I thought it would be nice for a change to do something pretty simple but awesome, and what's cooler than having your very own emulator box with hundreds (why not thousands) of retro games installed? I personally played a lot of NES, SNES and N64 back in the day. A true Nintendo fanboy until had a go with PS2. It ultimately changed my heart forever.

For starters, you will need:

  • A Raspberry Pi 3 and a micro USB AC adapter for it. Pi 3 requires at least a 2,5 amp at 5 volt adapter. I have used cell phone chargers with less amps, and they have worked. Not sure about the longevity though. For this exercise, I bought the official charger.
  • An SD card, preferably a class 10.
  • A computer for the initial setup, a laptop with an SD card reader is the best option.
  • A USB keyboard for configuring Retropie and Pi 3.
  • A USB pluggable gamepad of your choice. I'll be using one of my PS4 controllers.
  • An HDMI cable for connecting to your TV.
  • Beer for passing the time while Retropie installs.

Let's go

Insert the SD card to the card reader on your laptop, or what ever computer you've got. I assume you've downloaded the official Retropie image from their repository by now. If not, download it from here.

Once that's finished, write the image to the SD card. On Windows, you could use Win32 Disk Imager, on Mac OS or Linux you can use the dd tool. I installed my SD card on my trusty Ubuntu laptop, so used the dd tool. First though, I had to unmount the previous partitions that I had installed on the card:

umount

Then dd the image to the root partition:

Writing the SD card will take some time, so grab a beer for the wait.

Light it up

After that's done, insert the SD card, a keyboard and your gamepad of choice to your Pi 3 and boot it up. Go through the initial gamepad configuration and enter the Raspberry configuration. The things you want to configure include:

  • Enabling SSH.
  • Set up root password.
  • Expand the filesystem to the entire card.
  • Setup WiFi.

After the previous steps, boot the Pi and then move on to configuring RetroPie. First, update the Pie and then install all optional packages. Both steps take a long time, so I hope you brought more than one beer for this. When the updates are done, and beer's all gone, restart emulation station and you'll be ready to rock and roll!

In order to play games on Pie, you need to copy your roms to ~/RetroPie/roms/$console where $console is the appropriate console folder. For example, if you want to play SNES games, copy your SNES roms to ~/RetroPie/roms/SNES. The easiest way to copy roms is via sftp or WinSCP on Windows. This is why you enabled SSH before.

But now, finally, it's time to GAME ON!