RetroPie is an emulator for the Raspberry Pi that lets you play your favorite childhood games. This includes games on platforms such as SNES, NES, Atari, etc. You can install it on top of an existing Raspbian OS or readily install it on your SD card with the RetroPie image.

This tutorial will teach you how to install RetroPie on your SD card for your Raspberry Pi 3.

Step 1 – Download the image

Go to:

and make sure to download the Raspberry Pi 2/3 version since you are going to install it on your Raspberry Pi 3.

Step 2 – Extract the file

After downloading the .gz file, extract the file using your preferred extraction tool. Remember the directory you extracted the .img file from.

Step 3 – Burn the image

There are several ways to do this but we recommend that you use Etcher. It’s fast and utilizes a simple interface that makes burning images on SD cards a breeze.

Navigate to the extracted .img file and choose the SD card where you want to install RetroPie on and click Flash! You are now ready for your first RetroPie boot up!

Setting up your first game

Now that you’ve installed RetroPie, it’s time to play some games! First, you need to configure your gamepad and install your chosen game ROMs. Remember to download only the ROM’s of games that you already own. We don’t endorse piracy!

Step 1 – Configure your gamepad controller

Connect your gamepad controller via USB. RetroPie will automatically detect your gamepad.

Do as the instruction says and hold any button to start configuring your controller. To configure the controller, press the controller button you would like to correspond to the button in the highlighted field.

Step 2 – Transferring ROMs

ROMs (Read Only Memory) are the electronic versions of your old game cartridges. There are currently three main methods of transferring your game ROMs: via USB, via SFTP, and via Windows Samba Shares.

via USB
  1. Make sure your USB is formatted to FAT32.
  2. Create a retropie folder in your flash drive.
  3. Plug the USB into your Raspberry Pi 3, wait for 10 seconds, and pull it out.
  4. Plug your flash drive into you computer again. You’ll see that the retropie folder has been populated by 3 subfolders. Copy your ROMs to the roms/$CONSOLE subfolder. (e.g. put your Super Mario World game ROM in roms/snes).
  5. Plug the USB into your Raspberry Pi 3 again and wait for another 10 seconds.
  6. Choose quit from the start menu.
via SFTP
  1. Connect to the WiFi using your Raspberry Pi 3 (follow this guide if you are having any trouble connecting).
  2. Download WinSCP for Windows, or Cyberduck for Mac. Follow these connection settings:

* Protocol: SFTP
* IP Address: your RetroPie’s IP address (if you’re having any trouble finding your IP Address, follow this guide here).
* Username: pi
* Password: raspberry
3. Drop the files into the ~RetroPie/roms/$CONSOLE folder where $CONSOLE is the corresponding console the ROM should be played.

via Samba Shares
  1. You can access Samba Shares depending on your OS

* On Windows, type \\RETROPIE in your computer folder
* On Mac, open finder, select “Go”, “Connect to Server”, input smb://retropie and hit “Connect”.
2. Drop the files in the ~RetroPie/roms/$CONSOLE folder where $CONSOLE corresponds to the console the ROM will be played on.

Step 3 – Play!

You will see something like this, depending on your transferred ROM.

Choose your game and enjoy!