What size SD Card do I need for Retro Gaming ?


That’s a very open question – it depends mainly on how many systems you want to emulate and how many games per system you want.

The good news is that the older the system is you want to emulate the less space it will take up. For example – the popular Atari 2600 console from the late 70’s and early 80’s has many games for it, but those games are typically only 4k and 8k in size each – so they take up very little room. A full set of over 700 Atari 2600 games takes up just over 4MB in size.

As you start to go into the later consoles and computers such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with over 700 games you will be looking at around 1GB of data. The Commodore Amiga, with a full set will take up almost 4GB of Storage Space.

What takes up the most space is the arcade games – running on MAME (Multi Machine Arcade Emulator). A full MAME set (tens of thousands of games) can be over 400GB in size but you probably don’t want to be running all of those games on your Raspberry Pi. A typical MAME set for the Raspberry Pi will be around 8GB – 10GB – all dependent on what type of games you like.

To answer the initial question – I would say a 16GB SD card would be a minimum. You will find that once you start playing around with Retro Gaming you will want more and more so you’ll be continually downloading games from the internet and putting them on your Raspberry Pi.

And don’t forget if you want to download artwork, metadata and videos for all your games so they look pretty and have detailed information about each game in the emulation interface this will also take up lots of room – especially if you have lots of games.

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