In­stalling the RetroPie emulator

It’s not as dif­fi­cult as you might think to run retro soft­ware through an emulator.

APC Australia - - How To » Raspberry Pi Masterclass -

Right, so you’ve man­aged to get your Pi safely en­sconced in a con­troller and all wired up; all you need now are some videogames to play. For this sec­tion of the tu­to­rial we’re go­ing to be us­ing the RetroPie emulator. By the end of this tu­to­rial, you’ll be able to play a num­ber of games di­rectly from your Rasp­berry Pi, pro­vided that you legally own the ROM files, of course.

The whole process is as easy as in­stalling the soft­ware onto your SD card and then copy­ing across any games that you want to play. If you’ve al­ready got Raspian in­stalled on your Pi, you can in­stall RetroPie along­side it, or you can ded­i­cate the whole disk to the soft­ware if you’d rather.


If you’ve al­ready started us­ing your Pi and want to add RetroPie to it, you’ll need to in­stall the soft­ware from GitHub. The lat­est in­struc­tions can be found at RetroPie-Setup.

Open up a ter­mi­nal on your Pi (for ex­am­ple, by SSHing into it from an­other ma­chine, or by log­ging in di­rectly to the Pi). Up­date your repos­i­to­ries and make sure the lat­est ver­sion of the Git soft­ware is in­stalled: sudo apt-get up­date sudo apt-get up­grade sudo apt-get in­stall git Down­load the lat­est ver­sion of the RetroPie setup script:

git clone --depth=1 https://

If you’re se­cu­rity-con­scious, it’s a good idea to check what the script does be­fore run­ning it. Once you’re ready, you can in­stall it by chang­ing into the cor­rect direc­tory and ex­e­cut­ing the script: cd RetroPie-Setup sudo ./retropie_

The script will take sev­eral min­utes to run, depend­ing on your in­ter­net speed. It may also ask you for per­mis­sion to in­stall ex­tra soft­ware that is needed – you should al­low this. Once fully in­stalled, you will need to re­boot your Pi: sudo re­boot

RetroPie can now be run by typ­ing em­u­la­tion­sta­tion. We’ll come on to con­fig­ur­ing your setup in just a mo­ment.


If you want your Rasp­berry Pi Zero to be used solely as a RetroPie ma­chine, this is the choice for you. Be warned: it will com­pletely wipe a mi­croSD card, so if you’ve got a used one, make sure you back up any im­por­tant data be­fore start­ing.

Down­load the lat­est ver­sion of the soft­ware from blog.petrock­block. com/retropie/retropie-down­loads. Make sure you down­load the cor­rect SD card im­age for your ma­chine — the im­age for the Rasp­berry Pi 2 is not com­pat­i­ble with the Rasp­berry Pi Zero. Down­load the Stan­dard ver­sion (not the Ber­ryBoot ver­sion). The down­load is an 800MB .gz file. Un­zip it and ex­tract the .img file, which will be around 2.6GB.

You’ll now need to write this im­age file onto your mi­croSD card. This is done in the same way that you would in­stall a nor­mal Rasp­berry Pi im­age onto a card. There are slightly dif­fer­ent in­struc­tions for Linux, Mac and Win­dows.


Use the Disk Man­ager to select the im­age file and the mi­croSD card. Fol­low the on-screen in­struc­tions un­til the im­age has been fully writ­ten to the card.


Down­load the Ap­plePi Baker from www.tweak­ hard­ware/rasp­berry-pi/ma­cosxap­ple-pi-baker. Once you have it in­stalled, you can select the im­age file and the mi­croSD card. Fol­low the on-screen in­struc­tions.


Down­load the Win32 DiskI­mager from source­forge. net/pro­jects/win32diskim­ager. Once in­stalled, select the im­age file and the mi­croSD card. Fol­low the in­struc­tions un­til the im­age has been writ­ten to the card.


Right, you’re al­most ready to play. Put the mi­croSD card into the Rasp­berry Pi Zero, hook up the con­troller USB cable and the HDMI cable. Fi­nally, plug the Pi into the power. It should boot up au­to­mat­i­cally and, after a few sec­onds, you’ll be greeted with a con­fig­u­ra­tion screen.

RetroPie should au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect any con­nected USB game pads and step you through set­ting up the but­tons. Once you’ve fin­ished, you’ll be pre­sented with a screen show­ing all the choices you made.


Be­fore we get to play­ing any games, we need to make sure that RetroPie is able to use all the space on the mi­croSD card. This will al­low you to store ROMs and save your games. Select ‘RetroPie’ from the menu. You’ll be pre­sented with sev­eral con­fig­u­ra­tion op­tions. Select ‘Rasp­berry Pi Con­fig­u­ra­tion Tool RASPI-CONFIG’.

You can change the de­fault user­name and pass­word at a later date; for now just use the con­troller to select ‘Ex­pand Filesys­tem’. Next, high­light the ‘Select’ but­ton and click on it. After a short de­lay, you will see a suc­cess screen — press OK and you’ll be taken to the con­fig­u­ra­tion screen. Press right un­til ‘Fin­ish’ is high­lighted, then click on it. You should now re­boot your Rasp­berry Pi.


The fi­nal step is ad­ding new ROMs. Once you’ve legally pur­chased and down­loaded ROMs from the in­ter­net, you’ll need to copy them onto the mi­croSD card. ROMs are stored in a sep­a­rate folder for each sys­tem. So, for ex­am­ple, you need to place your Sega Mas­ter Sys­tem ROMs in ~/RetroPie/roms/ mas­ter­sys­tem/. Once you’ve in­stalled ROMs, you’re ready to play.


Once booted, you’ll see a menu with all the avail­able games sys­tems on it. Some emu­la­tors will only show up once game ROMs for that sys­tem are in­stalled. Scroll un­til you find the game you want to play, then let rip!

You can al­ways re­turn back to RetroPie if you want to change any of the con­fig­u­ra­tion op­tions, or up­date the soft­ware. And that’s all there is to it! Time to sit back and play some games. If you want to find out more about the RetroPie soft­ware, visit blog.petrock­

If you see a splash screen like this when you power on again, the in­stal­la­tion worked!

RetroPie can be re­stored straight to SD if you don’t need Raspbian as well

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