Add Sweet Tunes To Your RetroPie Menus

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Hello faithful readers! Hopefully by now you’ve seen Dad Kingdom’s tutorial on how to build a sweet retro gaming emulator with Raspberry Pi and RetroPie. If you haven’t built one yet, I highly recommend it. It’s an endless and inexpensive source of nostalgic entertainment. RetroPie offers many cool menu themes to choose from (like the one pictured below). But, all of them have something in common: Silence. Fear not! Dad Kingdom and Pretendo Online to the rescue! (But, mostly the latter.)

One of many RetroPie menu themes.


Adding background music to your menus only takes about 15 minutes to program. First you’ll need a keyboard (a Bluetooth keyboard will work as long as it’s been previously connected through Emulation Station). Start by isolating a few .mp3 files that you think are appropriate for spicing up your menus. Personally, I chose an a cappella version of the original Super Mario Bros theme. It’s light-hearted and puts me in the gaming mood even before I boot up a single ROM. Then, after curating your music, follow the detailed instructions – plus the helpful video – generously provided in this post from Pretendo Online. That should do it!

A quick note… the “~” symbol is repeatedly used in the commands for this program. Make sure (if you’re using a USB or Bluetooth keyboard) that the “~” symbol actually appears on the screen when you type it. I found out the hard way that sometimes keyboard input is not what you expect. If it’s not working, try pressing “ctrl+\” instead. That worked for me, but I’m not technically savvy enough to explain why.

I hope you are enjoying your emulator – and background music – as much as I am! (I just finished Final Fantasy VI for the first time in about 20 years.) Thanks for stopping by Dad Kingdom!

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