Retroarch roms

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RetroArch Playtest Sites to download ROMs,Cores and BIOSes 1 - steamsplay.com
Welcome not much to talk tbh I’m just going to give some safe sites to download games for Emulators.

First of all some Emulators require extra cores which you can download at: http://buildbot.libretro.com/nightly/windows/x86_64/
You can be confused which is normal but I’m here to help so yeah. Once you have opened the site you will already be in folder x86_64 so you just need to click on RetroArch_cores.7z and you need to put those file to Steam/steamapps/common/RetroArch Playtest/cores

Now BIOS. First you might ask why do we need BIOSes. Well to be honest you don’t need BIOSes but for the best quality and performance you have to download them.

First: PS1 BIOS(Duck/Swan Station) Link: https://the-eye.eu/public/rom/Bios/psx/ You need to click on SCPH1000.BIN thats the one we are looking for. Once you have downloaded it go to RetroArch Playtest files again but this time click on SYSTEM and drag the BIN there.

Secondly PS2 BIOS(PCSX 2) Link: https://the-eye.eu/public/rom/Bios/ps2/ So this one is just a lil bit diffrent. First download the BIOS and go to RetroArch files again. Then put the INFO file in the INFO. After that go to SYSTEM again and open a folder called: PCSX2 then put the BIOSes there.

Thirdly the Playstation Portable(PSP) BIOS(PPSSPP): https://docs.libretro.com/library/ppsspp/ just follow the steps that are provided in the website.

Now the sites to download games.

1- Vimm’s Lair link: https://vimm.net/ The site is a little bit slow but It provides roms for many many platforms and the roms are also really safe.

2- CoolROM link : https://coolrom.com.au/ CoolROM has so many diffrent platforms to choose from and of course many many games. I don’t really know about the download speed but I can say its pretty much safe.

3- AllROMs link: https://www.romsgames.net/roms/ Just like CoolROM this site has many games and platforms to choose from and yeah safe.

4- EmulatorGames link: https://www.emulatorgames.net/ I don’t think this site needs a description its basically like the others.

And finally a honorable mention: For many other roms you can check out http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Emulator_Files#Multi-system
but I don’t know if these are RetroArch compatible because the other ones are made especially for RetroArch.

Anyways have a nice day and good luck on your Emulator Adventure!

 
 

Introduction

 
Welcome not much to talk tbh I’m just going to give some safe sites to download games for Emulators. 
 
 

Cores

 
First of all some Emulators require extra cores which you can download at: http://buildbot.libretro.com/nightly/windows/x86_64/ 
You can be confused which is normal but I’m here to help so yeah. Once you have opened the site you will already be in folder x86_64 so you just need to click on RetroArch_cores.7z and you need to put those file to Steam/steamapps/common/RetroArch Playtest/cores 
 
 

BIOS Stuff

 
Now BIOS. First you might ask why do we need BIOSes. Well to be honest you don’t need BIOSes but for the best quality and performance you have to download them. 
 
First: PS1 BIOS(Duck/Swan Station) Link: https://the-eye.eu/public/rom/Bios/psx/ You need to click on SCPH1000.BIN thats the one we are looking for. Once you have downloaded it go to RetroArch Playtest files again but this time click on SYSTEM and drag the BIN there. 
 
Secondly PS2 BIOS(PCSX 2) Link: https://the-eye.eu/public/rom/Bios/ps2/ So this one is just a lil bit diffrent. First download the BIOS and go to RetroArch files again. Then put the INFO file in the INFO. After that go to SYSTEM again and open a folder called: PCSX2 then put the BIOSes there. 
 
Thirdly the Playstation Portable(PSP) BIOS(PPSSPP): https://docs.libretro.com/library/ppsspp/ just follow the steps that are provided in the website. 
 
 

Sites To Download Games

 
Now the sites to download games. 
 
1. Vimm’s Lair link: https://vimm.net/ The site is a little bit slow but It provides roms for many many platforms and the roms are also really safe. 
 
2. CoolROM link : https://coolrom.com.au/ CoolROM has so many diffrent platforms to choose from and of course many many games. I don’t really know about the download speed but I can say its pretty much safe. 
 
3. AllROMs link: https://www.romsgames.net/roms/ Just like CoolROM this site has many games and platforms to choose from and yeah safe. 
 
