A Raspberry Pi emulator can provide you with hundreds of hours of fun and remember those good times playing those classic retro games. This article will take you through all the steps that you will need to do to have a fantastic all in one retro game emulator.
This game emulator is an excellent project if you’re an avid lover of retro games that you wish to replay. It’s important to remember that the Pi might not be able to play all the classics due to its limited processing power. With that said, it’s still an excellent way to play those classics.
If you’re not big on reading and you would like to see how this is done visually then check out the video I have prepared below. If you love the video, then you should subscribe as I will be adding a lot more videos on fantastic projects in the future. (PS. Sorry about the audio in this video, it’s quite old now)
You can find all the bits and pieces that you will need for the tutorial.
Setting it all up
The steps below will take you through all the steps to getting the Raspberry Pi emulator setup and ready to go.
Download & Format the SD Card
1. Download the RetroPie Project SD Card Image from the RetroPie Website. (Use version 2.5 if you have a Raspberry Pi 2)
2. You will need a formatting tool. Visit the SD Association’s website and download the SD Formatter 4.0 for either Windows or Mac.
3. Follow the instructions to install the formatting software.
4. Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and check the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. G:/ (If you don’t have one then you can buy a USB SD Card reader here)
5. In the SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card (eg. G:/) and then click format.
Install the RetroPie software onto the SD Card
1. Download the Win32DiskImager.
2. Select the RetroPie image file and the drive letter your SD card is assigned to (Eg. G:/)
3. Confirm you have the correct details and then click on
Booting up the Emulator
1. Insert the SD Card into the Pi as well as connect the mouse, keyboard, ethernet cord and power supply.
2. The Pi will now boot up and launch into RetroPie.
f4 to go to command line.
ifconfig and write down the numbers and dots next to
inet addr. (You may need it later)
5. Type the following into the terminal:
6. Select Expand File system and accept until you’re back to the main screen.
7. Go to Advanced Options->SSH and enable it.
8. Next go to overclock, select Medium or Turbo if you’re feeling risky. (These options are different on newer Pi’s)
9. Afterwards, select finish and then select yes to reboot.
Adding ROMS to the Raspberry Pi Emulator
ROM is short for read-only memory and is the format in which you will find pretty much all the classic games in. ROMs can be found all over the internet, and since there are so many different sources, it’s best to simply google the game you wish to download followed by ROM. eg. (“Doom ROM”).
There are many sites around such as Emulationking, Abandonia that provide all sorts of ROMS, emulation help and much more. These are perfect if you want to take a look further into the emulator scene.
1. If the Pi is connected to the network then simply go to network in windows explorer.
2. In the list, you should find a device called RaspberryPi, double-click it.
3. You will find a folder in here called ROMS. Open this up, and this is where you will need to store your ROMS.
4. If the above doesn’t work, you can download an FTP software such as Cyberduck for Mac or FileZilla for Windows.
You must use the SSH File Transfer Protocol to be able to access the Pi. Once connected navigate to RetroPie/ROMS.
There you have it a Raspberry Pi Emulator that can play all your classic retro games and it will only cost you a fraction of what you would need to pay to get the original consoles.
If you’re feeling a little creative, you can always build the Raspberry Pi into a shell of a classic console for a much more authentic look.
Emulators included in RetroPie
Below are all the emulators installed with Retropie at the time of writing this tutorial.
The Amiga is a range of computers that were sold by Commodore throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. The Amiga featured lots of games but just to name a few, there is The Chaos Engine, Lemmings, Turrican and Shadow of the beast.
This Raspberry Pi Amiga emulator will let you play many of the classics games that you loved on this old school computer.
Apple II (LinApple)
The Apple II introduced in 1977 was one of the most successful personal computers of its time. The Apple II featured a lot of games throughout its lifespan such as Castle Wolfenstein, Lode Runner, Choplifter and the list goes on.
Make use of the Apple II emulator on the Raspberry Pi and relive some of those great classics.
Apple Macintosh (Basilisk II)
Play Apple Macintosh games that were built to run on the MAC OS 8.1.
Amstrad CPC (CPC4RPi)
The Amstrad CPC or short for Color Personal Computer is a series of computers released in 1984 through to 1990s. There were many great games released for this computer such as Roland in the caves, Harrier Attack, Gauntlet and much more.
The Atari 800 is part of the series of the 8 bit home computers that were released back in 1979. Again many games were released for the Atari 800 such as Montezuma Revenge, Jumpman, Star Raiders and much more.
The Raspberry Pi makes for a great Atari 800 emulator. Again there are just so many games that you can play.
