Almost a year ago Wolfanoz released a beasty 1tb SSD Raspberry Pi 4 build “Retromania” and without a doubt it was one of the best images to date, then Wolfanoz did some real life stuff and suddenly popped up with a game changing Raspberry Pi 4 Recalbox image at 512gb suitable for Micro SD or SSD…
FROM THE AUTHOR:
Been away for some time for good reason since the 1TB image. A big move, new job, and finally had time over the past few months with some time to play with something new.
Recalbox is fantastic and I tip my cap to their team on it. It feels more responsive than Retropie itself (in regards to its use of Emulationstation). Which, for the higher end emulated systems, I’d still recommend it if you have a proper case with cooling solution. This image is at a standard 1800MHz overclock. If you try for 2000, it’s a must to have a cooling solution. If you don’t want the overclock, you can switch it back to none very easily via the start menu and advanced system settings.
Why download this image you may ask? What’s different than previous efforts?
-17,000+ games, 60+ systems solid. It has everything you’re looking for all in one place up to Naomi, Atomiswave, Dreamcast, PSX and PSP. Arcade sets are further refined with each image and this ones no exception. Most of your games that are adult in nature, mahjong, slots, etc have been filtered out by hand. You can turn these on under the settings with the start button if you like (turn hidden off). (Some do like all of these but I tend to think of the children having them myself at least on the adult front.) The best of the best in regards to CD Media platform games are here. You can compile all the arcade systems into one group by hitting start -> advanced system settings -> enabling arcade virtual system. This also allows you to place the icon in the menus where you want it. I left them seperate to show they’re there but this is definitely convenient to have everything arcade (atomiswave, neo geo, fb neo, mame, etc) all in one place. The logo next to the game will show you what system the arcade game resides in as well.
-N64 and PSP both run well with some tweaking I performed on a configuration level specifically to the Pi (settings under the hood are generally set to PC, which is understandable as that’s where the emulators originated, but doesn’t help things on an SBC level obviously). That’s without an overclock.
-All of what you’re looking for is integrated into the menus. No having to go to the command prompt for much of anything or any blue screens for configuration. Want the sound for the music off? Configure it to just play video sounds with a simple change. Want shaders with your games? Configure the category to run with one of a ton of shaders included. Want that 2000MHz overclock (if you’re brave)? Quick change it in system settings, and reboot.
A Few Pros:
-The feel of the ES interface is much snappier here. The presentation of the screen snaps / images is much better, I feel. It tells you to press start if you’d like to play the game you’re seeing during the screen saver. Not that you don’t have that with Retropie but it’s just the screensaver with it stating what game it is. It looks much nicer here, you’ll see for yourself.
-You can launch Kodi from the main menu by pressing start and selecting it. How cool is that?
-Recalbox supports the Retroflag Pi 4 case right out of the box. Was pleasanly surprised!
-If you have a specific system you’re using this on, you can go into UI settings and configure it to use the proper icons for what system you’re on (Standard = Pi, Xbox 360, Arcade, etc) that shows up at the bottom of the screen.
-You can also can attach an external drive with roms and activate it via the system as follows:
1.) Format external drive to FAT32 first on your PC. Plug it into your Pi.
2.) Boot RecalBox.
3.) In the System Options tell RecalBox to use the new drive as storage.
4.) Reboot the RecalBox to allow it to setup the disk.
5.) Turn off the RecalBox & unplug your disk.
6.) Plug disc into computer & copy your roms into the appropriate folders.
7.) Plug disk back into RecalBox, Turn on RecalBox. Enjoy
-Controllers are simple to set up. You’ll need a keyboard first to set up your Bluetooth controller. With my SN30 Pro V2, I had to hold start and B at the same time to start the controller after pairing it (with the help of a keyboard) and setting the controls.
-Optimization of the platform is definitely noticable compared to Retropie and performance for some of the slower games. Some N64 games still don’t run great (Crusin’ USA is about is good as it’s going to get here, for instance) but that’s more the hardware limitations than anything.
