How To Set Up RetroPie 3.5 on Raspberry Pi 2 – Part 1

ūüďÖ February 13, 2016
titleCraving video game nostalgia? Curious to experiment with homemade creations? Have a Raspberry Pi?

Explore the fun of RetroPie!

RetroPie is software that turns your Raspberry Pi into a multi-console-arcade emulation system that allows you to play games and homemade software. Missing those older systems that are no longer available? With RetroPie, you can play games rendered in high-definition crispness and detail and control them using USB or Bluetooth wireless controllers, such as the Dual Shock 4.

This tutorial shows how to setup RetroPie 3.5 on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.

Update: These instructions are also valid for RetroPie 3.6.


This is a lengthy tutorial divided into sections.

  • PART 1 – RetroPie Setup
    • Give Yourself Time
    • The Hardware
    • The Software
    • Writing the Image to the MicroSD Card
      • Windows Image Writing
      • Linux Image Writing
        • Unetbootin
        • dd
    • Building the Pi
      • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Optional)
      • Controller
      • Plugable USB Audio Adapter
      • USB Keyboard
      • Internet
    • First Power Up
      • Filesystem Resize
      • EmulationStation Controls
      • How to Connect Via SSH
      • Getting the RetroPie IP Address
      • Local Access
      • RetroPie and DHCP
      • Disable IPv6
      • Update RetroPie-Setup Script
      • Update RetroPie
      • Edit /boot/config.txt
        • Adjust Overscan
        • Disable Audio Dither
      • Change Password
      • Localizing / Localising (Your Pick)
        • Change Locale
        • Change Timezone
        • Change Keyboard Layout
      • Configure USB Audio (Optional)
      • Reboot
    • Install Emulators
      • Binary or Source?
      • Experimental Packages
    • Install EmulationStation Themes
      • Thumbnail List of Themes
      • Incomplete Themes
      • Changing EmulationStation Themes
      • White Screen of Death
    • The RetroPie Splashscreen
      • What Splashscreens are available?
      • Thumbnail List of Splashscreens
      • Changing the Splashscreen
    • How to Take Screenshots with raspi2png
      • Compiling
      • Snapping a Screenshot
  • PART 2 – RetroArch and Emulator Configuration
    • Important Files and Directories
    • EmulationStation and RetroArch Controls

Part 1 – RetroPie Setup

Give Yourself Time

“I wanna play NOW! Now, now, NOW!”

Patience. Patience. Allow yourself yourself three to four hours to set up RetroPie from start to finish for a basic installation. It requires¬†time due to the tweaking and file transfers. I spent a good ten hours over the course of a few days fine-tuning RetroPie to the way I wanted it to behave…and there was still room for improvement!

There is a plethora of settings and tweaks to make, and, for me, I had to use trial and error in order to discover how to adjust the lesser-documented settings. You will end up doing the same.

If you are nothing more than an end user who merely wants to play games and who grumbles upon hearing this, then forget it. This is not for you. Half of the fun of this project is building and configuring it. Does hearing this excite your imagination? Then, keep reading. You are in for a treat!

The Hardware


The essentials: Raspberry Pi 2, power supply, 128G MicroSD card, and a USB audio adapter. Yes, I consider quality sound essential. Shown is a blue heatsink for one of the integrated circuits.

While RetroPie is free, you need the hardware. Here is what I used:

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

The latest model as of the time of this writing.

Raspberry Pi 2 case

Many enclosure styles are available, so pick what you like best. Get the correct enclosure for the proper Pi 2 model.

Raspberry Pi Heatsinks (Optional)

Not really necessary, but you can install colored heatsinks for the two integrated circuits to help dissipate heat and add visual bling to a see-through enclosure.

PNY High Performance 128G MicroSD
Space fills up quickly, so larger capacity is better. The Raspberry Pi 2 recognizes 128G MicroSD cards.

