Lakka is an open-source gaming console operating system that is based on the Linux kernel. It uses open source libraries and tools to deliver users an easy to use, quick to set up emulation gaming platform. The operating system supports many different gaming console platforms (both hand-held and home console), and you’ll be able to play it on many different hardware devices. In this guide, we’ll be going over how to install Lakka on Raspberry Pi.
Note: the Raspberry Pi family devices that have support for Lakka are Pi 0, Pi 1, Pi 2 and Pi 3.
Download the Lakka Image
Looking to get a copy of Lakka? It’s easy, thanks to the simple design of the developers’ website. However, please understand that there isn’t just one download link for all Raspberry Pi devices; there are multiple links.
To get a copy for your Pi, head over to Lakka.tv, and click on the “Get Lakka” button. From there, you’ll be taken to a selection page with “Linux,” “Windows,” and “Mac” logos. These logos are to determine what OS you are flashing Lakka with.
Assuming you are doing this guide on Linux, select the “GNU/Linux” button, and it will take you to a device page, that lists each device that Lakka supports, including PCs, Odroid, HummingBoard, Pi devices and more.
Go through the list and click on the Pi device you own. Then, on the next page click the “Download Lakka” button to start the OS image download process.
Burn Lakka image to an SD Card
On the Lakka download page, you’ll see instructions that tell you to “Download and unzip Lakka” to set it up on an SD card for use on the Pi. In our tutorial, unzipping isn’t necessary, as the program we use will do it automatically.
The program we will be using to create the Lakka SD card is Etcher. It’s a dead-simple tool that can burn anything from ISO images to specialized SD card OS images in a breeze. Best of all, Etcher works on Mac, Linux, and Windows, so there’s no need to go over three separate instructions for how to use it.
Go to the Etcher website and click on the “Download” button. Assuming you are on Linux, right-click on the “balena-etcher-electron” Zip archive and extract it.
Note: not using Linux? Follow the instructions to install Etcher on your OS by reading the website.
Once the file is done extracting, go into the “balena-etcher-electron” folder and double-click on the AppImage file in the folder to start up Etcher.
When the Etcher application is up and running, click the “Select image” button, and browse for the Lakka OS image in your “Downloads” folder.
Next, plug in your Raspberry Pi’s SD card into your PC and allow it to be detected by the system. Then, click “select drive” and tell Etcher to use the card.
Finally, when the OS image finishes loading into Etcher, and the Pi’s SD card is set as the target, select the “Flash” button to start the burning process.
Set up Lakka OS
After Lakka is done installing to the SD card through Etcher, eject it from your PC and put it into the Raspberry Pi.
With the SD card loaded up into the Raspberry Pi device, plug it to the wall with the power supply cord, hook up the HDMI cord to the TV and connect a USB gamepad (or keyboard if you don’t have one).
As the Pi turns on, you’ll see the Lakka OS logo with a plain black background for a while. Let it sit there while it configures itself and reboots.
Now that Lakka is done booting, you’ll notice a PS3-like menu system. Plug in an ethernet cable if you prefer wired connections. Otherwise, navigate to the “Settings” are in the UI and then click on “Wifi.”
Use the menu to connect Lakka to the internet. Then, return to the “Settings” area and locate the “services” area.
On the services page, find the slider next to SAMBA Enable” and click it to enable network file transfer support for your new Raspberry Pi gaming console.
Adding games to Lakka
Lakka OS has an integrated Samba system to allow users to add games to the console on the fly. Here’s how to do it on Linux.
Note: if your PC uses Windows, you’ll be able to find the Lakka network share in the “Network and Sharing” area of your operating system.
First, open up the Linux file manager. From there, locate the “Network” option to start browsing for shares on the network.
In the share browser, click on the one that says “LAKKA” and add your ROM files to it. When done, close the file manager.
Lakka should instantly detect the new games, configure them and set up controller defaults for the games as well.