Where to Download Retropie ROMs? | Raspberry tips (2023)

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 🙂

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I answer your questions – Raspberry Pi FAQ

What is RetroPie?

RetroPie is a program that allows you to run old video games on your Raspberry Pi.
Available in full distribution or installed as an app on Raspberry Pi OS, it’s pretty simple to set up.

Purchasing one or more controllers and an SD card large enough might be an excellent choice to play comfortably. You can find my recommendations at the end of this tutorial, or in my recommended products pages.

Once your Retropie installed, with the necessaryequipment, you will only need to find ROMs to add new games to your emulator.
And this is precisely the purpose of this post.

In this article, I focus on RetroPie, but the ROMs file are the same with other retro-gaming solutions, so feel free to check this comparison if you want to test other options: Best Retro-Gaming OS: Retropie vs Recalbox vs Batocera vs Lakka.

(Video) Where to Download Retropie ROMs (Recalbox / Lakka)

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 Raspberry Pi OS

It is possible to install Retropie on Raspberry Pi OSwithout losingthe rest of your Raspberry Pi OS 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.
I have a complete beginners guide for Retropie on this website, I would highly recommend checking it for the step-by-step procedure. But here is the short version.

Once the image downloaded, create an SD card, as usual, to start on this map.
From a Linux / Mac computer, 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). More details in this article.

If you don’t want to lose your time with complex commands, you can also find preloaded SD cards here.

Are you a bit lost in the Linux command line? Check this article first, for the most important commands to remember, and a free downloadable cheat sheet so you can have the commands at your fingertips.

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 completelyillegal 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 factthatthey are protected, and it’s illegal to use themanyway.

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.

(Video) How to Install & Play Retropie Games on your Raspberry Pi

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

RegardingROM directory on the internet, there are many 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 what you are looking for.

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

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 smart 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 thatyou’ve got your ROMs, let’s see how to transfer them to Retropie.

Expand partition

If you are planning to collect a package of ROMs, especially the new ones, keep in mind thatyou will need a lot of space.

(Video) The Ultimate RetroPie Setup and Install Guide (2022)

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 🙂

Update: With the latest RetroPie version, this is done for you automatically. I just keep the instructions here for information.

Therefore, it will be necessary to extend the partition to the maximum capacity, by following these steps:

  • Go to Retropie Configuration
  • Choose Raspi Config
  • Go to “Advanced options” and 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.

Transfer files

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 Pi and wait for 30 seconds
  • Plug it again in your computer and copy the ROM files in the “retropie/roms” folder
  • Plug it again in your Raspberry Pi and wait until USB stops blinking.
  • 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.

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 are 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 togo 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 🙂

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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 🙂
And if you want to learn more about RetroPie, please check the other tutorials I have on this website:

  • 13 Tips About Retropie That Will Impress Your Friends

  • Best Themes for Retropie in 2022 – Top 15

  • How to use a PS4 controller on Retropie? (the easy way)

Get My Commands Cheat Sheet!
Grab your free PDF file with all the commands you need to know on Raspberry Pi!

Additional Resources

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Understand everything about the Raspberry Pi, stop searching for help all the time, and finally enjoy completing your projects.
Watch the Raspberry Pi Bootcamp course now.

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Download the e-book.

(Video) The Definitive Guide for RetroPie Setup + Free Roms for Retropie

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Need help building something with Python?Create, understand and improve any Python script for your Raspberry Pi.Learn the essentials, step-by-step, without losing time understanding useless concepts.

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You can also find all my recommendations for tools and hardware on this page.

Buy a RetroPie Preloaded SD Card from Amazon

Probably the fastest way to get started is to buy an SD-Card pre-loaded from Amazon. For example, this card comes loaded with over 100,000 game ROMs ready to go.

How do I download ROMs to RetroPie? ›

  1. Ensure that the USB stick is formatted to FAT32 or exFAT, and that the SD card has enough free space to hold all ROMs.
  2. Create a folder called retropie on the USB stick.
  3. Plug it into the RetroPie system. …
  4. Remove the USB stick and plug it into the computer containing the ROMs.

Where is a safe place to download ROMs? ›

Roms World is one of the most well-known safe sites for ROMs and emulators. Just visit it to play your favorite game. You will find the site useful, especially as a gaming enthusiast who doesn’t understand new games; you can play classic games from childhood like Mario.