4. EmulatorGames link: https://www.emulatorgames.net/ I don’t think this site needs a description its basically like the others. 
 
 

Special Mention and Closer

 
And finally a honorable mention: For many other roms you can check out http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Emulator_Files#Multi-system 
but I don’t know if these are RetroArch compatible because the other ones are made especially for RetroArch. 
 
Anyways have a nice day and good luck on your Emulator Adventure! 
 

Written by Ña Mea

This is all for RetroArch Playtest Sites to download ROMs,Cores and BIOSes hope you enjoy the post. If you believe we forget or we should update the post please let us know via comment, we will try our best to fix how fast is possible! Have a great day!


Sours: https://steamsplay.com/retroarch-playtest-sites-to-download-romscores-and-bioses/

Do you wish you could browse a massive collection of retro games from your couch, without having to connect a bunch of systems or cobble together various emulators? RetroArch makes it possible. This all-in-one emulation station can run almost any retro game imaginable, and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

RetroArch is awesome, but it’s a little tricky to set up. Don’t panic, though, because it’s far from impossible. Here’s how to set up RetroArch on your home theater PC, or any other computer, so you can emulate all your favorite retro games in one fell swoop.

We’ve shown you how to play your favorite retro games on your Windows computer, and those tools still work. RetroArch makes things easier by putting all your games in the same place, and giving you a couch-ready interface for browsing your collection. Whether you’re a Nintendo, PlayStation, Sega, or even DOS fanatic, you can add your favorites to one unified menu.

Step One: Download RetroArch

Head to the Libretro home page, then click the “Downloads” link in the top-right menu. Here you’ll find the latest release for your platform. For example, if you’re a Windows user, click the “Windows” folder.

Browse and you’ll find a 7-Zip archive containing Retroarch. You’ll need to download and install 7-Zip if you haven’t already, in order to open the archive. Drag the contents of this archive to a folder, and put that folder anywhere you’d like. I put mine in “D:\Retroarch”, but it’s up to you.

To launch RetroArch, simply double-click “retroarch.exe”.

Step Two: Configure Your Controllers

The RetroArch user interface can be overwhelming at first, throwing you directly into a menu of configuration options. Don’t worry: it’s simpler than it looks.

The first thing you need to know is your mouse is not useful here. Click wherever you want, nothing is going to happen. Instead, browse the menu using your arrow keys. Up and down scrolls through the list; right and left jumps from one menu to another, indicated by the icons at the top of the screen. “Enter” lets you select a menu item, “Backspace” lets you jump back a level.

Of course, if you want to browse your collection from the couch with a gamepad, the first thing you’re going to want to do is set up your controller to work with RetroArch. In our tests, an Xbox 360 controller worked out-of-the-box, but if your controller isn’t working to browse the menu–or you want to configure the buttons differently–we can change that.

With your keyboard, head to the Settings menu, which is represented at the top of the screen by two gears. Scroll down to “Input”, then hit Enter.

Now scroll down to “Input User 1 Binds”, and scroll down to “User 1 Bind All”. Click that and you can map buttons to your gamepad.

The RetroArch bindings work across all emulators, and are designed to consistently mimic the gamepads that came with the appropriate systems. You should, ideally, configure your joystick so that the buttons line up with those in this image:

Do that, and most games should play exactly the way you remember, though you can configure things differently if you prefer. Once this is set up, you can navigate the RetroArch menus using only your gamepad, so put the keyboard away if you don’t want it.

If you’re setting up a multiplayer rig, repeat this process for all of your controllers. It will all be worth it, I promise.

Step Three: Download Emulators (aka “Cores”)

Now that you’ve learned how to navigate RetroArch, it’s time to learn a few concepts. RetroArch isn’t itself an emulator; instead, it’s a front-end capable of running a wide number of emulators. These individual emulators are called cores within RetroArch, and you’re going to need to download the appropriate cores for the games you want to run.

But don’t fire up your browser: you can install cores from inside RetroArch. Head back to the first column in RetroArch, then scroll down to “Online Updater”.

Select “Core Updater”, the first item in the resulting menu. From here you can download a wide variety of cores. Scroll through the menu and download as many cores as you like. Cores are sorted by the systems they emulate, so download something to run all of your games.

If you’re not sure which core to choose for a particular system, don’t worry, you can experiment to find out which cores work best later. For the most part, however, they should be similar, so for now just choose one.

