gaming experience for most.


Boot your Raspberry Pi with the RetroPi SD. At first boot, you will be presented with a Welcome screen to detect and configure your input device – keyboard or game controller. Press any key or button for a few seconds on your keyboard or controller to be detected. Follow instruction on the configuration screen to assign buttons or keys to functions. Hold for 1 second to skip any key/button. Continue until all are assigned or skipped. Once on the OK button, press the key or button assigned to the letter A image A key/button. Device configuration will complete and the main graphical screen will load.

We now need to expand the file system to use all of the SD card’s space. Navigate right until the RetroPie is in center of display. Press your A key/button to Select. Select Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool Raspi-Config. While on 1 Expand File System, choose <Select>. On the next screen choose <Ok>. Finally, choose <Finish> on the raspi-config screen and then <Yes> to reboot.

Your Pi will reboot the main RetroPie screen. RetroPie has over 30 game emulators, but for convenience, only those game emulators with games or sub choices (sub options or emulator configuration options) on the SD will show on the screen. Navigate to any game emulator and it will show the number of games or sub choices in the directory. Press the A Select button to open the game console choice.

Game ROMs

Game ROMs are the actual game program. Emulators simulate a game console and run the game ROMs. Game ROMs can be found on the internet – search RetroPie game ROMs.

Game ROMs are stored on the SD card in the RetroPie/roms directory. Each game console has it’s own sub directory. Game ROMs can be transferred to the Pi SD card via USB memory stick or with a network connection via an FTP program like WinSCP or via Samba Shares.

To transfer via a USB memory stick, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a folder on the USB stick called retropie.
  2. With RetroPie running, insert this USB stick into the Pi. Wait about 10 seconds while RetroPie creates sub directories for all game consoles within the retropie folder that you created on the stick.
  3. Remove the stick and put back into your computer where you have your game ROMs.
  4. Copy your game ROMs to the correct game console sub directories within the retropie directory on the memory stick.
  5. Return the stick to the Pi.
  6. RetroPie will automatically detect and copy these game ROMs to the SD card in their respective game sub directories within the RetroPie/roms directory.
  7. Restart EmulationStation. If keyboard is connected, press F4 and wait until it restarts and returns to RetroPie screen. If using game controller, use your Start button to select Main Menu, choose Quit, then Quit Emulation and Really Quit: Yes. Wait until restart completes.

Game Play!

Navigate among the game menus and select your emulator of choice. Then select your game.

To Power Off:

  1. Exit game if active and return to main RetroPie screen.
  2. Use your Start button to select Main Menu.
  3. Select Quit
  4. Select Shutdown
  5. Select Shutdown System
  6. Select Really Shutdown: Yes

Happy Gaming!

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