-The arcade sets work the best I feel from previous personal efforts (other than the 32GB Pi3 image which is where most of this got started). FB Neo (formerly FB Alpha) is nice in that most of the configurations are done (with some here and there fixes for dial games). You can change the configuration per game in the Retroarch menu for it if you don’t like it. (Make sure to save it per game.) Whatever that FB Neo didn’t have game-wise, I put in the MAME section. FBNeo sets don’t include Atari arcade games much and some of the Nintendo library, that’s all been added. Also includes different versions of games (the Japanese Robocop 2 has an alternate beginning where you fight ED-209 and Dick Jones cutscene). The Killer Instinct games are there as well but you’ll need a bit of an overclock for those to run as best as possible on the Pi. (Again, make sure there’s a good cooling solution! Not liable for your Pi bricking if you overclock without it).
– Most of the computer based platforms have a virtual keyboard to use with a controller press but I would recommend using an actual keyboard, if possible. You can escape with the usual Start + Select on your controller. The Atari 800 (8-Bit) platform has a best of selection that I compiled compared to the 5000+ games with about 500+ “best of” games. I had this computer when I was young so it’s close to me. (It’s basically the Atari 5200 if you’re unaware. The computer had a cartridge slot in the top to play 2600 and 5200 games other than from floppy disc. Was awesome!)
A Few Cons (I know… I know…)
– To be honest, Saturn runs best on PC even though I included it with my 1TB image previously (was more of a test run). Most of the themes with Recalbox don’t seem to have it included probably for that reason.
As time goes on, it will most likely get better with newer iterations of Pi hardware. (And I LOVE Burning Rangers and Die Hard Arcade. Most 3D games a you know run like crap right now due to limitations of the Pi. There are some 2D platform games that run ok but not quite like PC.) That goes for Atari Jaguar too unfortunately (and sadly) as that’s due to a need in emulation improvement there optimized for SBC’s.
– Arcade is split up into FBNeo, MAME categories. While some don’t mind, some like to have it all in one place. I kind of like that too but it is easier to add / piece together sets this way as well.
– No seperate console sections for PCEngine vs TG-16, for example. MegaDrive is there without being able to change to Genesis (for you fellow US folks). I’m sure this will be changed eventualy but was sort of disappointed. For that reason, all of those games are in one place. (Super Nintendo vs. Super Famicom as well, It’s all in the Super Nintendo folder.) I noticed the theme layouts don’t include them either which means they won’t show up properly.
– Amiga 1200 games take a little bit longer to load a game as usual. That hasn’t changed much. But they do load and still look amazing to this day.
– The Bezel Project is being updated at some point to work with Recalbox, I believe. I put a word in with the team. I put in generic bezels for now (which actually look awesome anyway). If you don’t want bezels, you can go to the /recalbox/share/overlays folder and delete everything via Putty, WinSCP or Fliezilla.
I know some will ask, the login is root and password is recalboxroot. (That’s by default) There’s about 50GB of space left on the card after expanding (may reboot once). As I tell most, I prefer anything Samsung or Sandisk. Never had an issue.
**IMPORTANT** – If you want to add this to a larger microSD card / hard drive, you can use DiskGenius on Windows to extend it. There’s a video by TheMiniCake that’s in French (turn on English captions unless you’re French or understand it) but you can see what he does following the steps (Solution 2, not 1, 1 involves formatting but you can do it that way too). Fairly simple. Just expand / drag the share folder of the imaged microSD / drive to it’s max in the GUI. As this is not RaspberryOS, it doesn’t have an expand feature built into it. Yet.
DiskGenius Download- https://www.diskgenius.com/
Anyway, have fun! Will be waiting for a Pi 5 (or whatever it’s called next) in having done a few of these now for the Pi 4. Not one to just pump out images as I usually start from the ground up when I make each one. Just figured I’d try a different platform for it and I personally feel this turned out great. See for yourself!
In return, please do me (and other image creators) a huge favor. If you see this or other images being sold anywhere, report the seller to whatever service to where they’re selling it. We didn’t get into all this for money but for the love of everything retro and the nostalgia from it in regards to the work performed. Some sadly think it’s just ROM dumping. I can tell you definitively there’s a lot more to that to get it playing and looking right if you’ve tried to make your own image vs. using a premade one no matter who it is. I can verify it’s definite work but worth it.
Take care and God bless!