Step Four: Add Your ROM Collection

Now that you’ve added some cores, it’s time to add your ROMs. We’ll assume you already have a collection of ROMs for the purposes of this guide.

RetroArch can scan a folder full of ROMs and organize them for you. From the main menu, head to “Add Content”. Pick “Scan Directory”, then browse your file system until you find your folder full of ROMs. Yellow text at the bottom of the screen will show you your progress. Once everything is done, head to the home screen and you’ll see a new icon: the controllers for each system you’ve added roms for. Use the right arrow key to access these menus and browse the games.

From here you can browse your game collection. Try to open any of them, and you’ll be asked which core you want to run the game with. Pick one, and you’ll finally be brought to a screen from which you can run the game.

Congratulations! You’ve now got a pretty cool emulation setup that you can control from your couch. Get to playing!

Step Five: Keep Tweaking, If You Want To

Eagle-eyed readers no doubt noticed the thumbnails shown in the above step. You can find these thumbnails in the “Online Updater” section where you downloaded cores, under “Thumbnails Updater”. Just select the systems you’ve added ROMs for and you’ve got thumbnails baked into the interface.

Actually, while you’re in the Online Updater, you might as well updated the core info files, the assets, and everything else. It’s just a matter of scrolling down the list and selecting everything.

RELATED:Eight Advanced RetroArch Features that Make Retro Gaming Great Again

Power users should also check out the “Settings” tab, where you’ll find the Video, Audio and a variety of other settings. You don’t have to go in and tweak this stuff, but power users will love diving in and making everything work just right. This forum thread, for example, has great settings for the ideal NES and SNES experience. Check out our guide to RetroArch’s advanced features if you really want to get the best experience.

Sours: https://www.howtogeek.com/260274/how-to-set-up-retroarch-the-ultimate-all-in-one-retro-games-emulator/
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For years, Retroarch has been the indomitable platform of choice for discerning emulation connoisseurs on PC. If you’ve downloaded Retroarch and don’t know your core from your content or just want to know which cores are best for running your favorite console games, read this Retroarch for Android guide for the instructions.

Note: as usual, you should consider the somewhat hazy legalities surrounding game emulation before proceeding. The following guide doesn’t offer advice on getting your hands on ROMs and ISOs.

Also read:10 Best Android Screen Recording Apps10 Best Android Screen Recording Apps

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do, of course, is install Retroarch from the Play Store. Once you’ve done that, open Retroarch, and you’ll be presented with the main menu, which may mean absolutely nothing to you if you’re unfamiliar with Retroarch.

First, let’s get some cores downloaded to your device. These are console emulators which have been adapted to work as plugins through Retroarch and can be downloaded directly through the app. Just go to “Load Core -> Download Core” and select what you want from the list.

Note that as soon as you tap a core in the list, it will download to your device. (The only way to then uninstall a core is to go to the Retroarch app settings and “Clear Data.”)

Also read:How to Set Up RetroArch, The Open-Source Cross-Platform Retro Game EmulatorHow to Set Up RetroArch, The Open-Source Cross-Platform Retro Game Emulator

Which cores are best for which console? Below are our core picks for the most popular consoles, based on the broadest compatibility and best performance with the most games. There will be certain games that don’t quite conform to this list, but for most people, we believe that it’s optimal.

Note: cores for more demanding consoles with 3D graphics and so on (N64, PS1, Sega Saturn) will be more straining on your device. They should work fine on relatively recent devices, but older/low-end Android devices may struggle.

Best Cores in Retroarch for Android

  • Game Boy Advance – mGBA
  • Game Boy/Game Boy Color – Gambatte
  • Nintendo (NES) – Nestopia
  • Nintendo 64 – Mupen64Plus
  • PlayStation – PCSX-ReARMed
  • Sega Genesis/Game Gear – Genesis Plus GX (PicoDrive from Sega 32X games)
  • Sega Saturn – Yabause (very strenuous performance-wise)
  • Super Nintendo (SNES) – Snes9X

Configure Retroarch

After you have your cores all set up, to get Retroarch to detect your games, you’ll need to get the ROMs and ISOs for your games onto your Android device. (We stress that these should be copies of games you already own.)

Once you have the games on your device, you can load them one by one by going to “Load Content,” then navigating to them from there. Alternatively, you can set up proper playlists.

