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The Ultimate RetroPie Setup Guide (2022)

There are a lot of cool Raspberry Pi projects out there, and you can barely go amiss in pursuing any of them. But if there ’ s one Raspberry Pi project that is near to the hearts of casual D. I. Pi-ers, it ’ s the RetroPie. For the price of a Raspberry Pi, power supply, Micro SD wag, and television crippled control, hobbyists can get an invincible retro gaming experience : Your RetroPie frame-up will allow you to play about unlimited games on a device the size of a credit circuit board .
No, in truth : You can play a TON of games on a RetroPie. RetroPie uses the OpenEMU emulation software, which includes emulators for more than 50 video game systems and platforms, from the expected authoritative platforms ( NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis ) to more modern ( PlayStation 2, PSP ) and esoteric ( Oric, Dragon 32, Wonderswan ) ones. Just grab some ROMs ( more on that late ), load them on your RetroPie, and you ’ ra good to go .
And it has never been easier to get your RetroPie set up. You can install RetroPie using a pre-made phonograph record image, and you can tied install it on lead of an existing operate systems — operating systems that include Raspbian, the most popular OS for the Raspberry Pi. In this tutorial, we ’ ll be guiding you through the beginning choice we listed : install Raspberry Pi from scratch using a disk image .

Parts List for this Project

First off, here ’ s what you ’ ll have to get your hands on before you can get your RetroPie set up by rights :

QTY Part /Link
1X Raspberry Pi – RetroPie works with these models of Raspberry Pi: A, A+, B, B+, Zero, 2, and 3. As of this writing, RetroPie’s official site does not list the Raspberry Pi 4 as a supported device. That will probably change soon, as the Raspberry Pi 4 is still very new. For now, RetroPie recommends the Raspberry Pi 3 as the best model for this project. For this RetroPie tutorial, we dug up an old Raspberry Pi 3 Model B to use instead of our shiny new Raspberry Pi 4.
1X A power supply – Make certain that it ’ s compatible with your model of Pi !
1X A micro SD card – RetroPie demands a minimum of 8 GB, but you may want more if you ’ re planning to add loads of games. Most ex post facto game ROMs aren ’ t excessively boastfully, though, so you don ’ t need to go crazy — 16 GB, for case, will get you far.
1X Something to control your games with – You can use a USB keyboard, but it ’ south more playfulness to grab yourself a USB accountant. There are some great ones out there — and some truly, truly low-cost ones, besides. We also have a complete line of Arcade Joystick and Button kits.
1X Arcade Plans – If you’re looking to build an an arcade then you need some arcade plans to start with.

The Ultimate Retropie Setup and Install Guide Video

We recommend you start by watching our amazing Retropie setup and Install guide television !

RetroPie installation overview

Got all of your gear ? big ! Detailed bit-by-bit instructions for installing RetroPie are below. For the impatient and the curious, here are the broad strokes of what we ’ rhenium going to be doing to get our new RetroPie set up and ready to go : We ’ ll download a disk prototype for RetroPie, put it on an SD circuit board, and confirm two basic settings ( the game restrainer inputs and the available storage space ). then, in the following boastfully section, we ’ ll explore the work of adding games to your RetroPie setup, which involves downloading ROMs and then moving them to your RetroPie via one of two evenly valid methods : SSH File Transfer Protocol ( SFTP ) or a little back-and-forth everyday involving a USB memory device ( no, it ’ s not quite arsenic simpleton as loading up ROMs and dropping them into RetroPie ’ s charge system — but it ’ s not hard, either, as you ’ ll soon see ) .
Let ’ s get into the kernel .

Step 1: Download the RetroPie disk image

Our hale RetroPie frame-up is going to live on a micro SD card. Before we add games, we ’ ra going to grab a disk picture, slap it on a micro SD menu, and boot up our principal investigator with it. so, first things first : Let ’ s drive that disk prototype ! You can find it on RetroPie ’ s web site, here. Download that bad boy to your desktop or laptop calculator .

Step 2: Format your micro SD card

You ’ ll need a blank micro SD card in the proper format to go any far in the RetroPie frame-up process, so let ’ s make that happen. Stick your micro SD card into the proper port on your background or laptop computer, then open up your calculator ’ s harrow utility and format the micro SD circuit board as FAT — unless you ’ ve got a substantial big one of 64GB or larger, in which casing you should go with exFAT .
Mac users, you ’ ll use the competently named Disk Utility to do this. Windows people, you ’ re going right-click your SD card in Explorer and find the Format option on the drop-down menu. Your computer may make things flush easier on you by prompting you to format your micro SD card the moment that you pop it in .

