12 Best Games to Play on Retropie (Download Links)


Today, I want to share my gaming experience on Retropie (and mainly on the original platforms).
It’s difficult to find good games available on Retropie with an available download link.
I’ll give you a list of my favorite games with a screenshot I took and a download link for each one.

How did I prepare this list?
I started by writing a list of all games I remember having fun with, on various platforms from Nintendo to PC.
Then I looked into games available for download and other top downloads.
A lot of them were not downloadable, but I got enough to share you a good list of games you need to play on Retropie.

I played each game a little to check that everything works.
And these are my screenshots, so it’s possible to play them on Retropie.
But I can’t promise that the game is still available and playable when you read this article.

As a reminder, it’s possible to get an SD card with over 100k games on it for a decent price on Amazon (direct link here). It includes all the games in this list and will save you a lot of time.

Let’s start! There is no specific order in this list because they are all good games, so no ranking.

Retropie Introduction

Just before starting the list of games, below is a short reminder about Retropie.
Retropie is a free distribution available for Raspberry Pi.

You can download it from the official website for any Raspberry Pi model.
But I recommend you to have the most powerful one (Raspberry Pi 4B for the moment) because some games need more power in order to play them correctly.

If you are new to Retropie, I have a full guide on how to start with Retropie here.
Read it before trying to download and install games from this post.

Best Retropie games

Donkey Kong
donkey kong retropie

Let’s start with a mythic game from the 80s: Donkey Kong.
For the younger crowd, you probably know more recent adventures of Donkey Kong, but here we are talking about one of the first video games.
The first version was released in 1981 for an arcade and after that, they applied the game concept to many systems like Atari computers, NES and Game Boy.

Even if we are in a Donkey Kong game, and not in Mario, the concept is similar.
You play as Mario (at the bottom of the screen) and you run to deliver the princess Peach (top of the screen).
Obviously, you must avoid traps and enemies on your way.

I put this game in this post for the history, not really for the gameplay as it’s pretty basic.
Even if you can play this game for a long time before completing it.

System: Atari 7800
Download Link: RomHustler

Note: If you need help installing new games on Retropie, you can read my step-by-step tutorial on the topic, with different ways to do this.

Wave Race
wave race retropie

Shigeru Miyamoto released this game only 10 years after Donkey Kong on Nintendo 64.
And you can note the big difference in the graphics technology.
A lot of colors (maybe too much ^^), a 3D render, and a lot of details.
It’s true that we are not on the same hardware, but it’s huge progress in the game’s evolution.

Wave Race 64 is a jet ski racing game. There are several game modes like Championship, Time trial, or Stunt mode.
You can play each mode solo or multiplayer.

I chose this game because it was one of my favorite games at the beginning of the Nintendo 64.
I played this game a lot and I still remember the jingle “Waaaave Race”.
The best game of Nintendo 64 is obviously Super Mario 64, but it’s not available for download (because of ESA restrictions), so I didn’t include it in this post.

My favorite games!
Get a list of my 24 favorites games (with links) to play on Retropie, Recalbox or Lakka

By the way, don’t try to play this game without a decent controller, a keyboard or NES gamepad won’t work, you need two sticks. My current recommendation is this one on Amazon, but a PS4 controller can do the job too if you have one (here is how to set this up in Bluetooth).

System: Nintendo 64
Download Link:  RomHustler

Street Fighter II Turbo
retropie street fighter

This one is a monument.
Street Fighter II Turbo was a bestseller in the 90s.
I think it’s the best version of the Street Fighter series.

I present here the SNES version, but you should know that they adapted it afterward for a lot of other platforms.
The game was available on PC, Saturn, PlayStation 2, and even on Xbox/Xbox360 and PlayStation 3.

If you really don’t know Street Fighter (I can’t even imagine this is possible), it’s a combat video game.
You do 1v1 fights by choosing a character and an opponent.
You can choose the difficulty level, or use the multiplayer mode to play with friends.

Thanks to its 2D game environment, it has not aged too much and remains interesting to play today.
And on Raspberry Pi, it would be perfect with an arcade machine like this one on Amazon.

System: Super Nintendo
Download Link: RomHustler

Golden Eye 007
golden eye retropie

Like Wave Race 64 and Super Mario 64, one of the other games I played the most was Golden Eye 007.
In the movie of the same name, you play James Bond in a series of adventures in URSS.

