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How to record Retroarch gameplay on Linux

Do you love emulating your video games in the Retroarch game console emulator app on Linux? Do you wish that you could record the gameplay of your playthroughs? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along and we’ll show you how to record Retroarch gameplay on Linux!

Install Retroarch on Linux

As the Retroarch application does not come pre-installed on any Linux operating system, we must go over how to install the application on Linux before going over how to use it to record gameplay.

To start the installation, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. With the terminal window open, follow the command-line installation instructions below to set up Retroarch on your computer.

Please note that if you need more in-depth guidance on how to install Retroarch on your Linux PC, please follow our guide on how to install Retroarch on Linux. This installation section is for convenience.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install retroarch

Debian

To get the Retroarch app working on Debian, use Apt-get.

sudo apt-get install retroarch

Arch Linux

You’ll be able to install Retroarch on Arch Linux with the Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S retroarch

Fedora

For best results on Fedora, follow the Flatpak instructions.

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE users should follow the Flatpak installation instructions.

Flatpak

Ensure that the Flatpak runtime is enabled. Then, enter the commands below.

flatpak remote-add --user --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install --user flathub org.libretro.RetroArch

Snap package

Follow our guide to set up Snaps on Linux. Then, enter the commands below.

sudo snap install retroarch
sudo snap connect retroarch:raw-usb && sudo snap connect retroarch:joystick

Recording gameplay with Retroarch

There are many ways to record gameplay of Retroarch on Linux. Believe it or not, the Retroarch app itself has a built-in function, but it’s not very good as it’s not as user-friendly as many of the other recording tools on Linux, like SimpleScreenRecorder.

To record all gameplay in Retroarch in this guide, we’ll focus on SimpleScreenRecorder. For this reason, we must demonstrate how to install SimpleScreenRecorder before continuing.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, install SimpleScreenRecorder with the following Apt command.

sudo apt install simplescreenrecorder

Debian

In Debian, install SimpleScreenRecorder with the following Apt-get command.

sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users can install SimpleScreenRecorder with the Pacman command below.

sudo pacman -S simplescreenrecorder

Fedora

To use SimpleScreenRecorder on Fedora Linux, you must install the RPM Fusion Free software repository. To set it up, follow this guide here. Once it is set up, enter the following Dnf command below to get the app working.

sudo dnf install simplescreenrecorder

OpenSUSE

Need to get SimpleScreenRecorder working on OpenSUSE? Use the following Zypper command.

sudo zypper install simplescreenrecorder

Now that the SimpleScreenRecorder app is set up open it up on your Linux PC by searching for it in the app menu. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to record your gameplay in Retroarch.

Step 1: The first time you start it up, SimpleScreenRecorder will show you a welcome screen. Click “Continue” to move to the next page. Select “Skip this page next time” to avoid the welcome screen in the future.

Step 2: Look for “Record the entire screen” and check the box. Then, select your primary monitor to record with. If you prefer to record a fixed rectangle, click that box instead, but we do not recommend it.

Step 3: Find the “Frame rate” box and change it to 60. 60 is an excellent framerate to record Retroarch with. If you have performance issues, 30 also works.

Step 4: Uncheck the box next to “Record cursor.” Unchecking this box will make it so that the recording application only films the game, and not the computer mouse if it happens to interfere with your Retroarch session.

Step 5: Check “Record audio” to record your speakers. If you want to record a microphone instead, change it from “Monitor of..” to your microphone device as noted in the volume manager for your Linux operating system.

Click on the “Continue” page to move to the next page in SimpleScreenRecorder.

Step 6: Find “Save as” and click on the “Browse” button to tell SimpleScreenRecorder where it should save your video recordings.

Step 7: Find “Container” and set it to MP4, as it is the best container to go with for Linux compatibility. Then, change “Codec” to H.264, and “Constant rate factor” to 2.

Step 8: Find “Audio” and change “Codec” to AAC, and “Bit rate” to 128. Then, click “Continue.”

When everything is configured in SimpleScreenRecorder, the recording of Retrorch can begin. To record, start up your game in Retroarch. Then, go to “SimpleScreenRecorder and click on the “Start recording” button. It will then record your gameplay.

To stop the recording of Retroarch, click “Save recording.”

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