One of my first Raspberry Pi projects, and one that I’m particularly fond of as an avid gamer, was installing RetroPie for old school gaming purposes. The Nintendo 64 being a favorite console of mine, I was brimming with excitement to play several N64 titles. Much to my dismay, N64 ROMs, I soon discovered, exhibited haphazard performance at best. Lag, video, audio, and often both, black screens, you name it, I encountered it.

A quick Google search revealed that well, I’m not exactly the only individual experiencing such issues. There’s unfortunately no singular solution, but a simple workaround alleviated a bit of frustration: installing additional emulators, and switching back and forth using the Runcommand Launch.

First, I exited EmulationStation by hitting F4, and proceeded to input the following command line prompt:

cd RetroPie-Setup 
sudo ./retropie_setup.sh

and select “Install individual emulators from binary or source.” I strongly suggest binaries-based installation, as it’s a much shorter install time compared to source-based.

Raspberry_Pi_N64_Perf1

Alternately, if you’d rather just navigate through the EmulationStation frontend:

RetroPie > RetroPie-Setup > Install individual emulators from binary or source.

Raspberry_Pi_N64_Perf2

Go ahead and ensure Mupen64Plus and mupen64plus-libretreo core are both installed. Once those are installed, you can open up the Runcommand menu. When selecting a ROM, before the game loads, press any key on your keyboard, or button 0 on your joypad (if you have this assigned).

From here, you’ll receive the Runcommand menu, and you can select the default emulator. The RetroPie GitHub suggests that Mupen64Plus packs an improved performance pumch, while mupel64plus-libretro core has RetroArch configurations.

The various potential video plugins are:

  • Gles2N64
  • Gles2rice
  • GLideN64

For 1080p, gles2N64 is your best bet, while gles2rice is better suited to 720p, and GLideN64 for VGA. There’s even a great, up to date ROM compatibility list, which gives user-curated information on individual game ROMs.

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