RetroArch Controllers (Xbox 360, PS4 and Wiimote checked)

RetroArch supports several popular gamepads, enabling you to turn your abandoned PC into a retro gaming console. Therefore, whether you can use your Xbox 360 controller with an emulator like RetroArch is a matter of concern that requires your attention.

So, can I use my Xbox 360 controller with an emulator like RetroArch? It is possible to install emulators like RetroArch and use it with your Xbox360 without affecting your gaming capabilities. To do this, activate the developer mode, install RetroArch, set it up, and then add the ROMs and BIOS files.

Knowing which controllers you can use with an emulator like RetroArch is important, from the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 to even the Wiimote controllers.

Online gamers continue to express their desire to have their good classic games accessible in the new generation consoles. Their requests have successfully reached developers who are slowly implementing this by allowing compatibility of certain gaming hardware. Read on to know whether using your Xbox 360 controller with an emulator like RetroArch is possible and how you can go about this process.

RetroArch can support many gamepads, and Xbox 360 is one such device. The configuration process is easy, and once you familiarize yourself with RetroArch, you will be able to follow the steps seamlessly. Even then, some online users complain of the limited configuration options while others are satisfied with the current look of things.

Before you can learn how to use your Xbox 360, you should note that navigating through the options in the RetroArch interface will not require a mouse. Thus, utilize the arrow keys on your keyboard to move up, down, and between menus. To return, use the Z key, X to accept, and ESC to close a window.

The first step to using your Xbox 360 controller with RetroArch will be activating Developer Mode on your console. You will need a paid Microsoft account to do this, and, after activation, assign your console as the developer console. Next, you will download the Xbox Developer mode app, activate your console then reboot it in Developer mode.

With your device set, you can shift your attention to the emulator. RetroArch can work on most virtual platforms and features a UWP package for Xbox consoles. This package allows you to select the cores you want for optimal game performance.

You will download and install RetroArch from Libretro’s official website to get started. Click the Downloads tab on the top right, and you will see the latest releases on your platform. From this list, click on the suitable selection for Xbox 360.

Next, scroll to the 7-Zip archive having RetroArch, then, download and install it to enable you to open the archive. You can then drag the contents of the 7-Zip to a folder. To launch RetroArch, you will double-click retroarch.exe.

After downloading RetroArch, you will need to install support for Xbox 360 Control. This installation requires you to connect your controller to a computer, and if it has the xpad Kernel driver, it will be recognized. If it is not recognized, you will have to add support to your system. When installing support, search for the application in the menu and run it.

The next step will be to configure the controls in RetroArch. On this Interface, the controls are named Input User Binds, and each corresponds to a configuration independently of up to six configurations.

Now that your Xbox360 controller is connected, I will go to the first input and do a manual configuration or use the User 1 Bind All. Using the User 1Bind All to assign the map of the keys, you will see the name of the command or button on your screen and press the button on your remote that you want a function assigned. With the freedom to navigate RetroArch, you can proceed to download emulators.

RetroArch is not an emulator by itself but capable of running several emulators. The individual emulators RetroArch runs are called cores. You will need to download appropriate cores for the games you want to play.

To install cores, scroll to the first column on RetroArch and navigate to the Online Updater. Click on Core Updater, and, from here, you can download as many cores as you want. If you are unsure of the cores to download, no need to worry as you can experiment and pick what works for you.

With your cores set, you can now add ROMs. To enable RetroArch, scan your ROMs, navigate to the main menu, click Add Content, and then Scan Directory. Browse your files until you locate your ROMs file. The yellow text at the bottom of your screen will show you the scan progress. When everything is done, navigate to the home screen, and you will see an icon containing the controllers for every system you have added ROMs.

You can access the menus and games using the arrow keys on your keyboard. When you try to open a game, you will receive a prompt asking which core you want to run the game with. The core you pick will pop on your screen, and you can run the game.

Can You Use a PS3 or PS4 Controller With RetroArch?

The PS3 and PS4 controllers are a masterpiece for gamers. In addition to the comfort they give during gaming, these controllers feature advanced features that improve your gaming experience. Therefore, if you would prefer to use this controller in retro gaming, I will help you know whether this is possible and how to go about it.

You can use your PS3 or PS4 controller with RetroArch in three ways, namely, wireless, with a USB cable, and with the Sony USB adapter. The USB cable option is the easiest as you will use it just like any other controller. On the other hand, the Bluetooth option is more complex but manageable once you familiarize yourself with the process.

When using your PS3 or PS4 controller with RetroArch, start by plugging your controller into a USB port on your Raspberry Pi, boot the console and wait for the RetroArch menu to open. When the configuration wizard pops up, hold any key, and the configuration will start. You should then follow the prompts to create the configuration and click OK when your controller is ready to use.