What is better Recalbox or RetroPie? ›

The main difference between RetroPie and Recalbox is customization. RetroPie boasts a bevy of custom shaders, emulator settings, and more. Recalbox does include shaders and scanlines, but adding your own is slightly more complex than on RetroPie. Further, RetroPie features a few more emulators than Recalbox.

Is 2 GB RAM enough for RetroPie? ›

The 1 or 2Gb models are fine also, more RAM doesn’t add to emulation performance. The only factor when getting another model is other usages for the Pi (desktop machine/server).

Is downloading retro ROMs illegal? ›

If you own a game physically, you are likely to emulate or own a ROM of the game. However, there’s no legal precedent in the United States to say it’s illegal. There is no trial on record of any company going to court over emulators or ROMs and their use.

Can you play ROM hacks on RetroPie? ›

Also retropie will absolutely run custom rom hacks. You may have to manually load cover art for the game if you want it, but for any console it can normally play it should have no trouble with a rom hack.

Do all ROMs work on RetroPie? ›

It lets you install a range of gaming emulators and play any ROMs you own.

What is EMU deck? ›

By Liam Dawe – 18 October 2022 at 12:59 pm UTC. The Steam Deck is a fantastic system for indies, AA, AAA and everything in between but it’s also great for emulation too. EmuDeck is software that can help automate the entire process of setting emulators up, and a huge new release is out now.

Is pirating ROMs illegal? ›

Online Piracy

Pirate copies of game files are often referred to as “ROMs”. The uploading and downloading of pirate copies of Nintendo games is illegal.

Are ROMs still illegal? ›

But while emulators are free and legal, ROMs are not. A person can go through the tedious process of copying game data off their disc or cartridge to their computer, but nine times out of 10, people who have ROMs probably just downloaded them off some corner of the internet.

Do ROM sites have viruses? ›

ROM download sites: Can be risky. Make sure you’ve got your anti-malware on before visiting, don’t install any toolbars or downloaders from them.

What is more powerful than Raspberry Pi? ›

About: Banana Pi, a dual-core, Android 4.2 product, is better than Raspberry Pi in various aspects. Banana Pi M3 is a single-board computer (SBC) with an Octa-core processor and 2GB RAM. There are several other versions of Banana Pi, such as Banana pi M+, Banana pi Pro, etc.

What is stronger than Raspberry Pi 4? ›

The first one to make it to the list in Tinker Board S R2. 0 comes with a powerful processor, even more powerful than the Raspberry Pi 4. It is equipped with 16 GB of internal storage and a 1.8 GB quad-core CPU. If you are looking for something with good processing power, then this is the one to go for.

Is Raspberry Pi 4 2GB enough for emulation? ›

The Raspberry Pi 4 B (2GB) is definitely powerful enough to run any of the leading emulation platforms. However, if you find a Raspberry Pi 3 B or 3 B+ for a lower price, those will also work well with RetroPie.

Is 32GB SD card enough for Raspberry Pi? ›

The minimum capacity required is 8GB to 32GB, which is Raspberry Pi’s largest supported size by default, though higher capacities can be formatted to work with the units. Keep in mind, to install the official Raspbian OS you’ll need at least an 8GB microSD card whereas Raspbian Lite you’ll need a minimum 4GB.

Is 16GB enough for unity? ›

For most Unity tasks, 8GBs of RAM is generally enough, but I would recommend getting a minimum of 16GBs as 8GB is going to get eaten up fast when it gets allocated to your OS, browser, Unity, and whatever else you might have running.

Is 16 GB enough for Raspberry Pi? ›

For the bulk of RPi projects, sticking to 16GB or 32GB will suit you just fine.

Do people go to jail for downloading ROMs? ›

Can I go to jail for downloading ROMs? Technically, yes. Downloading ROMs is a form of piracy, which is illegal.

Is RetroArch legal? ›

Running ROM’s and game images via RetroArch is a legal grey area depending on how you obtain such content, but RetroArch itself is not illegal.

Is emulating games a crime? ›

Emulators are 100% legal, as is the process of downloading them. They are no different to other programs you might download such as word processing or music player software. Downloading and uploading ROMs is illegal, however, so make sure you use your own game files.

Does RetroPie support 4k? ›

You’ll still be able to use 4k video resolutions in RetroPie for Kodi or the Pixel desktop, but the default resolution at boot will be 1080p.

What emulators work best on RetroPie? › The Best Raspberry Pi Emulators

  • RetroArch can emulate a wide variety of platforms. RetroPie. …
  • RetroPie is the main emulator for Raspberry Pi. PPSSPP. …
  • PPSSPP emulates the PSP. ReDream. …
  • ReDream is the go-to option for Dreamcast emulation. PCSX ReARMed. …
  • PSCX Rearmed emulates the PSOne. MAME. …
  • MAME is a great arcade emulator.

