The graphical interface

XMB is the default graphical interface of RetroArch. It is optimized for joypad navigation and can be extended using a playlist system. You can use it to browse your game collection with metadata and thumbnails. It also allows you to tweak the settings and to perform actions on the active game.


When you launch RetroArch for the first time, the interface looks like this. There are 8 tabs:

  • Main Menu: perform important actions like launching a game or quitting the program.
  • Settings: to configure RetroArch
  • History: your games history list
  • Images: your images history list
  • Music: your music history list
  • Videos: you videos history list
  • Netplay Rooms: find game sessions hosted by other gamers and join them.
  • Add: this tab lets you scan your game collection to generate per system playlists. Playlists will be added as new tabs on the right.

Integrated downloads

In Main Menu->Online Updater you can download and update all the required or optional components for RetroArch.

This includes:

  • Libretro cores: emulators and game engines.
  • A game database: used by our scanning system to build playlists and display the games metadatas.
  • Game thumbnails: boxart, title screen, in game screen, for each system.
  • Joypad profiles: default mapping for common joypads to work out of the box. Read more
  • Cheats: cheats for the most common games.
  • Shaders: video filters to apply on the game screen. Read more
  • A few free games and homebrews.

Fully joypad driven

In RetroArch XMB, the joypad is the preferred way to navigate. You can perform every action using the pad, like launching games or triggering the menu from the active game.

When you need to type text in the settings interface, a multilanguage On Screen Keyboard will be displayed to let you type words and passwords.

The menu has been designed as an immersive experience: you will not have to switch from your joypad to your keyboard to perform actions using the menu while your game keeps playing in the background.


You can add new tabs to XMB by scanning your game collection and creating playlists. Games will be sorted per system. You can also write playlists manually to display a list of your favorite games, or any list you can think of.

Playlist entries can be associated to a database entry to display the metadata of the game: Release Year, Genre, Developer, Number of Players, etc.


Thumbnails, dynamic backgrounds, shadows, animated backgrounds, icon themes.

Quick Guides