The Raspberry Pi is pretty awesome, and I decided to turn mine into a retro games console. When I started, emulation on the RPi was just starting to emerge. I’d been kicking around the idea of writing my own emulator front-end for a while, and decided to finally do it. Enter EmulationStation!

  • A menu that shows all your games in one place, across all your systems
  • Allows you to use any combination of emulators you want
  • Provides an interface completely navigatable with any joystick or controller (works well with automatic start-on-boot)
  • Allows for individual themes for every system, each with custom images, sounds, colors, and fonts
  • Allows for custom art and descriptions to be displayed for each individual game
  • A built-in graphical scraper for downloading said art and descriptions
  • A built-in graphical metadata editor for adjusting names, descriptions, ratings, genre, publisher, number of players, etc.
  • Renders with OpenGL or OpenGL ES 1.1, allowing for hardware-accelerated rendering on pretty much anything (including the Raspberry Pi!)

Official website: https://emulationstation.org

GitHub page: https://github.com/Aloshi/EmulationStation

Themes (ES 1.x)


An awesome community member who goes by the name of Xevin made some really nice themes for EmulationStation a while back. He’s been busy as of late, but I’ve done some slight updates with his themes. Most of these themes have found their way into RetroPie.

You can download them here.

Where you unzip to depends on how your es_systems.cfg file is set up. The easiest way is to extract to ~/.emulationstation/ and make sure the “NAME=” entries in your es_systems.cfg match up with the theme folder names.

Florian Hurtaut’s

This set of themes was created by Florian Hurtaut.

snes psx
pcengine nes
gbc splash

Contains themes for:

  • atari2600
  • cavestory
  • cps2
  • doom
  • gba
  • gbc
  • mame
  • genesis (megadrive)
  • neogeo
  • nes
  • turbografx-16 (pcengine)
  • psx
  • snes

Included are some of the materials used to make this theme (template.psd, Controllers.ai) and a nice splashscreen for use with RetroPie.

To install, put the “.emulationstation” folder from the zip into your home directory ($HOME or “~” in Linux, %HOMEPATH% on Windows).

Download it here.