Virtual reality games are on the rise. Mobile games are becoming more and more popular. Playing an MMO with headsets for voice chat and streaming experiences is all the rage.

Experts predicted all this many years ago.

But who could have foreseen the rise of retro gaming? What sane person could have predicted that a single board computer the size of a credit card would cause an explosion in retro gaming?

The versatile Raspberry Pi can emulate a vast collection of gaming platforms. Interested in building a retro slot machine with your Raspberry Pi? Here’s what you need to know about RetroPie ROMs, downloads, and more.

What You Need for a Raspberry Pi Game Center

You will need a few items for a solid and reliable Raspberry Pi retro gaming hub. Before looking at the software, let’s first look at the hardware.

Raspberry Pi 4 board

raspberry pi

Since its release in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has had several iterations, each more powerful than the last. These days you have two solid options.

  • Raspberry Pi 4 (our coverage): Features: 1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 (SOC) 64-bit system (SOC) with up to 4GB LPDDR RAM (shared with GPU). , Dimensions 3.370 × 2.224 inches (85.60 × 56.5 mm). Has 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless network and Bluetooth.
  • Raspberry Pi Zero (our guide): Uses a 1GHz ARM1176JZF-S single-core processor with 512MB (shared with GPU). This more compact device measures 2.56×1.18 inches (65×30 mm) and has a Zero W wireless variant.

While you can get good results using the Raspberry Pi 3B+, the increased performance offered with the Raspberry Pi 4 means you should choose this option.

Other equipment and cables

In addition to the Raspberry Pi, you’ll also need an HDMI cable, a reliable microSD card, a keyboard/mouse combo for initial setup, and game controllers. While a 1GB Raspberry Pi 4 costs less than $40, if you’re starting from scratch, you can buy a complete kit for less than $100.

However, if you opt for the Raspberry Pi 4’s 4GB extended RAM, your budget will be stretched.

You can also choose a Starter Kit, which includes most of what you need (excluding the keyboard and mouse).

Best Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Emulators

Once you have your Raspberry Pi and the appropriate hardware, it’s time to find the right emulators. While you can install them individually, it’s much preferable to install the emulation package. This is a package, usually ready to be written to a microSD card. consists of many of the best emulators. Any that are not included, you can often add along with pre-installed emulators.

Six current projects are available for selection. Before downloading, make sure they support the platforms you want to emulate.

1. Retro pie

Probably the best known of the retro gaming software options for the Raspberry Pi, RetroPie gives you access to a vast collection of emulators through the EmulationStation user interface. Emulators are presented through the RetroArch interface, while various ported games (several PC games run on the Pi) are bundled.

RetroPie also includes a MAME slot machine emulator and supports many controllers.

Download : RetroPie


RecalBox supports over 40 emulators, including MAME, and over 30,000 titles. Again, using the EmulationStation UI and RetroArch/libretro emulation support.

Games are enhanced on RecalBox with cheat codes, Rewind tool (to help you fix bugs in the game) and screenshot functionality.

RecalBox is very similar to RetroPie but comes exclusively as a writable microSD card image and cannot be manually installed.

RecalBox and RetroPie include the ability to install Kodi.

Download : RecalBox

3. Pi Play

PiPlay is a compact alternative to RetroPie and RecalBox with 12 emulated machines and the ScummVM point-and-click adventure game platform. You can download PiPlay and burn it to a microSD card, or install it directly on your Raspberry Pi via GitHub.

Without the slick user interface, EmulationStation PiPlay has a more traditional text-based user interface. However, it is a stable emulation solution with good support for popular controllers.

Download : PiPlay

4. Lakka

Describing itself as «a lightweight Linux distribution that turns a small computer into a complete emulation console,» Lakka also uses RetroArch. Supporting around 40 emulators with thousands of games, Lakka is a strong alternative to RetroPie and RecalBox.

Game ROMs can be uploaded to Lakka from a separate computer over the network. By booting with BerryBoot or NOOBS, you can dual boot Lakka along with other Raspberry Pi operating systems.

Download : Lakka

5. Pi Entertainment System (PES)

A collection of ArchLinux-based emulators bundled with RetroArch, PES offers 18 hardware platforms plus MAME. There’s also Kodi and support for multiple game controllers (including the ever-popular PS3 and PS4 control panels).

