Retroarch xbox one

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How to install the RetroArch emulator on Xbox Series X|S

Here’s how to install RetroArch on the Xbox Series X and Series S, plus how to get a Microsoft Partner account.

If you want to enjoy games from times gone by, this is the guide for you. I’ll show you how to install RetroArch on the Xbox Series X and Series S. Why? Because it lets you play older consoles and their respective games on your new Microsoft console.

To setup and play RetroArch emulators on the Xbox Series X and Series S is surprisingly easy – you just need to follow my instructions carefully in my YouTube video (above or click here) and prepare to shell out a few quid to enable the dev mode on your console.

Do so and you can play games from the PS One, GameCube, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, PSP, Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo and a whole lot more. Even PS2 games work, unlike on the PS5. I will say that it can be visually tough to go back a generation or few, but, honestly, you forget if the gameplay is great and nostalgia can go a long way. Graphics are not everything.

Using the Series X or S as an emulator does not overwrite your other games or files. In fact, the retail and developer modes are separate and I’ve not had any issues so far. You just have to swap between the two modes, which involves a lengthier restart.

RetroArch is a great bit of software, kudos to its makers and the emulation community in general. Just bear in mind that it is a work in progress so some games and emulators work better than others. The odd moment of troubleshooting is to be expected. If you’re interested, download the file listed in the video description.

As for the legal bit, most emulators are legal to download and use. It’s the obtaining of certain assets such as game files or a copy of a console bios that can get you in trouble with the law. You are, however, okay to make use of physical games and burn them to a digital file. Emulation is a grey area legally.

Yes, that means there’s an incentive to dig out your old collection or go game shopping! Anyway, be sure to like, subscribe and put your concentrating cap on.

How to install RetroArch: The Xbox Dev Mode

The first thing we need to do is download and install the Xbox Dev Mode. It’s an app found on the Microsoft Store of the Series X and S – about 100MB. Search Xbox Dev Mode by pressing Y on the homescreen. Then run it and follow the process of activating your development account.

Now open a web browser on a separate device and sign up for a Microsoft Partner Account using your Microsoft account details. The one you use for Xbox. Then scroll to ‘developer programs’ and click ‘get started’ with Windows apps.

Now sign up for a Windows apps developer account. Fill out all the details and pay US$19 or £12 to become a developer. You only pay once. Choose Individual for account type unless you plan on making games or apps for business. Confirm your details then select ‘go to dashboard’.

Now go to You will now see your Manage Xbox One consoles tab. Hit the ‘+’ icon on the right and then ‘enter activation code’. Now enter the on-screen six-digit code displayed on your Xbox Series X or Series S.

Now hit the pen button to edit the Xbox name. Call it whatever you fancy and save. Meanwhile the Xbox Dev Mode app should be activating your console. Hit ‘switch and restart’ when it tells you to. This bit can take a few minutes so consider making a hot beverage.

Eventually you will see the rather bland but functional Xbox dev mode homescreen. Make sure your Series X or Series S is connected wirelessly or via an ethernet cable to your router. Then scroll down to Xbox Live and add your Microsoft account – the one you use for Xbox, same as before.

Then on the right under ‘Test accounts’ hit ‘add existing’ and enter your Microsoft account credentials. Follow some on-screen options such as sign-in and security preferences. I like instant sign-in but if you don’t want it don’t enable it.

Now we need to enable remote access so you can transfer files from your PC to Xbox Series X or S. Go to the dev mode homescreen on your console and press ‘remote access settings’ in the bottom right. Set a username and password if you like, you don’t have to, and enable the ‘Xbox device portal option’.

At this point I would head to the developer homescreen, then go to ‘manage dev storage’ and choose how much internal storage can be used by RetroArch and any other installed software. Remember that allocated storage will eat into your total storage limit.

How much you allocate depends on how many games you will want to store – I have 21GB for now. I think the default is 5GB. To help you decide, PS2 games vary between a few hundred megabytes and 4 or more gigabytes. Retro games can be much, much smaller such as on Mega Drive and SNES.

Bear in mind that an allocation size adjustment appears to format the existing part of the drive you allocate, so if you decide to change the allocation size later you may find everything is gone – RetroArch included. This does NOT affect your files in the normal retail mode so games will not vanish or anything bad like that.

Installing RetroArch

Now go to your web browser and type in the URL you can see under ‘remote access’. Now you’re ready to add RetroArch. Grab the downloaded file, which will be the Xbox One version, then press ‘add’ in the top left. Locate the RetroArch appx file and let it install. Click done when it’s done.

Go back to your Xbox Series X. Under ‘games and apps’ you should now see RetroArch. Highlight it, press the select button (displayed on screen) then press ‘view details’. Swap the setting from app to game. Without this, you won’t be getting full GPU power. Then go back to the homescreen and select ‘restart console’ for the change to take effect.