5V 2.5A Power Supply

2A also works. These power supplies can also be used to charge other devices that require a micro-B USB connector.

Plugable USB Audio Adapter
For improved audio output.

HDMI cable

Connects the Pi to an HDTV or computer monitor. Any HDMI cable should work.

USB keyboard

Necessary for RetroPie configuration.

Ethernet cable

Connects the Pi to the network for access to the Internet

Internet Connection

For updates and RetroPie software installation.

PlayStation 4 Dual Shock 4 Controller

A comfortable controller, but others work. Use what you like. The large touchpad and the PS button add two extra buttons for RetroArch.

USB to micro USB cable for controller

Connects the Dual Shock 4 to the Pi.

Plugable USB 3 MicroSD adapter

Allows a computer to read and write the MicroSD card. File transfers are faster than SSH.

Bluetooth USB Adapter (Optional)

For connecting controllers wirelessly. Wireless controllers are skipped in this tutorial due to problems encountered with the Dual Shock 4. The DS4 works, but input lag is unbearable. A USB cable is best.

Wi-Fi USB Adapter (Optional)

In case you prefer wireless connectivity to a network. Wireless setup is skipped in this tutorial.


Some steps will require a computer. Any should do, but Linux is preferred due to built-in SSH support.

The Software

Download RetroPie 3.5 SD-card image for Raspberry Pi 2 (latest version as of February 10, 2016) from the RetroPie web site. There are different versions for different Pi models.

Pick the Standard Version. The Bootberry Version is offered in case you would like to have a multi-boot Pi that multi-boots various operating systems similar to GRUB on a computer. We are going to build a Pi whose sole purpose is to boot RetroPie, so Bootberry is not necessary.

Uncompress the RetroPie image file (retropie-v3.5-rpi2.img.gz) so you have the final 2.6G file (retropie-v2.5-rpi2-img). This is what we will write to the MicroSD card.

Writing the Image to the MicroSD Card

Using a USB card reader, connect the MicroSD to your computer. You can write the image using Linux or Windows. I recommend plugging a USB 3 adapter into a USB 3 for faster image writing.

Windows Image Writing

For Windows, the free program Win32DiskImager works great.

Download it, install it, select the MicroSD card drive letter, pick the RetroPie image, and click the write button.


Win32 Disk Imager. Drive G: is the MicroSD card. All existing contents will be unavailable, so back up the card if you need to.

A progress bar shows the progress. When done, *safely eject* the MicroSD card from the computer. Do not yank it out like a monkey. This ensures that the image has finished writing to the card.

Linux Image Writing

For Linux, you can perform the same process using Unetbootin or dd (built-in). Unetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) is a GUI-based image-writing program, and it requires root privileges.


The UNetbootin GUI acts similar to Win32DiskImager. Treat the RetroPie image as a Linux distribution.

You can also use dd from a command line.

Either way, run

sudo fdisk -l

in a terminal to identify the device file of the MicroSD card. Let us assume that fdisk identifies the card as /dev/sdd.

Choose /dev/sdd in UnetBootin or use it with dd.

Using dd

sudo dd if=retropie-v3.5-rpi2.img of=/dev/sdd bs=1073741824

bs is the block size. Larger sizes result in faster writes. Here, it is 1G. 1048576 (1M) also works.

if is the input file or the path to the RetroPie 3.5 image file. You might need to adjust this for your system. I am running the terminal in the same directory as the RetroPie image, so there is no need to specify a path.

of is the card to write to. The device file /dev/sdd (in this example) that we obtained from fdisk is used here. Double check that you have the correct device. You can ruin your Linux system if you overwrite the wrong device.

After the image is finished writing using Linux, run sync in a terminal to flush all write buffers. This ensures that the image is written to the card in its entirety.

The command prompt will appear when complete, so *safely eject* the card from Linux. Again, do not yank the card out like a monkey. (You should never ever do that anyway.)

