ROMs, Playlists, and Thumbnails
Storing game ROMs
Game ROMs should be placed within the
roms folder as configured in RetroArch. It is recommanded to keep ROMs zipped, except for CD images. The preferred format for CD images is BIN+CUE, except for PSP games which have a preferred format of ISO.
Many users sort their ROMs into subfolders named after the system which the ROMs belong to. This results in hierarchy such as:
roms/ Atari - 2600/ Game 1.zip Game 2.zip Game 3.zip Sega - 32X/ Game 1.zip Game 2.zip etc. etc.
You are free to organize your ROMs as you prefer.
Playlists, or Collections, are the lists of games that can be generated automatically by the RetroArch playlist scanner, generated by a third-party playlist utility or script, or edited by hand in a text editor.
RetroArch Playlist Scanner
RetroArch incoporates a ROM scanning system to automatically produce playlists. Each ROM that is scanned by the playlist generator is checked against a database of ROMs that are known to be good copies.
Designating which core to use
Generally speaking, RetroARch will detect and use the correct core for use with the ROMs that are used as part of a playlist. Under some circumstances, it may be useful to manually set a particular core for one of its playlists. This can be accomplished within the Playlists submenu in the RetroArch settings.
Generally, RetroArch's scanner is configured for ROMs that have been validated by No-Intro or Redump DAT files but many other source databases are also in use.
|The 3DO Company - 3DO||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|Atari - 2600||No-Intro|
|Atari - 7800||No-Intro|
|Atari - Jaguar||No-Intro|
|Atari - Lynx||No-Intro|
|Bandai - WonderSwan||No-Intro|
|Bandai - WonderSwan Color||No-Intro|
|Cave Story||CaveStory.org (English or Japanese)|
|DOS||Total DOS Collection||libretro-database-dos|
|FB Alpha - Arcade Games||FB Alpha v0.2.97.42|
|GCE - Vectrex||No-Intro|
|Id Software - Doom||Unknown|
|Magnavox - Odyssey2||No-Intro|
|MAME||MAME 0.37b5, 0.78, 0.139, 0.159|
|Microsoft - MSX||No-Intro|
|Microsoft - MSX 2||No-Intro|
|NEC - PC Engine CD - TurboGrafx-CD||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|NEC - PC Engine - TurboGrafx 16||No-Intro|
|NEC - SuperGrafx||No-Intro|
|NEC - PC-FX||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|Nintendo - Famicom Disk System||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Nintendo DS||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Game Boy||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Game Boy Advance||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Game Boy Color||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Nintendo 64||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Nintendo Entertainment System||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Super Nintendo Entertainment System||No-Intro|
|Nintendo - Virtual Boy||No-Intro|
|Phillips - Videopac+||No-Intro|
|ScummVM||Gruby's ScummVM Adventure Pack||libretro-database-scummvm|
|Sega - 32X||No-Intro|
|Sega - Dreamcast||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|Sega - Game Gear||No-Intro|
|Sega - Master System - Mark III||No-Intro|
|Sega - Mega Drive - Genesis||No-Intro|
|Sega - Mega CD - Sega CD||Redump||libretro-dats|
|Sega - Saturn||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|Sega - SG-1000||No-Intro|
|Sony - PlayStation||Redump > Trurip > TOSEC||libretro-dats|
|Sony - PlayStation Portable||No-Intro||libretro-database-dos|
|SNK - Neo Geo Pocket||No-Intro|
|SNK - Neo Geo Pocket Color||No-Intro|
|SNK - Neo Geo CD||Redump||libretro-dats|
Playlist file format
Each playlist is a plain text file with an extension of
Each entry in a playlist must be composed of 6 lines:
/storage/roms/n64/Legend of Zelda, The - Ocarina of Time (USA).n64 Legend of Zelda, The - Ocarina of Time (USA) /tmp/cores/mupen64plus_libretro.so Nintendo 64 (Mupen64Plus) EC95702D|crc Nintendo - Nintendo 64.lpl
- The path to the ROM. This can either be an 'absolute' path or a path relative to the current working directory.
- The display name (you can use any name here)
- The path to the core, this libretro core will be used to launch the ROM. You can use the word DETECT in place of the core path here. Once this is done you can set the core to be used for this playlist via the RetroArch GUI.
- The displayname of the core, not really useful, we keep it there because the history list is also using this format
- Link to the database entry. The fact that there is a CRC value here means that this playlist entry was originally created by the playlist scanner. In some other cases it is done by serial number. You can omit a link to the database for a manualy created playlist entry by using the word DETECT here instead.
- The name of this playlist, ending in the extension .lpl
Note: the paths used in this example will be different from system to system. This example uses Unix-style forward slashes
/ in the paths, as with Linux, OS X, and Android systems. Windows users should use backslashes
RetroArch can display three types of thumbnails for games in playlists:
- In-game snapshots
- Title screen snapshots
RetroArch Thumbnail packs
RetroArch provides packs of thumbnails suitable for use with many emulated systems. These thumbnail packs are recommended for most users and can be installed connecting to the internet and using the built-in thumbnails updater, available from the online update menu within the RetroArch settings interface.
Users who wish to use their own thumbnails can do so by naming PNG image files according to the RetroArch naming convention.
The thumbnail file should exactly match the game's title as listed in the playlist with an important exception. The following characters in playlist titles must be replaced with _ in the corresponding thumbnail filename:
Thumbnails should be in the RetroArch Thumbnails directory within a subfolder named exactly the same as the playlist, except without
.lpl at the end. Within this folder, place the correctly-named Thumbnail within a subfolder named either
Named_Titles as appropriate for boxart/cover art, in-game snapshots, and title screens, respectively.
Changing Thumbnail type
Regardless of whether you download the RetroArch thumbnail packs or use your own custom thumbnails, you can use the RetroArch GUI to set which type of thumbnail to display. In order to change this setting, go to
Menu Settings, and change the
Thumbnails option to reflect the type of thumbnail you wish to display.