The screen will go dark for a while. Once the Xbox dev screen is back, start the RetroArch software. Scroll down to ‘online updater’ then press A to update the following options: Content downloader, Update Core Info Files, Update Assets, Update Controller Profiles, Update Databases and Update Overlays. You can do cheats but it takes a long time and I’ve personally never bothered.

Once done, press right and right again to access more settings. Look for ‘video’ and swap that to ‘gl’ or ‘d3d12’. This should get the menu working properly and let you see all the tabs. Press left twice to go back to where it says ‘load core’ and scroll down to ‘configuration file’.

Press ‘save current configuration’ and now when you run RetroArch in future you can load your shiny new preset. Sometimes you’ll load it up and the menu is still missing the tabs, just load the standard configuration or another then reload your preferred configuration. Usually works.

It’s also worth sorting out some video settings. Go to the ‘settings’ tab and then ‘video’. Under scaling enable ‘integer scale’ option and leave it at that. You can also enable bilinear filtering but this blur, although authentic for some emulators, is best left off in my opinion.

Full screen or windowed, you can choose. You can also choose a display ratio such as 16:9, which is common these days, or let the core decide. I’ll be talking more about cores in another video.

You can also go into settings>input>hotkeys and then select a shortcut for ‘menu toggle gamepad combo’. Start + select works well as it never clashes with in-game commands – at least, none that I’ve come across. Hold start or hold select for two seconds also work well.

Lastly, there are some annoying pause options that can be a pain during some games such as when you need to change disc. Wow, that’s old-school. So go to settings>user interface and then disable ‘pause content when menu is active’ and ‘pause content when not active’. Save your configuration again and now you can start to look for emulators.

And that’s it for my how to install RetroArch on Xbox Series X guide. I’ll be doing guides to setting up actual emulators within RetroArch, including one for the PS2. If that sounds good to you, be sure to like, subscribe and let me know in the YouTube video comments.

A pile of retro video game controllers.

Thanks to Developer Mode on the Xbox Series X and S, you can install emulators like RetroArch. Turn your Xbox Series X or S into a retro gaming powerhouse and emulate the PS2, GameCube, Dreamcast, and more, all without impacting your ability to play retail games.

First, Activate Developer Mode

The first thing you have to do is activate Developer Mode on your Xbox. To do so, you’ll need a paid Microsoft Partner developer account. This requires a one-time fee of $19 (pricing is different in other regions). Once you’ve activated your account, you can add your Xbox as a developer console.

RELATED:How to Put Your Xbox Series X or S into Developer Mode

Search Microsoft Store on Xbox

With a valid developer account, you can download the Xbox Dev Mode app, activate your console in Partner Center, and then reboot in Developer Mode. From there, it’s just a matter of configuring your network connection, and then accessing the Xbox Developer Mode web interface via a browser.

For this guide, we’ll assume you’ve followed the full setup procedure and your console is already booted in Developer Mode.

Installing the RetroArch Emulator

RetroArch is an emulator that works on virtually every platform and has a UWP package made just for Xbox One (and the Series X and S, by extension). This multisystem emulator uses plugins or “cores” to expand support for lots of different systems. You can choose which cores you want to use and switch between them for the best performance.

RetroArch makes it possible to play games from a huge variety of platforms right on your Xbox. This includes arcade machines, retro consoles (like SNES and Genesis), modern handhelds (like PSP), and early 3D home consoles (like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo N64, and Sega Dreamcast).

To get going, you first have to download and install RetroArch. On a computer, just head to the RetroArch Downloads page and grab the Xbox One version and the “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 UWP Runtime Package” dependency file.

Then, access the Xbox Developer Mode web interface by visiting the web address in the “Remote Access” section in Dev Home on your console.

Deploy UWP App

Select “Add” on the Home page to access the file upload interface, and then drag and drop the APPXBUNDLE file you downloaded into the box (or click “Choose File” and locate it). Select “Next,” and then locate the dependency file you downloaded.

Click “Start,” wait for the process to complete, and then select “Done” after everything is transferred.

Install UWP Dependencies

Now, under Dev Home, you should see RetroArch listed as “Not running” in the available apps and games. Highlight it, press the Views button on your controller (the two squares), and then select “View Details.” On this menu, change the “App type” drop-down to “Game.”

RetroArch first boot

Back out of that menu, and then press A to launch RetroArch. When you’re asked to sign in, type your Xbox Live account details if you haven’t yet done so.

Setting Up RetroArch

After RetroArch is installed and running on your console, you can finish setting up the emulator, add some ROMs, and get to playing some games. Before you jump in, though, there are a few things you’ll probably want to do.

RetroArch’s interface is modeled on Sony’s X-media bar. This first appeared on the PS3 and, later, the PS4. There’s a horizontal and vertical menu, but you won’t see the icons representing the horizontal menu when you first launch the UWP version of RetroArch.

After the interface loads, press left and right on the d-pad to see the other options.

Updating RetroArch assets

You can fix this by installing missing assets and switching the video driver. To do so, select “Main Menu” at the top left, scroll down to “Online Updater,” and then select “Update Assets.” While there, you can also update core info files, controller profiles, databases, overlays, and anything else you need to.

