The beauty of Retropy is that you can customize just about anything to get the best retro gaming experience. Among other things, you can define a new theme. The problem is that there are dozens of themes without previews, so it’s hard to find one you really like. That’s why I wrote this article, with a selection of the 15 best topics, there is something for everyone!
The top 3 themes currently available at Retropi are probably Madness Magazine, Retrorama and Soda. They are well thought out and quite original, unlike most others which are just a slight improvement on the standard design.
But these aren’t the only options you have. Everyone can like different styles, so I give you more choice with my top 15. I will add a title and a screenshot for each topic. If you need help installing a new theme, you can read this Retropie installation guide that explains everything.
1 – Journal Madness
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My favorite theme is Madness magazine, because I think the console list is very original with the design of this magazine. They open when you select the console to see all the installed games on the page. I like this idea, well thought out by Duane Hurst, the creator of this thread.
If you want to see all these themes in action, I have a demo video where I show them all. You can watch it here:
2 – Retrorama
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I’ll be brief on each topic, because I think you’d probably rather look at pictures or videos than read the story on that topic :).
Anyway, this thread creator was similar to the previous one, but with comics instead of magazines.
For each console, you’ll see a comic book cover (like the one in the picture). Once you have made your choice, the comic opens with the comic on the right and the summary on the left, with all your games.
Really well done, with a different style for each console of course.
For a completely retro look, you can hide your Raspberry Pi in a nice enclosure that looks like an original console (like the NES). No doubt your friends will be very interested when they see it next to your TV :).
3 – Soda
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The soda theme is very different from the first two themes. It’s inspired by a vending machine, and each console looks like a soft drink brand :).
The design is accompanied by sound effects, so you can hear the sound of opening the box when you select the console :).
The game selection has a different design, with a game cover on the left and a machine submenu with the names of each installed game on the right.
4 – Synthwave
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Wow! Nice work on the main menu of this one. It has a beautiful design that could have been inspired by the movie Tron. The submenus have the same idea, but are a bit simpler than the main menu. That’s why I didn’t put it on the stage :).
5 – Apartment
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If you are looking for something simpler, then this flat design theme might be for you. The main menu is simple but fun to look at, with the same graphics as each console.
I had a problem with the submenu. The lid of the game is shown standing and cuts out most of the image. It’s a little weird (watch the YouTube video to see what I’m talking about).
6 – Comic Crazy
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Another comic book inspired design with this one. It’s not my favorite, but it’s pretty good.
If you’re looking for great games for Retropi (or other platforms), here are my top 12 games of all time. There’s even a PDF with all the links and screenshots you can get on the same page.
7 – Epic Number
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I don’t know if the designer created all the graphics themselves, but there is a very nice illustration for each console – like this one, representing Zelda.
The sub-menus are pretty basic (all black, white, text and game cover), but the main menu is great. I’d put him on the podium if the game selection menu was a little better.
8 – Comics
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More comics? Do all designers read comics or what?
We love this design, so if the previous ones were not ideal for you, you can try this version too.
If you’re like me and love N64 games, you can check out my favorites in this article.
I also recommend getting an original N64 controller to play games like this (you can easily find compatible ones on Amazon), or better yet a modern version with dual joystick like this one, which is currently my favorite.
It’s a cheap investment, but essential for playing Nintendo 64 games (in case you don’t remember, the camera controls are very different from those on other consoles).
9 – Vector Cake
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This theme is a bit simpler (we’re almost at the end of the list), with some sort of showroom for each console (if you make your choice, there’s an actual image of each console).
Then the submenus are pretty good, the left side is the game selection and the right side contains all the information (cover art, game description, general information and a bit of advice about the console).
10 – Unknown
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Do I really need to explain? This theme was inspired by the Stranger Things series. The same font is used as in the movie and the overall design is in a similar style.
It doesn’t rank higher in this ranking, even though the main menu is good, because the submenu didn’t work very well. It’s essentially the same submenu as the default theme, with a different logo for the console and red text on a black background.
11 – White Wood
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You want something simpler? This might be something for you. The white background of the tree with the names of the consoles engraved on it is beautiful.
The submenus are not bad either.
12 – Steampunk
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Something more complicated? This is Dmmerty’s steampunk theme.
13 – Graffiti
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This theme has different graffiti for each console. This theme is very nice for choosing a console and a game. The submenus often didn’t work very well, but they are ok and much better than most other themes available. So he deserves to be on this list :).
14 – Deep Saucer
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Another theme inspired by flat design. If you are looking for something basic, like a website, this may be a good choice.
Don’t expect anything special in this thread, but it’s easy to read everything and quickly pick a game without distractions and weird writing :).
15 – Turtle-Pi
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And the last one is the one I used a lot in the past. It’s a slight improvement over the default RetroPie theme, but why not? If you also like pixelated turtles, you will love this theme :).
I hope this article was helpful and you found a theme to enhance your retro gaming experience. If you have any other suggestions for people reading this article, feel free to post them in the comments below.
If you want more tips on Retropy and other retro gaming solutions, I recommend reading these articles:
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