How to Enjoy Retro Games on Your Kodi Box With the ROM Collection Browser

Christian Cawley 07-09-2016

The most popular open source media center solution, Kodi (and its various forks) runs on a variety of devices, from PCs to tiny Raspberry Pi computers The Easiest Raspberry Pi Media Centre, With RasPlex Read More Android phones and tablets 5 Reasons to Install Kodi on Your Android Right Now Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, is a fantastic media app for Android, and you're missing out if you haven't downloaded it yet. Read More , and everything in between.


But when you’re done streaming video from the internet, browsing your own media library, or even looking at pictures, you might want to kick back and play some games. This usually means switch to a games console… but if you’re a fan of retro gaming, you can use the ROM Collection browser to start gaming through your Kodi box!

The following steps should work on any Kodi device (although on the Raspberry Pi, you’ll probably have problems launching your emulators, so avoid) and within a few minutes you can be up and running!

What Is the ROM Collection Browser?

Before we start, let’s take a look at the software we’ll be using. For a tutorial on the basics of how to set up a Kodi Media Center, check our guide How to Use Kodi: The Complete Setup Guide Our beginner's guide shows how to install the Kodi software, how to navigate through the initial setup, and how to load add-ons. Read More .

The ROM Collection Browser is pretty much what the name suggests. It’s a tool for browsing a collection of ROMs (like LaunchBox for Windows Browse Your Games In Style – Even ROMs – With LaunchBox Launch all of your games – be they PC titles or emulated classics – from one beautiful interface. LaunchBox makes it easy to browse – or show off! – your game collection. Read More ), typically saved to your Kodi device’s storage. It is installed as an add-on, which means that it first needs to be downloaded.



Add-ons are a popular way of extending the functionality of Kodi devices. We’ve previously looked at a bunch of great add-ons for Kodi How to Make Your Kodi Media Center Even More Amazing Kodi is capable of far more than even its designers imagined. So, we dug deep and discovered 10 fascinating ways to make your Kodi media center even better. Behold, some awesome tips for Kodi fans... Read More (which ROM Collection Browser featured in), and the process for installation is generally the same across the board (although this can depend upon where you’re installing the add-ons from).

Once installed, any ROMs you have downloaded to your Kodi can then be browsed, and launched with an appropriate emulator. All of a sudden, you have retro games on your TV, via Kodi!

Using Retro Gaming ROMs

Before you get started, we need to cover the situation around the use of ROMs. These are disk images of cassettes, floppy disks, CDs, or cartridges from retro computing and gaming platforms, that make it possible for the games to be run without the original media.

The problem you have here is that if you don’t own the originals, then you’re breaching the copyright — committing software theft, or piracy (which affects all computer platforms, even Android Piracy On Android: How Bad Is It Really? Android is notorious for its rampant piracy, so we investigate exactly how bad it is. Read More ).


While this should be accepted as friendly — rather than legal — advice, if you don’t own the game, don’t download it!

Getting Started: Emulators and ROMs

Before installing the ROM Collection Browser — which is exactly what it says it is, a tool for browsing (and launching) your game ROMs — you’ll need to install the emulators you need onto your Kodi device. We’ll assume you know how to do this already, as the specifics differ from platform to platform.

If not, an emulator creates a software environment on your computer that emulates the hardware of the original computer platform. You’ll find an emulator for the retro gaming platform of your choice following a quick search of Google.

Kodi ROM Collection Browser


It’s a good idea to save the emulator in a folder on your Kodi box called Emulator (or Emulators if there is more than one) so you’ll find it easily later.

Ideally, you should also already have your ROMs downloaded and saved in a suitably-named folder.

Installing ROM Collection Browser

To get started, you’ll need to install the Kodi Official Repository, where a bunch of official add-ons can be found. Using a keyboard or your Kodi-compatible remote/app, navigate to System > Settings > Add-ons > Get Add-ons.

(Note that your Kodi may look different to the one picture as various themes are available.)


Installing Kodi ROM Collection Browser

Browse the list until you spot Kodi Add-on repository, and select this, before scrolling down to Program Add-ons and finding the ROM Collection Browser. Select, then Install, and the add-on will download and install onto your Kodi system.

mEnabling Kodi ROM Collection Browser

Once installed, you’ll see a pop-up notification in the corner of the screen, informing you that the installation is complete.

Setting Up ROM Collection Browser

After installation, return to the main Kodi screen, then Programs > ROM Collection Browser. You’ll be prompted to Create a Config File — click Yes, and then you’re given two choices to populate the database with information about the games you have in your ROM collection.

To get the information and game covers from the web, choose Scrape game info and artwork online. If you prefer to download your own game covers (or scan/photograph your originals for use here), select the Game info and artwork are available locally option, and specify the directories where the images and information is stored when prompted. If you like, you can use a combination of your own images and game details from the web.

Setting Up Kodi ROM Collection Browser

In the next screen, select the platform for the ROMs you have downloaded. This choice should be based on the ROM you want to play first, and can be added to later. In the screenshots, you’ll see we selected Commodore 64. From your selection, you’ll be prompted by the File Manager to navigate to your emulator, so browse here and select the emulator you need.

Kodi ROM Collection Browser Emulator Path

Next, select ROMs, then find the ROMs directory, and click OK. You’ll also need to tell Kodi what the file extensions for the ROMs you’re using with your selected emulator are. For instance, for the Commodore 64, ROMs have the T64 and D64 file extensions, so are entered as *.T64, *.D64.

Importing With Kodi ROM Collection Browser

When you’re done with this, you’ll be prompted to add more ROM collections. If you have multiple collections of ROMs, click Yes and repeat the last few steps, until you’re done. When you’ve added as many ROM collections as you need, select No, then wait for the Import Games window. Choose the defaults, then Import Games. When this is done, you’re ready to start playing!

Browsing Your Retro Games

To use the ROM Collection Browser, at any time, all you need to do is open Programs > ROM Collection Browser.

GoldenEye 007 on Kodi ROM Collection Browser

You’ll see your games listed, and all you need to do is select the game and it will automatically launch in the corresponding emulator.

Have you added the ability to play retro video games to your Kodi box? Perhaps you’ve used a different method? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related topics: Retro Gaming, XBMC Kodi.

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  1. Bill
    September 8, 2016 at 12:55 am

    The question is... Where can I get the Roms... And emulation software...

    • Adrian
      September 8, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Legal roms try
      Emulators: just google. Start with Retroarch.

    • likefunbutnot
      September 8, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      "Name of video game" + Rom in Google. Yes really. I take no responsibility for what games you may or may not own but they're all right there. The files are tiny.

      I do think Lakka is probably a better emulator front end for the Pi because joypad detection is a bigger hassle than anything and Lakka does that well, but we're talking about Kodi here and therefore whatever weirdness may be involved in getting a controller working is an OS issue and not a Kodi issue.