Step 3: Write the RetroPie disk image to your micro SD card

now you ’ ve got a courteous blank SD card in the proper format and a RetroPie disk persona. Let ’ s put the two together and create a courteous RetroPie setup .
There are a bunch of different programs that are capable of doing this. We used balenaEtcher, an open-source program that seems to be in vogue these days and which works on Macs a well as PCs. But you could equitable as easily use Win32 Disk Imager or one of the many others out there. Just make certain that it works with your computer ’ randomness operate arrangement .
Your filmdom may look unlike if you ’ re using a different disk imager, but this is pretty straightforward stuff : You just want the magnetic disk picture to end up on the micro SD poster. The RetroPie magnetic disk visualize should be easy to identify thanks to its filename. double-check to make certain that you ’ re writing to the compensate disk !

Step 4: Fire up your RetroPie

When your calculator is finished writing the disk image to your micro SD card, eject that short guy by rights and then stick him in your Raspberry Pi. Plug in all your peripherals — your USB restrainer, your HDMI cable and screen, and whatever else you want to use — and then turn on your Raspberry Pi. You ’ re about done, but we have a few more tips on perfecting your RetroPie setup .

Step 5: Set up your USB controller

When you first boot up your Pi, you should be greeted by an invitation to configure your control. When prompted, hit the button your USB control that you want to correspond to the button listed on the shield .
If you messed up or skipped this bit, don ’ thymine worry — you can still access this have at any time by hitting the begin clitoris .

Step 6: Give your RetroPie setup some more space

Though technically optional, this measure is something that about every RetroPie exploiter is going to want to take care of. If your SD tease is larger than 4 GB ( and it should be, since we and RetroPie both told you to go with at least 8 GB ), then your RetroPie will not necessarily make full use of the storage space by default. To make certain you ’ re maximizing your space for games, forefront to the RetroPie menu, choose raspi-config, and choose choice 1, Expand Filesystem. As the description in the menu says, this “ ensures that all of the SD calling card storehouse is available to the OS. ” That ’ s what we want !
And with that, we have a absolutely functional RetroPie. There is good one trouble, as you have no doubt noticed : We have no games ! Let ’ s refine that .
RELATED: Build a Retropie Bartop Arcade or Tabletop Arcade

How to add games to your RetroPie setup

If you followed the instructions above, your RetroPie should be all set and quick to go. It is capable of playing all kinds of ROMs, from Commodore 64 games to Super Nintendo ones. But it still needs you to supply those ROMs .

Acquiring ROMs

We should credibly say something about ethics hera. ROMs are copies of games that run on emulators, and the games they preserve were the resultant role of the exercise of developers and the investments of companies .
RELATED: How to Download Retropie ROMs
In the early days of ROMs, however, companies like Nintendo treated the ROM community with something like benign fail. Back then, cipher knew that things like the Super Nintendo Classic and Nintendo Switch Online would come into being and make old video games worth money again. Besides, old game cartridges with spare states didn ’ t have unvoiced drives, and they relied on batteries to keep their aries from resetting ; lots of people looking for ROMs barely wanted to be able the play the lapp games that they ’ d purchased without fearing that their saves would evaporate. That was fair adequate, right ? ( The batteries, by the way, have farseeing since outlasted Nintendo ’ s predictions — but you can placid be certain that, someday in the future, your Zelda file will be kaput. ) On top of all of this, the ROM and emulation community is vital to the conservation of previous and rare video games .
But the rise of successful retro-gaming products from major companies has changed things. With systems like the Super Nintendo Classic selling like hotcakes at a price higher than what you ’ five hundred pay for a RetroPie with about inexhaustible games, it ’ s easy to see why video plot companies would have a switch of heart. And they have : Nintendo, in particular, is now cracking down on ROMs .
All this begs the question of whether or not you should actually download ROMs. Some people choose to download ROMs only for games that they have already purchased, which is an admirable choice. Others see downloading ROMs of games like Nintendo and Sega as a form of stealing ( and, to be honest, it ’ mho hard to argue they ’ re wrong ). We ’ ll tell you this much : There are a short ton of ROMs available for download on certain well-known sites that are easy to Google. What you choose to do with that data is between you, your God, and your RetroPie .

Putting ROMs on your RetroPie

Let ’ s say that you ’ ve got yourself some ROMs on your background or laptop calculator. That ’ s all well and effective, but we ’ ra matter to in getting those ROMs to your Raspberry Pi, so that you can actually, you know, play them .
There are two main ways to do this. First, you could transfer your ROMs using a USB flash drive. Second, you could SSH into your RetroPie and transfer the files over your home network. Let ’ s take those one at a time .