PES also adds wireless and online play to retro platforms (except N64) and can be downloaded using BerryBoot.

Download : Pi Entertainment System

6. Batocera

The original Batocera retro gaming solution is available for all Raspberry Pi models. Supports a large number of gaming platforms; all you have to do is plug in your controller and play.

Minimal configuration is required with Batocera. Everything is pre-installed and included, although you will find that some platforms are not available on the Raspberry Pi. Versions of Batocera are available for x86 devices with a wider selection of supported emulators.

Download : Batocera [сломанный URL удален]

Which emulation kit to choose?

With so many emulation systems out there, you might find your options a bit overwhelming. As a general rule, if you want a system that will emulate just about anything, choose RecalBox or RetroPie. There’s very little difference between them.

In the meantime, for a more concrete experience (using the emulators you intend to use), try Batocera, PiPlay, Lakka, or PES.

Where to Get the RetroPie ROM Boot Files

To enjoy games (or even apps) on an emulator, you need to purchase a ROM. Both game ROMs and BIOS ROMs are required. It’s easy to miss the BIOS ROM requirements, but without them, emulators won’t be able to run games.

ROMs for RetroPie emulators can be found legally and illegally

The legality of this is a bit murky. There was once a time when you owned the original, you could safely use the ROM. These days, when peer-to-peer networks are prevalent even on obviously loading sites, this practice is a little risky.

Alternatives are available: the main solution is to create your own ROMs. Special hardware is available for this, although it varies by platform. For example, you can purchase a USB device that connects a Commodore 64 data set (cassette player) to a PC.

This information is provided, of course, strictly on the understanding that you retain the ROM for your own use. An eBay search may return the results you are looking for.

How to add a ROM to RetroPie and other kits

The ROMs must be copied to the correct directory on your Raspberry Pi. An SSH-enabled FTP solution like FileZilla is the best option here. However, some emulation packages offer an interface to download ROMs from your main PC.

In the meantime, when you’re playing games, your retro games selection will have a handy game library browser. All you need to do is navigate to the game you want (using your game controller) and launch it.

Retro Controller Options: What Can You Use?

Various controllers are compatible with your Raspberry Pi retro gaming rig. Wired controllers usually provide the best results, but some high-end Bluetooth controllers should work.

Sony PlayStation 3 and 4 controllers can connect to Raspberry Pi

These include the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and 4 controllers. Check out our article on connecting an Xbox One controller to a Raspberry Pi for more help. So you can actually use a PS4 controller on a Raspberry Pi with an N64 emulator. Mix and match!

Meanwhile, a large selection of USB controllers should work with your Raspberry Pi and gaming kit of choice. Controller configuration happens when the Pi boots into RetroPie, RecalBox, etc. so you’ll quickly get an idea of ​​what works and what doesn’t.

Meanwhile, old-style joysticks and console controllers with USB connectors are available to enhance the retro feel.

Check out our list of the best RetroPie controllers for some ideas.

Consider a retro themed case

The case options are significant. I prefer to use a standard Raspberry Pi 3 case and keep it out of sight. You might prefer the prouder approach and show off your Pi in a retro themed console style. Plenty of SNES mini-console-like designs available online, among many other retro device designs.

There’s also 3D printing. A ton of retro-style cases can be bought as digital files, ready to be 3D printed. If you don’t have your own 3D printer, don’t worry. There are many services available that will create 3D designs on your behalf. Simply select the case design you need and find a 3D printing service to make it. They will require you to download the design and pay for it right away, and then send it to you when completed.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a more practical approach to building a case, why not use a sleek play station. how is the inspiration?

Retro Gaming on Raspberry Pi: An Easy Win!

You can do a lot with Raspberry Pi. It can be used as a media center, desktop computer or music streaming device.

But perhaps the real killer app for the Raspberry Pi is the retro slot machine. As you’ve seen, it’s easy to set up, and the ROM library will keep you playing games.

Want more game options? Here’s how to play classic mouse-controlled adventure games. about Raspberry Pi and how to stream PC games. broadcast to that.

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