Batocera: the operating system for retrogaming

Batocera logo

There are more and more fans of retrogaming, that is, all those retro or classic video game titles that never go out of style. That’s why there are also more and more developers creating projects to meet the needs of these passionate users. An example of these projects is precisely Batocera, the operating system that I will present in this article.

In other articles we have already commented on this interesting topic, such as the best emulators for the Raspberry Pi board to create your cheap gaming machine, or some other devices and components that you can use as drivers (joysticks) or controllers for this type of arcade machines typical of the arcade machines of the 80s and 90s. If you are interested in the subject, I invite you to continue reading this and those other articles to learn more…


What is Batocera?

Well, as I said, it’s an operating system. The Batocera project has implemented a complete OS using Linux as a base, as many other similar projects. Therefore, it is a free and open source project.

This project is specialized in retrogaming, and is available for free for your PC or Raspberry Pi board, as well as other SBC boards like Odroid, etc. In case you have a PC, you can use a LiveUSB so you don’t have to alter the current partitions or operating system. That is, you simply use the Batocera pendrive to boot it and nothing needs to be installed.

You can even install it on old computers with 32-bit x86 chips, as well as on the Intel NUC, on an Apple Mac, and even on the Android box as the Amlogic.

Get Batocera.linux

SD USB

To get Batocera, you can download it for free from the project website. In addition, from there you will also have a large community available to help, as well as documentation to assist you in case you have questions.

If you want to use it for SBC, like ‘Raspberry Pi’, just download the compressed package with the operating system image, unzip it, and then use that image to burn it to the SD card that you will then boot from your board. For more information, you can see the NOOBS article in the Install NOOBS section and follow those same steps for Batocera.

Another option if you want to create a Batocera ready SD card for your Pi, is to use the famous project Etcher we already talked about in HwLibre. You can see all the information, and the steps to follow in the article we published .

If you want to create a USB for a PC, then you should follow the same steps as for creating a bootable pendrive with another operating system. You can do this with a lot of tools by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Batocera package.
  2. Unzip the downloaded file to extract the OS IMG image.
  3. Now install and run some of the apps chosen for the process. You can choose one of the many existing ones, such as UNetbootin (Windows, Linux, macOS), Rufus (Windows, Linux), Yumi (Windows, Linux), Etcher (Windows, macOS, Linux), etc.
  4. Use this app to select the pendrive inserted in the PC where you want to install the system and the Batocera image to install.
  5. Follow the program’s wizard and you’re done.
  6. Now you can restart the computer, insert the pendrive.
  7. Enter the BIOS/UEFI to change the boot priority and set the USB as primary. Exit and save the changes.
  8. You should now boot with Batocera instead of your usual OS.
  9. You can use it and do what you want with it. And to get back to your usual OS you just need to reboot and remove the USB to make it boot again with your system .

Once you start, from the Batocera menu (press the Space key) you can enter the configuration for changing the language to Spanish and everything will be more intuitive.

Compatibility

retro gaming emulators

If you wonder about the retro game compatibility that Batocera accepts, the truth is that it has enough libraries so that you can play a huge amount of platform games that were mythical at their time in history. So you can play a huge amount of titles.

For more information, you can see this list of some of the compatible platforms:

  • Nintendo 3DS, Game Boy, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, 64, DS, Entertainment System, SNES, Wii
  • Amiga
  • Amstrad CPC, GX4000
  • Apple II
  • Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, 800, ST, Jaguar, Lynx
  • Commodore 64
  • MS-DOS
  • Sega Dreamcast, Master System, Megadrive, Naomi, Saturn, 32x, CD, SG1000
  • MAME
  • Neo-Geo, CD, Pocket, Pocket Color
  • Sony PlayStation 1, PS2, PSP
  • ZX81
  • ZXSpectrum
  • etc.

For more information – Batocera compatibility

Adding video games to Batocera

If you want to add video games to Batocera, you can follow these simple steps to add the titles you want to play, if they are compatible with the platforms mentioned above.

The first thing is to find a website where you can download the games you want. There are many old ROMs offered on webs, even on Internet Archive you can find some old ones. Once you have the ROM, the steps to add it to your Batocera are also simple, but you can do it in several ways.

  1. One of the simplest is the following:We carry Batocera in our equipment.
  2. Press the Space key and go to the System Config menu
  3. Now go to Storage Device.
  4. Select the hard disk of your host computer there, if you are doing it from the PC. Otherwise, you should use other options to pass the ROMs through a network shared disk, etc.
  5. The hard drive is where you would have to download the ROMs of the games you want.
  6. Now press Back, and then reboot the system.
  7. Now there should be a folder called “recalbox” on the hard drive. That’s where you can scrape, copy BIOS, ROMs, etc. Simply copy the files from the uncompressed ROMs to this folder from your usual operating system.
  8. Once you have them, reboot the system and boot from the USB with Batocera. And you should be able to play the game loaded.

As you can see it’s similar to how you would do ‘Strong’ for Recalbox, and the reason is that Batocera is based on this…

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