Beginner’s guide to Install and Setup Batocera on Raspberry Pi

Works for all models of Raspberry Pi (At least at the time this article is written).


What is Batocera?

In short, Batocera or also known as Batocera.linux is an open-source and completely free lightweight Linux OS that’s heavily modified and stripped down for the purpose solely for retro-gaming and entertainment, it has a gamer-and-controller-friendly user interface that can boot just from a USB Stick / SD card.

batocera retrogames emulator jilaxzone.com
Batocera – A lightweight OS intended for playing Retro Games. Image courtesy of Batocera.

Batocera compatibles with the following game console (but not limited to):

  • 3DO
  • Amiga
  • Amstrad CPC
  • MAME
  • Neo Geo: MVS, Pocket, Pocket Color
  • Nintendo NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, DS, 3DS
  • OpenBOR
  • SEGA: SG1000, Master System, Genesis / Mega Drive, Sega CD, Sega 32x, Saturn, Dreamcast, Game Gear
  • Sony PlayStation: PS1, PS2 and P3
  • And many more.

What I wrote above is not complete exhaustive list. For full Batocera compatibility, head on to the official Batocera compatibility list: Retro game console full compatibility list on Batocera.


Reasons why you want to install Batocera on Raspberry Pi

cemu mario kart 8 jilaxzone.com
Plug and play Raspberry Pi running Batocera to any TV or monitor and get ready to the retro-gaming world!

Raspberry Pi is the single-computer-board that’s small enough to be carried around anywhere you go. Installing Batocera on Raspberry Pi means you have access to your retro games practically anywhere and anytime – so long you can find any monitor and / or TV, you can just plug your Raspberry Pi into the monitor and TV and you are ready to play!


Prerequisites

Before proceeding with the setup, here are the prerequisites you need to have and be ready for.


1) Raspberry Pi

The single-computer-board we need to make it happen.

In case you don’t have it yet. Here’s where you can get your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi 400 Get Raspberry Pi 400 on Amazon
Raspberry Pi 4B 8GB Starter KitGet Raspberry Pi 4B 8GB on Amazon
Raspberry Pi 4B 4GBGet Raspberry Pi 4B 4GB on Amazon
Raspberry Pi 4 2GBGet Raspberry Pi 4B 2GB on Amazon
Raspberry Pi 3B+Get Raspberry Pi 3B+ on Amazon

2) SD Card / MicroSD Card

MicroSD Card with at least 16GB is required to install Batocera into your Raspberry Pi. However if you plan to put many games on it, you may want to consider 32GB to 128GB instead or even more.

Check out the following recommendations for in case you are looking for MicroSD Card for your Raspberry Pi.

Verbatim 16GB MicroSD CardVerbatim 16GB on Amazon
Amazon Basics 64GB MicroSD CardAmazon Basics 64GB on Amazon
SanDisk 256GB MicroSD CardSandisk Extreme 256GB on Amazon
SanDisk 512GB MicroSD CardSanDisk 512GB on Amazon

3) MicroSD Card Reader (Optional)

This is only required if your Computer doesn’t have MicroSD Card reader.

MicroSD Card AdapterMicroSD Card Adapter on Amazon
MicroSD Card Adapter on AliExpress

4) Controllers

Batocera for Raspberry Pi works straight-away with wired and wireless controllers. So pick the best controller for your retro-gaming parties!

In case you need recommendations, here they are:

PowerA Xbox Wired USB ControllerLooking for cheap-yet-studry wired controller? This the controller you are looking for to play on Batocera running on Raspberry Pi.

Get PowerA Xbox Wired Controller on Amazon
8BitDo SN30 USB ControllerThis 8BitDo SN30 wired controller works out-of-the box with Batocera running on Raspberry Pi.

Get 8BitDo SN30 Wired Controller on Amazon
N64 USB ControllerLooking for something nostalgic? Get this N64-shaped USB controller that works great with Batocera running on Raspberry Pi.

Get N64 USB Controller on Amazon
Xbox Series X|S Wireless ControllerGreat controller from Xbox compatible with your Xbox (of course!) as well as Windows PC, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch (via Mission Control) and Batocera running on Raspberry Pi, recommended for those with big hands.

Read here for pairing Xbox Series X|S Controller with your iPhone at JILAXZONE.

In case you need it:
Get Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller on Amazon
Get Xbox Series X|S iPhone Clipper on AliExpress
PS5 DualSenseAwesome controller from PlayStation compatible with your PS5 (of course!) as well as Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch (via Mission Control) and Batocera running on Raspberry Pi, recommended for those with smaller hands.