After this process is complete, a black screen will appear and the menu will reload.

Now, you’ll have to define a button combination that will allow you to access the in-game Pause menu. To do that, just return to the “Main Menu” and move horizontally to select “Settings” at the top left.

Define Quick Menu hotkey

Scroll down to “Input” and select “Hotkeys.” Define the “Menu Toggle Gamepad Combo” shortcut by pressing left and right on the d-pad until you find a shortcut that works for you (“Start + Select” or “R3 + L3” are both good options).

Finally, save your settings by returning to the “Main Menu” and selecting “Configuration File.” Click “Save Current Configuration,” and then quit and reload RetroArch. You should then see a much cleaner interface with all the icons visible.

Adding ROMs and BIOS Files

ROMs should go in the “Downloads” folder on the local disk space accessible by RetroArch. To do this, open the Xbox Device Portal in a browser on your computer, and click “File Explorer.” Navigate to LocalAppData > RetroArch > LocalState > Downloads, and then use the file picker at the bottom to add any ROMs you’ve legally acquired.

Warning: Be sure to follow all relevant laws when acquiring ROMs and BIOS files. A law professor provided us with a detailed analysis of the legalities surrounding emulating retro video games.

It should be possible to add ROMs to an external drive, but unfortunately, due to the temperamental nature of RetroArch in its UWP app form, we couldn’t get this to work during testing.

You’ll have to put any BIOS files you want to use in the LocalAppData > RetroArch > LocalState > System folder.

Uploading ROMs to RetroArch

RELATED:Is Downloading Retro Video Game ROMs Ever Legal?

Playing Games

To play a game, select “Load Core” in the “Main Menu.” Be sure to choose a core that matches the system type you’re playing. You might have to do some research to find out which are best for the job.

With a core selected, choose “Load Content” in “Main Menu” to locate your ROM file. Keep pressing A until your ROM file loads. In the future, you’ll be able to find your core and ROM file in the “History” menu.

RetroArch history

To pause a game, save a gameplay state, or return to the main RetroArch menu, use the hotkey shortcut you defined earlier. From there, you can also quit RetroArch. To return to Retail mode, just select “Leave Dev Mode” from the “Quick Actions” menu in Dev Home.

The Best Backward Compatibility Yet

The Xbox Series X and S not only have the best backward compatibility of this generation, but they’re also incredibly powerful emulation machines. Since this version of RetroArch has been thrust into the spotlight, developers will hopefully pay a bit more attention to the UWP build in the future.

RetroArch is a fantastic multisystem emulator, regardless of which system you run it on. If you’re interested, there’s much more to learn that will help you get the most out of RetroArch.

RELATED:How to Set Up RetroArch, The Ultimate All-In-One Retro Games Emulator

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How to Use RetroArch

RetroArch is a free cross-platform video game emulation program. If you know how to use RetroArch, you can play classic Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox games on almost any computer or mobile device. You can even run RetroArch on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and other gaming systems.

Instructions in this article apply to RetroArch 1.7.9 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

What Is RetroArch?

RetroArch is an open-source project capable of running multiple video game emulators in one interface. On top of the features extra offered by individual emulators, RetroArch provides several additional perks including:

  • Gamepad and touch screen support.
  • Extensive video and audio customization.
  • Recording and streaming capabilities.
  • Online multiplayer options.

Since it's open-source, anyone can contribute new cores and customization tools, and frequent updates are released with new features. RetroArch emulates more than games and consoles. For example, there are cores for video game engines, so you can do things like design your own Tomb Raider game using the original assets.

RetroArch Cores and ROMS

While RetroArch is convenient once set up, the set up process can be time consuming. It's a tool aimed at advanced users interested in software development who like tinkering with settings. If you just want to play games for a particular system, then there may be better options for emulators.

Before you can play games, you must download the emulators (called cores) as well as the ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play. Cores can be downloaded from within RetroArch, but you'll have to obtain games by other means.

How to Use RetroArch on PC

The process for setting up the desktop version of RetroArch is the same on Windows, Mac, and Linux:

Before you begin, organize all of your game ROMs in one folder so that they'll be easy to find.

  1. Visit and download the program for your operating system. If the website automatically detects your OS, then you can select Download Stable to download the latest stable version. Otherwise, scroll down and select one of the download options.

  2. Launch the RetroArch setup file and complete the installation.

  3. Open RetroArch and select Load Core.

    Use the arrow keys to navigate the menu, and press Enter to make a selection. To go back, press the X key.

  4. Select Download Core.

  5. Scroll through the list and select the emulator(s) you want.

  6. Return to the main menu and select Load Content.

  7. Locate the folder containing your games and select the file ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play.

  8. To save your game, go to Command > Save State Options and select Save State. To load a saved game, select Load State.

    You can switch games or emulators by going to File > Load Core or File > Load Content.

