Scraping is a way to get metadata, boxart and video previews (snapshots) for your games from the internet. If the scraper isn't working either you are not connected to the Internet or source site may be down or overloaded and in that case you'll just have to wait until it comes back up.
Scraping adds extra information to the game - Publisher, Developer, Release year, Genre, Description, Number of Players supported and Rating.
Since EmulationStation 2.1.0 you can have a video preview as scraped art, provided that is's supported by the theme Emulationstation is using.
RetroPie includes the following scrapers:
- The built-in Emulationstation scraper, which pulls information from TheGamesDb.net.
- Steven Selph's Scraper (
scraper), which pulls information from TheGamesDB.net, ScreenScraper.fr, OpenVGDB, ArcadeItalia.net. It can also use your local media for scraping, adding it to Emulationstation's gamelist.
- Lars Muldjord's Skyscraper (
skyscraper), which pulls information from TheGamesDB.net, ScreenScraper.fr, OpenRetro.org, MobyGames.com, IGDB.com and WorldOfSpectrum.org. It also has the ability to import your local media into the final gamelist.
EmulationStation Built-In Scraper
EmulationStation has a built in scraper that pulls from thegamesdb. It can be accessed from the main menu in EmulationStation, opened by the
Scraper Not Saving Manual Edits
If you are having issues with your metadata changes not being saved, you need to select Quit EmulationStation from the quit menu rather than shutdown or restart system. Then your changes will be saved.
Steven Selph's Scraper
Steven Selph's scraper is one of the simplest and best way of scraping roms (provided that the systems are supported). It can be installed and used from the setup menu using the following steps:
- (Optional) If you are remotely running this script you must be logged in with
piuser, otherwise it will confuse the scraper.
- Quit EmulationStation (from the start menu or press F4) and type
- Choose Manage Packages then Manage Optional Packages.
scraperand install the package.
- Wait for the installation to complete (it may take some time as it has to install various software libraries)
It may take some time for the xml files to build. This will also only work if your roms are located in the local roms folder and not on an external device.
If your roms are located on another source than the default one, you can download the stand alone releases from sselph's scraper releases. Please refer to Sselphs Scraper Advanced Configuration when using this method.
Make sure to update to the latest version of Retropie-Setup script if you're missing any options mentioned below!
Scraper is started from inside the Retropie Setup Menu. Navigate to Manage Packages > Manage Optional Packages and select scraper. You will navigate to the Choose an option for scraper window. Select option C Configuration / Options. It will take you to the window shown below and allow you to run/configure the various functions of the scraper.
- Scrape All Systems: This will scrape all the systems the scraper supports
- Scrape Chosen Systems: You can choose to only scrape the systems you choose (press the spacebar to select each system) and select ok to start scraping.
- Thumbnails Only: When enabled it will load lower resolution images to save space (enabled by default).
- Prefer screenshots: When enabled it will load screenshots of the games instead of box art.
- Max Image Width/Height: Specify the max image width or height to scrape.
- Console Source: Choose which database to scrape for console games:
- thegamesdb.net (default)
- Arcade Source: Choose which database to scrape for arcade/mame games:
- mamedb.blu-ferret.co.uk (default)
- ROM Names: Choose what name to display:
- No-Intro: Rom Name (USA) (Rev 1)
- theGamesDB: Rom Name
- FileName: Rom Name [U] [!]
- Gamelist: Choose to overwrite the existing gamelist.xml or append to it.
- Update scraper to the latest version: This updates the scraper to the latest version.
Scraping your own images
If you have your own images, you can create XML's with Sselph's scraper:
As a template in my snes folder I had my rom name:
Super Mario World (USA).sfc
and an images folder with:
Super Mario World (USA)-image.png
(If you dont want to append the -image part on the filename you can use
and I ran
/opt/retropie/supplementary/scraper/scraper -img_format=png -add_not_found=true -download_images=false
And this was the resulting gamelist.xml:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <gameList> <game id="136" source="theGamesDB.net"> <path>./Super Mario World (USA).sfc</path> <name>Super Mario World (USA)</name> <desc>Mario's off on his biggest adventure ever, and this time he's brought along a friend. Yoshi the dinosaur teams up with Mario to battle Bowser, who has kidnapped Princess Toadstool once again. Guide Mario and Yoshi through nine peril-filled worlds to the final showdown in Bowser's castle.
Use Mario's new powers and Yoshi's voracious monster-gobbling appetite as you explore 96 levels filled with dangerous new monsters and traps. Climb mountains and cross rivers, and descend into subterranean depths. Destroy the seven Koopa castles and find keys to gain entrance to hidden levels. Discover more warps and thrilling bonus worlds than ever before!
