Getting Started with Arcade Emulation

Arcade emulation requires a different planning approach than console systems. Please read this entire page before beginning your RetroPie arcade emulation project.

Step One: Choose an arcade emulator

System Recommended MAME Emulator Recommended FB Alpha Emulator
Pi 2 and Pi 3 lr-mame2003 lr-fbalpha
Pi 1 and Pi Zero mame4all pi-fba

Other MAME and FB Alpha emulator versions are also available in RetroPie. Please be aware that earlier versions generally run faster than later versions, but also support fewer games.

Further Reading

Step Two: Use the right ROM Set Version

Start with a full Non-Merged ROM collection (not an individual ROM) with the exact MAME or FB Alpha version number for the emulator you wish to use. An incorrect version or missing files will cause most or all games to immediately exit. In other words, lr-mame2003 will only work correctly with a collection of MAME 0.78 ROMs, mame4all will only work with a collection of MAME 0.37b5 ROMs, and so on.

Emulator Required ROM Version # of ROMs DAT File Compatibility List
mame4all MAME 0.37b5 2270 .DAT List
lr-mame2003 MAME 0.78 4705 .DAT List
pifba FB Alpha v0.2.96.71 684 .DAT List
lr-fbalpha FB Alpha v0.2.97.42 4896 .DAT List

Further Reading