Set Up Lakka for Raspberry Pi

Start playing retro games with Lakka

Written By: Cherie Tan

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Difficulty
Very Easy
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Steps
6

Introduction

Whether you're just curious, an avid gamer, or feeling nostalgic for old-school games, the setup involved with playing retro games has got a lot easier over the years! 

This guide will show you how to set up Lakka, a light-weight and popular emulation OS. To do so, we will be using a NOOBS microSD Card and a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. It will work for other Raspberry Pi boards as well. 

Complete this guide to get started with retro gaming on the Raspberry Pi. You could go on further to create a handheld retro gaming device or print a fancy case for your Raspberry Pi reminiscent of the SNES!

Step 1   Get NOOBS

  • To begin, you'll need an SD Card with NOOBS preloaded onto it, or you can easily create a NOOBS MicroSD Card by following one of our previous guides. NOOBS is the easiest way to get Lakka installed!

Step 2   NOOBS Installation Manager

  • Once you have NOOBS on a microSD card, insert it into the SD card slot of your Raspberry Pi, connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor display before connecting the power supply. 
  • Boot up the Raspberry Pi and you should see the NOOBS installation manager. 
  • Click on WiFi networks (w) or press 'w' on your keyboard. 
  • Select your WiFi network and enter the password 
  • Once connected, you should see a list of operating systems that can be downloaded to the Raspberry Pi.

Step 3   Install Lakka

  • Scroll down and find 'Lakka_RPi2'
  • Select the checkbox next to it
  • Click on 'Install (i)' button or press 'i' on your keyboard
  • Confirm and let the installation run

Step 4   Add a ROM

  • The next step is to add a game ROM. There are MAME ROMs that have been released for free and non-commercial use. To get a ROM, first, head over to: mamedev.org/roms
  •  In this guide, we will choose a classic from 1979, called Star Fire. So click on 'Star Fire' and you will be directed to the download page.
  • Click on 'Download the Star Fire ROM images'. 
  • Check the box that states 'I understand that these ROM images are for non-commercial use only.
  • MAME games need to be zipped here. If the downloaded ROM of your choice is not already zipped, you will need to use an app like 7-Zip on Windows or WinZip on the Mac to compress the folder. 
  • The downloaded Star Fire ROM is already zipped.

Step 5   Add ROM to Lakka

  • After installing the ROM and zipping it in the previous step, now you will need to add it onto Lakka. To do so, first, navigate to Settings > Wi-Fi. 
  • Choose your network and enter the password.
  • Then navigate to Settings > Services 
  • Highlight "SAMBA Enable" and enable it to turn it on
  • Lakka will now appear in the left-hand column of your computer's file browser, if it is on the same network.
  • Open the Lakka folder, and note that there is a ROMS folder
  • Drag and drop the zipped up game into the ROMS folder

Step 6   Select emulator and play the game

  • Select "Load Content" in the Lakka menu.
  • Select the game.
  • Choose Arcade (MAME) as the emulator to play it on.
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