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RetroArch is a modular, command-line driven, multi-system emulator that is designed to be fast, lightweight, and portable. It has features few other emulators frontends have, such as real-time rewinding and game-aware shading based on the libretro API.


Install retroarch-gitAUR from the AUR.

A GTK/QT alternative, retroarch-git-pheonixAUR, is also available.


RetroArch employs the use of separate emulator cores (or implementations) available from both the AUR and the libretro github.

Each package from the AUR will install an emulator core to /usr/lib/libretro/[system].so, thus to use retroarch with your preferred system simply launch it with the -L parameter. E.g.

retroarch -L /usr/lib/libretro/ ~/path/to/game
Tip: It is possible to run directly from .zip files using the retroarch-zip shell wrapper, however, keep in mind that this is not supported within the implementation.

This emulator core can also be defined in the retroarch.cfg, thus obviating the need to specify it on the command line.

libretro_path = "/usr/lib/libretro/"

There are currently several emulation cores available including snes9x, bsnes, visual boy advance and final burn alpha. See this AUR search for more.


RetroArch provides a skeleton configuration file located at /etc/retroarch.cfg and is very well commented.

Note: retroarch is capable of loading bsnes xml filters as well as cg shaders, however, retroarch-gitAUR must be compiled with nvidia-cg-toolkit in order to use the cg shaders.