Classic story, you bought a Raspberry Pi because you have seen a video in which they explain that you can emulate many games, you install Retropie, and it’s sad but … no game on it 🙂
So, where to download ROMs for Retropie on Raspberry Pi?
Many websites list the game’s ROMs, and of course, it’s possible to find Torrent, but pay attention to the legal part in all cases
Today we will see:
– What is RetroPie
– How to install Retropie (quickly)
– Where to download the ROMs for RetroPie
– How to install these ROMs on RetroPie
What is RetroPie?
RetroPie is a program that allows you to run old video games on your Raspberry Pi.
Available in full distribution or as an overlay of Raspbian, it’s simple to set up
Purchasing one or more controllers and an SD card large enough might be an excellent choice to play comfortably
Once your Retropie installed, with the necessary equipment, you will only need to find ROMs to add new games to your emulator
And this is precisely the purpose of this post
How to install RetroPie?
I will not go into the installation details, because there are good posts on the official website that do this very well, but I will give you some tracks anyway
And I think you wouldn’t look for roms if you hadn’t already installed Retropie 🙂
It is possible to install Retropie on Raspbian without losing the rest of your Raspbian installation
For this, I advise you to follow this tutorial from the official website
And then come back to this page for downloading and installing ROMs
On a new SD Card
Alternatively, if you only want to use Retropie on your SD card, images are available here
They allow you to create a new SD card that will start directly on Retropie, ideal for arcade kiosks
Once the image downloaded, create an SD card, as usual, to start on this map
From a Linux / Mac you can use the following command for instance:
sudo dd bs=4M if=/home/pi/retropie.img of=/dev/mmcblk1
Just change the image path and the SD card mount point to make it fit your environment
You can find your SD card’s name with the following command:
sudo fdisk -l
Your drives will be something like /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, … and the SD card would be something else (like /dev/mmcXXX)
If you don’t want to lose your time with complex commands, you can also find pre-loaded SD cards here (link to the paragraph in this post)
Where to download Retropie ROMs?
What is a ROM?
ROM stands for Read-Only Memory
Generally, a ROM is a computer file, which contains data from an old support
In our case, it’s often a copy of the cartridges of an old game console, which allows playing the game thanks to an emulator (RetroPie or other)
The video game is a vast market, which is very protected regarding copyrights
So playing a licensed video game if you haven’t bought it’s completely illegal and punishable by law
We are talking here about ancient games, which have sometimes been abandoned by their publishers
But that does not change the fact that they are protected, and it’s illegal to use them anyway
So try to be very careful about the ROMs you find on the Internet
Being available on a website doesn’t mean that it is free of rights
To avoid any problems prefer free games if possible
We can not, in any case, be held responsible for the actions you undertake following the reading of this article, this is your responsibility
Free and legal ROMs
Let’s go to the game now!
If you don’t want to take any risks, there’s a very famous website that lists free games, usable on RetroPie
It’s called MAMEDev, and the URL is: http://www.mamedev.org/roms/
You will find the most classic games in the history of video games (breakage, parachutes, pong, …)
Just choose a game and click Download to download the corresponding ROM
Regarding ROM directory on the internet, there’s a lot of websites where you can find just about any game from your childhood
I have gathered here 4 websites that I recommend:
- Rom Hustler: http://romhustler.net/
- Free ROMs: https://www.freeroms.com/
- Cool ROM: http://coolrom.com/
- Coleco Vision Addict: http://cvaddict.com/list.php
These websites host thousands of ROMs each.
You will inevitably find your happiness
However, remember what I told you sooner about copyright 😉
I have to talk about one last place where you can find your ROMs for Retropie: Torrent
Torrent is a very bright protocol, convenient, but unfortunately known for the wrong reasons
And for video games that couldn’t be worst, with a total lack of respect for copyrights
So yes, it is possible to find rare ROMs on BitTorrent or other, but I strongly advise you not to do it
Preloaded SD card
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), it’s the best price/quality and quantity ratio and it works on any Raspberry Pi (even Pi 4)
You’ll save much time by not having to download and install each game one by one.
If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi 4 you can try this one, it’s similar but for Raspberry Pi 3 / 3B+.
How to install a new ROM on RetroPie?
Now that you’ve got your ROMs let’s see how to transfer them on Retropie
If you are planning to collect a package of ROMs, especially the new ones, keep in mind that you will need a lot of space
The problem is that by default Retropie (when installed as a distribution), creates a partition with the size it needs, regardless of the size of your SD card
It would be a shame to have only 2GB available on a 64GB card 🙂
Therefore, it will be necessary to extend the partition to the maximum capacity, by following these steps:
- Go to Retropie Configuration
- Choose Raspi Config
- Choose “Expand Filesystem” (first option)
- Confirm your choice
- Wait for the partition to expand
- Then click Finish and reboot your Raspberry Pi
After the reboot, the partition will use the whole size of your SD card
USB drive :
You can use a USB drive to copy ROM files to your Raspberry Pi
- Format a USB drive to a FAT32 file system
- Create a folder named “retropie”
- Plug it once in the Raspberry and wait for 30 seconds
- Plug it again in your computer and copy the ROM files in the “retropie/roms” folder
- Wait until USB end blinking
- The files were copied, restart Retropie to refresh the list
You can also use SCP to transfer files from your computer to RetroPie
I already made a post about this, so if you need help about transferring files to your Raspberry Pi, I recommend to check this post
To enable SSH on RetroPie, go to configuration, then raspi-config
Then choose Interface Options, then SSH, then yes
Validate and quit
Then transfer your files to the folder ~/RetroPie/roms/CONSOLE
Replace CONSOLE by the name of the console (SNES, …)
Restart Retropie, and it’s done
After going through all these steps, you will now be able to play your favorite game 🙂
Most of the time, adding a new ROM is seen instantly by Retropie, so you have to go to the games list and find your new ROM to play
If you need a visual explanation, please check my video on the YouTube channel on this topic:
Subscribe here to receive all the videos in your feed!
And now you know everything!
You’ve learned the basics about Retropie, how to download ROMs for playing new games, and how to transfer them to your Raspberry easily
You have to enjoy your new game console 🙂
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.