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How to play video games on KODI using Retroplayer

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KODI is a cross-platform Open-Source multimedia center full of super useful tools. Not only can we watch TV through IPTV services or watch movies online for free legally. From version 18 (Leia) KODI also allows you to play video games, thanks to a new feature called Retroplayer.

From there, we can install various emulators of all kinds of classic consoles and play by using ROMs. We can also configure gamepads, so if we use KODI from an Android TV Box we can play some good games from the comfort of our sofa. Let’s see how it works!

Upgrade KODI to version 18 or higher.

As we mentioned at the beginning, Retroplayer was incorporated into version 18 of KODI. First of all, if we have not used the application for a long time, keep in mind that we will have to update it to the latest version.

If we still do not have KODI on our computer, mobile phone or TV Box we can download it from the official website of KODI.

How to install emulators?

The first step to play retro games on KODI is to install an emulator. In the official KODI repository, we find a lot of emulators of classic systems such as Sega Megadrive, NES, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, PlayStation, Atari, MAME, Dreamcast, Nintendo DS, and many others.

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We can find the entire list of emulators and install the ones that interest us most from “Settings (gear icon) -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> Game add-ons -> Emulators“. In our case, we are going to install Quick NES, an emulator for the classic 8-bit Nintendo.

How to set up the gamepad

Some emulators only work with one controller or controller. Others, on the contrary, allow us to use mouse and keyboard in the purest old-school style. If we have a compatible gamepad -if possible, wireless- we can complete the experience in the best possible way (it is clear that with a controller the thing improves, and a lot).

To configure the gamepad we go to “Settings -> System -> Input -> Configure attached controllers“. Here we will find 3 types of controllers: the Xbox, NES, and Super NES. Click on the profile that interests us and follow the configuration indications that we will see on the screen, where we must press all the buttons one by one.

When we have all the controls configured, press OK to save the changes.

How to download ROMs on KODI?

ROMs are the digital copies of the games we send to the emulator for you to read. And the truth is that there is a lot of controversy and confusion about the legality of ROMs. Are they legal? Well… yes and no.

Emulators, on the other hand, do not use any proprietary code which means that they are completely legal. But with ROMs it’s different. As a general rule, we should only download ROMs that do not have copyright,or as a method to safeguard copies of physical games that we have purchased.

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Downloading the ROM of a game that we do not own may be illegal. But if we already own a physical copy, the use of ROMs can be considered fair use.

Alternatively, we can also “rip” our own ROMs using a device like Retrode, thanks to which we can extract the contents of our cartridge and download it to a PC via a USB connection.

In any case, you can find a lot of public domain games on PDRoms or in this KODI forum thread. For the example of this tutorial, we have downloaded a homemade “homebrew” game called D+Pad Hero. It is a music video game like Guitar Hero for the classic NES, and the truth is that it is quite accomplished.

How to install a ROM in KODI?

Now that we have the ROM downloaded, we only have to load it into the emulator. To do this, we open the main menu of KODI and go to “Games -> Add games“. Click on“Browse”and select the folder where we have saved the ROM. We confirm by selecting “OK“.

Next, we open the folder that we have just selected and enter until loading the game file. In this case, being an NES game, the file we need to open will have an extension “. NES.”

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Then we will see a pop-up window where we will select the emulator that we have just installed.

Finally, we will see a message indicating that this game only works with gamepads and that we press a combination of buttons (select + X) to start playing.

With this we will have the game running and working. From here, we just have to repeat this same process with other emulators and games to expand our retro library and manage it centrally from KODI.

Looking for games? Connect RetroPlayer with the Internet Archive retro library.

Although all this is really cool, we can still go one step further. If we don’t have any ROMs for our favorite systems or directly want to play without downloading anything,we should definitely take a look at the Internet Archive.

Internet Archive is one of the best and most extensive digital libraries on the planet where in addition to movies, music, historical magazines and all kinds of multimedia material, we also find classic video games. Titles from Amiga, MS-DOS, PC, NES, NeoGeo and many other systems, which we can play directly from the browser.

Luckily there is an add-on for KODI called Internet Archive Game Launcher that allows us to access all that catalog of games from KODI without having to complicate our lives. A wonder with which we can enlarge our library of games available for KODI without having to download any ROM on our device.


Shubham is a prolific writer who has contributed many detailed tutorials for A tech enthusiast and avid Apple fan, Shubham has shared his knowledgeable work with other many popular tech sites like Business Magazine, Thrive Global etc.

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