Raspberry Pi

How to Use RetroPie on Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi device is a perfect platform for those enthusiasts who are highly interested in playing different classical video games. You will surely need an emulator so that you can fully experience a retro gaming environment.

The ideal choice for all the Raspberry Pi users out there is to use RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi device which is full customized gaming emulator that brings the gaming abilities to Pi and its user friendly environment makes it easy for you to emulate varieties of games without affecting your Raspberry Pi device.

The RetroPie emulator is especially designed for the Raspberry Pi users and it can easily be accessible through the Raspberry Pi imager. For that you will require to have a RetroPie installed on your Raspberry Pi device. This tutorial is meant to help you learn how to utilize RetroPi once you have managed to bring the RetroPie display onto your Raspberry Pi monitor.

How to use RetroPie

RetroPie is a wonderful gaming emulator for the Raspberry Pi and if you have successfully installed it on your SD card or USB storage then now it’s time to use this emulator to install and play different video games on the device. The below are the guidelines you will need to perform in order to experience the functionality of RetroPie emulator.

Attach a Game Controller

Like other gaming emulators, you will need a game controller to handle the RetroPie as you won’t be able to use the OS with a mouse. Keyboard will work fine but that’s not an ideal solution to control the RetroPie with it so you should have to acquire a suitable game controller for your RetroPie emulator. You can purchase a good game controller from the following Amazon link.

Buy a Game Controller

Configure the Game Controller

Once you have successfully connected the game controller with your Raspberry Pi device, it’s now time to configure it with your RetroPie emulator so that it will help you in controlling and managing the emulator features.

Configure all the keys of the controller properly and remember them as it will help you while performing various tasks on RetroPie. Once you configure all the keys, you will need to press “OK” in order to see the main menu of RetroPie.

Connect your RetroPie to WiFi

Now this step is mandatory as in order to use the RetroPie features you will need to connect it to your WiFi network. To do it, press the launch button from your controller to run the RetroPie Main screen as shown below. Then do the following steps to connect your device to WiFi.

Step 1: Go to the “RASPI-CONFIG” option and then choose the “System Options”.

Step 2: Select the “Wireless LAN” option”.

Step 3: Enter your WIFI name and then choose the “Ok” option.

Step 4: Next, enter the WIFI password and then select “Ok” to confirm it.

As soon as you do it correctly, your RetroPie will be connected to your WIFI.

Enable SSH on RetroPie to use the terminal from PC

If you want to use your RetroPie terminal from PC via SSH then you will need to enable the SSH which you can easily do through the following steps.

Go to the “Raspi-CONFIG” option which is available in the main menu. In the configuration, select the “Interfaces” option and there you will see SSH which you will need to enable by clicking on it.

Once the above step is done, you will need to open PuTTY on your PC and enter the IP address and login as “pi” and password as “raspberry” if you haven’t set the password yet. In a few seconds, your RetroPie terminal will appear on your PuTTY.

Playing Games on RetroPie

Here comes the moment where everyone wants to play games on RetroPie but for that you will require games ROMs. The ROMs are the digital copies of the games which are easily run on the emulators and bring you a good vintage gaming experience. In order to play games, you will need to download the ROMs files of games and transfer it to the RetroPie. The easiest one to transfer the file is through USB and following are the procedures you will require to perform to successfully play games on your device.

Step 1: First you will need to insert your USB drive into the PC and format it properly using the NTFS or FAT32 file system.

Step 2: Now create a folder in the USB with the name “RETROPIE”.

Step 3: Remove the USB from PC and insert it into Raspberry Pi and wait for 10 seconds.

Step 4: Remove the USB from Raspberry Pi and insert it again into your PC. There in the USB, you will see that a few folders will be created into the device.

Step 5: Now, you will need to install a game ROM from a website and put it into the “roms’ folder. It is to be noted that you will extract the games files into the desired game folder.

You can download any game you want but you will need to ensure that the game will go into the respective folder.

In our case, we have downloaded PacMan which is a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game and we have extracted the zip file into the “nes” folder.

Once it is put in, we are now ready to insert the USB drive back into the Raspberry Pi.

Follow the similar steps if you want to download other games. After putting the game into the desired folder, you will need to insert the USB back into the Raspberry Pi device. Afterwards, you will just need to restart the EmulationStation to confirm the changes. The EmulationStation is a place where all your games are placed and you can restart it from the main menu.

Once it is done, you will see Nintendo Entertainment System on the RetroPie screen with 1 game available.

Enter the system and we will see the game we have just put in our USB device is ready to be played.

Launch the game and there you go, the game will appear on the screen.

You can install other games as well and you will just need to put the games through the above steps so that it will work for you.


RetroPie is an awesome emulator built exclusively for the Raspberry Pi users and hard to deny this emulator will be a worthy experience for the games enthusiasts out there who wish to play numerous classical games on their Raspberry Pi device. The above guidelines will be pretty straightforward for individuals who are new to RetroPie and they want to play games but don’t have enough knowledge how to play them. Through the guidelines they can install any game on their device and play them freely on the RetroPie emulator.

About the author

Awais Khan

I'm an Engineer and an academic researcher by profession. My interest for Raspberry Pi, embedded systems and blogging has brought me here to share my knowledge with others.