Best Raspberry Pi Emulators 2021

by Jeremy

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 can provide hours of fun and entertainment while helping to teach you about coding and the world of Unix. While some may tinker with the Raspberry Pi to block all the ads on their home Wi-Fi, many folks will want to get started because of retro game emulation. It’s incredible to realize how much power is on a board the size of a credit card (or even smaller).Raspberry Pi Emulators

Whether you’re using the Raspberry Pi 400 or even something a bit smaller like the Raspberry Pi Zero, retro game emulation is extremely fun once it’s been set up. Think about all the hours playing those classic games from childhood, and now you can relive the excitement with the best Raspberry Pi emulators.

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The top 3 apps

Regarding the best Raspberry Pi emulators, there isn’t anything as robust and intuitive as RetroPie. The installation process is quick and easy; you can easily upload your ROMs and get started in almost no time.

While RetroPie is a great option, some don’t need as many robust features, and that’s where Lakka comes in. This emulator offers a more simplistic interface with dynamic wallpaper support for many of the best controllers.

RetroPie and Lakka use RetroArch, but you can also install RetroArch directly onto your Raspberry Pi. There are more emulators than you can think of that can be implemented so that you can emulate pretty much any game.

1. RetroPie

If you’re looking to create a retro gaming console with one of the best Raspberry Pi controllers and an emulator, arguably the first place you’ll stop is RetroPie. This is a fan-favorite for many since it has just about every emulator built-in, thanks to working with RetroArch and others to provide emulators. RetroPie’s interface is customizable, with more than enough customization tweaks to make your interface look and feel unique.

Getting RetroPie installed on your Raspberry Pi is pretty easy, and once you’re up and running, you can even use RetroPie Manager on the web to load your ROMs. You can even “scrape” ROM information to get your games’ correct cover art and descriptions. This makes it so you won’t have to worry about plugging in a USB drive when you add a ROM to your RetroPie console.

As for controller support, the sky’s the limit. You can use any of the best Raspberry Pi controllers with RetroPie. You can even customize the graphic and filters to make your display look like you’re playing on a CRT. You can even get the crispest pictures for a game over 20 years old.

The best for the most

Easy installation and excellent compatibility

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

2. Lakka

Although it may not be as well-known as RetroPie, Lakka is an excellent alternative. The interface is slightly different, making getting up and running with your ROMs easy. It also uses RetroArch to bring compatibility and features to your Raspberry Pi for retro gaming needs.

Lakka works with almost every retro console you can think of, ranging from the NES to supporting Sony PSP games. It’s compatible with virtually every Raspberry Pi model on the market, and since it’s using RetroArch, you’ll find some pretty nifty features like multiplayer, shaders, save states, and much more. Out of the box, you’ll find support for some of the best Raspberry Pi controllers, including the Xbox 360 controller and practically anything from 8Bitdo.

Despite not having nearly as many customization options as RetroPie, Lakka still gets the job done and is a great backup option for many. It’s free to download and easy to install, just like anything else you’ll find on this list of the best Raspberry Pi emulators.

The next best

A more simplistic interface to emulate

If you don’t want all of the extra frills offered by RetroPie, then Lakka is the way to go. It works almost as well as the other emulators and can be customized to change its appearance.

3. RetroArch

While both RetroPie and Lakka use RetroArch for their feature sets and offer more elegant interfaces, there’s a reason why RetroArch isn’t just at the top of the list. It’s not the easiest to install, especially for beginners, because many lines of code need to be entered to get things working correctly.

However, if you don’t want to fiddle with either of the first two options, installing RetroArch directly on your Raspberry Pi is possible. It will run like the same emulator on your Mac or PC, allowing you to fire up your games quickly. We recommend trying a few games and ROMs ouanden tinkering with the other display and performance settings to ensure you get the best experience possible.

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