How to Turn Your Raspberry Pi 2 Into a Retro Console




Introduction: How to Turn Your Raspberry Pi 2 Into a Retro Console

This is how to you can turn your Raspberry Pi 2 into a pretty powerful retro console. It runs emulation station and can emulate over 20 consoles right up to the n64 era.

Step 1: What You Need

A raspberry pi 2
A micro sd (I recommend at least 8 gb)
Micro sd reader
Micro USB power supply (a Standard phone charger will work fine)
HDMI cable
Usb controller (optional but makes gaming more comfortable)
Ethernet cable (again optional but essential for putting your own games on the device)
Monitor or tv

Step 2: Getting the OS

I got the OS from a website called recalbox, as it was quick and easy to set up and get going.

To download it go to and download ''

This could take a while (it did for me anyway) but be patient.

Once the zip has finished downloading go ahead and plug your SD into your reader, and then your SD reader into your computer.

Step 3: Formatting the SD Card

Before you do anything you need to make sure that the SD has been completely wiped, to do this you can format it using a variety of different programs. For mine I used once it has been formatted you can move on to the next step.

Step 4: Extracting the Zip File

To extract the zip file you need to right click the file that you downloaded earlier.

Click extract all.

And then change the location so it will extract onto your SD card.

Click 'Extract'.

Step 5: Plugging It All In

That's the hard part done so now just stick the SD into your PI.

Plug the HDMI cable, Ethernet cable, controller/keyboard and power supply into the PI.

Turn your monitor or tv on.

Turn your PI on (make sure you do this last as the PI needs to be able to sense everything upon booting up)

Step 6: Adding Games

Once the PI has booted and the program has finished its initial set-up you should be greeted with a controller config tab, go ahead and set up the controller. Then you should have be able to begin playing the preloaded games.

But if you want to put your own games on, you need to make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your PI and its hooked up to the same network as your PC.

Step 7: Adding Games 2

Make sure your PI is on and connected to WiFi.

Open up the network tab on your pc and you should see your PI underneath the name 'RECALBOX', double click it.

Open 'user data'

Then open the 'roms' file.

Open the console that you have downloaded the games for (if you haven't got any you can get them from )

Drag your chosen ROM file/s into the correct folder.

Go over to your PI and grab the controller.

Hit start, games settings, reload games list.

Your game/s should be on your PI and ready to play.

Step 8: Done!

If you have any problems at all with the program or have a question feel free to drop a comment below.

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64 Discussions

I have a few questions, first are you able to use a battery and a portable screen and make it portable? second could you use raspberry pi 3? and third, how many games could you put on, and can you do NES gaming? (nice instructable)


first, i want to thanks about the easy and quickly Guide!!

Second, i have few questions:

How i can add more games without to using WIFI connection ?

And I'll be happy to know about recommended games and when i can find them.

Thanks! :)

3 replies

I use an 8gb micro sd just for the operating system (emulation station) then I use a 16 gb mini 3.0 flash drive just for games..just transfer games to rom folder on flash drive when you plug into computer..but don't forget to change storage to any external in your settings.

I'm not sure about adding games without the wifi connection, apparently if you plug in a formatted usb Stick itl create a Roms folder which you can put games in but I haven't attempted it yet.

As for recommended games I'd suggest

Super ghouls and ghosts
F zero
Zombies ate my neighbours
Super r type
Super Mario world
And battle toads
There are a lot more brilliant ones but these are my favourites.

You can download them from

I've noticed when transferring roms to their respected emulator rom folder you have to let it finish without backing out or closing window or it will cancel everytime.also make sure a check mark appears showing rom is compatible not a red X..just some tips for you out there.

I successfully added ROMs through the network, however it always deletes them after powering off. I even tried doing the shutdown method to safely power off. RecalBox is so much easier to setup, but it doesn't want to save my ROMs.

3 replies

I don't know why, whenever I add Roms they're always there the next time I use it, il have a poke around the forums to see if there is a solution.

Does anyone know where to find a good list of instructions that adds MAME to RECALBOX? Including the ROMs. It's weird (and honestly it's been awhile since I've looked) to add the games and I never could find a good set of instructions. TIA

1 reply

Have you tried the wiki ? That's how I've done my recalbox configuration, and it works very well!

hey, 2 questions:

1: what is the operating system called? want to look for updated versions


2: does it have N64, and Gamecube emulators?

Thanks for all you help??

Turns out it will work, and better as the pi 3 has wireless internet so you don't need to use an Ethernet cable.

As far as I know there has been versions released for raspberry pi 1,2,B and B+, but not 3 just yet.
I think they are working on it now though so it shouldn't be too far away.

great instructable. Only thing I can't get working is the n64. I've downloaded a few games into the n64 folder but they don't show up on the pi. Its a pi3 if that makes any difference. Thanks again