You’ll need to connect your Pi to the Internet in order to add game ROMs (more on that later) and access additional RetroPie features such as game rating/description scraping.
If you have easy access to your router, you can simply connect your Pi using an Ethernet cable.
Only the Raspberry Pi 3 and Pi Zero Wireless have built-in WiFi.
You can find a USB WiFi adapter super cheap on Amazon.
If using one of the WiFi options above: After connecting all your peripherals and booting up your Pi, select the RetroPie menu icon and then select
Step #6 : Expand SD Card Filesystem to get complete Space
If your SD card is larger than 4GB, you must expand it before your Pi can use the remaining space. To do this, you’ll need to launch the Raspberry Pi configuration tool (raspi-config).
You can either press F4 to exit the RetroPie UI and get back to the shell (i.e. command line), enter the following and press enter:
Or, you can use the Retropie interface to do this. Select the RetroPie menu icon and then select
Then, choose either
Expand Filesystem or expand_rootfs from the menu (this option will vary based on your Raspberry Pi version). You now need to restart your Pi. You may have noticed there’s no reset button (unless you’ve added one).
reboot your Raspberry Pi, use the following Pi reboot command after pressing F4 to return to the shell: sudo reboot
After your Pi reboots, we want to make sure that all packages are up to date. Press F4 to get back to the shell/command line, and run the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
Reboot your Pi once more.
Step #7 : Connect to PI
We now need to connect to your Raspberry Pi from your computer so that we can copy over game ROMs and easily edit configuration files.
Again, this step is optional as you can also transfer ROMs via USB and accessing your configuration and other additional features isn’t strictly required.
There are numerous ways to do this; my favorite method is via SSH/SFTP using an FTP client. As far as
free FTP clients go, I recommend FileZilla since it’s very well documented and supported and is available for both Mac and Windows.
Download FileZilla from their
downloads page and install it. I recommend you uncheck all the “additional components” that FileZilla will ask you to install, such as the Yahoo search page and toolbar crap.
**Note: As of the latest version of
Raspbian Jessie, SSH is disabled by default for security purposes; you will need to enable SSH on your Pi before proceeding. Thankfully, this process is super easy and painless.
Use the following credentials to connect to your Pi. The
default Pi username and password are pi and raspberry, respectively. Host:your pi's IP address (see below)
For security purposes, I highly recommend you
change the default Raspberry Pi password to something else. It only takes a minute.
To find your Pi’s IP, open Terminal (Mac) or Command Prompt (Windows) and enter the following command to ping your Pi and return its network IP:
or, for newer versions of RetroPie, use:
It may take a few tries to get a response. If you see a “Request timeout” response when you run the ping command, then the command has failed. Instead, boot up your Pi, press F4 to get to the shell, and run the following command:
This alternate method will list your Pi’s IP immediately afterinet addr: under eth0.
Step #8 : Configuring Controller
You’ll now want to configure your USB gamepad to work with your Pi. I recommend the
Buffalo Classic USB Gamepad since it’s inexpensive, highly compatible with the Pi, and comes in sweet Japanese packaging. You can find an Amazon link to that controller at the top of this guide.
To configure your controller to work with the menu system and games, boot up your Pi. Your Pi will automatically launch the RetroPie UI where you will be prompted to configure the controller. If you mess up, don’t worry — you can access this configuration menu again later by pressing Start in the RetroPie UI or by typing F4 on your keyboard and then rebooting your Pi.
Some games require additional in-game controller configuration. This can be done by going into a game’s menu system and mapping the controller there (though this isn’t necessary for most games).
Step #9: Finding ROM’s
A ROM is an entire port of a particular video game. RetroPie contains a copy of EmulationStation, which both provides the user interface for your new retro gaming rig and interprets these ROMs appropriately. RetroPie comes with a few games preinstalled — such as
Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, and Cave Story. These games are best played using a keyboard, however, since the gamepad doesn’t have enough keys to map the controls for some PC-ported games. A Legal Note
Most vintage games are owned by a company (yes, even the very old ones!) and are protected by copyright laws. Thus, unfortunately, downloading ROMs for those games constitutes piracy.
While you can find tons of ROMs on any Torrent site, keep in mind that you should not download any copyrighted titles.
Luckily, there are some free ROMs out there that we can use for now!
MAMEdev.org has a nice list of these free, legal ROMs. We’ll use these as examples and you can find more ROMs on your own.
Gridlee and Super Tank as examples. Download each ROM.
Step #10: Installing ROMs
ROMs can be installed via SSH/SFTP (over your network)
or via a USB thumb drive. Additional methods for copying ROMs to RetroPie can be found on the RetroPie Wiki.
I wrote a separate guide on
installing RetroPie ROMs using a USB drive. Or, if your Pi is connected to the internet, you can use the instructions below.
Reconnect FileZilla and browse to the following directory:
Unzip each game ROM and upload each game folder into its respective game system folder. For example, if you had a Super Mario Bros 3 ROM, you would upload the game’s folder into the “nes” directory.
Gridlee and Super Tank go in the “mame” directory since MAME handles the arcade emulation for most vintage arcade-style games that don’t belong to a specific home video game system such as the NES, SNES or Atari.
After you’ve copied these directories over, restart your Pi.
Step #11 : Ready for the Vintage Gaming Experience
Your Pi will boot into RetroPie automatically. Bask in the glory of simple graphics, bolstered by highly addictive gameplay.
Cave Story is actually a pretty sweet game.
To exit a game, press the START and SELECT buttons at the same time. This will bring you back to the RetroPie UI.