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Retropie extended: Update your Raspberry Pi gaming features

Retropie extended: Update your Raspberry Pi gaming features

Play games on Raspberry Pi
with the Retropie extended features

Retro gaming on Raspberry Pi with updated Retropie:
add a wide list of PC games to your retro gaming machine

I guess that coming to that page, you are likely to be good at retro gaming, playing games on Raspberry Pi as well as the Retropie. So, let’s move a little bit forward to the main idea of this article – extending your Retropie features to add even more games to your Retropie gaming machine.
By saying the “extended” I mean that we have brought a new feature to the Retropie app by adding the possibility of ExaGear Desktop emulator to be integrated into Retropie interface.

What’s the profit? With ExaGear Desktop, you’ll be able to play PC games on Raspberry Pi from really old and iconic ones (like Dune 2000 or Doom) to more modern and legendary (like Counter-Strike and Diablo II). To get the list of possible PC games, that we have already tried on Raspbian read this article. If you would like to learn more, read the case of launching games on Odroid – there are much more games that you can try on RPi as well.

It’s worth saying that the best feature of ExaGear on Retropie is that you can now setup and launch your favorite Windows games right from Retropie GUI, which is way more convenient than using ExaGear Desktop separately. You now can avoid all this endless switching between the applications.

In fact, Retropie is usually installed on a separate SD card and being launched directly from it automatically as soon as you insert the SD card into the slot. This causes a great inconvenience to combining the PC gaming and console retrogaming, players used to face. Espescially, if they have already been aware of ExaGear or have ever tried it for the purpose of playing Windows games on RPi. Now, this pain has been cured! You may install ExaGear Desktop directly on Retropie and launch all the games, both PC and console ones, from one place!

How to install ExaGear on Retropie

Let’s assume, that you have already got your Retropie on an SD card up and running. All the manipulations are carried out inside the Retropie interface, so follow all the steps below to install ExaGear Desktop.

1. Open Retropie configuration (“Retropie” entry in emulators list).

2. Press “Ctrl+Alt+F4” to open a terminal. It should look like this:

a Retropie terminal

3. Type “cd /home/pi” and to enter the proper directory

$ cd /home/pi

4. Download a special ExaGear version for Retropie on Raspberry Pi devices

$ wget downloads.eltechs.com/install-exagear-retropie.sh

Download ExaGear Desktop on Raspberry Pi for Retropie update

5. As soon as the downloading is finished, assign the “x” rights to the file:

$ chmod +x install-exagear-retropie.sh

6. Now, you can easily launch the ExGear Desktop installer

$ ./install-exagear-retropie.sh

7. As we use ExaGear Trial in this tutorial, there’ll be a pop-up window to input your name and e-mail address and confirm your trial version (NOTE: valid 3 days only!).

Activate ExaGear Trial to update Retropie

8. As the installation process passes by you will see a “Wine configuration” window which will open up automatically. You need to choose the “Graphics” tab there and tick the “Emulate a virtual desktop” in the checkbox. Then press OK.

Configure Wine inside installation ExaGear on Retropie

9. After the script finished working, reboot your device.

$ sudo reboot

For your convenience, we have made a video with the whole process described above. From the beginning till the final reboot. So, watch it now to repeat or practice the tutorial. Note that the video is speeded up a little bit to walk you through the guide really quick and the whole process takes more time in reality.



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As I have already mentioned, in this tutorial we are using the ExaGear Desktop Raspbian Trial. It’s valid only for three days since the moment of activation. So, on the expiry date, you won’t be able to access any of your games and will see the pop-up window, saying that you have to purchase the full version of ExaGear to proceed playing. The purchasing of the full version is available from this page, and after you receive the key by e-mail, follow the video guide below, to turn your expired trial into the full version of ExaGear Desktop. Note, that everything you have set up earlier will be saved and you won’t need to re-install anything. (This video is also speeded up to your convenience)

How to install and play Windows games on Raspberry Pi

So, you have already got your ExaGear Desktop emulator up and running in Retropie on your Raspberry Pi device. Since that moment you can get access to and play a great variety of Windows PC games on your Raspberry Pi without leaving the Rertropie interface. And this is great!

But how can we get all those games to our device? Of course, we can’t provide you with all the games into the ExaGear Retropie image you have just installed on your Raspbian. But, there is a way to get them on your own and I am going to give you a full description of how to do that.

You already know that for playing games on Retopie (no matter what type of an emulator – NES, N64, PSP, GBA etc.) you need special files called ROMs. Generally, there are two ways of getting these ROMs for your Retropie Raspberry Pi emulator:

  1. Download it from some pirate websites (illegal and not recommended).
  2. Buying official ROMs from the online stores, licensed for that. In our case, you can get Windows PC games from the largest and the most reliable sources – the GOG, especially for old computer games before 2000 and older and Steam for some games you won’t find on GOG (like Counter-Strike or Diablo II).

As far as you have already understood, the very first step will be to visit an online store and buy the ROM you need. If you work directly from Raspberry Pi, so the file should be downloaded to the proper directory by default. If you prefer using some of your Windows device (or Mac), you need to download the ROM into your SD card or to a USB flash-disk as the first step. Then, simply follow this short instruction to transfer the ROM, set it up and launch.

After the game ROM is in the proper directory, follow the steps below to start and play the game from Retropie with ExaGear.

1. Open the Retropie configuration with the list of emulators.

2. Select the ExaGear emulator from this list

3. Go to Windows -> Explorer. You should see the screen like this:

How to launch a PC game via ExaGear on Retropie

4. The “Explorer” automatically leads you to the needed directory where the game files are kept, so you only need to find the proper “exe” file and start it. The setup will start automatically as well and need to follow simple steps offered by the installer to complete the installation.

We have made a special video guide for you, assuming that you don’t have any “exe” files pre-installed. The starting point is when you insert your USB flash-drive to Raspberry Pi to start transferring. (The video is speeded up to your convenience)

Final notes

Retropie with ExaGear Desktop is a very cool and convenient thing. You can launch and play PC games from the same place you are playing your favorite console games. This is what a lot of people have been asking us for a long time. Now, this is a reality.

Moreover, always bear it in your mind, that ExaGear supports 3D hardware graphics acceleration which significantly improves the overall performance. As well as games variety that you can install and play from Retropie. For example, the latest experience of ours says that with ExaGear you can enjoy such games as Diablo II, Counter-Strike, Stronghold Crusader, Heroes of Might and Magic 6, etc.

Also, note that with ExaGear Desktop you can run almost any x86 app on any ARM-based device including, but not limited to Raspberry Pi, Odroid, Banana Pi, Beagleboard, Cubox, Jetson, Cubieboard and many others.

 

ExaGear is registered trademark of Eltechs, Inc. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.

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