Atari 2600 (RetroArch)
The Atari 2600 released back in September 1977 by Atari was more commonly known as the Atari VCS at the time of the release. Ikari Warriors, Pengo, Pigs in Space and Pac man just to name a few games released for the console.
If you’re looking for an Atari 2600 Emulator then this Raspberry Pi mod makes it possible.
The C64 or the Commodore 64 released in 1982 by Commodore International. It is the highest selling computer model of all time and sales between 10-17 million units.
Using this guide, you can set up a Commodore 64 emulator using the Raspberry Pi.
Game Boy Advance (gpSP)
The Game Boy Advance is one of the highest selling handheld gaming consoles of all time. Boasting more than 81.5 million sales there we many great games for this great handheld. Some of these great games were Pokemon, Super Mario Advance, Super Mario Bros and much more.
The Raspberry Pi Game Boy Advance emulator lets you replay some of those great classics released for the handheld console.
Game Gear (Osmose)
The Sega Game Gear is a handheld console that was released back in 1990.
Intellivision released to the public back in 1979 is a video game console that was developed by Mattel. The console sold over 3 million and a total of 125 games released for it. Games that released for the console included BurgerTime, Night Stalker, B-17 Bomber and much more.
Neo Geo (GnGeo, Genesis-GX & RetroArch)
The Neo Geo was found both in arcades and in homes and didn’t stop production up until 1997. Games that released for the system includes Rage of the Dragons, Twinkle Star Sprites and much more.
The Raspberry Pi makes for a great Neo Geo emulator making it possible for you to relive some of the great games released for this system.
Sega Master System (Osmose)
The SMS or Sega Master System was released back in 1985 in Japan. It was not until 1986, 1989 and 1989 it was brought in to North America, Europe, and Brazil. The system did alright but wasn’t able to overturn Nintendo’s dominance in the market only selling 10-13 million compared to the 62 million NES units sold.
The Sega Master System Emulator is a great way to relive some of the classics released for the system such as Alien Syndrome, Asterix, Cyborg Hunter, Wonder Boy and much more.
Sega Megadrive/Genesis (DGEN, Picodrive)
The Sega Megadrive or also known as the Sega Genesis is the third console and successor to the Sega Master System. This system boasted a library of over 900 games and was popular in North America and Europe, the console, however, struggled in Europe.
The Raspberry Pi does well at being a Sega Genesis emulator so if you have one you should definitely play some of these games.
Nintendo Entertainment System – NES (RetroArch)
The Nintendo Entertainment or also known as the NES was released back in North American in 1985. It was the console that helped revitalize the US video game industry after the crash back in 1985. The NES had classics such as Mario Bros, Mega Man, Duck Hunt and much more.
RetroArch could be the best NES emulator as you can not only have the NES games you love but also games from other great consoles.
Nintendo 64 – N64 (Mupen64Plus-RPi)
The Nintendo 64 or also known as the N64 is another hugely popular video game system released by Nintendo.
There was a total of 387 games released for the console with a fair few of them exclusively sold in Japan. Some of the great games that were released for this console include Donkey Kong 64, Super Mario 64, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye and many more.
If you’re looking for an excellent n64 emulator, then the Raspberry Pi will do a pretty decent job having a few games that can run on this amazing little computer.
PlayStation 1 (RetroArch)
The PlayStation 1 or most commonly known as PS or PS1 was released back in 1995 and was the main competitor the Nintendo 64. Many of the great games released include Driver, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2, Crash Bandicoot and much more.
This mod for the Raspberry Pi is an excellent PlayStation 1 emulator and will allow you to play some of the great games you remember.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch, PiSNES, SNES-Rpi)
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or also known as the SNES is a video game console developed and released by Nintendo back in 1990. The SNES was hugely successful and still has a great fan base for it today. The SNES had great games such as Sim City, Super Mario World, Casper, Civilization and much more.
This could be the best SNES emulator around as you can set it up to be purely a console for just your SNES collection.
Other Emulators I should mention
There are a ton of other emulators that you’re able to run, here is a list of the ones I feel need a mention.
- Arcade (PiFBA, Mame4All-RPi)
- Atari ST/STE/TT/Falcon
- CaveStory (NXEngine)
- Doom (RetroArch)
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Final Burn Alpha (RetroArch)
- Color (RetroArch)
- MAME (RetroArch & AdvMAME)
- Sega Mega-CD (Picodrive)
- Sega 32X (Picodrive)
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum (Fuse)
- PC Engine / TurboGrafx 16 (RetroArch)
- PC / x86 (rpix86)
- Z Machine emulator (Frotz)
I hope that this guide has helped with setting up the Raspberry Pi emulator. If you come across any issues, have feedback or anything else then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.