Building the Pi

Assembling the Pi unit depends upon your chosen enclosure, so instructions will not be given here. While the card image is writing, prepare your Pi by hooking it up to a monitor or HDTV and plugging in a USB controller, USB keyboard, and Ethernet. If you have USB audio, plug that in also.

You might run out of ports, so select a game controller and keyboard at a minimum since both are required to configure RetroPie. The other peripherals can be added later when the keyboard is no longer needed.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Optional)

RetroPie recognizes Wi-FI and Bluetooth. Both work, and the two devices in the hardware list above are 100% compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2.

However, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi installation is skipped in this tutorial due to lengthy, complex installations. They are mentioned in case you wish to explore further.

You can always add Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support later once everything is working properly.


The Kinivo USB Bluetooth adapter and the Edimax USB Wi-Fi adapter work well with the Pi.


For this example, the Dual Shock 4 controller is connected via a USB to micro-B USB cable, not Bluetooth. For me, Bluetooth and the Dual Shock 4 controller always resulted in ever-so-slight input lag that was not apparent at first, but it suddenly became noticeable during moments of trigger-finger action. The experience was annoying and frustrating, but I have had excellent, lag-free results with a USB cable.

I have read good reports of Fantac 8bitdo Bluetooth controller compatibility with RetroPie, but I have not tried this for myself.

In theory, any USB or Bluetooth controller should work, so take your pick. Be aware that wired USB controllers are plug-and-play, but Bluetooth requires command-line configuration.

Plugable USB Audio Adapter

Sound quality from the Pi 2 is noisy, lackluster, and low. You want better sound. To accomplish this, plug the USB audio adapter into the bottom-right USB port. After configuration, line-level audio will output through this device to deliver (almost) inaudible noise, stronger bass, higher trebles, and louder volume for improved sound quality.

Considering that sound is half the experience, this inexpensive gizmo is one of the most important additions to RetroPie.

Connect the green line out to your speaker system. The red microphone jack is not used.


Plugable USB audio adapter connected to the bottom right USB port. Its width blocks access to the USB port on the left, so this leaves two free USB ports at the top for a USB keyboard and USB controller.


My USB audio adapter is bent, so I connected it to a bottom USB port instead of a top port.

USB Keyboard

You will need a keyboard. Even though you can later administer the Pi via SSH from a computer, Some settings are easier to perform with a direct-connect keyboard for now. Any regular USB keyboard should work.

After you are satisfied with all configurations, you can remove the keyboard and control RetroPie using a game controller. This also frees up a USB port.


You will need an Internet connection in order to update the Pi. At the very least, connect it to your LAN so you can access RetroPie via SSH from your computer. This allows you to tweak RetroPie without having to connect a keyboard to the Pi should all Pi USB ports be used.

The Pi 2 has a dedicated 10/100 Ethernet port, so connect an Ethernet cable to it that connects to your network.

The built-in Ethernet is limited to 100Base-T, not Gigabit. If you wish to double the speed, you could use a USB 3 Gigabit Ethernet adapter. However, with the USB audio adapter connected, only three USB ports can be used.

I have found that RetroPie does not need faster Ethernet, so the built-in Ethernet port is adequate.

First Power Up

With the MicroSD card complete and the Pi assembled, put the card in the Pi’s MicroSD slot. Most enclosures allow access to the MicroSD slot without the need to remove the case.

There is no ON/OFF switch on the Pi, so plug the MicroUSB power connector into the Pi and watch it power up.

If you see a kernel panic error message on the screen, then the image is probably corrupt on the card. Rewrite the RetroPie image again.

Filesystem Resize

If all went well, you should see a message informing you that RetroPie is expanding the filesystem to make use of all available space on the card. This is a good thing.

With earlier versions of RetroPie, this was a step you had to perform manually yourself, but RetroPie 3.5 performs it automatically. RetroPie will reboot.