Read here for pairing PS5 DualSense Controller with your iPhone at JILAXZONE.

In case you need it:
Get PS5 DualSense on Amazon
Get PS5 DualSense iPhone Clipper on AliExpress
PS4 DualShockWhile DualSense is the latest PlayStation controller, but doesn’t mean DualShock 4 is bad. DualShock 4 is indeed one of the cheaper alternative to get into gaming on your Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch (via Mission Control) and Batocera running on Raspberry Pi, recommended for those with smaller hands.

In case you need it:
Get PS4 DualShock 4 on Amazon
Get PS4 DualShock 4 on AliExpress
Get PS4 DualShock 4 iPhone Clipper on AliExpress
Xbox One Wireless ControllerThis is the previous generation of Xbox Controller. Although previous generation, it’s still a great controller to use with your Xbox One (of course!) as well as Windows PC, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch (via Mission Control) and Batocera running on Raspberry Pi. This controller is recommended for those with big hands. The main controller appeal is the fact that it’s much cheaper than the Xbox Series X|S wireless controller.

In case you need it:
Get Xbox One Controller on Amazon
Get Xbox One Controller on AliExpress
Get Xbox One iPhone Clipper on AliExpress
iPega 9083STelescopic controller that’s value for money. Not only it compatibles with PC and Android, it also compatible with Nintendo Switch and Batocera running on Raspberry Pi. Use Bluetooth to connect.

In case you need it:
Get iPega 9083S on Amazon
Get iPega 9093S on AliExpress

Check it out here to see iPega 9083S in action: YouTube link
8BitDo SN30This 8BitDo SN30 wireless controller works out-of-the box with Batocera running on Raspberry Pi.

Get 8BitDo SN30 on Amazon
Get 8BitDo SN30 on AliExpress

5) Other Standard Raspberry Pi accessories

Such as HDMI cable, Raspberry Pi charger, Keyboard – if you own a Raspberry Pi and used it before for some other fun projects, you should already have these standard Raspberry Pi accessories with you. Keyboard is only required if somehow your Controller is not detectable by Batocera.


6) Computer

Computer is required to help do flashing Batocera image into the Raspberry Pi’s MicroSD Card. Either Mac, Linux or Windows.


Here’s how you can install and setup Batocera on Raspberry Pi

There are lots of ways to get Batocera up and running, including detail and thorough setup on each and every retro game console, however what I’m sharing here is the simplest, easiest way to get Batocera up and running on your Raspberry Pi.

The overall exercise took about 30-60 minutes, depending on your Internet speed (for downloading all the required software) and on your host machine (for flashing and booting up Batocera).

The steps written here are tested on:

1) PC running Windows 11. PC is used to flash Batocera into Raspberry Pi’s MicroSD Card.

2) Batocera version 33.

3) Raspberry Pi 1 B+.

Should you are using different version of Raspberry Pi, Batocera and / or Computer OS, the steps may be slightly different but should not deviate too much. Anyway, in case you have questions / issues, feel free to put them down on the comment section down below, I’ll be more than happy to help you.

Step 1) Download Batocera Image File nto your Computer.

The latest Batocera as of when this article is written is version 33. However depending on your Raspberry Pi model, the version can vary. Since you may use different Raspberry Pi model and may download a different version, if you happen to see this guide sometime in the coming future, for easier reference, let’s just call the Batocera Image file as Batocera-rpi.img.gz.

Download Batocera Image file depending on your version of Raspberry Pi. Image courtesy of Batocera.
Raspberry Pi modelDownload link
Raspberry Pi ZeroPi Zero Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi Zero 2Pi Zero 2 Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi A/A+Pi A/A+ Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi B/B+Pi B/B+ Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi 2BPi 2B Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi 3A+Pi 3A+ Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi 3B/B+Pi 3B/B+ Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi CM3/CM3+Pi CM3/CM3+ Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi 4BPi 4B Download link at Batocera
Raspberry Pi 400Pi 400 Download link at Batocera
Other Raspberry Pi modelsOther Pi Download link at Batocera

Step 2) Download and install Balena Etcher into your Computer

Balena Etcher UI. Image courtesy of Balena.

For simplicity, I would recommend to download the portable one. At the time this article is written, the latest Balena Etcher portable is version 1.7.7, so when I downloaded it, I got balenaEtcher-Portable-1.7.7.exe. Size 123MB. Since you may download a different version if you do this in the coming future, let’s just call the installer as BalenaEtcherPortable.exe.

