Raspberry Pi

Best Retro Gaming OS for Raspberry Pi: RetroPie V/S Recalbox V/S Batocera V/S Lakka

A single-board Raspberry Pi device provides various features to its users, such as home automation, website building, programming, and much more. Besides all those features, you can also use this device as a gaming platform to run several classic games. However, to use it as a gaming platform, you will need to install a Retro gaming OS on your devices such as RetroPie, Recallbox, Batocera, and Lakka.

In this article, we will provide a detailed comparison among the best Retro Gaming OS like RetroPie, Recallbox, Batocera, and Lakka, so that you can pick the best among them and install it on your Raspberry Pi device.

Read the complete article.

Different Retro Gaming OS for Raspberry Pi

The good news for the game lover is that Raspberry Pi device supports running all multiple retro gaming OS and we will discuss in detail all these gaming OSes below:


RetroPie is one of the most popular Gaming OS for playing Retro Games. It can turn your Raspberry Pi system into a Retro Gaming console very easily. In RetroPie, many themes are available for great customization. Also, it has large online community support available for users. Other than that, there are more than 50 game emulators that are supported on RetroPie, few of them are listed below:

  • Atari Jaguar
  • PSP
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
  • CoCo
  • Dragon32
  • Playstation 1
  • Playstation 2
  • Neo Geo
  • Sega CD
  • Sega 32X
  • Amiga
  • Apple II
  • MESS
  • MAME
  • Game Gear

RetroPie also comes with a built-in Kodi media center for media streaming. The Liberto API frontend RetroArch ensures proper control. The other additional features include web servers, screen adjustment, and splash screens.

To Install Retropie follow the guide.


Recalbox is new in comparison to RetroPie, which provides excellent game control. Also, the installation process of Recalbox is much easier and simpler than RetroPie so it is a good choice for beginners. To install Recalbox on your Raspberry Pi you just need to download the image file and then load it into the SD card through an imager. It will automatically boot the system without any hassle, unlike RetroPie, where you have to do controller configuration to set it up for the first time. The complete installation process of Recalbox is mentioned in this article.

Some of the game systems that are supported on Recalbox are:

  • Arcade
  • GameBoy Advance
  • Game Gear
  • Sony PlayStation
  • NES
  • SNES
  • Sega 32x
  • Wonderswan Color
  • Commodore 64 (C64)
  • Virtual Boy
  • PSP
  • Lynx
  • ScummVM and many others.


To enjoy Retrogaming on Raspberry Pi, Batocera is another powerful gaming emulator that allows users to transform their Raspberry Pi system into a good gaming system/console. Batocera provides great performance even for the gaming systems like Dreamcast and PSP, which are a little hard to emulate on other emulators. There is a large list of Batocera-compatible emulators that include:

  • Dreamcast
  • ColecoVision
  • Amiga 500
  • Amiga CDTV
  • Amiga 1200
  • CaveStory
  • Game Gear
  • PC Engine CD
  • ZX Spectrum
  • Nintendo 64
  • Neo Geo Pocket B&W
  • ZX81
  • Sega SG 1000
  • Intellivision
  • Commodore 64
  • Megadrive
  • Vectrex
  • Wonderswan B&W and the list goes on.

To install Batocera on your Raspberry Pi system, you can follow this article.


Lakka is a RetroArch and LibreELEC-based gaming emulator, which provides great controller support. Also, the performance of Lakka is amazing and you can easily set it up on Raspberry Pi in a few minutes. The Lakka game support is also unexpectedly great, almost all of the Retro games work really well with this emulator. The list of other gaming emulators that are supported on Lakka is given below:

  • Atari 7800
  • Nintendo DS
  • PC-FX
  • NES
  • Game Boy Color
  • Atari Jaguar
  • 3DO
  • PlayStation
  • Arcade
  • Lynx and others

To install Lakka on Raspberry Pi, follow the article attached here.

Retro-Pie V/s Recalbox V/S Batocera V/S Lakka – Comparison

After discussing about all gaming emulator, let’s share a comparison table to help you in finding the best Retro Gaming OS:

Specifications RetroPie RecalBox Lakka Batocera
Performance Moderate Good Moderate Best
Controller Support Good Best Best Best
Game variety Moderate Good Best Good
Installation Advance Easy Moderate Easy
Interface Moderate Best Fair Good
Community Support Best Moderate Moderate Less

From the above table, we can clearly see in-terms of performance Batocera provides the best performance than others. In terms of support, Lakka, Batocera, and RetroPie all are effective but Lakka also provides the best variety of games. Installation of all these emulators is not very complex, it is just that some of them are simpler to install than others.

Advantages of Each Emulator Over Others

Below I am summing up the article with the pros and cons of each emulator over others to help you find the best out of all.

Advantages of RetroPie Over Other Emulators

  • RetroPie is a well-known Retro gaming emulator so it has large online community support to help users with their problems.
  • There are many Public ROMs available for RetroPie.
  • It provides great additional features like themes, web servers, screen adjustment, splash screen, and others.
  • There are lesser bugs in RetroPie than in other emulators.
  • No other emulator provides as great customization as RetroPie.

Advantages of RecalBox Over Other Emulators

  • Recalbox is more suitable to be used by beginners than the rest of the emulators.
  • Kodi is already installed in Recalbox whereas not all the emulators have Kodi.
  • The installation process of Recalbox is easy and doesn’t require mounting the ISO file.
  • Recalbox includes a wide variety of emulators to provide a greater variety of games than other emulators.
  • RecalBox requires less time for configuration than other emulators such as RetroPie in which everything needs to be configured before playing and that could be time taking.

Advantages of Batocera Over Others

  • Batocera provides the best performance than all the other emulators.
  • The controller support of Batocera is also better than RetroPie, which makes it easy to use for beginners.
  • Through Batocera, you can emulate systems like PSP and Dreamcast.
  • The user interface of Batocera is also exceptional and simple for beginners.

Advantages of Lakka Over Others

  • Unexpectedly great gaming support.
  • Lakka does not require gamepad configuration whereas it is mandatory for others.
  • It is based on RetroArch and LibreELEC, unlike others.
  • Lakka uses preinstalled cores for a better out-of-box experience.

Final Thoughts

Each of these emulators have so many good things to offer but there can only be one winner out of all. In terms of performance Batocera, Lakka and Recalbox are better than RetroPie. For beginners, Recalbox and Batocera are good choices. Lakka provides the best out-of-box experience. We have stated all these facts in the above guidelines but overall, the best retro gaming OS for Raspberry Pi is RetroPie because it provides the best online community support and it has lesser bugs. Also, RetroPie provides great customization features which makes it better than the rest of the emulators. RetroPie is specifically designed to be used by Raspberry Pi users for Retro gaming and that is the reason it is the most used emulator among Raspberry Pi users.

About the author

Zahra Zamir

An Electronics graduate who loves to learn and share the knowledge, my passion for my field has helped me grasp complex electronics concepts and now I am here to share them with others.