Uploaded by duggane17

Building a RetroPie

Building my RetroPie
The Build
Getting Ready for the project
For this project I used
Raspberry Pi 3B+ & Power Supply
64gb Micro SD card & SD adaptor
Raspberry PI Power supply
GeekPi Case inc Fan
USB Keyboard & Mouse
Generic USB game pad controllers
My TV & 1 x HDMI Cable
RetroPie 3 (plus updates)
Building the Pi Hardware
So before I can get to do any of the cool stuff I needed to build the hardware, this
meant putting the Pi in to it’s case (not such an easy task with the acrylic case).
The case I used was an acrylic clear and black plastic case made especially to fit the
Raspberry Pi 3B+, it comes with 3 heatsinks and a small fan for cooling. Adding the heatsinks wasn’t
difficult at all and took about 5 mins, the only think I would suggest is that you add the heatsink for
the CPU when the Pi is in its case (this ensures you are in the right position for the pre cut fan hole.
What I didn’t realise is that this case is a bit like a Chinese puzzle, if you
take all the layers apart (which I found I needed to do to safely and gently
build around the board) then it can take some time to figure out how to
rebuild, but once that’s sorted its pretty easy to put together.
Once completed the Pi looked pretty cool in it’s case, the fan and
heatsinks should really help keep the CPU cool whilst this is running the
RetroPie software. It’s not essential, but I wanted to protect the board
and get the best performance from this little machine.
I really liked the design of the hole for a ribbon band that could connect to the GPIO pins. I realise
this is for a GPIO expansion board, but as I’m not using that for this project it just provides more
airflow to keep the chip cool.
Preparing the microSD card & loading RetroPie
The reason we start with this is to prevent having to open and close the system more than
necessary. The micro SD card is difficult to access once the system is built (we will install some tools
later to make that easier). For no we need to get the basics online, so we should download and
install the following software to the PC / Laptop that we want to use during the build.
Download SD Card formatter tool from RetroPie.org.uk
Download RetroPie image from RetroPie.org.uk (Note where you save the file and
the file name – we’ll need them later!)
Download 7Zip to unzip RetroPie image
Download and install Win32DSKManager (for mounting the RetroPie to the SD
Download and install WinSCP (for remotely connecting to the Pi for adding games and
configuration files)
Now everything is downloaded I can start…
Using my PC I added the SD Adaptor put the micro SD card in so the computer can see it.
I opened the SD Card formatter software and formatted the SD card as FAT32 filesystem
and “Default Allocation Size” settings.
The SD card is ready time to get the RetroPie software ready for loading.
Opening 7Zip, I found the downloaded RetroPie file (in my case it was in my downloads
Now I needed to tell 7Zip to Extract all files (again I left the destination file in downloads,
but you could choose anywhere you want). The extracted file is a bootable program
that runs off the SD card and we will need to add this to the SD card, so again remember
where it goes!
Once the RetroPie image was unzipped I could add it to the SD card. To do this I found out I needed
to add it in a special way, this is called Mounting. The difference in the way I added the file means
that when the card is read the program immediately starts running as an operating system.
I opened WIN32DiskImager and selected the file I needed to mount in the Image file
selection (this was the file I extracted using 7Zip).
I then selected the SD card as the device (I left all other settings alone) and then clicked
After a few minutes the write was completed and I could now put my SD card in to the Pi ready for
booting it up!
Configuring RetroPie – The Basics
Now I had an SD card ready loaded with RetroPie I could put it in to the board, connect the TV /
keyboard and mouse etc and turn it on. The screen fired up with 4 Raspberry’s and then lots of text
scrolled up the screen (these are the system files loading up).
Power on the RetroPie : You should see the RetroPie flash screen. (It will disappear again whilst the
system loads, don’t worry it will come back!).
When the RetroPie turns on you can control the system using the keyboard you
will configure this as an input device in the RetroPie menu. Follow the on screen
instructions to configure a key layout that makes sense.
Once loaded I needed to configure the RetroPie it already found that I had a Gamepad on first boot
asked me to configure the inputs. This was done by pushing the button I wanted to use for Up /
Down, Left, Right, A, B etc… it is very easy to (just follow the on screen instructions) once completed
I was sent to the main menu.
For now I want to use the keyboard and mouse to continue the configuration, and I want to focus on
the systems Localisation settings. This affects things like the WiFi, keyboard layouts and time zones
etc. I really wanted the Wi-fi first so it could connect to my network.
