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Retroarch on Raspberry Pi 4

Compile and install the latest version of Retroarch from the latest version of Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi 4 platform



Material's description


RetroArch is a frontend for emulators, game engines and multimedia centers.

This little software allows you to run classic games on a lot of computers and consoles, which is why in recent years it has gained a lot of fame for its simple and friendly visual interface.

It also allows you to configure many emulators in a unified way, download covers and run original games (if you have a CD player).

You will be able to download shaders, play over the internet via netplay and many other features that the retro community demands.

The problem is that if you want to install it on Raspberry Pi 4 platforms, your options are reduced to downloading Lakka and downloading its official images or using packages compiled by others. This process does not guarantee you have the latest versions, which can be a nuisance on more than one occasion.

Compile and install RetroArch

Configure the graphics driver

Before we start we should have the recommended driver of the latest version of Raspbian for Raspberry Pi 4 installed.

We can do it in two ways:

  1. Manually editing /boot/config.txt and adding the line: dtoverlay = vc4-fkms-v3d
  2. Using the Raspbian configuration tool:




We save and restart to apply the changes.

Install retroarch

In order to download RetroArch we need git that comes in all Raspbians, but we also need a series of dependencies.

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential git libasound2-dev libudev-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libxxf86vm-dev libx11-xcb-dev libxkbcommon-dev libsdl2-dev libasound2-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libraspberrypi-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libavdevice-dev

Once installed we proceed to clone and download RetroArch:

git clone
cd RetroArch

The advantage of compiling is that we can optimize the resources (RPi4) for the desired platform:

./configure --disable-sdl --enable-sdl2 --disable-oss --disable-al --disable-jack --disable-qt --disable-videocore

And we proceed to the compilation and installation:

make -j4
sudo make install

Once the process is finished we can launch from the retroarch console itself:


Complete the installation

In order to obtain all the library cores, it will no longer be necessary to compile each one. The developers have provided a repository with a tool that is capable of downloading one or all of the cores that we want.

Having done everything from scratch we should download all the cores, so we will proceed to download the script (from / home / pi so if you start from the previous step make cd .. or cd /home /pi/):

git clone
cd libretro-super

And allow them to download the latest updated cores:


As many cores this process will take more than a few minutes, so a good connection is recommended.

retroarch cores downloading

sudo make install
After that you can enjoy full retroarch.

retroarch complete