How to Configure RetroArch

RetroArch applies custom settings to all of your emulators by default. To configure settings individually for each emulator:

  1. Go to Settings and select Configuration.

  2. Select the Use Global Core Options File option to disable it.

  3. Settings will now be saved for each individual emulator. For example, go to Settings > Video to adjust the display settings for the emulator core you currently have loaded.

How to Set Up Controllers in RetroArch

You can plug in your PS4 or Xbox One controller to navigate the RetroArch interface. To customize controller settings:

  1. Go to Settings and select Input.

  2. Select User 1 Binds.

  3. Select User 1 Bind All.

  4. Follow the prompts to set the controller buttons.

    You can go to Settings > Menu Toggle Command Combo to set a shortcut to the main menu.

How to Download Updates and Custom Tools

Select Online Updater from the main menu to download updates and extensions to customize RetroArch. Some notable options include:

  • Update Core Info Files: Download the latest updates for your emulators.
  • Update Assets: Download the latest version of the RetroArch interface.
  • Update Thumbnails: Download box art for games in RetroArch.
  • Update Cheats: Enable cheats for games when available.
  • Update Overlays: Choose borders/overlays for your emulators.
  • Update Cg/GLSL Shaders: Choose filters to simulate old TVs.

How to Set Up RetroArch on Android and iOS

Before you begin, it's helpful to have all of your ROM files in one place. You can create a folder and transfer the files from your computer. To get started playing classic games on your mobile device with RetroArch:

  1. Download the RetroArch mobile app for the Apple Store or Google Play.

  2. Open RetroArch and tap Load Core.

  3. Tap Download a Core.

  4. Scroll through the list and select the emulator(s) you want.

  5. Return to the main menu of RetroArch and tap Load Content.

  6. Locate the folder containing your games and select the file ROM or ISO file for the game you want to play.

    To switch emulators, tap Load Core on the RetroArch main menu and select the emulator you want to load.

How to Set Up RetroArch on Switch, Xbox One, and Other Game Systems has tutorial videos for how to set up RetroArch on different video game consoles. You may be required to hack your device, which will likely void the warranty.

Thanks for letting us know!

(Xbox One) Retroarch - How To Run PS2 Games (Retail)

How to install RetroArch on the Xbox series s/x

To install RetroArch on the Xbox one, series S, or X you will need to download the dev app on the Xbox and from there it will give you a web address to enter on your computer. The next thing you have to do is activate Dev Mode on the Xbox by installing the dev app you just downloaded on the Xbox. After that, go to the web address the dev app give you and from there you’ll need a paid Microsoft Partner developer account. This requires a one-time fee of $19 (pricing is different in other regions). Once you’ve activated your account, you can add your Xbox as a developer console.

Next, you will have to download and install RetroArch, just head to the RetroArch Downloads page on your pc and grab the Xbox One version and the “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 UWP Runtime Package” dependency file. Then, access the Xbox Developer Mode web interface by visiting the web address in the “Remote Access” section in Dev Home on your console.

Select “Add” on the Home page to access the file upload interface, and then drag and drop the APPXBUNDLE file you downloaded into the box (or click “Choose File” and locate it). Select “Next,” and then locate the dependency file you downloaded.

Click “Start,” wait for the process to complete, and then select “Done” after everything is transferred and retroarch is ready to launch in developer mode. Now, under Dev Home, you should see RetroArch listed as “Not running” in the available apps and games. Highlight it, press the Views button on your controller (the two squares), and then select “View Details.” On this menu, change the “App type” drop-down to “Game.” Back out of that menu, and then press A to launch RetroArch.

Just like RetroArch on any other device, the first thing to do is update all the settings in the online updater. Once that is done you can start playing or start to really tweak it out by adding more cores and bios to it but that is for another post.


Xbox one retroarch

How to turn your Xbox Series X/S into an emulation powerhouse

Why play new games on these expensive consoles when you can emulate old ones?
with 60 posters participating, including story authorAfter a new console is released, it usually takes hackers monthsor yearsto find a hole in the console's security that lets them install homebrew software like emulators. So it may come as a surprise that you can already load RetroArch—and its vast array of emulation cores for dozens of classic systems—on the newly released Xbox Series X/S consoles. The installation vector here comes not through an unforeseen security hole, but through Microsoft's policy of allowing any retail Xbox One console to become a full-fledged dev kit. After promising that functionality in 2013, there were signs that Microsoft was thinking of abandoning those plans in 2014. By 2016, though, Microsoft officially opened up the Xbox One, allowing registered Universal Windows Platform (UWP) developers to load and test content directly onto a stock retail console.

Enter Libretro, which decided in late 2018 that it would commit to creating an Xbox One-compatible UWP build of its popular emulator package. That version launched in Alpha in 2019 and has been updated sporadically since. Ars has confirmed that a new build works on the Xbox Series X as well, allowing your new console to pretend to be anything from an Atari 2600 to a Wii, with a whole lot of consoles in between.

Jumping through hoops

Getting RetroArch on your brand-new Xbox isn't as simple as just inserting a USB drive and puttering away. First, you have to sign up for a Microsoft Developer Account through the Windows Dev Center portal. There's a one-time $19 fee associated with registering an individual account, so you'll have to decide early what the possibility of running emulators on the Xbox is worth to you.


