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Orders from the Command Bunker #2 - How to setup a Raspberry Pi for emulation with RetroPie


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In this article we will show you how to setup a Raspberry Pi for emulation in 6-ish steps.

What you will need:

  • Hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi - There’s multiple models, we recommend the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

  • Micro SD Card - Storage capacity will depend on the amount of ROMs you own. 32gb is a good start.

  • SD Card Reader - Most computers have a built-in reader but it may require a microSD to standard SD Card adapter.

  • Power cord - Micro USB (2.5 Amps recommended).

  • Game Pad – We recommend Logitech F310, it’s a solid controller and with dual analog sticks it will work great with most games (even PS1 and N64).

Tip: CanaKit sells starter kits on amazon that will have everything you need to get started (except a controller). https://www.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-Complete-Starter-Kit/dp/B01C6Q2GSY

  • Software:

  • Latest version of Retropie (https://retropie.org.uk/download/) – in this tutorial we’ll use RetroPie v4.3 – released on the 21st September 2017.

  • SD Card Formatter (https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/) – This will allow you for prepare your SD Card for the Retropie OS.

  • Win32 Disk Imager (https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/) – This will install the Retropie OS on the SD Card.

  • WinSCP (https://winscp.net/eng/download.php) – This will allow you to transfer files onto the Pi using a user-friendly interface.

  • PuTTY (https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html) – With this application, you can run terminal commands on the Pi, but from your PC. It is mainly used for advanced configurations, so while useful, it is an optional program.

  • ROMs – These are the games you will be playing on the Pi. While we won't link to where you can get these files, we are fairly confident you should have no trouble locating them. RetroArch accepts both zipped and unzipped roms, as well as .bin/.cue files for cd-based games, and .pbp for PSX isos (which is a great space-saver as this format is roughly 20-30% smaller than iso images).

Getting Started:

  • Download and install SD Card Formatter, Win32 Disk Imager, WinSCP, and PuTTY.

  • Download extract the latest version of RetroPie.

  • Insert/Connect your SD Card to your PC.

Installing the Retropie OS:

Step 1 - Format your SD Card:

  • Launch SD Card Formatter, select your SD Card, and click Format. Note: Be sure to select the correct SD Card as this step will erase the entire content of the card.

SC Card Formatter - Step 1

  • Click Yes to continue formatting your card.

SD Card Formatter - Step 2

  • Now that your SD Card was formatted, click OK and then close the application.

SD Card Formatter - Step 3

Step 2 – Installing the image on the SD Card:

  • Launch Win32 Disk Imager.

  • Click on the folder icon, select the RetroPie image preciously downloaded, and click Open.

Win32 Disk Imager - Step 1

  • Select the drive letter for your SD Card. Note: Make sure you select the correct drive as you may overwrite your data.

Win32 Disk Imager - Step 2

  • Click on the Write button, then click Yes to confirm writing the image to the SD Card. This process will take several minutes.

Win32 Disk Imager - Step 3

  • Once the image has been copied to the SD Card, click OK and close the application. You may now eject the SD card and place it into your Pi.

Win32 Disk Imager - Step 4

Step 3 – Boot up you Raspberry Pi and configure your controller:

  • Connect power adapter and controller to the Pi.

  • Connect the Raspberry Pi to your TV/Monitor and power it on.

  • Once the Pi has booted, follow instructions to configure your controller.

RetroPie - Configure Controller

Tip: The following page provides information on button mapping for the various emulators. (https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/RetroArch-Configuration)

Step 4 - Enable SSH - This will allow you to remotely connect to your Pi to transfer roms, bios and other files:

  • In the Retropie Settings menu, select Raspi-Config.

RetroPie - Enable SSH Step 1

  • Navigate to and Select Interfacing Options.

RetroPie - Enable SSH Step 2

  • Navigate to and Select SSH.

RetroPie - Enable SSH Step 3

  • Select Yes to enable SSH and select OK, then Finish to return to Emulation Station.

RetroPie - Enable SSH Step 4

  • Reboot your system

RetroPie - Reboot System

Step 5 – Transfer ROMs

  • Connect the Pi to your network. Hardwired/LAN connection is recommended for these steps as it is typically both faster and more stable than wifi.

  • Locate your Raspberry Pi’s IP Address by going into RetroPie options from the main menu and selecting the Show IP option.

RetroPie - Show IP

  • Launch Win SCP, enter your log in information, and click Login.

  • File Protocol: SFTP

  • Host Name: Raspberry Pi’s IP Address from previous step.

  • Port Number: 22 (default)

  • User Name: pi (default)

  • Password: raspberry (default)

Win SCP - Step 1

  • On the left panel navigate where you have stored your roms.

  • On the right panel navigate to the Raspberry Pi’s roms folder. /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/

Win SCP - Step 2