April 25, 2017

Build Your Own RetroPie Gaming Rig With a Raspberry Pi

This guide will show you everything about Rspberry Pi you need to know, to build your own RetroPie vintage gaming rig for around 50 pounds. For this build, we're going to use RetroPie, an awesome software package that handles all your emulation needs.


Any Pi can handle RetroPie, I recommend using the Raspberry Pi 3 as will maximize the range of games you can play as this Pi have improved GPU, and ROM capabilities. It's all quite easy, and we're going to make this as simple as possible. So we'll be using a piece of software that boots straight into the emulator interface. This software can be dumped right onto the Raspberry Pi's microSD memory card, meaning you don't need to do any fiddling about with Linux, Raspbian. The Raspberry Pi ships by itself, without a case. I recommend you buy a case to avoid accidentally shorting or static damage PI. The best emulator platform for Raspberry Pi at present is Emulation Station the official graphical frontend of the RetroPie project. EmulationStation is not an emulator, rather it is a polished game launcher. absolutely loads of the things. It's designed to be pretty and bold enough to work visually on your lounge TV, rather than just on a monitor where you'll be sitting close-up.

Raspberry Pi 3
3d printed raspberry pi case

What You Need

  1. The Raspberry Pi 3 is a series of small single-board computers, next generation ARMv8 is a powerful 64 bit quad core processor, running at 1.2GHz and backed up with 1GB RAM<
  2. You will need to add Raspberry Pi Micro USB Power Supply, 5.1V 2.5A..
  3. We suggest a SanDisk Ultra 80MBs MicroSD Memory Card - 32GB.
  4. Cooling Kit for Raspberry Pi 3.
  5. Raspberry Pi 3 case.

The Quick and Easy Guide

  • Download the RetroPie SD-card image.

    RetroPie is a software package for the Raspberry Pi that is based on Raspbian, a Linux distribution. It combines a full suite of tools and utilities that will allow you to quickly and easily run ROMs for various vintage gaming platforms. We're going to do our install using an SD card image - essentially a snapshot of an entire working installation of RetroPie. Because the Raspberry Pi doesn't have an internal hard drive, it uses a microSD card for storage of the entire operating system and all files contained therein. Download and unzip the latest RetroPie SD-Card Image. There are two versions of the RetroPie SD-Card Image.

    Raspberry Pi Zero, Zero W, A, B, A+ and B, And second one for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3

  • Format your SD card to work with Raspberry Pi.

    First, you'll need to format the SD card as FAT32 In order to ensure my SD cards are completely blank and has no partitions that may be hidden. I always erase it with “SD Formatter” This is a tool created by the SD Association. It is quick, easy and free! You can download it from the Official SD Formatter website and it is available for Windows and Mac.
  • Flash the RetroPie image on our MicroSd card

    To do this, we'll use a third-party utility called ApplePi-Baker. Downloaded Raspberry Pie image should come in the .zip.gz file extenstion. ApplePi-Baker requires SUDO (admin) access in order to read/write to your SD card, you will be prompted to enter your OSX account password, when you open the application. Macictosh App

    Insert the SD card into your SD card reader, after opening the application ApplePi-Baker. You should see your SD Card listed on the left hand column. Then, click the "Restore Backup" button and select the (unzipped) RetroPie SD-Card Image (.IMG file) that you downloaded earlier. Under "Pi-Ingredients", select the image file you extracted above. Click on the "IMG to SD-Card" button and wait for the write to complete. ApplePi-Baker will give you an estimated time until it is finished along with the transfer speeds.


If you see a message "'ApplePi-Baker.app' can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer" when you first open ApplePi-Baker, simply navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and allow apps downloaded from anywhere. On macOS Sierra navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and click buton Open anyway

  • Put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and connect your peripherals vintage gaming rig Plug in HDMI cable, your Keyboard, USB game controller. Connect the HDMI cable to a monitor. Finally connect the Micro USB power supply. Always connect the power supply last, connecting your other peripherals before so that your Pi will detect all of the peripherals properly on boot. Your Pi will now boot for first time!.
  • Configure Your Controller

Once you’ve powered up the Pi for the first time, with the RetroPie SD card installed. It will take a few minutes to boot up, and then you’ll be met with a configuration screen for your controller. It will run through some one-time setup steps automatically RetroArch controls have been integrated into EmulationStation and will be the first thing you see when you boot from the RetroPie SD image the first time. You can also access it from the start menu within EmulationStation under the Configure Input option.

config controller

Just as the screen suggests, you should press and hold any button on your USB controller to start the configuration process. In the configuration menu, briefly press the corresponding button for each listed entry (e.g. up on the directional pad to start).

Retropie configure controller

When you reach the entries for the buttons you don’t have, or entries that may not have corresponding buttons on your controller. Simply press and hold a button you have already programmed for 2 seconds, then release it. This will signal to the configuration wizard that you wish to skip that button. Repeat this process until you have skipped all the unneeded entries and you can click “OK” to proceed.

  • Setting up Raspberry Pi for the first time

  • Now you'll need to connect your Raspberry Pi to the Internet in order to add game ROMs, and access additional RetroPie features, for example game description and scraping. There are a few ways to add internet functionality to your Raspberry Pie.