To do this, tap the Playlists icon (middle option at the bottom of your Retroarch screen), then “Scan Directory.”

Select the directory where you keep your ROMs, then select “Scan This Directory.” The ROMs for each console will now be neatly contained in separate folders in the “Playlists menu.” You can select and run your games from here.

Configure Controls for Each Core

This bit can be confusing. If you’re just using the touchscreen, you don’t need to do much, as each core has its own customizable on-screen touch display to control games.

If you’re using a controller, however, you may want to do some tweaking. (If you want an idea of how to connect console controllers via Bluetooth, check out our guide on how to connect a PS4 controller to your Android device.)

To make changes to controls and so on in each individual core, you first need to load that core using “Load Core” and load a game using “Load Content” (or from your playlist).

Next, in the Retroarch main menu, you should see an option called “Quick Menu.” Tap it, then tap “Controls,” and scroll down to configure controls for that game.

Here’s the thing: you can then save those controls to apply to all games on that core (Save Core Remap File) or just to that individual game (Save Game Remap File). Select the Save option that suits your needs – then you can get back to your game.

Use a Nice Frontend

Retroarch for Android actually has some nice UI touches – for example, grabbing box art and covers for games in your collection – but if you want a more flashy way of browsing your games collection, you should try using a frontend, which conveniently organizes your entire ROM collection.

DIG is probably the best emulation frontend for Android, scanning your entire phone, then displaying all your games with some great presentation options. You still run your games through Retroarch but browse and explore them through DIG, which looks much nicer, organizes your games by genre, year, etc., and gives you nice historical synopses on your games.

For a full guide on how to set yourself up with the DIG frontend, read our DIG tutorial.

Keeping Things Up to Date

There’s something important you need to consider when using Retroarch. On the one hand, you should keep Retroarch up to date through the Play Store, but that will only update the app itself and not any of the cores, assets, thumbnail lists etc., within the app.

Every now and then you should manually update your installed cores to make sure you’re running the latest version. This will inevitably improve stability, performance and myriad other factors. In fact, if you run into trouble running a game, one of the first things you should do is update the cores.

To do this, go to the Retroarch main menu, scroll down and tap Online Updater, then tap Update Installed Cores and Update Core Info Files.

While you’re there, you should also semi-regularly tap “Update GLSL Shaders” to make sure you’re running the best versions of the shaders (more on those below). Also check out the Playlist Thumbnails Updater, which will get you nice thumbnail pictures for your games if you don’t have them already.

Shaders

Shaders are filters that can be applied over various cores and individual games. They can drastically change the look of a game, for example, by filtering the textures to look smoother and less pixelated or by adding a CRT screen or NTSC filter over a game to replicate the kind of experience you have had playing it back in the 90s.

To use shaders, open a core along with a game, go to the menu -> Quick Menu -> Shaders, then tap the “Video Shaders” slider to access the Shader options.

Tap “Load Shader Preset -> shaders_glsl” to access all the shaders you can use in Retroarch. There are tons to choose from, so just go ahead and experiment with the ones you like. (CRT Easymode is a good one to recreate that 90s screen look.)

If you want to tweak a given shader, after selecting it, go to “Shader Parameters” in the Shaders menu to tweak its scanline strength, mask dots, and so on.

PS1/PS2 Emulation and BIOS

For the most part, you don’t need to worry about BIOS when running emulators and games because the relevant files are included in the emulators. BIOS files are pretty much the first thing an emulator looks for when running with a different BIOS file required depending on the global region of the game you’re playing.

With PS1 and PS2 games, however, you’ll need to find the relevant BIOS files yourself (you can find them online) and put them in the “system” folder of Retroarch on your Android device.

You can find out more details about PS1 emulation on Retroarch in our guide. It’s for the desktop version, but the same general rules apply. When it comes to BIOS, the ones you’ll need are the following:

  • scph5500 (NTSC – Japan)
  • scph1001 (NTSC – US)
  • scph5502 – (PAL – Europe)
  • scph5552 (PAL – Europe)

Other Info

From the Quick Menu for a given core, you have all kinds of features. If you’re running a game, you can go to the Quick Menu to “Save State” and “Load State” (a godsend if you’re playing saveless NES games).

If you don’t have a core loaded, you can go to the “Settings menu -> Input -> Input Hotkey Binds” to set quick buttons for things like Save State, Rewind, and, crucially, “Menu toggle,” which takes you to the Retroarch menu. (On a PS4 controller, I like to set this as the PS button.)

