Explore gaming on the Lakka console


At irregular intervals, Lakka comes up with a new release. You can start the update from the graphical user interface. Under the main menu, go to Online Updater | Update Lakka and select the appropriate image. If the system does not show new versions, although the developers of Lakka have published a new release, then check the links in Settings | Network | Online Updates [9].

The safest approach to a full update is to reinstall. As soon as a new release for the gaming computer appears, download the image and proceed as described in the "Installation" section above. Be sure to back up any existing data, including screenshots, ROMs, and save and play files. If necessary, check for the location of the LAKKA_DISK partition and the corresponding directories in Settings | Directories.

If you prefer to do the update on the Lakka console, you can only access it over SSH. You need to enable the service up front in Settings | Services | SSH Enable. You also need the IP address of the Lakka game console, which the system outputs in the main menu under Information | Network Information. Armed with this information, type the lines

$ ssh root@<IP address>
$ lakka-update

on the console of a Linux machine to start the update. The password for the root user is root in the default configuration.


In network games, it is important that other players identify you. Lakka will use the name you enter in Settings | User | Username. More settings for netplay can be found in the Settings | Network | Netplay menu. Among other things, the IP address of the server and its port can be specified there.

If the Raspberry Pi does not output sound when playing games, make sure onboard sound has been enabled. To do this, remove the memory card from the device and open the config.txt file on the LAKKA partition on a conventional PC. You need to comment out the dtparam=audio=on entry with a hash symbol (#). In Lakka itself, in the Settings | Audio menu, the Audio Enable switch must be turned on. You can select a different audio driver in the same submenu under Audio Device.

The game controllers can be configured automatically from the Lakka prototype mentioned earlier. To do this, set the switch for Settings | Input | Autoconfig Enable to On. If you do not like the assignments of the buttons on the gamepad, you can change them later in Settings | Input | Input <user> Binds.


Lakka lets you load games off the web; open the Online Updater | Content Downloader option in the main menu. When you get there, select an emulator and then the available games. For example, if you choose the Sheep It Up! game for the Atari 2600 emulator (Figure 2), Lakka automatically downloads the selected game and saves it to the LAKKA_DISK partition in the roms/downloads/ path. To start the game, go to Load Content | downloads in the main menu and select the appropriate ROM.

Figure 2: The Sheep It Up! game can be sourced through Lakka. Don't let the retro style fool you: The game developed for the Game Boy is from 2018.

Alternatively, various websites (e.g., Rom Hustler or Vimm's Lair) offer ROMs of classic game consoles for download. However, when downloading, pay attention to the legal status of the ROMs – only a few ROMs have really been cleared for free distribution. For some, however, the status is unclear because the original developer studio no longer exists (abandonware), and what is on offer is often unlicensed copies.

After downloading, several options are available to load the ROMs in Lakka. Provided you have enabled SSH on the Lakka Raspberry Pi and are using a Linux machine, a file manager is a good choice. Most Linux file managers support opening remote filesystems. On computers with a Gnome desktop, such as Ubuntu, open the address bar in the file manager by pressing Ctrl+L, call the Lakka system with

ssh://root@<IP address>

and copy the ROM to /storage/roms/. Alternatively, transfer the ROM with

scp <ROM>.zip root@<IP address>:/storage/roms

directly from the terminal.

For Windows users, Samba is an alternative. To begin, turn on the service in Settings | Services | Samba Enable; then, open Windows Explorer and enter the IP address in the address bar in the form \<IP address>. It works in a similar way on Linux and macOS systems. The address for accessing the Samba share on the Lakka game console is smb://<IP address>. As before in the file browser, go to the /storage/roms/ folder and paste the downloaded ROMs. You do not need to unpack the archives beforehand.

Lakka also can load ROMs from any folder of a USB stick. Start by plugging the stick into the gaming console, go to Load Content | Scan Directory and select the USB stick in the menu. Once you have opened the folder with the ROMs, check the Scan this Directory entry. If the ROMs pass Lakka's check, the system inserts the corresponding emulators as menu items. You will then get access to the installed games.

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