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We take a look at some of the best RetroPie images for your Raspberry Pi 4. There are many free and open-source software projects that allow you to turn a Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming console. It emulates a wide range of classic gaming systems, including the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, PlayStation, Dreamcast, PSP and many many more!
What is a RetroPie image?
A RetroPie image has over time become more of a generic term for the Raspberry Pi retro gaming setups. As well as the proper RetroPie setup there are other setups which we have listed below.
RetroPie Official Image
The official RetroPie image is the most popular choice for beginners. It is easy to set up and includes a wide range of games.
EmulationStation is a popular front-end for RetroPie. It offers a sleek and modern interface with support for a variety of themes.
Recalbox is another popular front-end for RetroPie. It offers a more retro-inspired interface with support for a variety of systems, including arcade machines.
Batocera is a Linux-based operating system that is designed for retro gaming. It offers a wide range of features, including support for online multiplayer gaming.
Lakka is a lightweight Linux distribution that is designed for retro gaming. It is based on OpenELEC and offers a simple and easy-to-use interface.
Best RetroPie hardware setup
A Raspberry Pi
You have a few options here depending on your budget and availability. Due to scalpers, chip shortages they are quite a bit more expensive than usual! If you want to go for the best setup then the Raspberry Pi 4 4GB model is the one to go for, but there is a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB as well.
Alternatively you can go back one generation to the Raspberry Pi 3b but you will see fewer images available and lower performance in general.
A case for your Raspberry Pi
You can go with a standard case with a fan and heatsinks if you are not fussed with the looks. We definitely recommend a fan and heatsinks especially for the Raspberry Pi 4 as these run warmer and when overclocked for extra performance they are essential. I use the GeekPi case for Raspberry Pi 3B+ and GeekPi case for Raspberry Pi 4 here.
If you want something a bit fancier, the Retroflag NES case for Raspberry Pi 4 is a great choice, we reviewed it here. There is a SNES case which also comes with a fan, heatsink and controllers, or maybe something more modern with a PlayStation case?
Storage for your Raspberry Pi
You have two options for your Raspberry Pi storage, a Micro SD card or SSD, the larger the better images can be as small as 32GB up to 1TB (and now 2TB) in size.
I can only recommend SanDisk for a micro SD card as I have personally used these. Don’t buy the cheap cards, they break after a few weeks or have less storage size than stated and images can not be written to them!
A SanDisk 128GB micro SD card, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB is the way to go.
The second type of storage is a SSD. Their price per GB is far cheaper than a micro SD card. You can get a cheap 1TB SSD for as low as around £40, or spend a little extra and get a brand name such as a Crucial 1TB SSD, SanDisk 1TB SSD or Samsung 1TB SSD.
For future proofing, as we have already seen some images over 1TB, you can opt for the cheap 2TB SSD, or branded Crucial 2TB SSD or WD 2TB SSD.
Some game controllers
My best advice here is don’t cheap out on controllers! There are some nice looking cheap USB controllers but once you get them in your hands, they are awful!
If you want a modern controller that is also compatible with modern systems including PC and Switch then the GuliKit King Kong 2 Pro controller is an excellent choice. I use this on my PC as well as the RetroPie and highly recommend it!
If you prefer something more retro in design then there are many controllers to choose from. The Retro-Bit controllers are decently priced, as are 8bitdo controllers.
Choosing the best RetroPie images
Which RetroPie image is right for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you are a beginner, the official RetroPie image is a good choice. If you are looking for a more customizable experience, EmulationStation or Recalbox may be a better option. If you are looking for a Linux-based operating system with a wide range of features, Batocera or Lakka may be a good choice.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when choosing a RetroPie image:
- The number of games included: Some images include a large number of games, while others only include a few. If you want to have a wide variety of games to choose from, choose an image with a large game library.
- The type of systems supported: Some images support a wide range of systems, while others only support a few. If you want to be able to play games from a variety of systems, choose an image that supports the systems you want to play.
- The features included: Some images include additional features, such as support for online multiplayer gaming or the ability to stream games from your PC. If you want these features, choose an image that includes them.
- The interface: Some images have a more traditional interface, while others have a more modern interface. Choose an image with an interface that you like.
- The size: Some images are larger than others. If you have a limited amount of storage space, choose a smaller image.
Installing the best RetroPie images
Once you have chosen a RetroPie image such as Wolfanoz, you can download it and install it on your Raspberry Pi. The installation process is relatively simple, we have a cover all guide to how to install a RetroPie image.
After you have installed RetroPie, you can start playing games. To do this, simply connect a controller to your Raspberry Pi and launch the RetroPie menu. From there, you can select the system you want to play and the game you want to play.
RetroPie is a great way to enjoy classic games on your Raspberry Pi. With so many different images to choose from, you are sure to find one that is perfect for you.
What are the best RetroPie images?
We will update our pick of the best RetroPie images so check back often for new ones to check out.
Rick Dangerous Retro Power Edition
The Rick Dangerous RetroPie image is 1TB in size and can be updated to take advantage of a 2TB SSD. It has been evolving since 2020 and the latest version has all of the classic retro systems with curated games, improved artwork as well as images and video previews tested and working.
Many consoles and computer systems are emulated, ranging from Atari 2600 up to more recent systems such as the Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, Nintendo DS and more. The Rick Dangerous Retro Power Edition image is the current number one in the best RetroPie images.
Retro Machine Ultimate Edition
The Retro Machine Ultimate Edition RetroPie image is a 512GB image with over 23000 games across 50 systems ranging from the usual early consoles such as Atari 2600 up to more recent consoles such as the PS1. Theres loads of extras including 30 themes, soundtracks, file managers and much more.
Galisteo Cobalto v7 Recalbox 8.1.1
Galisteo Cobalto is a 128GB image so it will work great on both micro SD cards and SSDs on that size. It includes over 14,000 games across all the usual systems including a decent number of PS1 games.
Sinden Light Gun image based on Harry Dog 8
This one is a bit different as the image is built for owners of the Sinden Light Gun which is a light gun that works on modern TV’s. It has over 200 Light Gun compatible games for systems including Arcade, 3DO, SNES, Genesis, Dreamcast, Atomiswave and PSX. If you have a Sinden Light Gun then this is a must have!