Among the many other interesting features in the Settings menu is “Achievements,” which links Retroarch with retroachievements.org, unlocking achievements for thousands of retro games!

Troubleshooting

RetroArch and emulation are both complex things – you’re essentially mimicking entire hardware using only software, so inevitably things may go wrong during this process. Here are some of the ways to fix Retroarch when it’s not working properly on Android.

1. Games not running

The most common reason for a game not running on RetroArch is that you’re using the wrong video driver. Your two options in RetroArch are Vulkan and openGL, and it really varies between cores with regard to which is best to use.

To switch your video driver: in RetroArch go to “Settings -> Drivers,” then under Video, switch your drive between “vulkan” and “gl.”

2. RetroArch not finding games

If you use the “load folder” option to look for ROMs or games on your system, then it’s possible RetroArch won’t find them. This could be because the games don’t quite use the same file format that RetroArch is scanning for.

The good news is that you should still be able to run these games – you just need to load them manually.

Tap “Playlists (the icon at the bottom centre of RetroArch) -> Import Content,” then instead of tapping Scan Directory or Scan File, tap “Manual Scan.”

Here you can select the directory to scan, which system or core to associate scanned content with, as well as the file extensions to scan for. (You may want to check the file extension of the ROMs you’ve been struggling to scan and enter it here.)

Once you’re ready, scroll to the bottom and tap Start Scan.

3. General bugginess

If RetroArch is crashing, bugging out by not showing on-screen controls, and other minor frustrations, you may want to delete the RetroArch config file to refresh the app.

To do this: using a file manager app, navigate to the RetroArch directory on your phone (internal storage -> Retroarch -> config, by default). Find the “Retroarch-1234-56789.cfg” file (the numbers will be random) and delete the file.

Restart the app, and it should hopefully run smoother.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Retroarch is feature-rich, making it a particularly deep and fun rabbit hole to go down. We have a bunch of fixes for the desktop version of Retroarch not working, some of which can be applied to the Android version. If you want to dabble in the dark side, see our list of the best Android hacking apps.

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Robert ZakRobert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

Sours: https://www.maketecheasier.com/retroarch-android-guide/
RetroArch Easy Beginners Setup Guide for Windows

RetroArch

Emulators » Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) » Android » RetroArch

SNES / Multi-System Emulator for Android

Overview

RetroArch is a frontend for emulators, game engines and media players. It enables you to run classic games on a wide range of computers and consoles through its slick graphical interface. Settings are also unified so configuration is done once and for all. RetroArch has advanced features like shaders, netplay, rewinding, next-frame response times, and more! This version of RetroArch is for Android. You need to select cores that you'd like to use after installing the emulator. Different cores basically correspond to different emulators that the frontend supports. RetroArch is definitely one of the most fully featured and useful Android emulators to have on your device.

🔗 Homepage

Other systems supported by RetroArch:

  • Abandonware
  • Atari 2600
  • Atari 5200
  • Atari 7800
  • Atari Jaguar
  • Atari Lynx
  • Atari ST
  • Bandai Wonderswan
  • Bandai Wonderswan Color
  • Capcom Play System 1
  • Capcom Play System 2
  • M.A.M.E. - Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
  • Neo Geo
  • Neo Geo Pocket - Neo Geo Pocket Color (NGPx)
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Nintendo Game Boy
  • Nintendo Game Boy Color
  • Nintendo Gameboy Advance
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy
  • Panasonic 3DO (3DO Interactive Multiplayer)
  • PC Engine - TurboGrafx16
  • PC Engine CD - Turbo Duo - TurboGrafx CD
  • PC-FX
  • PSP
  • PSX on PSP
  • ScummVM
  • Sega 32X
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Sega Game Gear
  • Sega Genesis - Sega Megadrive
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sharp X68000
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sony Playstation - Demos
  • ZX Spectrum (Tapes)
  • ZX Spectrum (Z80)

Screenshot

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Download RetroArchSome emulators may require a system BIOS to run game titles. Get one at our BIOS Files Section.