Internet Functionality

  1. Built-in WiFi Only the Raspberry Pi 3 and Pi Zero Wireless have built-in WiFi.
  2. USB WiFi dongle You can find a USB WiFi dongle super cheap on Amazon or Ebay.
  3. Ethernet Cable If you have easy access to your router, you can simply connect your Raspberr Pi using an Ethernet cable.
  • Let's Setup RetroPie WiFi

  • Select the RetroPie menu icon and then scrol down to WIFI
  • Choose network, you woudl like to connect to.
  • Enter WiFi key/password
  • Select Ok
RetroPie skin
RetroPie menu
conig wifi
  • Expand SD Card Filesystem

    1. From Start Screen select Retropie.
    2. RetroPie Start Screen

    4. Raspberry config.

    5. Select Expand Filesystem option.
    6. expand filesystem

    7. Select OK

    8. expand

    9. Filesystem will be expand on the next reboot, click finish.

    10. expand ok

    11. Select Yes to reboot your system.

    12. reboot system

    13. Now your system will be rebooted and you will have all your space on sd card available.

  • Enable SHH
    • From Start Screen select Retropie.
    • Select Adwance Option
    • Select - SHH Enable/Disable remote command line acces.......
    • Select Finsh
  • Login to RetroPie
    • ssh pi@ your pi's IP address
    • Password "raspberry"
    • Up date all Raspberry Pi packages

    • The conventional way to update RetroPie and install new features is through the setup script. The setup script can be accessed from the RetroPie menu in emulationstation. It can also be accessed from the terminal with


      We want to make sure that all packages are up to date. Press F4 on your keyboard to get to the shell/command line, and run the following commands:


  • Command 1. sudo apt-get update
    Command 2. sudo apt-get upgrade
    Command 3.- Reboot your Pi once more sudo shutdown -r now (or sudo reboot)
    Terminal Command
    Terminal Command 2

    Generally speaking, doing this regularly will keep your installation up to date, in that it will be equivalent to the latest released image available from raspberrypi.org/downloads.

    • Transferring Roms

    • ROMs stand for Read Only Memory. ROMs are essentially digital versions of old game cartridges. 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. There are many issues involving Copyrights laws regarding the usage of ROMs,Games as a result in order to preserve the integrity and longevity of the RetroPie project, the locations of ROMs will not and cannot be added to the rockyrider.net. 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 three main methods of transferring roms: via USB stick, via SFTP, and via Windows (Samba) shares. 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. You should only have ROMs of games that you own.

    Transferring ROMS using FileZilla

    As you download FileZilla already from their downloads page and install it. You wont need the additional components that FileZilla will ask you to install, such as the Yahoo search page and toolbar. Uncheck all!. SSH option is disabled by default in version of Raspbian Jessie, wich you running on your RetroPie. You will need to enable SSH on your Pi before proceeding, this process is super easy and painless.

    Use the following credentials to connect to your RetroPie using FileZilla. I recommend you change default passord Raspberry Pi security purposes.

    • Host: your pi's IP address
    • Username: pi
    • Password: raspberry
    • Port: 22
    ftp client

    Thats jus few examples of Supported Systems on RetroPie, with all necessary information to add ROM's and Bios. Add the roms to their respective folders (in the retropie/roms folder). RetroPie will need to restart emulationstation before ROM's will recognize it. Press Start, choose exit and choose restart EmulationStation, no need for hard reset.

    System Emulator Rom Extens. BIOS Manufacture
    Commodore 64 Vice .crt .d64 .g64 .t64 .tap .x64 - 1982: Commodore
    FinalBurn Alpha PiFBA, lr-fbalpha2012, lr-fbalpha .zip neogeo.zip 2000: N/A
    MSX lr-fmsx, lr-bluemsx rom .mx1 .mx2 .col .dsk See Wiki Page 1983: Microsoft
    Neo Geo GnGeo-Pi, PiFBA, lr-fbalpha2012, lr-fbalpha .zip neogeo.zip 1990: SNK

    Retropie BIOS Configuration

    An incorrect version or missing files will cause most or all games to immediately exit. In other words, lr-mame2003 will only work correctly with a collection of MAME 0.78 ROMs, mame4all will only work with a collection of MAME 0.37b5 ROMs, and so on.

    Emulator Location
    Neo Geo /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/neogeo/neogeo.zip OR /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/fba/neogeo.zip
    Famicom Disk System /home/pi/RetroPie/BIOS/disksys.rom

    Transferring ROMS using USB stick

    This short guide will show you how to quickly and easily transfer ROMs to RetroPie using the USB flash drive method. USB drive approach is the fastest and easiest methods for transferring ROMs to RetroPie The files are pretty small so it should only take a short time to transfer them

    1. Ensure that your USB is formatted to FAT32
    2. First create a folder called retropie on your USB stick (in lowercase).
    3. retropie folder

    4. Plug it into the pi and wait for USB LED to finish blinking
      • If your USB drive doesn't have an LED on it, just wait a few minutes to make sure the process has completed
    5. Pull the USB out and plug it into a computer
    6. retropie game folders

    7. Copy and paste the unzipped ROMs into the corresponding folder (in the retropie/roms/emulator system folder)
      • In to C64 folder we will copy ".d64" files

      c64 game

    8. Safely eject the USB drive from your computer and connect to your RetroPie
      • RetroPie will now begin automatically transferring your ROMs.
    9. The LED on your USB drive will stop blinking when the process is complete. Wait for it to finish blinking
      • If your USB drive doesn't have an LED on it, just wait a few minutes to make sure the process has completed
    10. Once the transfer is complete, unplug your USB drive from the RetroPie
    11. Refresh emulationstation by pressing F4, or choosing quit from the start menu
      • You can do this by pressing Start and using the Shut Down option to reboot your Raspberry Pi.

    After rebooted, you will see system game icons appear for every system that has ROMs installed.


    If no ROMs are installed for a system, icon will not appear

    sega mega drive
    games icons