Transferring ROMs using a USB stick

Using a USB stick makes this process slenderly slower if you ’ re dealing with huge numbers of games. But it ’ s besides stupid elementary to do, and that ’ s nice .
To transfer games using a USB memory device, start by sticking your USB device into your computer. Make surely it ’ sulfur formatted to FAT, then create a booklet called RetroPie with nothing in it. You shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate add any ROMs to the USB device equitable even. safely eject the drive .
now, stick the USB device into your RetroPie Raspberry Pi. A light on your Raspberry Pi should blink. Wait for that to stop, then pull the USB device back out .
now you can plug your USB drive into the computer again. You ’ ll find that the RetroPie booklet has been populated with subfolders. Drop all your ROMs in their appropriate folders under RetroPie/roms, then safely eject the USB device and stick it back in your Raspberry Pi. You ’ ll see some more blinking ; when it stops, your games will all be in your RetroPie ’ s charge system. You can yank your USB stick out again, now, and repeat these steps as necessity if you couldn ’ metric ton get all your ROMs over in one go .

Transferring ROMs using SFTP

SSH File Transfer Protocol ( SFTP ) is a dependable way to transfer files on your network. And, as it happens, it is quite easy to use your desktop or laptop computer to SSH into your RetroPie setup and sink a whole lode of ROMs in there .
You ’ ll need your RetroPie apparatus connected to your network to do this, of course. You can set up a connected by selecting Wi-Fi on your RetroPie ’ s main menu. ( This will be a much more pleasant experience if you use a USB keyboard, by the way. )
adjacent, you ’ ll need to enable SSH on your RetroPie by navigating to raspi-config > Interfacing Options > SSH. Hit Yes, then Ok, then Finish .
then grab a authentic SFTP program for your calculator. Cyberduck is a bang-up choice for Mac users. We used WinSCP for Windows .
You ’ ll have to confirm some settings before you can SSH into your Pi. The protocol should be SFTP, and the IP address should be the address of your RetroPie device, which you can find by selecting Show IP address in the main menu on your RetroPie. By default option, the username and password for your RetroPie will be pi and raspberry, respectively .
once you ’ re in, find home/pi/RetroPie/roms/ in your RetroPie ’ s file system and honkytonk into the proper folder for your read-only memory : Super Nintendo ROMS go in home/pi /RetroPie/roms/snes, for exemplify, and NES ones go in home/pi /RetroPie/roms/nes .
If you are at all familiar with STFP, you ’ ll probably find this method to be quicker and easier. But both of the methods we ’ ve described here are reasonably foolproof ! Just make certain that you ’ re adding the ROMs to the right folders .

Dressing up your RetroPie setup

Put everything together using the instructions above, and you ’ ll get a bantam car that offers big-time ex post facto gaming fun. All you ’ ll have to do to start play is plug in a world power provide, HDMI cable, and USB restrainer. Stick the other end of the HDMI cable into a television receiver, and you ’ ll be off and running !
But you don ’ t have to limit yourself to that basic apparatus. There are lots of cool ways to turn your RetroPie frame-up into something more concern, portable, or aesthetically pleasing.

Let ’ s start with the basics. Grabbing a case for your Raspberry Pi is a bright move, because it will keep dust and dirt away from your Pi ’ s more delicate parts and will make your RetroPie apparatus look a bit more master. A exponent supply or case with a built in on/off trade would be a dainty affect, besides. And you could go wireless by grabbing a radio game restrainer with a USB dongle or using Bluetooth to connect a DualShock PlayStation 4 accountant, Xbox One accountant, or even a WiiMote to your RetroPie .
There are lots of LCD screens available that exercise with Raspberry Pi devices, and that opens up possibilities a lot of cool DIY projects. For case, these tabletop arcade plans will help you build a RetroPie into a mini-arcade that you can play on your kitchen mesa or chocolate table. If that idea doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate entreaty to the inside decorator in you, or if your spouse says that the kitchen or animation room is off limits, never reverence : fair call ’ em bartop arcade plans and keep your new plaything down in your basement barroom. just be forewarned that timing Mario ’ s jumps gets a little bad after a couple of cold ones .
Freestanding and portable RetroPie setups make for amazing projects. These arcade cabinet plans will guide you through the march of house your solid RetroPie setup at heart of an appropriately boxlike retro arcade cabinet. If you ’ re feel avant-garde, you can even set up your RetroPie to work inside of a real, full-sized vintage cabinet. Grabbing a non-functional arcade cabinet on the cheap and bringing it back to life with a RetroPie is a unharmed distribute cheaper than buying a functional arcade cabinet — and will let you play a zillion ( fair a rough appraisal ) times more games .

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