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Sours: https://www.emuparadise.me/Super_Nintendo_Entertainment_System_(SNES)_Emulators/Android/RetroArch/187

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How to Set Up an All-In-One Retro Game Emulator with RetroArch

If you want to play all your favorite old games on your computer, RetroArch sets up a slick, all-in-one interface on your for any retro game you can imagine. RetroArch is easily the most powerful, cross-platform option for doing so, but it’s obnoxiously difficult to set up. Here’s how to do it.

What Is RetroArch?

If you want to play all your favorite old games, RetroArch sets up a slick, all-in-one interface on your computer for any retro game you can imagine. RetroArch is a program that combines emulators for tons of retro video game systems like the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, and others. It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and even hacked Wii consoles, among others. RetroArch has a menu that allows you to set up a gamepad, browse your library of games, and play anything from nearly any system with a few button presses.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to set up—partially due to its sheer number of options (shaders, overlays, frame rate caps, and more). But RetroArch is constantly being updated, and it features a ton of options for tinkering with settings to give you the exact experience you want from your emulators. Let’s be up front here: RetroArch is for tweakers and people who love to tinker with every single option available. It’s for people who want to use specific emulators for specific games. It’s for people who want to set up custom visual settings for every game. It’s less about just playing that old arcade game from back in the day, and more about reproducing it as accurately as possible.

However, RetroArch is pretty hard to set up and requires a lot of tinkering to get it working properly. Once you do, it works like a dream, but prepare yourself for an arduous set up process. There are easier options out there, but none have the customization options of RetroArch.

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Step One: Download RetroArch

Before you do anything, you need to download RetroArch. For this guide, we’ll be concentrating on the desktop version (primarily Windows and Mac), but the basics are applicable across any platform.

For this guide, I recommend sticking to the stable build, which you can find for your operating system of choice here (as of this writing, the most current version is 1.2.2). Just select your operating system and download the software inside the folder. Once that’s complete, unzip the file.

Step Two: Set Up Your Controllers

While you can navigate the RetroArch interface with a keyboard, it’s made for a controller, so it makes sense to set that up before we do anything else. Once RetroArch is downloaded, go ahead and open it up, then plug in a USB controller to your computer (RetroArch works with a massive number of USB game controllers, from an XBox controller to a PS4 controller, but I haven’t been able to find an actual list of compatible controllers anywhere). RetroArch will automatically detect your controller (if it doesn’t, you’ll need to dig around in the forums for help), and in many cases, it might even automatically configure the buttons for you. But it’s good to double-check.

When you first open up RetroArch, you’ll see a pretty simple interface with a lot of nonsense words. We’ll get to what all that means and how it works below, but for now, let’s just make sure your controller works:

  1. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate down to Settings, then press X to select it. (You can press Z to go back a menu.) You can also use your controller, if it works out of the box.
  2. Scroll down to Input and press X to select it.
  3. Scroll down to User 1 Bind All and press X to select that. You’ll get a graphic overlay to set up your controller. Pick up your controller and follow the on-screen prompts.
  4. Continue this process for any additional controllers you have, going down the list to input 2, 3, and so on.

You can now navigate with the A and B buttons on your controller (or whichever buttons you chose during the setup process) to go back and forth between menu items. As you’d expect, the d-pad will move you around the menu screen as well.

While you’re in the Input menu, it’s worth scrolling up to the Menu Toggle Gamepad Combo option. This option allows you to back out from any game into the RetroArch menu screen by tapping a combination of buttons on your controller. Pick one of the two combinations that work best for your controller of choice (for something like a PS4 controller, I like L3+R3 because I probably won’t tap that combo by accident).

Step Three: Dig Into the Video Settings

You’re almost ready to play games, but you’ll want to make a couple of quick changes to the video settings before you do.

Head to Settings > Video. Here, you’ll find a ton of options, mostly for stuff that doesn’t matter right now. However, there are some settings you’ll likely want to change (you change toggles with the left and right arrow keys/left and right on the d-pad):

  • Full screen mode: On (unless you prefer RetroArch running in a window, of course)
  • Full screen windowed mode: Off (decreases input lag)
  • VSync: On
  • Hard GPU Sync: On (this helps decrease input lag)
  • Bilinear filtering: Off

Of course, there are tons of other options here, but this is all you’ll need to get things moving. You can tweak more later if you want.

