RetroArch – front-end for emulators, game engines, video games, media players, and more

RetroArch is a frontend for emulators, game engines and media players. It supports a huge range of emulators.

The frontend lets you classic games on a wide range of computers and consoles through its slick graphical interface. Settings are also unified so configuration is done once and for all.

The software is released under an open source license.

Features include:

  • Highly customizable with thumbnails, dynamic backgrounds, shadows, animated backgrounds, and icon themes.
  • XMB is the default graphical interface of RetroArch. It’s optimized for joypad navigation and can be extended using a playlist system.
  • Advanced GPU shader support – amulti-pass post-processing shader pipeline allows efficient use of image scaling algorithms, emulation of complex CRT, NTSC video artifacts and other effects.
  • Dynamic Rate Control to synchronize video and audio while smoothing out timing imperfections.
  • FFmpeg recording – Built-in support for lossless video recording using FFmpeg’s libavcodec.
  • Gamepad abstraction layer called Retropad.
  • Gamepad auto-configuration – Zero-configuration needed from the user after plugging a gamepad in.
  • Fully joypad driven.
  • Peer-to-peer netplay that uses a rollback technique similar to GGPO.
  • Audio DSP plugins like an equalizer, reverb and other effects.
  • Advanced savestate features – Automatic savestate loading, disabling SRAM overwritting, etc.
  • Frame-by-frame gameplay rewinding at the press of a button.
  • Button overlays for touchscreen devices like smartphones.
  • Thumbnails of game boxarts.
  • Low input and audio lag options.
  • Automatically build categorized playlists by scanning directories for games/ROMs. Games are sorted per system. Playlists can also be created manually.
  • Multiple interfaces including: CLI, XMB (optimized for gamepads), GLUI/MaterialUI (optimized for touch devices) and RGUI (available everywhere).
  • Game ROM scanner – automatically constructs playlists by comparing the hashsums of a directory’s files against databases of hashsums of known good game copies.
  • Libretro database of cores, games, cheats, etc.
  • OpenGL and Vulkan API support.
  • Cross-platform support – supported on Linux, BSD, Windows, Mac OSX (PPC/Intel), Haiku, PlayStation 3, Playstation Vita, Playstation Portable, Xbox 360, Xbox 1, Raspberry Pi, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Open Pandora, and Blackberry.

Support: FAQ, FAQ, Forums
Developer: The Libretro Team
License: MIT License


RetroArch is written in C and C++. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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