This game was one of the first to bring so much reality in first-person video games (even if today it seems hideous).
For example, the infiltration was a good part of the game. If you can kill enemies without alerting them, the level will be easier (yes, you can also play noisy and get all the enemies after you if you want).
The enemy’s AI was also good enough for a game of that period.

If you want to play this game on Retropie, I recommend having a dual-stick controller (at least).
You need to move with one and adjust the camera (and the weapon) with the other.
I tried with my SNES-like controller, but it was not playable.

On Amazon, you can find this pack with two controllers. It’s cheap, and you will enjoy your classic games a lot more. These controllers looked strange when released, but nevertheless, they are required to enjoy any N64 game, even many years later.

By the way, you can also check my pick of the best N64 games to play on Retropie here. That was one of my favorite consoles, a lot of good memories.

System: Nintendo 64
Download link: RomHustler

Pacman

Pacman is a mythic game, you already know it.
First available in arcade rooms in 1980, Pacman was then developed on many classic platforms (like Atari, SNES, PlayStation, and Game Boy).
Pacman is also often used as a reference in books and movies (Pixels, Player One, Black Mirror, …).

The goal of this game is to eat all the coins on the map, without being killed by the ghosts and other traps.
Each level is different, and you need to try many times before finding the best strategy.

I didn’t play this game that much in my childhood, but I can’t make a list of retro games without Pacman.

System: The link and screenshot are for GameGear, but you can find the ROM for various platforms
Download link: RomHustler

Sonic the Hedgehog
retropie sonic

We are now back in the 90s on Sega consoles, with Sonic The Hedgehog.
I think it’s one of the biggest success stories in gaming.
Available for over 25 different platforms and not counting how many game versions.

You lead the small blue hedgehog through an adventure on a lot of different levels.
You need to pick up coins and kill enemies to achieve your goal, which is different in each game version.

Even if I was not very good at this, I really liked this game because the gameplay is fun.
I also want to talk about Mario Bros which was the Sonic competitor at the time.
The two games are similar and I really appreciate both.
But there are no download links available for any Mario version, so I don’t include it in this article.

System: Sega Master System (and a lot of others)
Download Link: RomHustler

Duck Hunt
retropie duck hunt snes

Take this dog out of my sight!
Duck Hunt is a famous game where you need to kill ducks with this kind of controller:

snes zapper
Nintendo Zapper

If you have already played this game, you should remember.
I remember playing this game every time I went to my cousin’s (who had a Nintendo and not me ^^).
I didn’t find any controllers like this one with a USB port that would work with Retropie, but you can easily find a case looking like an NES for your Pi, it costs almost nothing on Amazon (price and pictures here).

My favorite games!
Get a list of my 24 favorites games (with links) to play on Retropie, Recalbox or Lakka

This game works fine on Retropie, but you must find out how to configure your controller to replace the zapper.
Maybe a controller with two triggers can do this, but I haven’t tested it yet.

System: Nintendo
Download Link: RomHustler

Tony Hawk Pro Skatertony hawk ps2 retropie

Oh, my god … I don’t know how many hours I spent on this game: Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
If you don’t know Tony Hawk, it’s this guy:

He was the first skater to succeed in the 90s (two and a half turns on himself).

Developers from Activision didn’t miss this opportunity and created a game series on various platforms.
I mainly played this game on PlayStation (1/2), but it was also available on Nintendo systems and PC.

You have several game modes.
My favorite was the Career mode where you start with a noob and improve your stats to challenge pro skaters.

On RetroPie, I had lag on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, but version 2 works fine.
You may need to test several versions/platforms to find the best one for you.

Tony Hawk is still a popular game nowadays, with a recent edition available on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One on Amazon if you prefer better graphics.

Systems: PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PC
Download Link: RomHustler (version 2 for PS2)

Sensible Soccer
sensible soccer on retropie

Yeah… Football gaming looked like that at the beginning of the 90s.
The first FIFA didn’t exist yet and we had to play with 10 pixels players.

I remember playing a game looking like that, but it wasn’t Sensible Soccer (I think it was on Game Boy).
Even if at the time it was distracting, I doubt that you would spend your afternoon on this one today.
It was just a wink at the beginning of football games.

