Where to Download Retropie ROMs?

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

If you are looking for the fastest way to get games on your Raspberry Pi, you can check this SD card loaded with Retropie and over 100k games. It’s available on Amazon, and really cheap for the time it would take to build that kind of library 🙂

What is RetroPie?

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

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 I’ve written a step-by-step tutorial on how to install Retropie that you can check if you have any doubt.
And I think you wouldn’t look for ROMs if you hadn’t already installed Retropie 🙂

On Raspbian

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

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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 example:

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.

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 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.

Other websites

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:

These websites host thousands of ROMs each.
You will inevitably find your happiness.

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However, remember what I told you sooner about copyright 😉
If you want to save a bit of time, you can check my selection of the 12 games I prefer here.

Torrent …

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.

Expand partition

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:

  1. Go to Retropie Configuration
  2. Choose Raspi Config
  3. Go to “Advanced options” and choose “Expand Filesystem” (first option)
  4. Confirm your choice
  5. Wait for the partition to expand
  6. Then click Finish and reboot your Raspberry Pi

After the reboot, the partition will use the whole size of your SD card.

Transfer files

USB drive :

You can use a USB drive to copy ROM files to your Raspberry Pi

  1. Format a USB drive to a FAT32 file system
  2. Create a folder named “retropie”
  3. Plug it once in the Raspberry Pi and wait for 30 seconds
  4. Plug it again in your computer and copy the ROM files in the “retropie/roms” folder
  5. Plug it again in your Raspberry Pi and wait until USB stops blinking.
  6. The files were copied, restart Retropie to refresh the list

If you have any issue in the process, check my tutorial on how to format and mount a USB drive here.


You can also use SFTP to transfer files from your computer to RetroPie. It’s like an FTP server, but encrypted and done with SSH, so there is nothing to configure.
I already made a post about this, so if you need help about transferring files to your Raspberry Pi, I recommend checking this post.

To enable SSH on RetroPie, go to configuration, then raspi-config.
Then choose Interface Options, then SSH, then yes.
Validate and quit.

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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.

Note: there is at least 4 ways to add games on Retropie, if you don’t know them, maybe it’s time to check my tutorial (you’ll love the web manager).


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.

Good game!


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!

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 🙂

Thanks to all my Patrons for supporting me, helping me to keep doing this and producing even more tutorials for everyone! Thank you to everyone supporting me there.


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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 🙂

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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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Harinderpreet singh
Harinderpreet singh
3 years ago
3 years ago

If I already bought a Console and preloaded SD Card, if I wanted to buy another SD card that contains more games, are they simply eject the old and put in the new and it works?
Or do I need to follow certain steps for this new card to be added??

Reply to  Patrick Fromaget
3 years ago

I too bought a console with a preloaded SD card. Can I simply add more games to the SD card? Do I need to do anything special?

Thank you

Israel Silva
Israel Silva
Reply to  Patrick Fromaget
2 years ago

I really thank u this tutorial. It helps alot.

3 years ago

Nice tutorial, worked well for me and was able to play all the classics from CapCom.

Also, Gamulator is another cool website to find ROM downloads without viruses and boring ads.

Reply to  Patrick Fromaget
3 years ago

No problem, nice post though!

2 years ago
2 years ago

Great tutorial to get up and running fast with RetroPie. One thing you might have overlooked: Since you are installing this on a Pi with *internet access already*, before you run the emulator you can go download the ROMs directly from the aforementioned websites, unpack if necessary, and move them into their appropriate folders. No swapping of SD cards, no plugging in USB sticks, no SFTP necessary – unless your Pi is dedicated to RetroPie and set to autostart, then SFTP would be the simplest. 🙂

2 years ago

can dl a lot here: http://roms.moonbound.net

2 years ago

Hi is it also possible to install a finished image of Retropie full of consoles and games on raspbian ? Thanks in advance

2 years ago

Hi guys. If i can recomand you look at www.romsformame.com. For me its best website with MAME roms.


2 years ago

Hi, I don’t have the “Expand Filesystem” option in Raspi Config, the first option is to change my username and password.

2 years ago

hi, does anyone know any good vextrex rom websites?

2 years ago

i sign up for the free games and i ended getting a blank page with nothing.

2 years ago

Romsmainia is riddle with malware, no site should give you a .exe when downloading roms.

2 years ago

I’m agree with Hans, Romsmania is a great collection of roms but – not safe. But I found an alternative – https://roms-download.com/ site very similar but has no viruses onboard.

2 years ago

archive.org has tons of MAME roms. They have just about everything.


1 year ago

Nice article! Please update item 5 on the Transfer Files: USB Drive. It should read…
5. Plug it again in your Raspberry and wait until USB stops blinking.
Currently the instructions do not make it clear that you have to plug it back into the Raspberry for the ROMs to be transferred on step 5.

1 year ago

can you suggest a USB drive with led light.

1 year ago

The preloaded SD card on Amazon that you linked has this disclaimer:

“You own a license or game for any ROM / image included and / or will remove any ROMs for which you do not You will NOT distribute any of these files illegally.”

Because I don’t own any of the games included on the SD card it is useless to me.

1 year ago

Thanks a lot for the help. I was very confused and i found just right person to explain.

1 year ago

I can recommend https://romsplanet.com/. Really big variety of different ROM`s for almost all possible emulators and platforms in different versions)

1 year ago

Went through the comments and found a list of great websites to download ROMs and emulators. If anybody is super lazy like I am, you can look at https://www.romspedia.com/romsets for complete ROM sets that gets you all the games for a single console.

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