How to Play Retro Games on Your NVIDIA SHIELD TV with Emulators

Without an HTPC, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV is the most versatile box you can place on your entertainment console. Supports HDR 4K playback from Netflix and YouTube. You can play games from the Google Play Store and stream games from your PC or the NVIDIA servers. And you can even set up an emulator for retro games.

While we've seen retro consoles like the PlayStation Classic and NES Classic, their one-use case can be a bit difficult. There is nothing wrong with wanting to connect something and immerse yourself in games, but other options are better if you want a more versatile system. And NVIDIA SHIELD could be the best of them.

What are emulators and ROMs?

You need two pieces to play your oldest games in a newer system:

  • An E mulator: This is the software that imitates the classic console, which gives your system a way to play classic games. The emulator is responsible for translating the controls, as well as managing the video and audio output. Most emulators also allow you to save states so you can save the progress of your game at any time.
  • ROM: These are the software version of the game you're playing.

The emulators are perfectly legal but the ROM files are a bit more murky. Copyright laws vary from country to country, but in the best case, the only legal method to obtain a ROM is to extract it from a cartridge that you own. The cartridge must remain in your possession and you can not share the ROM file with anyone. Before you start, take a look at the laws in your region and make sure you get your ROMs legally.

Why use the SHIELD instead of buying a classic console?

When configuring the emulators in the SHIELD is not as easy as connecting a NES Classic, it is much simpler than building its own system and more compatible with television than emulating games on your PC . And when you're not playing, you can use the same box to watch your favorite shows.


Since NVIDIA has a first-party driver for SHIELD, emulator developers know that it is the driver that most users will have. This makes it easier to include support for that controller, which means you'll have more luck to work with your favorite retro game immediately.

Another advantage of SHIELD is that you can play games from multiple platforms. The PlayStation Classic will only allow you to play the 20 games with which it comes, so when you finish them, the console will become a very attractive decoration. As we will arrive in a moment, most emulators for SHIELD support a variety of platforms. You can play your NES games, but also SNES, GameBoy, PlayStation and more, all from one device.

Check the games in the Google Play Store

Even if you have a legal copy of your game ROM and an emulator to play, you should still consider searching for the same game in the Google Play Store. You may have to buy it again, but even the oldest AAA games, such as the series Grand Theft Auto cost less than ten dollars (each). And with that, you completely avoid the legal gray area of ​​obtaining the ROM game. You also know that you can re-download the game at any time from Play Store, so you do not need to save your old cartridge and ROM file.

A ported game will probably also perform better than one emulated and may have features such as better controller support and saved in the cloud. It seems a bit repurchases something you already have, but the convenience is probably worth a few dollars.

That said, let's look at how to make an emulator work.

This is what you'll need [19659028] You need some things to make this work:


  • RetroArch: This emulator is available for free in the Play Store, so you do not have to worry about downloading it to your device . It is also compatible with many older systems, easy to save and load in status, and includes support for the SHIELD driver.
  • Solid Explorer : This is the best file manager for Android, even on a 160-inch screen.
  • A USB drive: The oldest game files are small, so you do not need a large disk drive. The twenty games I had were only about 1.3GB.

To prepare the USB drive, format it as NTFS, exFAT or FAT32 on your Windows computer.

How to load your ROM files

Later, it will be easier if you separate the ROM files in different subfolders for each system. My NES ROMs are in a folder labeled "NES", my GameBoy Advance ROMs are in a folder labeled "GBA", and so on. Once you have configured the ROM folder, copy the entire folder to your USB drive.

Next, insert the disk drive into your NVIDIA SHIELD.

Use the navigation keyboard on the SHIELD remote control to select the hamburger menu in the upper left corner.

Select the Settings icon.

Use the navigation buttons to scroll through the list and uncheck the "Bottom context toolbar" option. With this option unchecked, tools such as copy, paste and more are available to you with the remote control of SHIELD.

Press the back button on the remote control once, then move down and select "USB 1 Drive".

Scroll to the ROM folder, then press and hold the center button on the remote control to select it. Navigate to the top and select the copy icon.

Use the navigation buttons to move to the right side, which by default should include your internal storage. Select the clipboard button to paste the ROMs folder.


Once the ROM folder has finished copying to your internal storage, press the start button on the remote control to return to the Android TV start screen.

Configuring RetroArch

When you open RetroArch for the first time, it will ask for permission to read your storage. The application needs this to read your ROM files, so you need to grant that permission. RetroArch requires you to use the gamepad, so from here, all instructions will be with that in mind.

The next thing you should do is download a Core, which is a plug-in designed to work with a specific platform you're trying to emulate. For example, before playing a GameBoy Advance game, you must download a Core that is compatible with GameBoy Advance. All this happens inside the RetroArch application, so you should not worry about going to a website or copying things in the file finder again. Each Core can be updated from time to time to play your games better, and you can also update them from within RetroArch.

To install a Core, select "Load Core".

Then select "Download Core".

Scroll down and press "A" on the controller or the center button on the remote control to select and download a Core for the systems you want to emulate.

You can have multiple Cores to choose from for your systems. Each Core can have a slightly different performance, so if your game is not playing quite well, a different Core may work better. You can always download a new Core without damaging the progress of your game.

The next thing is that RetroArch will scan the ROM files. Press B on the controller to return to the start screen of RetroArch, then use the left joystick to move to the right. Select "Search directory."

Select the option "/ storage / emulated / 0".

Use the left knob to move down and select "ROM" (or whatever you've titled your ROM folder).

Select "Scan this directory".

It will scan all the ROM files, but then press the B button on the controller until you return to the RetroArch home page. Use the left control bar to move to the right and you will see icons that represent all the systems for which you have ROM files.

Go back to the left and, in the menu under the Settings icon, select "Input".

Select "Combo Toggle Gamepad Combo".

The Menu within RetroArch is used to save and reload the status of your game, so you can save and load the progress of your game. This setting changes the buttons you press to open the menu, so select a combination that you will not use in games.

While you are in the configuration screen, you can also change some of the controls and video settings. For example, you may want to adjust the latency of games designed in the CRT era. CRT screens do not have the ability to store image data before they are displayed, while newer screen technologies add a few milliseconds of latency. Because of this, you may have to adjust the latency, so the button pressures are at the point.

When you are ready to play, return to the list of systems you have. Select the game you would like to play.

Select "Run".

Select the Core that you would like to use to play it.

Select "Run" one last time.

That's it! You have your game ready and running, and you can play with the content of your heart.

While all this seems like a lot of configuration, it does not take more than a few minutes once you have your ROM files. With the emulator installed, you now have a device for your streaming media, newest games and your favorite classic games!

Source howtogeek com


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