Mario's back, and this time he's better than ever!</desc> <image>./images/Super Mario World (USA)-image.png</image> <rating>0.73704</rating> <releasedate>19901121T000000</releasedate> <developer>Nintendo</developer> <publisher>Nintendo</publisher> <genre>Platform</genre> <players>2</players> </game> </gameList>
Usage of /opt/retropie/supplementary/scraper/scraper: -add_not_found If true, add roms that are not found as an empty gamelist entry. -append If the gamelist file already exist skip files that are already listed and only append new files. -console_img string Comma separated order to prefer images, s=snapshot, b=boxart, f=fanart, a=banner, l=logo, 3b=3D boxart, cart=cartridge, clabel=cartridge label, mix3=Standard 3 mix, mix4=Standard 4 mix. (default "b") -console_src string Comma separated order to prefer console sources, ss=screenscraper, ovgdb=OpenVGDB, gdb=theGamesDB (default "gdb") -convert_videos If true, convert videos for the Raspberry Pi (e.g. 320x240@30fps) NOTE: This needs HandBrakeCLI installed -download_images If false, don't download any images, instead see if the expected file is stored locally already. (default true) -download_marquees If true, download marquees. -download_videos If true, download videos. -extra_ext string Comma separated list of extensions to also include in the scraper. -hash_file file The file containing hash information. -image_dir directory The directory to place downloaded images to locally. (default "images") -image_path path The path to use for images in gamelist.xml. If scrape_all is used, only image_dir is used. (default "images") -image_suffix suffix The suffix added after rom name when creating image files. (default "-image") -img_format jpg or png jpg or png, the format to write the images. (default "jpg") -img_workers N Use N worker threads to process images. If 0, then use the same value as workers. -lang string The order to choose for language if there is more than one for a value. (en, fr, es, de, pt) (default "en") -mame If true we want to run in MAME mode. -mame_img string Comma separated order to prefer images, s=snap, t=title, m=marquee, c=cabniet, b=boxart, 3b=3D-boxart, fly=flyer. (default "t,m,s,c") -mame_src string Comma seperated order to prefer mame sources, ss=screenscraper, adb=arcadeitalia, mamedb=mamedb-mirror, gdb=theGamesDB-neogeo (default "adb,gdb") -marquee_dir directory The directory to place downloaded marquees to locally. (default "images") -marquee_format jpg or png jpg or png, the format to write the marquees. (default "png") -marquee_path path The path to use for marquees in gamelist.xml. If scrape_all is used, only marquee_dir is used. (default "images") -marquee_suffix suffix The suffix added after rom name when creating marquee files. (default "-marquee") -max_height height The max height of images. Larger images will be resized. -max_width width The max width of images. Larger images will be resized. (default 400) -missing file The file where information about ROMs that weren't scraped is added. -nested_img_dir Use a nested img directory structure that matches rom structure. -no_thumb Don't add thumbnails to the gamelist. -output_file file The XML file to output to. If scrape_all is used, this is ignored and the gamelist in the system path. (default "gamelist.xml") -overview_len N If set it will truncate the overview of roms to N characters + ellipsis. -refresh Information will be attempted to be downloaded again but won't remove roms that are not scraped. -region string The order to choose for region if there is more than one for a value. xx is a special region that will choose any region. (default "us,wor,eu,jp,fr,xx") -retries N Retry a rom N times on an error. (default 2) -rom_dir directory The directory containing the roms file to process. (default ".") -rom_path path The path to use for roms in gamelist.xml. (default ".") -scrape_all If true, scrape all systems listed in es_systems.cfg. All dir/path flags will be ignored. -skip_check Skip the check if thegamesdb.net is up. -ss_password password The password for registered ScreenScraper users. -ss_user username The username for registered ScreenScraper users. -strip_unicode If true, remove all non-ascii characters. -thumb_only Download the thumbnail for both the image and thumb (faster). -thumb_suffix suffix The suffix added after rom name when creating thumb files. (default "-thumb") -update_cache If false, don't check for updates on locally cached files. (default true) -use_filename If true, use the filename minus the extension as the game title in xml. -use_nointro_name Use the name in the No-Intro DB instead of the one in the GDB. (default true) -version Print the release version and exit. -video_dir directory The directory to place downloaded videos to locally. (default "images") -video_path path The path to use for videos in gamelist.xml. If scrape_all is used, only video_dir is used. (default "images") -video_suffix suffix The suffix added after rom name when creating video files. (default "-video") -workers N Use N worker threads to process roms. (default 1)
Lars Muldjord's Skyscraper
Skyscraper by Lars Muldjord is a powerful and versatile yet easy to use game scraper written in C++ for use with multiple frontends running on a Linux system. It scrapes and caches various game resources from various web sources, including media such as screenshot, cover and video. It then gives you the option to combine all of these resources into the most complete results by using the provided 'localdb' scraping module.
For a more thorough description of any functionality described here, please check out the official Skyscraper documentation.
- Quit EmulationStation (from the start menu or press F4) and type
- Choose Manage Packages then Manage experimental packages.
skyscraperand install the package.
- Wait for the installation to complete.
Make sure to update to the latest version of Retropie-Setup script if you don't have
skyscraper as an installable package !