Download linkhttps://www.balena.io/etcher/

Step 3) Plug in the MicroSD Card

Sandisk Extreme 1TB Micro SD Card jilaxzone.com
Plug in the MicroSD Card into your Computer.

Plug in your MicroSD to your Computer via the MicroSD Card slot or via the MicroSD Card reader. Ensure it’s detectable and doesn’t have any important files on them. Because the MicroSD Card will be wiped clean for Batocera.


Step 4) Run Balena Etcher on your Computer & Start Flashing

Once Batocera downloaded successfully, run BalenaEtcherPortable.exe as Administrator, by right clicking on the BalenaEtcherPortable.exe then select “Run as Administrator”.

how to use balena etcher jilaxzone.com
Balena Etcher – How to use.

Once Balena Etcher is running, follow these steps:

4a) On the left side, click “Flash from Drive”, select the Batocera-rpi.img.gz you have just downloaded.

4b) On the middle of the screen, click “Change” to select the MicroSD Card you want to flash the Batocera into.

4c) Then on the right side, click “Flash” to start flashing.


In case flashing is failed, change the following settings on your Computer:

i) Go to Windows > Start > Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection.
ii) Inside Virus & Threat Protection window, scroll down to find “Ransomware protection”, click “Manage ransomware protection”.
iii) Inside Ransomware Protection window, under “Controlled Folder Access”, click on “Allow an app through Controlled folder access”.
iv) Inside Allow an app through Controlled folder access window, click on “+ Add an allowed app”.
v) Find BalenaEtcherPortable.exe (E.g.: balenaEtcher-Portable-1.7.7.exe).
vi) Once BalenaEtcherPortable.exe has been added to the list, redo the flashing steps.

Depending on the computer specs you are using to flash the Batocera, the flashing (and validating) process can take from 10-30 minutes.

Once flashing completed, you can safely unplug the MicroSD Card containing Batocera. Let’s just call it Batocera MicroSD Card on the rest of this article.


Step 5) Plug in Batocera MicroSD Card into Raspberry Pi

Plug in Batocera MicroSD Card along with other required cables and accessories to the Raspberry Pi. Image courtesy of Raspberry Pi.

Plug in the Batocera MicroSD Card into the Raspberry Pi. Ensure the Raspberry Pi is in turned off position, before you plug in the Batocera MicroSD Card.


Step 6) Boot Raspberry Pi with Batocera MicroSD Card plugged in

Turn on the Raspberry Pi with Batocera MicroSD Card plugged in. The Batocera splash screen will be shown after some time and Batocera will boot.


Step 7) Plug in your Controller(s)

If it’s a wired controller, plug the wired controller into one of the Raspberry Pi USB port. The controller will be auto-detected by Batocera.

If it’s a wireless controller, plug in keyboard into one of the Raspberry Pi USB port. Then follow these steps:

Press Spacebar from Keyboard to open Main Menu. Image courtesy of Batocera.

7a) Press Spacebar to open Main Menu.

7b) Navigate to Controller Settings > Pair a Bluetooth Controller.

7c) Batocera will show “Scanning Bluetooth. Seaching controllers..”.

7d) Depending on wireless controller you are using, activate the controller into pairing mode. Typically the LED light in the controller will start flashing when you successfully set the controller in pairing mode.

Wait for Batocera to recognize your Controller. When the wireless controller connected successfully, you’ll see the message on screen “<your controller> connected”.

Once your wireless controller connected to Batocera, you can safely unplugged your Keyboard.


Final_Fight_(flyer)
Final Fight – initially known as Street Fighter ’89. (Image courtesy of Capcom and Wikipedia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/35/Final_Fight_%28flyer%29.jpg)

Time for some retro gaming and entertainment!


Bring it all together

Crash Team Racing apk jilaxzone.com
CTR – Crash Team Racing – a PSX Racing Game easily booted up from Raspberry Pi running Batocera

There you go. With the simple-yet-detailed steps above, you should be able to get Batocera booted up and run from your Raspberry Pi. In case you encounter any difficulties or have any queries, feel free to shout them on the comment section down below. I’ll be happy to assist.

Interested to see other tips and tricks? Check them out on the links below.

Raspberry Pi: Raspberry Pi Tips & Tricks at JILAXZONE.
Android:  Android Tips & Tricks at JILAXZONE.
iPhone and iOS: iPhone and iOS tips and tricks at JILAXZONE.


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