Where to Find and Download RetroPie ROMs (Free and Legally)
What you'll need
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You’ve just set up your Raspberry Pi with RetroPie, it’s plugged into the TV, you’ve got a controller in your hand when—GASP! You don’t have any games to play.
RetroPie: Build Your Own Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Rig
How to install (and use) RetroPie!
If you’re looking for a place to get free games legally, we’ve got you covered! This guide includes everything you need to download ROMs (game files) for the most popular RetroPie consoles.
Once you’ve got something to play, don’t forget to visit our guide on how to add ROMs to RetroPie.
1 – Types of ROMs
RetroPie ROMs come in many different file formats and varieties. Not only do they vary between consoles, but they often fall into different legal territories. The most common types of ROMs include copyrighted, abandonware, public domain, and homebrew.
ROMs are owned and licensed by existing businesses or people. In many countries, downloading these ROMs is considered a crime. Some countries allow citizens to maintain a backup copy of games or titles they already own. It’s best to research applicable legal regulations before pursuing any of these titles.
While you can also find ROMs in a RetroPie ROMs pack on any torrent site, you should not download any copyrighted titles as this may be illegal.
includes content in a sort of legal “gray area”. The businesses or people responsible for the copyright are either unavailable or no longer pursuing their licensing rights.
ROMs are legally available to the public. These ROMs can be downloaded for personal use.
ROMs are created by individuals or small teams. Most of these ROMs were created recently, long after the prime of the respective console. For example, Little Sound DJ was released in 2001 to help musicians create chiptune music using original GameBoys (for more examples of modern GameBoy tech, check out our official list of GameBoy mods). However, it’s important to remember that just because something is homebrew doesn’t mean it’s free or legal to download without purchasing.
The Ultimate Original Game Boy Modding Guide
Game Boys are awesome. Let’s make them even better!
In this guide, we’ll only cover public domain material and homebrew content with no copyright restrictions for personal use. When you’re done, be sure to check out our other Raspberry Pi projects!
Raspberry Pi Projects
Find amazing Pi projects for any skill level!
2 – List of public domain ROMs
This list includes a selection of ROMs available in the public domain space. We’ve highlighted major consoles, but more can be found on the website sources provided.
|Arcade / MAME||Available ROMs|
|Gameboy / Gameboy Color||Available ROMs|
Finally, our list of the best video games from each year contains some links to old arcade ROMs.
What’s the Best Video Game From the Year You Were Born?
There were some close calls when making this list!
3 – List of homebrew ROMs
This list is comprised of free homebrew ROMs that are a-ok to download and play! Major consoles are listed in the table, but more are available on the provided website sources.