Step Four: Download Emulator “Cores” and Tweaking Tools

Finally, it’s time to download some emulators in RetroArch:

  1. From the main menu screen, scroll down to “Online Updater” and select it.
  2. Select Core Updater. In RetroArch, emulators are referred to as “cores.”
  3. Here, you’ll see a long list of various emulators. RetroArch does not come with any emulators initially, so you’ll need to download the ones you’ll use. Scroll to one on the list, and press X to select and download it.

We’re building a list of the best emulators on different operating systems, but for now, you’ll need to do some trial-and-error to figure out which ones work best for your games on your computer. To start, I recommend grabbing a couple different ones for each console you want to emulate. That way, you can choose which emulator a game uses on a per-game basis. Some emulators are better with certain games than others.

From the Online Updater menu, you can also download various tweaking tools for RetroArch. This part’s a little confusing because the word “Update” suggests you’re, well, updating something, but right now you’re actually downloading these various tweaks and settings. To do so, just select the Update [item] option and RetroArch will do the rest. I recommend downloading each of them once before you even try to load a ROM, but here’s what each of various options mean:

  • Update Core Info Files: This updates any files related to the emulators. If you’re having trouble with a particular game, try updating here to see if a fix has been released.
  • Update Assets: This updates logos, fonts, and other similar things that might change slightly in each iteration of RetroArch.
  • Update Autoconfig Profiles: This is the automatic controller configuration file. Select this update if your controller doesn’t seem to work.
  • Update Cheats: As the name implies, this downloads all the various cheat files available for games.
  • Update Databases: This updates the database files of games and emulators so when you scan for ROMs (in the next step), RetroArch can automatically detect them.
  • Update Overlays: Overlays are an optional images that sit over the game screen. For example, you can add a Game Boy overlay that makes your screen look more like a classic Game Boy by adding the image of a Game Boy’s case around the game (like this).
  • Update Cg Shaders: These are the various shaders (basically filters) that you can run to make a game look more authentic (like running a CRT filter that simulates an old TV).
  • Update GLSL Shaders: These function the same as Cg shaders, but exist where Cg support might not (like in Linux or Android).

Once you run those updates, you can set up your emulators.

Step Five: Set Up Your Emulators and ROM Directories

It’s almost time to play some games, I promise. But first, you need to tell RetroArch where those games are located. You’ll also likely want to play around with a couple of Settings before you load you first game. First though, let’s point RetroArch to your various ROMs folders (From this step on, we’re going to assume you already have a bunch of ROMs from your favorite ROM source):

  1. Head to Settings > Directory > File Browser Dir and pick the parent directory where your ROMs are located. This makes the next steps a little easier.
  2. Head back to the main menu screen and select Add Content > Scan Directory and then select a ROMs folder. If you have your ROMs grouped in folders by console, you’ll need to scan each folder separately.

With that, RetroArch will automatically add your ROMs to the system. When you back out to the main menu, you’ll now see an icon for each console you have ROMs for on the main screen. Just press right or left to cycle through them.

Step Six: Load a ROM

Now, you finally have RetroArch set up and ready to play some games.

Before you start, I recommend going to Settings > Configuration and set Configuration Per-Core to On. This allows you to customize settings on a per-emulator basis instead of a universal setting for everything. So, when you load a up a Game Boy game, you can set up filters specifically for that emulator. Then, you can pick different settings for your NES games, and so on:

  1. From the main menu screen, and scroll to the right to the console you want to play.
  2. Pick the game you want to play.
  3. Select the emulator you want to use.
  4. Select Start Content to start the game.

If all goes well, your game should start up. Yay! Now let’s take a quick look at how to get into the in-game options. Tap the gamepad combo you set up in Step Two (mine’s R3+L3). This pulls up the RetroArch in-game menu. There’s a lot of different settings here to change the visuals, but for this beginner’s guide, let’s just stick to the one thing that really matters: save states.

To save a game, just back out to the menu with your gamepad combo, and select Save State. You can load up your game in the future by simply selecting Load State. Now you won’t have to try and beat Battletoads in one sitting.

If this all sounds a bit cumbersome, don’t worry. Once you get past the initial setup process, RetroArch does everything else automatically. Your settings for each emulator are carried over to every game you load into it, so all your NES games will look and play the same, while your Game Boy games will do the same with different settings. This means that once you get through the initial hump of setting everything up, playing games in the future is a simple process.

While this guide will get you up and running, we’ve barely scratched the surface of RetroArch here. There are countless other advanced menu items and settings to dig into if you want. We’ll look into some of those in a future post, but for now, the RetroArch wiki, subreddit, and forums are all great resources for troubleshooting.