Once you're registered, go to your console and search for the "Dev Mode Activation" app in the Store. The system will guide you through a few steps to link the console to your new Developer account, and you may have to download some updates before restarting in Developer Mode (if the update doesn't take for some reason, this trick may work to force the system into Developer Mode).

Be aware that an Xbox console in Development Mode won't be able to play any retail Xbox games, either on disc or download. It's relatively simple to switch back and forth to/from retail mode using the on-screen menu, though, as long as you're willing to wait for the system to reboot.

With your console in Developer Mode (and connected to the Internet), the screen should display an IP address for local network access to the system. Type that address in a Web browser on your computer to open up the Xbox Device Portal. From there, simply download the Xbox One RetroArch files and dependencies (labeled as "UWP runtime package") from the RetroArch website, then upload them to your console using the green "Add" button on the Device Portal page.

When you go back to your console, RetroArch should appear as a launchable project whenever you're in Developer Mode. From inside RetroArch, you should be able to use the on-screen menus to directly download updates to the front-end interface and backend cores directly on the system itself.


Note that some of the emulation cores included in the RetroArch package require a BIOS file pulled from actual hardware to work; you'll have to source and upload those yourself (from your own legitimate hardware, of course). And while RetroArch has a number of homebrew, shareware, and open source ROMs available for download directly through its system menus, you'll have to find and upload any additional ROMs (such as backups ripped from your own game collection) on your own.

An emulation powerhouse

RetroArch can already run on everything from the original GameCube to the Switch to a cheap Raspberry Pi, so another console full of emulators might not seem that exciting. But the folks at Modern Vintage Gamer put the $299 Xbox Series S through its emulation paces, and they found "some of the very best emulation that I've seen on a console."

This is especially true when it comes to recreating relatively recent and/or difficult-to-emulate 3D hardware like the Gamecube/Wii, Saturn, or PSP. For these consoles, the extra hardware power on the new Xbox consoles helps emulation run more smoothly than you might expect from cheaper devices. As long as you don't expect completely perfect authenticity or compatibility, it seems that Xbox Series X/S hardware can stand in pretty well for older systems.

The developers at Libretro will continue to update RetroArch and its underlying emulation cores as time goes on, too, so new advancements in emulation technology should make their way to the Xbox UWP build in due time. Right now, the team seems close to getting PlayStation 2 emulation core PCSX2 into workable shape in RetroArch, which would be a bit ironic considering that PS2 games are not natively compatible with the PlayStation 5.

How to get RetroArch on Xbox RETAIL MODE!

Category: Xbox One

UPDATE May 11, 2019: RetroArch 1.7.7 has been updated again. This latest hotfix release should fix several crashing issues that could happen at startup on the 3DS and WiiU. It should also be a generally more stable release than the previous version. If you already downloaded RetroArch before May 11, be sure to download it again and upgrade your existing version!

RetroArch 1.7.7 has just been released! Grab it here.

If you’d like to show your support, consider donating to us. Check here in order to learn more.

On a special note, this release took several days due to our buildbot no longer being up to the task of being able to process all of these builds within a timely manner. We have set out a new Patreon goal that would allow us to significantly upgrade our rented servers so that release cycles don’t have to take 10+ hours anymore. Please consider pledging to our Patreon.

New tiers and perks

We have created new tiers, there is now a $1 tier that gives you a special Discord badge and access to a Patron-only Discord channel. The $5 tier gives you all the perks of the $1 tier including a special subflair on our RetroArch subreddit page. There is now also a $10+ tier, if you become a member of this, you can choose to have your name/nickname inserted into RetroArch’s Credits screen in future versions of the program.

So, we reiterate, the release could have happened this past weekend, but unfortunately, we were met with the stark reality of a buildbot that has long since outgrown its shoes, and we now need to throw better hardware at it in order to make it perform much faster. So we ask for your help in that endeavor.

Experimental alpha version of UWP/Xbox One version!

NOTE: This is a pre-alpha version of RetroArch for UWP/Xbox One! Please be aware that the current product is far from polished, and that whatever you see here might not be reflective of the finished product later on. Our sole purpose for releasing this is that Dominater01 had already made a release and we felt it would be remiss not to share this with our users, regardless of its current level of polish.

To learn more about this, read this article here.

Desktop UI – Settings

Ever since its inception, RetroArch users on the desktop have been clamoring for a Desktop UI that would allow them to manipulate all of the settings available in RetroArch. The most often heard complaint was that it was cumbersome to change these settings with a gamepad. Of course, our intention is to have a unified UI that mostly works the same across desktop, game consoles and mobile phones, but a reasonable argument could be made that it was counterintuitive to force a desktop user to go through a gamepad-centric UI.