A USB adapter enables you to use your controller on any console. To make your controller work in RetroArch, plug the adapter on your console, and once connected, it will start blinking, signaling its search for a device.

Continue pushing the USB adapter for a few seconds to put it in pairing mode, and the blinking will increase, signaling the adapter is ready. On your controller, long-press the Share and PS keys, and the two will display a static light indicating a successful pairing. You can then follow the configuration wizard to assign the keys to different controls.

The Bluetooth option is the last, and you will start by plugging a keyboard into your console and boot your Raspberry Pi. When RetroArch asks for a controller configuration, use your keyboard navigation keys, start, and A button.

On your RetroArch configuration, choose the Configuration/ tools menu and click on Bluetooth. Next, click Register and Connect to Bluetooth Device, and the wizard will start searching for your PS3 or PS4 controller.

Simultaneously, turn your controller into pairing mode, then long-press the Share and PS buttons. Your controller will start blinking fast. The Bluetooth wizard will then show available devices, and you should click on your controller in the list. You will also get a message indicating successful pairing, and you can exit this window on your RetroArch menu.

Go back to the home menu, select Configure input, and then hold down a button to configure your controller for about three seconds. You should then follow the wizard for configuration and press OK after completing each action; afterward, you should be good to use your PS3 or PS4 controller in wireless mode.

When using a PS3 or PS4 controller on your RetroArch, you will follow a more or less similar process. However, you should note that when using a PS3 controller on RetroArch via Bluetooth, you will need to install a special PS3 driver for a successful connection.

If you encounter issues after following the above procedure, your keys could be the problem, or your controller is not compatible with the Bluetooth mode. In either case, you may have to buy a USB adapter or forget about using your controller on RetroArch.

How Do You Configure a Controller on RetroArch?

The RetroArch user interface can overwhelm you at first, as it throws you into a menu comprising several configuration options. However, things are not as tough as they appear; therefore, I will simplify this process for you.

There are three ways you can configure your controller on RetroArch. These include Autoconfigurations made in EmulationStation, Hardcoded configurations, and core Input Remapping. The core input remapping offers an easy control configuration for particular cores in the RetroArch RGUI.

RetroArch controls have an EmulationSimulation integration that you can also access from the start menu under Configure Input. When you configure your controller in EmulationSimulation, it will automatically configure your joypad for RetroArch. You will know your controller has been configured automatically if you see a yellow flash on your gamepad ID text at the bottom of your screen when you start a game.

Hardcoded configurations comprise manual edits that you can do and are specific to a Libretro core and controller. You can configure these controls specific to an individual game or emulator core. The Core Input Remapping changes how the core receives input instead of the game coding. This method is more practical than the hardcoded configuration but has limited cores supporting it.

To configure your controller through the core input remapping, start the game you want to remove the buttons and invoke RGUI. Next, go to the Quick Menu, hit Controls, and configure the buttons your way. If you’re going to save the remapping for the current game, you will select Save Game Remap File. Otherwise, choose the Save Core Remap file if you want the settings to apply for consecutive games.

Can You Use the Wiimote With RetroArch?

The Wiimote, Nintendo’s Wii home video primary controller, features motion-sensing capabilities that enable users to interact with items onscreen through gestures and pointing. Using these controllers in retro gaming can be a breakthrough to gamers who value comfort or game for long hours and want to maintain their competitiveness.

To use Wiimote with RetroArch, you will press the Right button on your Dpad to navigate from RetroArch’s main menu to the Settings screen. If you are already in the quick menu, press B to exit this menu and go to the RetroArch menu. From the Settings window, scroll to input. Afterward, input User 1 Binds and User 1 Device Index, then select your Wiimote from here.

When configuring the above setting, it can be easy to overlook Inputs. This is because the UI usually pushes it out of your sight when you highlight things. Thus, be keen and look closely, especially when you think it is not there.

You should also turn on your Wiimote and sync it before launching RetroArch. When turning off your gamepad, do it fast after opening the app lest you shut down your console. Lastly, you should connect RetroArch to your Wiimote using port one.

Wrap Up

Retro gaming is increasing in popularity, and gamers are adjusting while maintaining class and comfort. The good news is that you can maintain your high-tech controllers and enjoy retro gaming. This is given that RetroArch supports several gamepads, including Xbox, PS3, PS4, and Wiimote.

To use Xbox, PS3, PS4, and Wiimote controllers with RetroArch, you will need to make several system adjustments, but eventually, your gaming will be seamless. With PS3, you may have to install a special driver for a successful connection.

Either way, if you initiate a connection, following the above steps to the latter and it is still unsuccessful, it could be a problem with your controller, and you should consider a replacement. Finally, no matter what controller you choose, always ensure it offers comfort and that its features ensure effective gaming for better gameplay.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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