What was the best ROM hack ever? › 10 Rom Hacks That Make It Hard To Go Back To The Original Game

  • 9/10 Pokémon Unbound Masters The Classic Pokémon Formula. …
  • 8/10 Hyper Metroid Is A Darker Re-Imagining Of Super Metroid. …
  • 7/10 Mother 2 Deluxe Is Truly The Definitive Version Of EarthBound. …
  • 6/10 Deadpool Remixes Ninja Gaiden Into A Raunchy Comic Book Adventure.

Which Raspberry Pi is best for RetroPie? ›

Choosing the right Raspberry Pi and accessories

Although RetroPie will work on any Raspberry Pi, even the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, we recommend using one with as much RAM as possible, because this will result in a smoother gaming experience. For our tutorial, we’ll be using an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4.

What is the difference between RetroPie and EmulationStation? ›

EmulationStation is the official graphical frontend of the RetroPie project. EmulationStation is not an emulator, rather it is a polished game launcher that includes: Controller and keyboard support.

Is Steam Deck good for emulating? ›

Game emulation remains the quickest, simplest way to enjoy old favorites on a modern device— and Valve’s Steam Deck, an affordable handheld PC with a wide range of control options, is a versatile option for playing emulated games on the go.

Do I need a good GPU for emulation? ›

The basic process of emulation is run on the CPU and having in mind the OS overhead, yes, CPU is the crucially important element of the emulation. GPU needs to be good-enough though you do not need a newest RTX2080Ti to run graphics for emulation.

Is the Steam Deck any good? ›

Playing With a Full Deck

Still, the Steam Deck is a great piece of hardware, and one that’s finding its stride nearly half a year after its initial launch. The handheld is powerful for its size and price, and despite being a Linux-based device, it runs many excellent Windows games extremely well.

Does Nintendo sue pirates? ›

The company sought $2,500 for each sale of an unauthorized operating system that hijacks the Nintendo Switch video game console to play any pirated game made for it. Nintendo and Bowser consented to the entry of a $10 million judgment

How does Nintendo detect piracy? ›

In the case of a digital game, Nintendo uses a ticket system. The ticket is formulated from the game’s Title ID, the Device ID of the console the game was purchased on, and the Nintendo Account ID used to purchase it. As digital games can’t be re-sold or transferred, the ticket is unique and cannot be forged.

Why is Nintendo so anti piracy? ›

The primary goals of the Nintendo Anti-Piracy Programme are to reduce the availability of: Unauthorised copies of Nintendo games being distributed online; Circumvention devices and/or software used to play unauthorised copies of Nintendo games; Counterfeit Nintendo products.

Is it legal to play ROMs of games you own? ›

Can I download a Nintendo ROM from the internet if I already own the authentic game? It is illegal to download a Nintendo ROM from the internet whether or not you own an authentic copy of that game.

Is dumping ROMs illegal? ›

Emulators are legal to download and use, however, sharing copyrighted ROMs online is illegal. There is no legal precedent for ripping and downloading ROMs for games you own, though an argument could be made for fair use.

Is emulating pirating? ›

Emulating a videogame is not piracy. But if that videogame was downloaded off an unauthorized website, then that is piracy. Just understand this, emulation is not piracy. An emulation company once won a lawsuit against Sony after being sued to take the emulator down.

Do emulators damage your computer? ›

Emulation is generally quite safe. There are a few things to watch out for, though. While SNES emulators are fine (and you should probably use Snes9x instead of Zsnes, its better), you can find websites for emulators for newer systems like PS4 or 3DS that will probably be viruses.

Is Dolphin an emulator? ›

Dolphin is a free and open-source video game console emulator for GameCube and Wii that runs on Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S.

Is it illegal to download ROMs off the Internet? ›

Emulators are legal to download and use, however, sharing copyrighted ROMs online is illegal. There is no legal precedent for ripping and downloading ROMs for games you own, though an argument could be made for fair use.

Does the military use Raspberry Pi? ›

Meet the DuraCOR Pi, a Military-Grade Raspberry Pi Computer

You know, the manufacturer that’s famous for supplying aircraft to the U.S. Armed Forces.

How many Raspberry Pi does it take to make a supercomputer? ›

Oracle Supercomputer

No fewer than 1060 Raspberry Pi 3B+ computers were used in its construction (that’s 4240 cores).