So, to address these criticisms, a few versions back we debuted a companion Desktop UI that can be invoked by pressing F5. This was step 1. We have made this process a bit easier now too for Windows users. You can now go to the menubar, go to ‘Window’ and then select ‘Toggle Desktop Menu’ in order to go to the Desktop UI.

Step 2 was adding an actual settings screen. This has now been done as of version 1.7.7. Thanks to the great efforts of CozmoP and also due to some refactoring on our end, starting as of version 1.7.7, RetroArch will finally allow you to change settings inside the nice and easy Desktop UI (that can be triggered at any time by pressing F5 on your keyboard).

NOTE: The Desktop UI is only available for Mac, Windows and Linux. The desktop UI is powered by Qt 5.

Menu widgets

In this video, you will see some of the widgets in action when:
* Taking a screenshot
* Downloading a core

But there are many more widget elements available, such as:
* Fastforwarding
* Rewinding
* Showing the framerate onscreen
* Achievement notifications


This is all courtesy of natinusala. More widgets will be added in the future.

Generic message widget, shader previous/next hotkey

Achievement notification widgets

New OpenGL Core driver supports Slang universal shader spec!

A new OpenGL driver has been made that targets OpenGL 3.2 and up. And unlike the older GL driver, this one supports only slang shaders. This means that this OpenGL driver can now finally use the same shaders as Vulkan, Direct3D 10/11/12, and Metal. This marks an important milestone for us since we are well on our way to having a true universal shader spec now that can cross around graphics API barriers.

To learn more about this, read this article here.

Legacy OpenGL 1.1 driver for GPUs with no vendor-supplied drivers!

Up until now, RetroArch required at least OpenGL 2.x support on the desktop. If your GPU did not have a driver supporting at least OpenGL 2.x, RetroArch would simply not run with the OpenGL driver.

There are plenty of integrated Intel video cards that have no real OpenGL support on Windows 10, so they have to rely on a fallback driver provided by Microsoft called ‘GDI Generic’. This limits these cards to OpenGL 1.1.

Now, those inconvenienced users can still use the OpenGL 1.1 fallback driver. Do note that it will be impossible for shaders to ever work with this video driver – OpenGL 1.1 dates back to 1997. It would take until 2003/2004 before pixel and vertex shaders would become a standard feature of any video card worth its salt.

To learn more about this, read this article here.

RGUI – Particle effect animation system and numerous improvements

RGUI is a low-fi CRT-friendly raster-based menu UI that in the past has been kept purposefully minimalist.

jdgleaver has really taken the bull by the horns and significantly improved upon RGUI, to the point where it now has:

  1. Thumbnail support (with scaling support)
  2. Theme support
  3. Fancy particle animation effects
  4. Drop shadow icons for text
  5. Extended ASCII character support (for accented characters)
  6. Much-needed performance improvements

To learn more about this, read these articles here and here.

Menu framerate is now framerate independent

Previously, the menu would be capped at 60fps. Users acclimatized to higher refresh rates would find the 60fps update to be lacking when they are inside one of the fancy raster menus inside RetroArch (XMB/MaterialUI/Ozone).

The menu framerate in RetroArch is now framerate independent. So, for instance, if you’re using a 120Hz resolution, XMB will animate at 120fps, and you will see smooth animation with menu shader effects like the ribbon effect, snow, or bokeh.

When you’re running a game that is capped at 60fps, it will cap the menu along with it. But once the game with the lower refresh rate cap is loaded out of memory again, the menu should return again to that native framerate.

Menu Font text issues fixed on Android and macOS

Severe font text issues have been fixed on both Android and macOS. Languages like Japanese should now display properly on Android without any of the graphical bugs that appeared on earlier versions.

We are also now using STB_font unicode as our font driver for macOS and iOS, so for the first time languages like Japanese and other non-Western languages should finally be rendered properly.

Press Quit Twice To Exit

RetroArch traditionally exits the program immediately when you press the ‘Escape’ key on your keyboard. This has been one of the most commonly heard complaints usability-wise, so while this is an acquired taste, it’s understandable that some wouldn’t want the program to function like this.

So now there is a new option for those who dislike it – ‘Press Quit Twice To Quit’. Go to Settings – Input, and enable it. You will notice that when you hit the Escape key now to exit, it will remind you through a popup message first that you need to hit the key another time for it to truly exit.

Android phones: Vibrate on touch

You can enable this by going to Settings -> Input, and turning on ‘Vibrate on key touch’.

Your Android phone will vibrate every time you touch an UI element inside the menu or overlay. This could be useful in order to get a sense of tactile feedback from your button interactions while playing a game.

Automatically set the user language based on your system language

This is a new feature at first-time startup. Right now, it should work on Android, Linux and Windows.

When starting up RetroArch for the first time, it will check what your system language is set to, and then make RetroArch use that same language. This way, you don’t have to manually change your language after starting up RetroArch for the first time.

If you find that for whatever reason you want to use either another language or revert to English, you can go to Settings -> User and set Language back to English.

