My First Raspberry Pi Project: Retro Video Game Emulator

After being given the Raspberry Pi 3 as a gift a few months ago, I came to realise that I’ve only really set up Raspbian on it, and got it up and running.

There were tons of projects floating around my head that I could go ahead with and have fun doing, but due to the “Beast From The East” last week, I decided that what better to do than to create a retro video game emulator so that I could sit in and play games to make time pass quicker until things are back to normal. Besides this, it’s a relatively simple and quick process for me to sink my teeth into.


My Equipment

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • HDMI cable
  • Monitor
  • USB gamepad(s)
  • USB keyboard and mouse – for initial setup and install
  • Internet connection – for downloading the software
  • Micro SD card – 32GB
  • Micro SD card to SD card adapter
  • Power source via micro USB slot



Firstly, I looked up the best software to emulate retro games on the Pi, and everything seemed to point towards RetroPie. Therefore, I headed over to the downloads page and downloaded the image for the Raspberry Pi 2/3.

After downloading the .gz file, using the command line, you can unzip the file using the gunzip command, to get the .img file. After retrieving the .img file, I used a SD card adapter to insert the micro SD card into my computer, and used the command line to install the previously downloaded RetroPie image onto the micro SD card. This was done by establishing what partition the SD card is inserted to, using fdisk. After establishing where the SD card was located, I used the dd command to install the .img file on the micro SD card. Details of this can be found here.

After this, I ejected the SD card from the computer and inserted the micro SD card into the Pi, in the allocated slot, and attached the needed peripherals (keyboard, HDMI cable, mouse).



Plugging in the power supply, I was brought to a RetroPie splash screen, before asked to configure my gamepad.


Therefore, I plugged in my gamepad and followed the config options.



Following this, I was brought to the home screen of the RetroPie. Here, there were many different options.


I decided to turn on WiFi, which is available to do easily through the UI provided.

This is when you now need ROMs. There are many different ways of doing this, but I opted for the easy option of putting ROMs directly onto the micro SD card which contained the RetroPie software. I took the micro SD card that was currently inserted into the Pi and plugged it back into my PC, via the SD card adapter. Then, going through the directories within the SD card, I found the roms file. Therefore, I put my favourite ROMs in the appropriate directories depending on the consoles that they were originally released for. I then ejected the SD card from the computer and plugged the micro SD card back into the Pi before powering it up again.

Then, you can fully customise your theme to suit you, reboot, and get access to your ROMs to play!


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