When it comes to a retro gaming experience, there is nothing quite like RetroPie out there.
With countless ways for you to enjoy your favorite video games, from console originals to arcade classics, it’s no wonder that it has gone on to be one of the most popular pieces of software for both Raspberry Pi computers and even your PCs!
One of the main features that have contributed to the platform’s success is the sheer amount of customizability, from the splash screen that boots up when you open your software, to, as we are discussing in this article, the themes that you can have with your RetroPie.
In this article, we are going to show you some of the best themes that you’ll find out there, as well as how you can download them to your RetroPie program (see also ‘How To Turn Off RetroPie‘).
How To Download & Install Themes For RetroPie
Before we start showing you some of the fanciest themes that you can have on your emulator software of choice, you’re probably going to want to know how to do it in the first place.
If you want to install any of the following themes for yourself, you’ll need to follow the following steps:
- First, you will need to open RetroPie Setup (see also ‘How To Update RetroPie‘). Make sure you have the latest version of RetroPie
- You can do this on your Raspberry Pi by typing ~/RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh into sudo, then pressing Enter.
- From the RetroPie setup menu, you can now scroll down until you find the option titled ‘esthemes – Install themes for Emulation Station’.
- From this next page, you’ll have the entire RetroPie theme gallery to choose to install from.
- Keep in mind that a theme will need to come up as (installed) in the menu for it to be set as your theme.
- Once you have downloaded your theme of choice, you can then reboot the system, and go back to your home screen.
- From here, you then choose UI Settings and pick the option that allows you to select from the themes that you have downloaded to be your default theme.
- This tab will appear as Theme Set.
And that’s it! You now have a shiny new custom theme for your RetroPie game emulator set up!
However, you’re going to need some great themes in the first place to choose from!
With that in mind, here is our selection of the best RetroPie themes that you can find out there right now!
1.) Famicom Mini
Ah, where would we be without the Famicom home system?
Probably better known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (see also ‘How To Patch An SNES ROM‘), this particular theme for your RetroPie is appropriately old-school, especially with the heavily pixelated look this theme has going for it.
The pixel look isn’t just great for hitting you in the nostalgia, either. The straight and clean aesthetics means that the UI is also very easy to read too (aside from some pixelated text).
If you’re looking for a classic-feeling gaming experience, the Famicom Mini theme does just that!
However, if you’re going for the opposite kind of look from the old Famicom, and want something a little more minimalistic, then you may want to check up on this TFT theme for RetroPie.
This theme is about as minimalist as you can get when it comes to RetroPie themes, with the white, clean line art and wording popping against a dark background.
This is the perfect screen to go with your Raspberry pi setup, especially if you are using a smaller display setup that would emulate old-school arcade screens, where the image isn’t stretched and distorted beyond its original intent, something that line art like this can suffer from otherwise.
3.) Magazine Madness
Now, if you want something that feels unlike any other kind of game console screen you’ve ever experienced on your monitor or TV screen, then Magazine Madness is an absolute delight to use as your home theme of choice.
Each console emulator and catalog is formatted to look like… well, a catalog!
With each console looking like its own pristine magazine cover, selecting your emulator of choice lets you see all of your downloaded games for that console, each game packed neatly onto a game of this digital magazine setup.
Clear to view, and very visually appealing, we have to give props to the creator of this theme.
They outfit themselves here!
However, as gorgeous as a pristine magazine cover for a theme is, we do love ourselves a little retro-tech aesthetic (in case the Famicom theme wasn’t clear enough).
So, if you’re looking for an old-school theme for your RetroPie, the Workbench theme is a great option.
The interface is cleanly designed to emulate old-school PC setups and older consoles, and looks just like a classic Amiga Workbench too, as the name suggests.
Perfect if that was your home desktop setup of choice!
5.) Vertical Arcade
When it comes to old arcade machine setups, we have a soft spot for the more recent machines that pack lots of old classics into one box.
More specifically, we have a love for the vertical layout that they often used to showcase their library.
And now, with this particular theme in your library, you can imitate that same setup for yourself!
With a unique logo for each option too, the UI isn’t just clear to see, but a visual treat too!
Similar to the Magazine Madness option that we covered, this theme is a great option for those people who love the aesthetic of old, physical copies of games.
More specifically, Retrorama emulates that old comic-book look that old paperback comics used to have up until the 1980s.
Plus, the comic cover opens to reveal your game’s library for each option once selected, with a summary on the left, and your game options on the right.
7.) Stranger Stuff
For such an iconic show set at the height of the arcade game era, it’s no surprise that there’s a Stranger Things-inspired theme for RetroPie too!
So, as you can see, setting up your theme for RetroPie is super easy.
The only difficult option is picking just one of these for your home screen!
If you want to check out a few more awesome RetroPie themes, click play on the video below!