After this, there will be two primary partitions on the MicroSD card. A small partition labeled “boot” and a larger partition labeled “retropie” that holds the content.

EmulationStation Controls

EmulationStation is a GUI front-end that lets you select a system and then a game within that system.


EmulationStation is best used with a game controller, so you must assign the buttons in order to navigate its menus.

Upon first use, it will prompt for a controller. Hold down a button on the DS4, and a controller config menu will appear. Press the buttons as instructed.

This step must be performed again if you use a different controller.

If you see EmulationStation and you can browse through its menus, so far so good! A few freebie games are installed by default, but we are not finished with the setup yet.

How to Connect Via SSH

RetroPie is a Linux distribution like any other. If you already known Linux, then you know RetroPie. This is great news because you can connect to RetroPie using SSH.

By default, the RetroPie username is pi and the password is raspberry.

 Username: pi
 Password: raspberry

Suppose your Pi has the IPv4 address of Open a terminal and type,

ssh pi@

You will be prompted for a password. If valid, you will see a RetroPie prompt, and you can administer the RetroPie system from a command prompt.

Getting the RetroPie IP Address

“What is the RetroPie IP address?”

You will need this in order to connect via SSH. From the EmulationStation menu, go to RetroPie > Show IP Address.


EmulationStation RetroPie menu. Select “Show IP Address” to view the current network settings including RetroPie’s IP address.

Local Access

From the USB keyboard connected to the RetroPie, you can administer the system locally without SSH. Press the F4 key on the keyboard to switch to a command-based terminal. EmulationStation will quit and disappear, and you will be greeted with a prompt. If needed, log in with the same default RetroPie username and password.

The following steps require command-line entry, so use whichever method you like to enter commands.

RetroPie and DHCP

By default, RetroPie is set to acquire an IPv4 address using DHCP. Your local network must have a way to hand out IP addresses.

Like any other Linux distribution, you can manually configure RetroPie to use a static IP address if DHCP is not available or if you want to ensure that RetroPie uses the same address.

Configure /etc/network/interfaces to assign a static address. Below assumes eth0 as the Pi’s NIC and assigns a static IP address of as an example.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
 auto eth0
 iface eth0 inet static

gateway might need the IP of your router in order to access the Internet. Change to your router’s gateway IP address if needed. This is something that depends upon the specific LAN.

Disable IPv6

RetroPie tries to access the Internet using IPv6. This never worked for me. All Internet access attempted to connect using an IPv6 address, but RetroPie would always stall for several minutes before defaulting to IPv4 to make the connection.

The easy solution is to disable IPv6 and force RetroPie to use IPv4 for everything. This results in instant Internet connections without the unnecessary delays.

Enter ifconfig in a terminal. You should see an IPv6 address but not an IPv4 address. This is why the delay occurs. We need to change this.

Open /etc/sysctl.conf for editing.

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Add this line to the bottom of the file:

net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1

Save the file. This disables IPv6 and uses IPv4 for everything. To check if this works, enter

sudo sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf

Now, enter ifconfig again. The IPv6 address should be gone, and an IPv4 should appear automatically if using DHCP. If not, then you must manually configure RetroPie with a static IPv4 address your computer can access over the LAN.

Changing /etc/sysctl.conf makes the change permanent across reboots. You can either reboot RetroPie now with sudo reboot to test it out or reboot later.

Update RetroPie-Setup Script

Return to EmulationStation. This can be done in different ways. If you are in a local terminal on RetroPie, enter emulationstation at the command line (if EmulationStation is not running), or reboot the Pi by typing sudo reboot.

When EmulationStation appears, go to the RetroPie menu.


RetroPie menu in EmulationStation. Choose RetroPie-Setup to enter RetroPie configuration.

EmulationStation > RetroPie > RetroPie-Setup > Update RetroPie-Setup script


On the RetroPie, RetroPie-Setup looks something like this. Choose “U Update RetroPie-Setup script.

