Friday, 17 May 2013

SNES Gaming.... Setting up an Emulator to relive my childhood

I am a bit of packrat of sorts when it comes to my consoles though none of them still work, I do have a lot of games kicking around so need something to do with them.

This is when emulation sprang to mind and getting a Raspberry Pi and turning it into a SNES / Playstation console thanks to the Retropi project by Petrock blog.

Now all the equipment I need is in the mail so setting that up is for another post but I am itching to play Super Mario World now so started looking at emulators that would run off my PC and came across Retro Arch that has a stand alone Windows download that does the job nicely.

Once you've downloaded Retro Arch software and unzipped it to a relevant location you will need a ROM to load on it and this is where things are tricky as before you can't use a ROM unless you own the game the ROM is based on.

You are allowed to keep a backup copy of any game you own so as long as you have the media you download the ROM off a corresponding website, a good one is Cool Roms.

Again I must stress that you must own the game before you can download a backup rom off any website.

Once you have the rom you need to save it in an easy location to get to, I would suggest a folder within the Retroarch folder called 'Roms'

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Once you have the game you need to run 'retroarch-phoenix.exe' and you should see something like this.

As you can see mine is setup to run Super Mario World for the SNES already.

The first field we want to fill in is the one called 'RetroArch Config File' just press the browse button on the left and select the one called retroarch.cfg and press open.

From here we can start setting up the program for our computer, we need to fill in the field called 'RetroArch Path' with the location of the retroarch.exe, once this is done we can start looking at the Core which takes care of all the actual emulation.

Now I actually had issues with the default SNES core in RetroArch as it would not load so I had to switch it for the SNES9x one which seems to be working fine so I would suggest you guys do the same.

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To do this we need to press 'Retroarch' on top of the toolbar and select 'Update RetroArch' and we will see the following.

Select 'Check Version' and it should pop up and say 'RetroArch is up to date!', press ok and then we should get a list of cores to download.

Select the one called 'SNES9x' and press 'Download core'.  Now this is where it goes a little wrong.

It will download the core but it does not seem to unzip it and just hangs at 100%, once it does this just close it and go to the folder location for RetroArch and find the zip and unpack it yourself in to the RetroArch folder as such, you should end up with 'libretro-git-snes9x-x86.dll' in the RetroArch folder then run retroarch-phoenix.exe again and select 'Upgrade RetroArch' once more and then 'Check Version'.

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This time SNES9x should say yes in the Downloaded column, when it does select it and press 'Use Core' and it will fill in the field called 'libretro core path' for you and we are almost there.

We now need to go to the 'Settings' option at the top and select general and we need to point the 'System Directory' to the RetroArch folder then its ok to close this one down from there and the last thing we need to do is to select 'Settings' once more and select 'Input' and set up your keybindings for your controller or keyboard.

Now you can go to 'Settings' one last time and select 'Save RetroArch Config' and overwrite retroarch.cfg and then press 'Start RetroArch' and enjoy reliving your childhood!

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