So I'd been umming and ahhing about a Raspberry Pi for some time. I'd pretty much seen everybody banging on about them and just how great a device they were for such little money. Peanuts in fact now I actually look at it and what I have (somehow) managed to allow it to become.
I'm in no way a expert when it comes to PCs and unfortunately can never claim to be. Infact, I actually use Apple computers for my everyday tasks and would be pretty much lost in Windows now (I've never used anything above Windows 7).
Anyway, so I ordered this Raspberry Pi Starter Kit from Amazon for £49.99 [Link] (other versions are available, but I decided to stick with a complete package of the Pi 3 B model) with the sole intention of gearing myself up for some retro gaming with RetroPie, and my God am I so glad I did. If you're into your retro games and you've been thinking about doing this, I fully urge you to do so. In fact, even if you have never intended to do it, just do.
There are numerous guides on the internet displaying how to set up RetroPie on a Pi3, but I'd suggest your first step would be to check out this page so you can get a clearer view of what's in front of you with the installation and everything else will just filter off with YouTube video's and/or simple Google searches.
GitHub suggests that to get started with a RetroPie setup you're going to need -
• Raspberry Pi (A, A+, B, B+, 2, Zero, or 3) - for best performance use a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
• Raspberry Pi Case (optional but recommended)
• MicroSD Card (see compatible SD card list here)
• MicroSD Card Reader (For installing retropie from your computer)
• HDMI cable or 4 Pole RCA to 3.5mm Cable (HDMI works best)
Television or Computer Monitor- really any screen with HDMI or RCA ports
Wifi Dongle or Ethernet Cable (Wifi is built into the Pi 3- see wifi dongle compatible list here)
• 5V 2A Micro USB Power Supply (2.5A for pi 3)
• USB Keyboard and Mouse (to get things set up or you can use SSH)
• USB Game Controller of your choice (or you can get the Control Block to use original SNES controllers)
(I've highlighted in bold what comes with the Starter Kit I pointed out earlier)
To get RetroPie onto your SD Card you will need to download one of the images from the RP Page (versions for the Pi 0/1 and the Pi 2/3 are present on the website, make sure to download the correct one)
So here's how I did it. My knowledge is limited, so I will use the above websites wording to provide a better understanding
Install RetroPie Image on SD Card
To install the RetroPie SD image on your MicroSD card. (You may need a MicroSD card reader to plug it into your computer)
For Windows you can use a program called Win32DiskImager
For mac you can use Apple Pi Baker
For Linux you can use dd command or Etcher
Note RetroPie is built on top of Raspbian (a linux based OS for the Raspberry Pi) and as such the partition on the SD card is EXT4 (a linux filesystem) which is not visible on windows systems, so the card will show up as a smaller size than usual and you wont be able to see everything on the card, but it is all there. You will be able to access the filesystem over the network as described in the transferring roms section below.
You'll notice when you first boot Emulation Station that there are actually no systems displayed on the screen. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal and the systems will only show once the relevant ROMS have been added to their correct folders.
Due to the nature/complexity of Copyright/Intellectual Property Rights Law, which differs significantly from Country to Country, ROMs cannot be provided with RetroPie and must be provided by the user. You should only have ROMs of games that you own.
There are three main methods of transferring roms:
(ensure that your USB is formatted to FAT32 or NTFS)
first create a folder called retropie on your USB stick
plug it into the pi and wait for it to finish blinking
pull the USB out and plug it into a computer
add the roms to their respective folders (in the retropie/roms folder)
plug it back into the raspberry pi
wait for it to finish blinking
refresh emulationstation by choosing restart emulationstation from the start menu
SFTP (needs an active network connection)
Wired (needs ethernet cable)
Wireless (needs wifi dongle) There are many SFTP programs out there, for windows many people use WinSCP for mac you can use something like Cyberduck
Default username: pi
Default Password: raspberry
You can also log in as root if you wish to change more files than just the roms, but you first need to enable the root password which is explained here
Samba-Shares (needs an active network connection)
if on windows type \\retropie into the computer folder. You can also replace retropie with your Raspberry Pi's IP address
if on MAC OS X open finder, select "Go" menu and "Connect to Server". Type smb://retropie and hit "Connect".
And it really is as simple as that. You're looking at around 20 minutes maximum from start to end for a RetroPie setup.
It's worth noting that you will need a USB keyboard and/or a USB gamepad plugged into the Pi to navigate the menu system.