System: Sega Master System
Download link: RomHustler

Lotus Challenge
lotus challenge on retropie

This game is one of the first games I remember playing.
Lotus Challenge is an arcade car game from 1990 where you race against the computer.

The decor is minimalist, but I remember spending a lot of time on this one.
My first computer was an Atari ST, and I had only a few games on it, including this one.
Playing this game on a Pi 400 that looks the same should be fun. I just need a CRT screen to go with it.

The Lotus car company inspired this game (yes yes, we recognize some pixels from the Lotus Esprit car ^^).

System: I took the ROM for the Mega Drive, but it’s available for other platforms.
Download Link: RomHustler

Tetris
tetris on nintendo

How to make a retro gaming compilation without Tetris? Impossible.
I know you like this game and you played it on many systems from Game Boy to PC.

As everyone already knows this game, I have nothing to add.
The screenshot comes from the Nintendo system but it’s available on mostly all platforms.
You can find different versions with more or fewer changes, but basically, the game stays the same. Tetris is Tetris.

Launch your game on a GPi Case in front of your friends or in the subway (it looks like this) and check their astonished looks.

System: All
Download Link: RomHustler (for NES)

Lemmings
lemmings super nintendo

Lemmings is a puzzle game, where lemmings fall from the top of the screen and you need to bring them to the exit without losing too many of them.
To do this, you have several actions available like climbing, digging, or blocking others (to make them change direction).
You choose an action from the hotbar and then click on one lemming to ask it to do this action.

It’s a funny game and even if you never played it, I think you can enjoy this today.
The game is pixelated, but the concept is always interesting.

System: Super Nintendo (many other systems available)
Download Link: RomHustler

Other games

Download one-by-one

If you want to download more games, I already wrote an article on the topic: Where to download Retropie ROMs?.

In short, RomHustler is the best site I found.
I took all the ROMs for this ranking on this one, and everything works as expected with no viruses, it seems serious.

Buy an entire SD card of games

Downloading ROMs one by one is fine, but it’s time-consuming.
You need to find the good one for supported systems on Retropie, download it, extract it and upload it on Retropie.
Sometimes it won’t start, or it crashes and you have to restart these steps.

I took an entire day to find, download and install all the games to write this article.
So it’s not so easy and is very time-consuming.

But I think that the best idea to save time is to look for a preloaded SD card with Retropie and thousands of games already installed. My favorite is this one on Amazon because it’s the best price/quality and quantity ratio and it works on any Raspberry Pi (even Pi 4).
You’ll save a lot of time by not having to download and install each game one by one.

Related questions

Why don’t I see Mario, Zelda, and Castlevania series in this post? The Entertainment Software Association defends developers and editors against game piracy. On RomHustler, all these games are protected and you can’t download them. As I wanted to share a download link with you, I excluded them from the list. But yes, they are good games too.

Where to download additional BIOS for Retropie? As for the game’s limitations, Retropie doesn’t include protected BIOS like PSX. And you’d better not try to download them elsewhere, they are not here for a reason: it’s illegal to use them and the editors don’t want to see them on Retropie. A lot of sites are removing the BIOS links to avoid legal issues.

I’m a beginner on Retropie and I don’t know how to install these games, could you help me? Yes, Retropie can be complex at first sight. But I already wrote a step-by-step guide to Retropie, click on the link to read it. Once done, you can come back here and download the games you like.

My Recommendations for Retro Gaming

  • Retropie SD card: Save time and play direct to any game you want with this giant SD card preloaded with over 100k games.
  • Raspberry Pi 4: Retropie is now available for Raspberry Pi 4, and it’s excellent. Why would you stay on a slower device?
  • 8bitdo controller: This is currently the best controller for retro gaming on Raspberry Pi. All the latest technologies in a retro design.
  • Retropie Arcade Game Machine: If you are a serious gamer, you should take a look at this to build your own arcade console. Your friends will love this.
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Conclusion

That’s it, you know everything about my gamer history.
And I suppose you now remember the good times spent on one or more of these games.

Even if it took some time to find all these games for this post, I really enjoyed sharing it with you.
Seeing a game you liked 20 years ago is a special moment. I also found some good ones available directly on Raspberry Pi OS (Worms fan? Check the link).

I’m leaving you here, so I can play a game or two.

And if you need more help with Retropie, check my other articles on the same topic:

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Grab your free PDF file with all the commands you need to know on Raspberry Pi!

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Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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