How to turn your PC into a retro gaming machine

Retro gaming PC

If you’re tired of the latest triple-A gaming titles and long to relive the gaming experiences of the old days, or if you just want to run games on a low-end computer, we can show you how to turn your PC into a retro gaming machine.

The great thing about classic games is that most of them are entirely free, so once you have your emulator fired up, there are thousands of free games to enjoy on your new retro gaming station.

Let’s get started with the basics of emulation and retro gaming setup.


Running classic console games on your computer is possible thanks to the magic of emulation.

Emulation software allows you to create a virtual console on your computer, allowing you to experience your favourite classic games exactly as they appeared on your actual console years ago.

Although emulation requires more processing power than would be delivered by the actual console being simulated, modern computers can quite easily emulate most classic platforms.

Even mini-computers such as the Raspberry Pi can be used to run various emulators.


If you want to experience a wide variety of classic games on a number of virtual consoles without the hassle of manually installing and setting up specific emulators, you can use RetroArch to manage and run all your retro games.

RetroArch provides users with an easy-to-use, powerful emulation platform that can controls your emulators and games, allowing you to pick and choose what game you wish to play along with the virtual console you want to play it on.

The software offers a wide variety of customisation options and performance settings, and can seem quite complicated at first. However, RetroArch allows gamers to customise their emulated games and optimise their experience.

Check out the quick setup guide for RetroArch here.


There are a large number of emulators available for a variety of operating systems, with RetroArch being compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac, and others.

System requirements vary depending on the emulator being run and game being emulated. While most modern computers (even mini-computers) will be able to easily run classic console titles, more modern (or badly optimised) games may require a bit more computing power to deliver a playable experience.

It is recommended that you use a controller with your emulation software, although you needn’t search for an ancient SNES controller – an Xbox 360 controller will suffice.

RetroArch natively supports all XInput controllers along with a selection of DirectInput gamepads, allowing you to easily set up a control system.

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