As this is a dedicated retropie device, I could have just downloaded the image. But at the time I was setting up three different RPis, two of them file servers. So it made sense to create them all from the same image, and avoid configuring them all individually.
Previously, my RPi wasn't a "dedicated" Retropie, so that was a manual install too.
@NastyButtler322 not quite. To the best of my recollection from reading through that code for quite a while a few months ago, what's implemented in ES is a setting that sets a threshold of memory.
When that threshold is crossed, it will explicitly unload textures from memory in order to load new ones. I'm not sure it's as much VRAM in the normal sense of the word as it is a ES texture memory manager, though I can't say for sure as I didn't implement it.
That's why I have a suspicion that keeping it to high is as bad as having it too low, though I haven't been able to get anyone to test that. Too low means it won't have enough memory reserved to render all it needs to. Too high (I believe) will result in white screens if your Pi runs out of memory before the threshold is hit, as it won't unload textures to load new ones.