Changes for macOS

The macOS version ‘Apple macOS High Sierra (and later) with Metal2’ now requires Metal, the new graphics API. If your system does not have Metal support, it will not run. There is no backwards compatibility support for OpenGL, as Apple is fast-tracking the deprecation of this API and it might not be there for much longer. This version requires macOS High Sierra and/or later (10.13).

Please be aware that cores which rely on Libretro GL will not work with this version of RetroArch.

Conversely, there is also a separate build where OpenGL support is still a thing, but there is no Metal driver. This version requires macOS/OSX Tiger or higher (10.7).

And so much more…

We could write an entire book about all the new features we added to RetroArch 1.7.7. The list is so exhaustive, in fact, that we had to split this release blog post up into several mini articles in order to properly do justice to all of the major features and platform releases that have happened as a result of this release. We might go into some more of the standout features later on in a future blog post, but for now, below is the massive CHANGELOG of this release.

General changelog

– 3DS: Add unique IDs to prevent cores overwriting each other.
– 3DS: Fix screen tearing when running 50Hz content.
– ANDROID: We now target API level 26 (minimum is still API level 9).
– ANDROID: Add option to vibrate on touch (works in menu or overlay).
– ANDROID: Add device vibration option for cores that support rumble.
– ANDROID: Add gamepad vibration support for cores that support rumble.
– ANDROID: Allow stylus/pen to move mouse without pressing down.
– AUDIO: Avoid deadlocks in certain audio drivers when toggling menu sounds on.
– BLISS-BOX: Support PSX Jogcon (requires firmware 3.0).
– CHEEVOS: Fix crash when reading memory that is out of range.
– CHEEVOS: New Cheevos implementation enabled by default.
– CHEEVOS: Pop-up badges when an achievement is triggered.
– CRT: Dynamic super resolution support.
– DISCORD: Fix potential crash when username is empty and discord is disabled.
– DISCORD: Ask to join support for Linux.
– INPUT/ANDROID: Add “Input Block Timeout” option.
– COMMON: For platforms without HAVE_THREADS, don’t automatically resume content when saving/loading states
– COMMON: Make playlist sorting optional and consistent.
– COMMON: Fix sorting of playlists with blank labels.
– COMMON: Fix content scanner creating false positive playlist entries that also have wrong label and crc32.
– COMMON: Add some MMX-optimized pixel conversion routines.
– COMMON: Fix typo preventing some SSE2-optimized pixel conversions from being used.
– COMMON: Add option to track how long content has been running over time.
– COMMON: Fix buffer overflows in system information.
– COMMON: Add option to change screen orientation via the windowing system (Android, Windows, X11).
– COMMON: Show CPU model name in log.
– COMMON: Add “Help -> Send Debug Info” option (and F10 hotkey) to send diagnostic info to the RetroArch team for help with problems.
– COMMON: Show GPU device name/version in log.
– COMMON: Add menu option to write log info to a file.
– COMMON: Add subsystem support for playlists. Subsystem info is automatically saved to the history playlist for easy relaunching.
– GL: Add new “gl1” OpenGL 1.1 compliant video driver for legacy GPUs and software renderers
– GL: Add a new “glcore” driver with slang support (requires GL 3.2+ or GLES3).
– GL: Draw OSD on top of overlay.
– GONG: Add savestate support.
– GONG: Add video refresh rate core options.
– GONG: Two player support via core option.
– GUI: Fix text alignment when using stb_unicode.
– GUI: Fix text display issues when using Japanese (and other unicode-dependent language) text with stb_unicode.
– GUI: Set language on first startup to the user’s preferred OS language (Windows, *nix and Android).
– INPUT: Add (scaled radial) analog deadzone and sensitivity options.
– LIBRETRO: Add Turkish language support.
– LIBRETRO: Allow non-accelerated video to rotate the display.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Chinese (Simplified) translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Chinese (Traditional) translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Dutch translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update French translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update German translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Japanese translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Polish translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Russian translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Update Spanish translation.
– LOCALIZATION: Add new Turkish translation.
– MIDI: Fix startup crash in midi driver.
– MENU: Bugfix – you can no longer get stuck in Online Updater -> Update Core screen when toggling between ingame and menu.
– MENU: Selectively hide ‘Take Screenshot’ for video drivers that don’t support taking screenshots.
– MENU: Framerate independent menu rendering. MaterialUI/Ozone/XMB/RGUI can now run at higher framerates.
– MENU: Thumbnails work in history list.
– MENU: Menu widgets.
– MENU: Add memory statistics support to more context drivers.
– MENU: Enable ozone driver for UWP builds.
– MENU: Add optional “looping” menu text ticker with configurable speed.