NOTE: Skyscraper can be used to generate scraping information for both EmulationStation and AttractMode. Installing
skyscraper as a RetroPie package will automatically configure it for EmulationStation, but if you wish to use it for generating AttractMode metadata, you can use
Skyscraper from the command line.
Recommended usage is to scrape your platform(s) with as many online sources as you'd like. All of the data will be cached while doing so. Then, when you have gathered enough data, be sure to always scrape it one last time using the Local: LocalDb source. This will combine all of your cached data into the most complete results for each rom.
Skyscraper can be started from the RetroPie-Setup script, opening the Configuration/Tools menu and choosing
skyscraper. If you wish to run it from the command line, for more advanced options and parameters, you can find it installed in
- Scrape All Systems: This will scrape all the systems found in the RetroPie's ROM folder.
- Scrape Chosen Systems: You can choose to only scrape the systems you choose (press Space to select each system) and select OK to start scraping.
Scraping source: Choose which source to use for scraping your ROMs:
- ONLINE: screenscraper.fr (default)
- ONLINE: openretro.org
- ONLINE: thegamesdb.net
- ONLINE: worldofspectrum.org
- ONLINE: adb.arcadeitalia.net
- ONLINE: mobygames.com
- ONLINE: igdb.com
- LOCAL: localdb - scraping just from locally cached resources. Read more here
- LOCAL: import -- imports resources into the local cache. Read more about this here
NOTE: Some online sources require a username/password for using them. You can add this information by editing the
config.iniconfiguration file (from the Advanced options menu).
- ROM Names: Choose how to display the ROM name in EmulationStation:
- Source name use the name pulled from the scraping source (default).
- Filename use the file name of the ROM.
Remove bracket info: Choose to remove (Enabled) or keep (Disabled) the text between brackets. If the name of the ROM is
Super Mario World (USA)[!].sfc, enabling this option will make the ROM show as
Super Mario Worldin EmulationStation. Conversely, when disabled, the text between brackets will be added to the ROM's name in the gamelist.
Force cache refresh: Skyscraper caches the media retrieved from online sources locally to speed up scraping and to combine multiple sources of information to give you the best scraped information available. This option forces
Skyscraperto bypass the locally cached resources and re-download the media from the online sources.
NOTE: Use this option sparingly.
Skyscraperautomatically downloads missing media for new ROMs, so it's only needed if your really want to re-download the ROM media from online sources.
Download Videos: Choose to toggle the download and caching of videos for the ROM names. This also enables adding the video to the gamelist in EmulationStation.
NOTE: Be aware that fetching and caching videos could take up a lot of disk space.
Advanced options: Opens a separate menu for advanced options and operations.
- Local Cache options:
- Cache screenshots: toggles the download and caching of screenshots from the scraping source into the local cache.
- Cache covers: toggles the download and caching of covers from the scraping source into the local cache.
- Cache wheels: toggles the download and caching of wheels from the scraping source into the local cache.
- Cache marquees: toggles the download and caching of marquees from the scraping source into the local cache.
- Purge commands
Skyscrapercaches locally the media downloaded from online sources. In time, this cache can grow and consume a considerable amount of disk space - especially if videos have been enabled. The cache size is displayed on top in the Advanced options menu screen.
You can delete the files from the cache using the options in this menu.
- Purge system: deletes all the locally cached resources for a chosen game system.
- Purge all: deletes all locally cached resources.
NOTE: use this with care, since it removes any cached resource. Any subsequent scraping will have to re-download the media files again from the online sources.
Expert menu can be used to edit
Skyscraper's configuration files with a text editor
- Edit the config.ini file.
- Edit the artwork.xml file.
- Local Cache options:
Skyscraper keeps its configuration files and local cache in the
~/.skyscraper folder. When installed through the RetroPie-Setup, this folder is also accesible via Samba Shares at
If you wish to edit the configuration files or use the Import module, you can do so directly on the system where RetroPie is installed or over the network from another computer.
Skyscraper allows you to fully customize the final frontend artwork by composing the media resources scraped, through the
artwork.xml configuration file.
Here's an example combining a game's screenshot, its cover and the wheel media files into the final image.
Consult the official artwork documentation on the artwork customisation.
Import your own media
If you have your own media,
Skyscraper can import it and use it for scraping your ROMs.
Consult the official import documentation to understand how to use this feature.
Slow Boot and Shutdown Times
You'll notice after adding lots of ROMs and scraping them that your boot and shutdown time can increase substantially- some solutions to speed up your boot and shutdown times are described HERE.
Where are my scraped media and metadata saved?
Once your ROMs have been scraped, the scraped information will be located in two parts: the Gamelist files (containing the ROMs metadata) and the downloaded Media files (images and/or videos). Depending on the options chosen for each scraper, this information can be found in 2 possible places:
/home/pi/.emulationstation folder can also be accessed over Samba Shares at
Remember: if you are going to edit manually any
gamelist.xml you need to quit EmulationStation first !