Mittwoch, 15. August 2012

Making Raspberri Pi into Retro Games Station


Tested only on Rasbian (Debian Wheezy)

First, install all dependencies

sudo apt-get install git dialog

Then make directory for git and cloning the repo

mkdir ~/git_dir
cd ~/git_dir
git clone

After finishnig that, you should have "" file, start it with sudo.

sudo ./

You'll see a dialog, that asks you about "binary" or "source" installation, it's up to you, but the "source" installation takes about 2-3 hours.
So that's it, after installation you should have in your home "RetroPie" directory with some other directories inside.

pi@raspberrypi ~/RetroPie $ ls
EmulationStation emulatorcores RetroArch-Rpi roms SNESDev-Rpi

So let me explain, what is actually means.
emulatorcore -> separate emulators for respective platform from different developers.
RetroArch-Rpi -> Frontend for emulators (see, that allows use these emulators in the same way with same API.
EmulationStation -> GUI for RetroArch
roms -> copy your ROMs into directory
SNESDev-Rpi > see here

So, basically you have 3 different layers.

To start the emulators you'll need launch


How to use Gamepad

Plug your USB gamepad in to Raspberry PI (I've tested it with some generic PS-Clone Controller).

type this in console

sudo ~/RetroPie/RetroArch-Rpi/tools/retroarch-joyconfig | sudo tee -a /etc/retroarch.cfg

then type respective the button, that you see on the screen.

Using Gamepad to exit Emulator/Game

add this line at the end of /etc/retroarch.cfg

input_exit_emulator_btn = “11″

where "11" is you desired button, for example "11" for my controller equivalent R3 (right stick)

How to make a desktop link

create a file in "~/Desktop/emustation.desktop" with this content

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=EmulateStation, GUI for Retro Game Emulators

Of course you need change "Icon" with your image.

I can't see my ROMs.

check you "EXESTENSION" value in "EmulationStation" settings, it's case sensitive!

less ~/.emulationstation/es_systems.cfg

e.g for Sega it's ".smd", so it means a rom this name Sonic.SMD (not Sonic.smd) will not be displayed!

P.S. Thanks to  Aloshi, petrockblog, ToadKing and others.


  1. Hi! I ran the above as the description says, everything seem to be going well! But after the update (Fireware??) the PI is dead.. Any ideas to what happened? I've updated my RaspianPI distro quite much and have some backups, but not the latest sorry to say where I've gotten BlueTooth and PS3-Controller to work.

    1. Hi Magnus, it happens sometimes after Firmware update. You need to download the latest firmware ( and extract all files in "boot" directory to 1st partition (which is ca. 80 Mb) on your SD-Card, it will ask you to overwrite some files, it's ok, say "yes". That's all =)

    2. OK thanks for the tip! I think one of my problems is that I'm running BerryBoot so Raspian PI in this case is only one of the boot alternatives I've got. How does the update work then? BerryBoot works with a initial read only image and then a read/write data-folder is used as an extra layer to be able to write files. I updated the Raspian PI to the latest version so maybe it is just a case of skipping the Firmware update in your script or what do you recommend?

    3. I'm not familiar with BerryBoot, sorry. But yes, you can comment or delete "upgrade_apt" and "update_apt" functions in script.

    4. ok great! Due to me not having another Linux-installation I have problems fixing the damage. But no problem. I reverted to a earlier image.

      But after removing:
      apt-get update
      apt-get upgrade
      and both steps of the 'rpi_upgrade' from the script, it still crashes with a kernel crash after some minutes and can't be restarted again. I've already performed the first two steps yesterday, so those are probably OK.

      Sorry to say because you've done some GREAT work getting all those emulators together into a single package/installer! I would just love to get it going, but maybe it's over my Linux-head.

      I'll try this one more time and try and built it from sources so it matches my installation.

    5. My current suspicion is that my over clock (1100/350/500/500/6) is showing its ugly face with installations. It has been going great for several hundred hours within Raspbian PI, but it now looks like that maybe the problem with your installation. Sorry to hassle you.

      Just now it looks like the full RetroPie has been installed (binary only). It also succeeded with the firmware update this time, great! The error I've got right now when trying to start emulatorstation from terminal.

      * failed to open vchiq instance

      I've found some tips about this at the Quake3 troubleshoot part of:

      I've tried both of them without luck.. Anybody seen this?