Connecting a to the network / internet
Once loaded use the keyboard and navigate to
 RetroPie Configuration > WiFi (use the A key to select)
Check the top right corner of the grey dialogue box, it will say
Configure WiFi
Current IP: (unknown )
Wireless IP: (unknown)
Wireless SSID: (this will be blank)
Now select the option Connect to WiFi network (make sure to press ENTER in the dialogue menus).
Select the Wifi Network you want to connect to by using the arrows and press ENTER. (Note that
you could use your phone as the WiFiif needed but be aware that there will be data downloads)
 Type the network password & select OK
The screen will go back to the previous menu but if you look in the top right corner you should will
Here an example of my set up setting when connected.
Configure WiFi
Current IP:
Wireless IP:
Wireless SSID: PrettyFlyForWifi
If you see similar details populated in your box then
 Select Exit to go back to the RetroPie configuration menu,
Installing & Updating software and configuring remote access.
Before I installed the software, I was careful to ensure that the Pi could see all of the memory card.
The default configurations only enable the system to use about 300mb of the card. To ensure that
all of the 64GB becomes available I needed to change a setting.
 On the RetroPie configuration menu select Raspi-Config
 Select Advance Options
 Select Expand Filesystems & Select
You will see a message saying that the filesystem will update on reboot – but before we reboot let’s
change a few more things.
 Select Localisation Options
 Select Change Locale
 Select en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8
Press enter to confirm again (ensure the same en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8 is highlighted)
Whilst I am in this menu I also decided to change the log in option (this would normally force me to
log in with username of Pi and password of Raspberry). Changing this setting means it will auto log
in as a Pi user.
 Select Boot Options
 Select Desktop / CLI
 Select Console Autologin
Now we are almost done…let’s update this tool!
 Select Update
 When done select Finish
Time to reboot –
 Press the S key to come out of the RetroPie config menu and back to the main screen.
 Press the SPACEBAR and select QUIT
 Select Restart System
Updating the Software
So having loaded the emulator I was hoping to play some games, but no! ☹…. I have to get the
software up to date. This applies to all of the systems including
Raspbian Operating System
Game Emulators (Amiga / NES / SNES./ M.A.M.E / Gameboy and more!)
RetroPie configuration menus
To do this we must continue in the RetroPie configuration screen and this time we need to select
RetroPie Set Up (remember we use the A key to select in these menus)
 Once in the dialogue box Select option 2 Update (use the ENTER key).
 It will ask if you are sure, select Yes.
This will initiate an update call and will download and install all of the latest updates. When
completed you will see a quick intro dialogue screen saying there Images can be downloaded from
RetroPie.org.uk etc.
 Select OK (using ENTER)
It will now ask you if you would like to update the underlaying OS packages.
 Select Yes and press ENTER.
When completed select OK
Configuring remote access
I want to configure remote to allow me to add games and software / control the Pi from my PC
rather than having to keep a keyboard plugged in or having to take the set up apart again.
To do this I need to enable something called SSH on the Pi. To get to the setting I must navigate to
the RetroPie configuration menu and
 Select Raspi-Config
 Select Interfacing Options
 Find SSH and select
Now I needed to go to the PC and install WinSCP. When installed I entered the IP address where it
says hostname (this was taken from the details earlier). I will also need the log in
User: Pi
Password: Raspberry
This will allow me to remotely access the microSD card without a wired connections. I did a quick
check using WinSCP to see if I could connect and all was good.
Getting Ready to play!
With all of this finally configured I needed to add some games, in the world of RetroPie we call these
ROM’s (a computing term meaning Read Only Memory).
Now ROM’s are software and whilst there are many places I can download the software I can only
download software which I (or my Dad) already own. If I download games I don’t own then it’s
piracy and it is illegal. So my Dad and I made a list of the old games we could download and add to
the system.
Free & Legal Games
There are lots in this list I downloaded them from https://www.mamedev.org/roms/ which is a site
recognised by the Raspberry Pi official but if you already own some SNES, NES, ATARI or Amiga
camse etc then you can often download them from the internet and with a little more configuration
make them playable on the platform.
Public Domain ROM’s can also be found here https://www.zophar.net/pdroms/nes.html
NB I used an old USB keyboard and mouse we had laying around the house and got some cheap USB
controllers, but any controller that supports Bluetooth will work.