Want to install RetroPie but don’t want to lose your existing Raspbian projects and environment? Not fond of the idea of ​​dual booting? The answer is to install RetroPie as a Raspbian application. In fact, it’s so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before.

You don’t always need a dedicated disk image

Raspberry Pi users have been sold the idea of ​​having a single function for their computer. This one feature is usually the Raspbian distribution, which users are encouraged to reinstall for every major project. Not only does this shorten the life of your SD card, it’s also unnecessary.

The Raspberry Pi can support booting from USB devices, and it’s even possible to install multiple operating systems. about HDD via BerryBoot.

In short, since the Raspberry Pi first appeared in 2012, things have moved on. Dedicated disk images can be useful for Pi-based retro game projects, but if you want a more versatile experience, Raspbian Stretch is more than adequate. We have already covered how to install Kodi on Raspbian. so let’s learn how to install and configure RetroPie.

What you need

As always with a Raspberry Pi project, you’ll need a reliable power supply, a microSD card (at least 8 GB, with Raspbian Stretch pre-installed), and an HDMI cable (unless you’re using a touch display).

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

You will also need an Ethernet cable to connect to your router (or Wi-Fi), a keyboard and mouse, and a game controller. Whether you keep them connected or not will depend on the type of games you intend to play.

Indeed, if you’re interested in a certain type of game (such as one released for the Commodore 64), then you’ll need a keyboard and a two-button joystick.

Set up Raspbian to install RetroPie

To get started, boot up your Raspberry Pi and change the locale settings. This can be done on the command line using:

sudo raspi-config 

Here go to » Localization Options» > «Change Locale» and scroll through the menu to select an option en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 . Select OK to confirm and wait until the changes are made.

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

Then reboot your Raspberry Pi with:

 sudo reboot 

You may prefer to use desktop Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool available in the menu Preferences . In this case, go to the » Localization ”, select “ Set locale» and choose kit symbols en_US.UTF-8 . You will be prompted to restart your computer, so click OK .

After the computer restarts, open a new terminal window and enter the command:


Make sure each parameter is assigned a value en_US.UTF-8 .

Install RetroPie on Raspbian

Before installing RetroPie, you need to make sure git is installed on Raspbian:

 sudo apt install git 

After that, you are ready to install RetroPie:

 git clone https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup.git 

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

The RetroPie-Setup folder will load, so change the directory and make the retropie_setup.sh script executable:

 cd RetroPie-Setup chmod +x retropie_setup.sh 

You can now install RetroPie using the install script:

 sudo ./retropie_setup.sh 

Wait for it to work. Some additional packages may be installed. Once this is done, the «RetroPie-Setup Script» menu will appear. Click OK, to close the intro screen, then select 1. Basic installation .

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

This will install all packages from the main and main RetroPie projects; select Yes, to continue and wait while the emulation package is installed.

This will take some time and after that you will be returned to the settings menu. Select R Reboot and select Yes for confirmation.

Sign in and set up RetroPie

When the computer restarts, you will first see the desktop; then it will close and display the command line interface. Log in with your regular Raspberry Pi credentials. Once you’ve done that, launch EmulationStation:


The user interface for RetroPie will load and you will be prompted to set up your controller. If you prefer to skip this and navigate the keyboard, you can deal with the controller later.

Next, if you are using a wireless network and not Ethernet, you will need to connect to your wireless network. Go to the RetroPie menu, then select WiFi . Select an item 1 Connect to a WiFi network and select the correct network name. Click OK then enter the password by confirming OK .

When it’s done, wait until the menu appears again; if successful, the IP address for the wireless connection should be displayed. Select Exit, to close the menu.

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

While you’re all set, you’re ready to install the BIOS files and game ROMs on your Raspberry Pi. But first, you may need some emulators. You will find them through RetroPie > RetroPie Setup > M Package Management . Select an option here Additional Package Management and find the one that suits the platform you want to emulate.

Along with recognizable gaming platforms like the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast, you’ll find old 8-bit systems and even arcade games (always labeled «MAME»). Meanwhile, classic games ported to the Raspberry Pi can be found in the list (for example, Doom and Quake), as well as the ScummVM program, which allows you to run certain graphical adventure games.

When you find the emulator(s) you want to add, select them one by one using » Install from source» . This may take some time depending on how many (and which) emulators you have selected. When you’re done, click the » Back» until you return to the main menu «RetroPie Setup Script», then select » R» Reboot again.

BIOS and game files

To play games on RetroPie, you need the BIOS file for the respective emulator and the ROM files for the games you want to play. Due to copyright law, we can’t link to them, but you should find what you need through Google. Note that if you are using ROM files, you must already have a copy of the physical media.

Manually Install RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

Once you have the files (ROM files must be saved in the appropriate emulator folder, BIOS files in the BIOS directory), you will be able to run games in EmulationStation.

We usually ask you to do this via SSH or FTP from a second computer. However, this is not necessary if you can easily leave RetroPie and return to the PIXEL desktop in Raspbian. So you can use the Chromium browser to find and download BIOS and ROM files and save them to your Raspberry Pi.

Exit RetroPie

To exit RetroPie, click the » Start» (which you set up earlier) and select » Exit» > «Exit EmulationStation» and then when the command prompt appears, type:

 sudo systemctl start lightdm 

This will restart the Pixel desktop on Raspbian and you should be able to continue using your Raspberry Pi normally. Perhaps you have a project that you are developing? If not, there are many other great uses for the Raspberry Pi.

Whenever you want to run RetroPie again just use the emulationtation command.

If you are tired of the standard interface, you can also dig into the settings and install a new theme on RetroPie

Keep in mind that RetroPie isn’t the only retro gaming option for the Raspberry Pi. There are other methods of retro gaming for the Raspberry Pi. although they may not support manual installation like RetroPie does. Now that you have access, why not build an NES or SNES Mini with RetroPie ? If you prefer handhelds, we’ve covered how to build a Raspberry Pi Game Boy kit. collect too.

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