What is the fastest OS for Raspberry Pi? ›

The 8 Best Lightweight Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi

  • Raspberry Pi OS Lite.
  • DietPi.
  • piCore/Tiny Core Linux.
  • Arch Linux ARM.
  • RISC OS.
  • Raspup/Puppy Linux.
  • Sugar on a Stick/Sugar OS.
  • Alpine Linux.

Can Raspberry Pi 4 Do 4K? ›

The introduction of the Raspberry Pi 4 model, and subsequently the keyboard-integrated Pi 400, made it possible to output UHD 4K video to a suitable monitor. Indeed, with two micro-HDMI video output ports, you can even have a dual monitor setup.

Is Raspberry Pi 4 1GB enough? ›

Is 1GB sufficient for the Raspberry Pi? The 4GB version is always the safe option, but if you have a specific use case that won’t be processing a lot of data and won’t be adding a display, the 1GB version should be enough.

Is Raspberry Pi the future? ›

Conclusion. Raspberry Pi is deemed the future of computing devices. Its ability to make use of the internet of things has shown how powerful this technology is right now.

How much RAM is recommended for RetroPie? ›

Answer: For the emulators, CPU performance is more important than RAM. If you plan on using your Raspberry Pi 4 as a Linux desktop and RetroPie on occasion, a 4/8GB Pi 4 may be ideal. However, if you’re only planning on using it for RetroPie, 2GB is plenty.

Which emulator uses lowest RAM? ›

If you are looking for the lightest Android emulator, the Droid4x is your best choice. It can run even on 1GB RAM.

Is 4GB RAM enough for retro gaming? ›

4GB. A few years ago, 4GB of RAM would have been enough memory for gaming, but as games have developed and become more complex, 4GB is no longer enough. Older games might still work with 4GB of RAM but it is worth investing in at least 8GB in order to play a wider range of games.

Is there a legal way to buy ROMs? ›

Public domain ROMs are similar to homebrew titles in that they are not copyrighted and anyone that wants can download and play them. PDRoms is one of the largest public domain sites on the web with thousands of ROMs for dozens of consoles. You can find titles for everything from the 3DO to the Watara Supervision here.

What ROMs are compatible with RetroPie? ›

  • 3do.
  • Amiga.
  • Amstrad CPC.
  • Apple II.
  • Atari 2600, 7800, 800 & 5200, Jaguar, Lynx, ST-STE-TT-Falcon.
  • Coco.
  • Colecovision.
  • Commodore 64/VIC-20/PET.

How do I add ROMs to my RetroPie SD card? ›

Go to Chromium, and open your preferred ROM site. Download your ROMs. Transfer the file to /home/pi/RetroPie/roms and then your preferred system.

Is 32Gb enough for RetroPie? ›

A 32Gb card would be more than enough for RetroPie + OS, if you intend to keep your games/ROMs (plus scraped artwork) on an external USB disc.

Does RetroPie cheat? › As a preface cheats only work through libretro/retroarch so take note of the emulators you are using….

Create Cheat Files.

Console Cheat type Example code
Mega Drive / Genesis Game Genie NN8A-AADN
N64 GameShark 8033B177 0015
NDS Action Replay 22085A50 00000001
Sega Master System Action Replay 00C0-2502

10 more rows Does CPU or GPU matter more for emulation? ›

The CPU is definitely the biggest factor in the ability of your PC to play games on emulators, as it does all or most of the simulation of the console hardware.

Do I need to format SD card for RetroPie? ›

The Raspberry Pi’s bootloader can only read from FAT16 and FAT32 SD cards. Thus, if you have any SD card with capacities higher than 32Gb, you have to format or reformat such SD card to FAT32 before installing on your Raspberry Pi.

How do I get more emulators on RetroPie? ›

Select “Manage packages,” then “Manage optional packages.” You’ll be greeted with a list of additional emulators and native (non-emulated) Raspberry Pi ports of some games. Use the “Install from binary” option to install these.


1. How to Find Retro Game ROMS 2. Building the Ultimate Retro Console! Raspberry Pi 4 (8Gb) Retro Pi Tutorial 3. RetroPie Run Roms / Games From Usb Stick Or Usb Hard Drive 4. How to Install Retropie on Raspberry Pi 2022 | How to Add Roms to Retropie 5. retropie roms download – part3 roms for retropie how to install roms for retropie 6. How To Install And Set Up RetroPie Easy Guide Raspberry pi 3 2 1 Or Zero

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