I recently bought a Raspberry Pi and configured it to play some of my favorite oldschool SNES video games. Transferring the video game ROMs over to the Raspberry Pi was one of the more confusing aspects of the setup so in this post I’ll share the steps I took to do it.
There are two main ways for obtaining ROMs:
- The legal way: buy a device that lets you create ROMs from your physical game cartridges. More on how to do that in this ArsTechnica article.
- The not-so-legal-way: go on ThePirateBay and download a torrent containing a library of ROMs that others have created.
Regardless of which way you go, in the end you should end up with one or more ROMs on your computer:
Transferring the ROMs to your Raspberry Pi
There are a bunch of ways to do this: USB, SFTP, scp, and more.
I have a great Mac app called Transmit that provides SFTP functionality which made it my go-to choice for performing the transfer.
Simply set up a new favorite with your Raspberry Pi’s credentials:
Then connect and transfer the ROMs from your computer to the appropriate subdirectory in the Raspberry Pi’s
RetroPie/roms directory. For example, this Contra III ROM is an SNES ROM so I transferred it into the
After the ROM is transferred, restart the RetroPie (Menu > Quit > Restart System), select the appropriate gaming system (Super Nintendo in this case), find the ROM in the game list, and you’re ready to play.