Update RetroPie

In a terminal, enter

sudo apt-get update

This updates the repository list for when we install new software. Disabling IPv6 makes this process finish quicker.

Edit /boot/config.txt

There are few global changes to make. Open the RetroPie’s boot configuration file,

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

Adjust Overscan

I saw black borders around my RetroPie image on a monitor. Borders might vary by connected display. To remove them, we need to uncomment a line in /boot/config.txt so it reads


This should make the black borders disappear upon the next reboot. For fine tuning, you can use the other border adjustments to handle overscan. (These are commented out by default.)

# uncomment the following to adjust overscan. Use positive numbers if console
# goes off screen, and negative if there is too much border

I found that disable_overscan=1 removes all borders for me, so I left these lines alone.

Disable Audio Dither

This one is more of a habit from earlier RetroPie installations. Before I used the USB audio adapter, I would disable audio dithering to try to improve the sound quality from the Pi. The sound quality was still terrible, but this seemed to help ever-so-slightly…or maybe it was my imagination.

While /boot/config.txt is still open, enter this line at the bottom of the file:


Supposedly, this improves the default sound quality — slightly. With a USB audio adapter, I cannot tell a difference with this line added or not, but I disable dithering anyway in case I need to use the Pi’s built-in audio later.

Change Password

Return to the RetroPie menu in EmulationStation and choose “Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool Raspi-Config.”


Raspi-Config shown highlighted in RetroPie menu.

We want to change the default RetroPie password. The user will still be pi, but I would prefer a different password. Go to,

EmulationStation > RaspberryPi Config (raspi-config) > 2 Change User Password


raspi-config (sudo ./raspi-config) is a different menu from RetroPie-Setup. Options here affect the Raspberry Pi system.

You will be prompted to enter the new password twice. Write it down if you have to or else you risk needing to reinstall RetroPie if you forget it.

Localizing / Localising (Your Pick)

Unless you live in the United Kingdom, you are going to want to change the locale, timezone, and keyboard layout of RetroPie. By default, the RetroPie uses a United Kingdom locale. Let’s change this.

Return to the raspi-config menu and choose “5 Internationalisation Options.”

EmulationStation > RetroPie > RaspberryPi Config > 5 Internationalisation Options


Locale, timezone, and keyboard layout for RetroPie is changed under Internationalisation Options.


It always a good idea to set these options properly no matter the system.

Change Locale

A list of all locales appears.


An asterisk “*” indicates a locale installed or to install. Pick the UTF-8 locale for your region.

With the keyboard arrow keys and space bar, uncheck those not needed (you can install more than one but use only one at a time).

For simplicity, choose the one locale that you need. Locales are listed alphabetically. Each country uses a two-letter code that you can usually guess by reading it. Press the space bar for the locale you want to check it for installation.

Select the UTF-8 version of your locale. Select Ok to continue.

Change Timezone

You will probably want to change this also. Select your timezone from the timezone menu.


Select the timezone for your region. Submenus that refine your choice might appear depending upon your location.

Change Keyboard Layout

Different regions in the world use different keyboard layouts. If you changed the locale, then you will need to change this to match. In my case, I chose a Generic 104-key PC layout since that best matched the generic keyboard I was using. Many specific layouts are provided, so you will to experiment. If in doubt, use a generic layout and work from that.


Generic 104-key PC layout is a good place to start if your specific keyboard is not available from the list.

A few more menus will appear fro fine-tuning. Select the specific layout and then select NoComposeKey unless you need it.

Configure USB Audio (Optional)

[If you do not have a USB audio device or do not wish to use one, then skip this step.]

RetroPie will default to the Pi’s built-in audio, not the USB audio. We need to change that. Back in a terminal, enter


If you see a line containing the text C-Media from the list of USB devices, then the Plugable USB audio adapter is connected and detected by RetroPie. (C-Media might vary if using different USB audio devices.)

