raspberry pi emulators hero
raspberry pi emulators hero

Raspberry Pi emulator heroSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

It’s no secret that the Raspberry Pi is one of the most versatile series of computers available today. They don’t cost hundreds of dollars, but they can be hours of fun and entertainment, and help you learn about coding and the world of Unix. It’s amazing to see how much power there is on a board the size of a credit card (or even smaller).

To be honest, while some may be tinkering with the Raspberry Pi to block all ads on their home WiFi, a lot of people will want to start over because of the retro gaming emulation. Regardless of whether you’re using the Raspberry Pi 400 or something smaller like the Raspberry Pi Zero, retro game emulation is extremely fun after setting it up. Think of all the hours you played those classic games from your childhood and now you can relive the excitement with the best Raspberry Pi emulators.

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The top 3 apps

Some of the best standalone Raspberry Pi emulators

These are the best Raspberry Pi emulators

When it comes to the best Raspberry Pi emulators, there is nothing as robust and intuitive as RetroPie. The installation process is quick and easy, and you can easily upload your ROMs and get started in no time.

While RetroPie is a great option, there are some that don’t require that many robust features, and right there Lakka come inside. This emulator offers a simpler interface with dynamic wallpaper support for many of the best controllers.

Use both RetroPie and Lakka RetroArchYou can also install RetroArch directly on your Raspberry Pi. There are more emulators than you can imagine that can be implemented so that you can emulate pretty much any game.

1. RetroPie

RetroPie lifestyle

Source: Android Central

If you’re looking to create a retro game console with one of the best Raspberry Pi controllers and an emulator, RetroPie is arguably the first place you will stop. This is a fan favorite for many as almost every emulator is built in, thanks to working with RetroArch and others to provide emulators. RetroPie’s user interface is customizable, and there is more than enough customization options to make your user interface look and feel unique.

Installing RetroPie on your Raspberry Pi is pretty straightforward. Once you’re up and running, you can even use RetroPie Manager on the web to load your ROMs. That way, you don’t have to worry about connecting a USB drive every time you want to add a ROM to your RetroPie console. You can even “scratch” ROM information to get the right cover and description for your games.

When it comes to controller support, the sky is the limit. RetroPie lets you use any of the best Raspberry Pi controllers. You can even customize the graphics and filters so your display looks like you’re playing on a CRT. You can even get the crisp graphics for a game that’s over 20 years old.

The best for most

RetroPie logo


Easy installation and good compatibility

RetroPie is the toughest interface for those who want a great Raspberry Pi emulator. You can even set up RetroPie to load your ROMs over your network instead of having to plug a USB drive into your Pi every time you want to add a new game.

2. Lakka

Lakka lifestyle

Source: Android Central

While it may not be as well known as RetroPie, Lakka is a great alternative. The user interface itself is slightly different, but it makes it easier to get your ROMs started up. RetroArch is also used to provide your Raspberry Pi with compatibility and other features for your retro gaming needs.

Lakka works with almost every retro console imaginable, from the NES to support for Sony PSP games. It’s compatible with almost every Raspberry Pi model on the market, and since it uses RetroArch, you’ll find some nifty features like multiplayer, shaders, memory states, and a lot more. Out of the box, you can find support for some of the best Raspberry Pi controllers, including the Xbox 360 controller and virtually everything from 8Bitdo.

While Lakka doesn’t have nearly as many customization options as RetroPie, it still gets the job done and is a great backup option for many. It’s completely free to download and easy to install, just like everything else you can find on this list of the best Raspberry Pi emulators.

The next best

Lakka icon


A simpler interface to emulate

If you don’t want all of the extra extras from RetroPie, Lakka is the way to go. It works almost as well as the other emulators and can be customized if you want to change the look.

3. RetroArch

While both RetroPie and Lakka use RetroArch for their features and offer more sleek user interfaces, RetroArch isn’t just high on the list. It’s not the easiest installation, especially for beginners, as it may require entering many lines of code for everything to work properly.

However, if you don’t want to mess around with either of the first two options, you can install RetroArch right on your Raspberry Pi. It runs just like the same emulator on your Mac or PC, so you can get your games up and running quickly. We just recommend trying a few different games and ROMs, and then tinkering with the various display and performance settings to make sure you’re getting the best experience possible.

All emulators

RetroArch logo


The most robust option for emulators

It might not have the most elegant interface, but if you just want as many emulators as possible, RetroArch is the way to go.

Some great stand-alone Raspberry Pi emulators

If you’re looking for a specific Raspberry Pi emulator to install so you can play your games, here are some of our favorites.


It seems Sony doesn’t know exactly what to do when it comes to continuing to support the PSP and its game store. The company announced that the deal would be closed before it recently reversed course. However, if you’ve already filled your PSP game library and want to play those games on the Raspberry Pi, then you should check out PPSSPP. This emulator is also considered to be one of the best emulators for Android. It can therefore be a matter of course for you to be able to use it on the Raspberry Pi.

Since the display you are using is likely to have a slightly higher resolution compared to the PSP, you may be wondering how scaling works with PPSSPP. Well, the developers added a 2x upscaling feature that gives you slightly better resolution. This feature works with many of the most popular PSP games when emulated. There may be a few issues here and there with graphics-intensive games, but these issues are rare.

For Sony fans



The best PSP emulator for all platforms

PPSSPP is not only one of the best emulators for Android, but also one of the best for the Raspberry Pi. It can be installed as a separate app on Raspberry Pi and you can upscale up to 2x on many PSP games for better playback quality .


On paper, it seems like the Sega Dreamcast didn’t do as well as other consoles in its heyday. This was due to the lack of third party support for new games, which marked the early demise of a console that was ahead of its time. While Dreamcast was only available a few years before it was drawn, it gained a bit of a cult following with the fantastic titles that were available. Redream lets you relive the Dreamcast and play some of the best games we’ve ever seen.

With Redream you can upscale these classic games to a resolution of 1080p or even 4K and thus achieve a clear gaming experience with the Raspberry Pi. Redream also offers an 85% library compatibility rating, which means almost any game you want to emulate from Dreamcast can run without too many problems. The developers are also offering a one-time $ 5 reward that includes high-resolution rendering and the ability to create multiple game states per game. Also, when you upgrade, you will be rewarded with a “Custom Discord Server Role”.

Dreamcast lives on

Redream symbol


Enjoy the Sega Dreamcast on your Pi

While the Sega Dreamcast didn’t last long, the console was ahead of its time and offered some great games. With Redream you can play all of these and more games on your Raspberry Pi.


DOSBox Hero

Source: DOSBox

There’s an MS-DOS emulator for just about every platform imaginable, including the Raspberry Pi. DOSBox lets you play classic MS-DOS games like Doom, Oregon Treail, Quake, and many more classics. The UI is a little tricky to work with once installed, but the biggest problem is trying to navigate the menus in a classic UI compared to what you’re probably used to.

DOSBox can be downloaded for free and can be installed directly on your Raspberry Pi via the terminal window if you do not want to carry out the process of downloading and then transferring. While DOSBox works with controllers, you will likely need to set up the correct keyboard shortcuts. However, we would probably recommend sticking to the keyboard only for the retro gaming experience.

Older than the old school

DOSBox logo


Keyboard and mouse are probably best

MS-DOS games may not be the first idea you come across when trying to emulate retro games. However, DOSBox lets you play these games on your Raspberry Pi. While you can find some controller compatibility, it’s probably best to just use a keyboard and mouse to get the classic experience.


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