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How to Use RetroArch

RetroArch is a free cross-platform video game emulation program. If you know how to use RetroArch, you can play classic Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox games on almost any computer or mobile device. You can even run RetroArch on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and other gaming systems.

Instructions in this article apply to RetroArch 1.7.9 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

What Is RetroArch?

RetroArch is an open-source project capable of running multiple video game emulators in one interface. On top of the features extra offered by individual emulators, RetroArch provides several additional perks including:

  • Gamepad and touch screen support.
  • Extensive video and audio customization.
  • Recording and streaming capabilities.
  • Online multiplayer options.

Since it's open-source, anyone can contribute new cores and customization tools, and frequent updates are released with new features. RetroArch emulates more than games and consoles. For example, there are cores for video game engines, so you can do things like design your own Tomb Raider game using the original assets.

RetroArch Cores and ROMS

While RetroArch is convenient once set up, the set up process can be time consuming. It's a tool aimed at advanced users interested in software development who like tinkering with settings. If you just want to play games for a particular system, then there may be better options for emulators.

Before you can play games, you must download the emulators (called cores) as well as the ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play. Cores can be downloaded from within RetroArch, but you'll have to obtain games by other means.

How to Use RetroArch on PC

The process for setting up the desktop version of RetroArch is the same on Windows, Mac, and Linux:

Before you begin, organize all of your game ROMs in one folder so that they'll be easy to find.

  1. Visit RetroArch.com and download the program for your operating system. If the website automatically detects your OS, then you can select Download Stable to download the latest stable version. Otherwise, scroll down and select one of the download options.

  2. Launch the RetroArch setup file and complete the installation.

  3. Open RetroArch and select Load Core.

    Use the arrow keys to navigate the menu, and press Enter to make a selection. To go back, press the X key.

  4. Select Download Core.

  5. Scroll through the list and select the emulator(s) you want.

  6. Return to the main menu and select Load Content.

  7. Locate the folder containing your games and select the file ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play.

  8. To save your game, go to Command > Save State Options and select Save State. To load a saved game, select Load State.

    You can switch games or emulators by going to File > Load Core or File > Load Content.

How to Configure RetroArch

RetroArch applies custom settings to all of your emulators by default. To configure settings individually for each emulator:

  1. Go to Settings and select Configuration.

  2. Select the Use Global Core Options File option to disable it.

  3. Settings will now be saved for each individual emulator. For example, go to Settings > Video to adjust the display settings for the emulator core you currently have loaded.

How to Set Up Controllers in RetroArch

You can plug in your PS4 or Xbox One controller to navigate the RetroArch interface. To customize controller settings:

  1. Go to Settings and select Input.

  2. Select User 1 Binds.

  3. Select User 1 Bind All.

  4. Follow the prompts to set the controller buttons.

    You can go to Settings > Menu Toggle Command Combo to set a shortcut to the main menu.

How to Download Updates and Custom Tools

Select Online Updater from the main menu to download updates and extensions to customize RetroArch. Some notable options include:

  • Update Core Info Files: Download the latest updates for your emulators.
  • Update Assets: Download the latest version of the RetroArch interface.
  • Update Thumbnails: Download box art for games in RetroArch.
  • Update Cheats: Enable cheats for games when available.
  • Update Overlays: Choose borders/overlays for your emulators.
  • Update Cg/GLSL Shaders: Choose filters to simulate old TVs.

How to Set Up RetroArch on Android and iOS

Before you begin, it's helpful to have all of your ROM files in one place. You can create a folder and transfer the files from your computer. To get started playing classic games on your mobile device with RetroArch:

  1. Download the RetroArch mobile app for the Apple Store or Google Play.

  2. Open RetroArch and tap Load Core.

  3. Tap Download a Core.

  4. Scroll through the list and select the emulator(s) you want.

  5. Return to the main menu of RetroArch and tap Load Content.

  6. Locate the folder containing your games and select the file ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play.

    To switch emulators, tap Load Core on the RetroArch main menu and select the emulator you want to load.

How to Set Up RetroArch on Switch, Xbox One, and Other Game Systems

RetroArch.com has tutorial videos for how to set up RetroArch on different video game consoles. You may be required to hack your device, which will likely void the warranty.

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