You can also enter aplay -l for a list of playback hardware devices. The USB Audio and RetroPie 3.4 article provides information about the Plugable USB audio adapter, but, in short, you should see two cards listed.

  Card 0 - Built-in Raspberry Pi audio (bcm2853)
  Card 1 - USB Audio

We need to tell RetroPie to use Card 1, not Card 0. Open /etc/asound.conf for editing.

sudo nano /etc/asound.conf

This file will probably be empty. Enter the following statements,

pcm.!default {
    type hw card 1
ctl.!default {
    type hw card 1

Save the file and exit.


The basic system configuration is complete at this point, so reboot the Raspberry Pi. The Pi should boot into EmulationStation automatically without errors.

If so, then congratulate yourself! If something went wrong, backtrack your actions and pay attention to error messages. dmesg is a good place to start.

Install Emulators

At this point, RetroPie is ready to use, but we need to install emulators in order to play games. Sure, the default goodies run, but there is a greater world to explore!

All supported emulators are installed from repositories accessed through the Internet. To see a list of emulators, go to

EmulationStation > RetroPie > RetroPie-Setup > 5 Install individual emulators from binary or source


Picking this allows you to install exactly what you want…and it is faster.

If you want to install everything, then first option might work for you, but this can take a long time and you might install software you will never use.

A more efficient and quicker installation is to pick option “5 Install individual emulators from binary or source.” This lets you pick and choose exactly which emulators and software you want.


Many emulators available.

Binary or Source?

This refers to the installation method. I highly recommend installing from binaries because they are already compiled for the Pi and they install faster than source installations. Source installation uses the Pi to compile the code into binary, and this often takes an extremely long time (up to an hour or more for some emulators like MAME).

Unless you ahve a specific need to compile from source, binary installation is the way to go.

Pick and choose what you like, but start with RetroArch. RetroArch uses what are called libretro cores. Think of it as a single emulator, but to play a different emulator, you change the core for that emulator. All occurs under the same interface with common controls.

Any emulator that begins with lr- works well with RetroArch under a unified menu system. These are far easier to configure than the other non “lr-” standalone emulators.


lr-xxxx emulators are cores for RetroArch while the others are standalone emulators.

“Is it okay to install multiple emulators for a single system?”¬†

Yes. You will notice that some emulated systems have multiple emulators. Install as many as you like so you can test which works best for you.

“Can I select or change which emulator to use?”

Yes, you can always change which emulator is the default emulator for a given system. A menu prompt briefly appears before each play to give you a chance to select a different emulator. You can also manually edit configuration files.

“Can I configure individual emulators?”

Yes. RetroArch allows you to configure individual cores, and the standalone emulators have their own special needs.

Experimental Packages

This category contains less-tested, beta software, but you will find some emulators here that are not in the Binary and Sources lists.


Feeling brave? Some are laggy, some are buggy, and others run well. Trial and error is your friend.

These emulators can only be installed from source, so they take much longer to install. They will not break your system, but emulation might be slow or buggy with these emulators.

Install EmulationStation Themes

By now you are probably tired of the default black Carbon theme.


The default Carbon theme for EmulationStation.

EmulationStation supports themes to change its look and feel.

Themes are downloaded and stored in /etc/emulationstation/themes. A theme is an XML file with associated images. Below is a list of all available themes in RetroPie 3.5 and EmulationStation v2.0.1A for quick reference and to avoid guessing.


Available EmulationStation themes. You can also create your own themes.

Incomplete Themes

Not all themes are full sets, so expect missing graphics, such as the Tronkyfran and Zoid themes shown in the theme list above.

Changing EmulationStation Themes

Using the controller with EmulationStation, open the Main Menu and select UI Settings.


UI Settings in the EmulationStation main menu allows you to change the EmulationStation theme.