– MENU: Fix core video rendering when using ozone with GL cores that implement the scissor test.
– MENU: Add optional playlist sublabels (associated core + play time, where available).
– MENU: Dropdown list settings now apply immediately.
– MENU: Add setting to require pressing the “Exit RetroArch” hotkey twice to confirm.
– MENU: Now able to run at higher refresh rates than 60Hz.
– MENU: Enable “Add to Favorites” without loading a core.
– MENU: Allow core name to be hidden on history/favorites playlists.
– MENU: Populate crc32 and db_name fields when adding history/favourites playlist entries.
– MENU: Fix TTF files not showing in OSD/menu font selection screen.
– MENU: Fix audio/video filters not showing in file browser.
– MENU/MaterialUI: Add subsystem support.
– MENU/MaterialUI: Add currently selected entry in dropdown menus.
– MENU/OZONE: Add mouse support on entries (no sidebar yet).
– MENU/OZONE: Allow collapsing the sidebar.
– MENU/OZONE: Add thumbnail support.
– MENU/OZONE: Battery notifications.
– MENU/OZONE: Add wifi icon for network entries.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add git version and build date to Help->About window.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Fix content loading via the file browser.
– MENU/QT/WIMP: Add new settings window to control all RetroArch settings.
– MENU/RGUI: Improve playlist titles.
– MENU/RGUI: Add option to hide associated cores in playlists.
– MENU/RGUI: Add internal upscaling option.
– MENU/RGUI: Add subsystem support.
– MENU/RGUI: Add menu sublabel support.
– MENU/RGUI: Re-enable “Load Core” option when content is loaded.
– MENU/RGUI: Add optional “Collections” entry to main menu.
– MENU/RGUI: Add “Lock Menu Aspect Ratio” option.
– MENU/RGUI: Add “full width” layout option.
– MENU/RGUI: Ensure menu color theme is applied immediately.
– MENU/RGUI: Fix “Lock Menu Aspect Ratio” option when using custom viewports.
– MENU/RGUI: Add widescreen support.
– MENU/RGUI: Allow text to be centred when selecting widescreen layouts.
– MENU/RGUI: Add inline playlist thumbnail support.
– MENU/RGUI: Add optional shadow effects.
– MENU/RGUI: Performance optimizations.
– MENU/RGUI: Add optional extended ASCII support.
– MENU/RGUI: Add optional delay when loading thumbnails.
– MENU/RGUI: Add on-screen keyboard.
– MENU/RGUI: Battery notifications.
– MENU/XMB: Prevent crashes when resizing to a tiny window.
– MENU/XMB: XMB honors the ‘show menu sublabels’ setting now – was previously RGUI only
– NETPLAY: Fix stall-out causing total disconnection with >2 players.
– NETPLAY: Different (more intuitive?) default netplay share policy.
– NETPLAY: Add hotkey option to toggle hosting on/off.
– NETWORKING: Encode URLs to allow for spaces in directory names.
– OSX: Prevent crash on exit.
– OSX: Metal is now the default video driver for the RetroArch Metal build.
– OSX: Enable CoreAudio v3 driver for Metal.
– OSX/MACOS/IOS: Now uses the STB Unicode font driver.
– PS2: CDFS support.
– PS2: Implemented analog support for ps2 controllers.
– PS2: Fix audio freeze after restarting core.
– PS2: Fix issues with load state and the font driver.
– PS2: File I/O now works for USB and network host.
– PS2: Support cores with extra padding in their frame buffers.
– SCANNER: New option ‘Scan without core match’. When this is enabled,
supported extensions by all installed cores are not checked, and instead
it will add all content it finds to a playlist. This way, you can install the core you need later on after scanning. Not enabled by default.
– SHADERS: Don’t alphabetize shader presets.
– SWITCH: Add rumble support.
– SWITCH: Add USB keyboard support.
– VITA: Add bluetooth mouse and keyboard support.
– VULKAN: Fix color issues with RGBA8888 swapchains in readback (screenshots).
– WII: Don’t init overlay when RAM is beyond 72MB.
– WII: Skip CRC calculation on content load, can improve load times of larger games by several seconds.
– WINDOWS: Fall back to gl1 driver if accelerated GPU driver is unavailable.
– WINDOWS: Allow winraw and xinput to work without dinput (needed for WinRT).
– WINDOWS: Add MSVC2017 ARM desktop support.
– UWP: Fix rewind by opting for slower codepath.
– UWP: Fix relative path name issues when loading shaders.
– UWP: Optimizations for VFS system.


You will also be interested:

Retroarch & PPSSPP in Xbox One/Series Retail Mode Free (Normally Requires $20 Dev Subscription and Console in Dev Mode)

Xbox One consoles can play from NES up to PS1 games.

Xbox Series consoles can play from NES up to DreamCast, GameCube/Wii and limited PS2.

PPSSPP is for playing PSP games.

Basically you're making Xbox a RetroPie killer for free.


  1. Complete this form
  2. Check the announcements Discord room here to see when the next batch of Xbox accounts have been whitelisted (he generally does it every morning AU time).
  3. One your account is whitelisted, go to this link using Edge on the Xbox. and click on each to install the apps.
  4. Use the FTP app to copy over the required BIOS files and Roms (obviously these can't be linked to here and you should legally own these to do so).


Please give a massive thanks to the people doing this in the Discord #general room. This would be a lot of work for them to be whitelisting all the people.


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