In the UI Settings menu, scroll down and highlight Theme Set. Press Left and Right on the game controller to choose a new theme at this menu or select the option to open a new menu showing all installed themes.


Theme Set menu. All installed themes are shown here.

Select the theme you want, and it will be applied when you select Back from the UI Settings menu.

Caution! Due to an issue with EmulationStation, you might see a plain white screen (known as the white screen of death) if you switch themes with ten or more systems available from the EmulationStation GUI. If this happens, restart EmulationStation by entering


at the pi@retropie command prompt.

White Screen of Death

Be aware of the warning about a “white screen of death.”


White Screen of Death warning.

If there are about ten emulators enabled in /etc/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg, then EmulationStation might display a solid white screen when scrolling through the menu.

Do not panic. RetroPie is not corrupted. Simply reboot RetroPie (or kill emulationstation and restart it) and pick a different theme.

The RetroPie Splashscreen

The splashscreen is the full-screen image or video that displays when RetroPie loads. There are 59 built-in splash screens available with RetroPie 3.5, and if that is not enough, you can add your own custom screens if you like by placing them in the /home/pi/RetroPie/splashscreens directory.

The bundled splashscreens are located in /opt/retropie/supplementary/splashscreen.

/home/pi/RetroPie/splashscreens Custom splash screens (empty by default)
/opt/retropie/supplementary/splashscreen Installed splash screens

What Splashscreens are Available?

Each splashscreen exists within its own directory in /opt/retropie/supplementary/splashscreen, and most images are 1920×1080 PNG images.

Here is a list for quick reference.


Default splashscreens provided by RetroPie 3.5/

MP4 files are also allowed as demonstrated by retropie2015-carbon-anim. This is a 20-second looping MP4 file that displays an animation.

Changing the Splashscreen

1. Go to the RetroPie Setup and select “3 Setup / Configuration.



2. Scroll down and select “323 Configure Splashscreen.”


Configure Splashscreen.

3. Choose “7 Update RetroPie splashscreens” one time to make sure they are updated.


Update RetroPie splashscreens

4. Select “1 Choose RetroPie splashscreen” to select from the list of built-in splash screens. Splashscreens are listed by their names without thumbnails.


List of splashscreens. No thumbnails, so use the thumbnail list above for reference.

If you have a custom splashscreen in /home/pi/RetroPie/splashscreens, select “2 Choose own splashscreen.”

The splashscreen you choose will take effect upon the next RetroPie boot.

How to Take Screenshots with raspi2png

There is a nifty Linux program called raspi2png that allows you take a screenshot of your current screen from the command line. RetroArch also allows screenshots, but raspi2png is independent of any program.

Download the raspi2png source code because it is not in the repository and must be compiled. Uncompress the source on your computer, and then transfer the source directory (raspi2png-master) and its contents to the Pi via SSH.


Now, log into RetroPie via SSH and cd to the raspi2png-master source code directory. Follow the instructions in, and install libpng before compiling.

sudo apt-get install libpng12-dev

Then, run make, and a raspi2png binary will be available for use.

Snapping a Screenshot

The trick is to use raspi2png via SSH while RetroPie is running. To take a screenshot, enter


A PNG image titled snapshot.png with the screen’s resolution will appear in the same directory as raspi2png (assuming you run raspi2png from there). You can then copy this file to your computer for editing if you wish. Or, you could use it as a splashscreen and copy it to /home/pi/RetroPie/splashscreens.

Make sure each custom splashscreen exists in its own subdirectory. 1920×1080 PNG is a good splashscreen format. Anything lower will be enlarged.

raspi2png accepts a number of options. For example, this command captures a screenshot with a width of 640 pixels and compresses the PNG:

./raspi2png -w 640 -c 9

The handy feature of raspi2png is that you can take screenshots of EmulationStation itself or even the terminal.


End of Part 1

As of this point, RetroPie is ready to use. All that remains is the RetroArch and controller configuration, which can be trickier than it appears at first.

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