Adding Themes and Splashscreen

Adding Themes and Splashscreen

Learn how to assemble, install and customize retropie to build a home emulation console.

full course
  1. Overview and Prerequisites For Building a RetroPie
  2. Flashing Retropie
  3. RetroPie First Startup
  4. Installing ROMs
  5. Scraping ROM Metadata
  6. Adding Themes and Splashscreen
  7. Adding Background Music to EmulationStation
  8. Starting EmulationStation and Theme Setup

We want to choose a theme and splashscreen to make our retropie unique. I’ll show you how to do that here.

Choosing a Theme

The built in emulationstation themes are pretty good. You can view them here. Just make sure to choose a theme that supports video.

If you don’t see one that you like you can always pull in a custom theme that has not quite made it into the RetroPie build yet. For example, I really (REALLY) like neon overdrive theme. I’ll show you how to download and install a custom theme.

First make sure that emulationstation is not running. The easiest way is to boot directly in and quit it from the UI. Then SSH into your Pi.

mkdir .emulationstation/themes
cd .emulationstation/themes/

Get the url to the git directory where the theme is stored and navigate to that location in your browser. I’m going to use this one for my example.

Click the green download code button and copy out the url for the git repository.

In the SSH terminal use git to download the git repository into your themes directory

pi@retropie:~/.emulationstation/themes $ git clone
Cloning into 'es-theme-neon-overdrive-green-blue-gradient'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 20, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (20/20), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (19/19), done.
remote: Total 520 (delta 3), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 500
Receiving objects: 100% (520/520), 9.82 MiB | 6.93 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (9/9), done.

use ls to confirm that your directory was created

pi@retropie:~/.emulationstation/themes $ ls

Find a Splashscreen

Now you need to find a splashscreen that you like. I like this one (download link is in the youtube description). You can find them via google or reddit.

Upload it onto your pi via windows explorer, SCP or USB drive. You will want to make sure that the splashscreen gets uploaded to ~/RetroPie/splashscreens (windows explorer has a mapped folder which automatically puts it in the right place)

Configure Splash Screen

You can configure emulationstation from the command line to use your splashscreen. Open the retropie configuration. Make sure that you’re in the home directory for the pi user (cd ~)

pi@retropie:~ $ sudo RetroPie-Setup/

Go to Configuration/tools then splashscreen. Select choose splashscreen, own/extra splashscreens and select your splashscreen.

Create Launching Images

Launching images are customized screens that display after you select a game before it actually starts playing. Normally, RetroArch displays a boring blue screen here, but you can make it look a lot nicer.

Make sure you installed the experimental package launchingimages.

Open Configuration/tools/launchingimages. Open Image generation settings. The only thing you may need to change is theme. It will only work with installed themes, so make sure that you have your preferred theme installed before this step. Unfortunately, neon overdrive doesn’t work (but you can install synthwave and that does work). You can leave everything else as default and back out. Now select Generate launching images, hit start and proceed. It should then generate, preview and prompt you to confirm each image.


That should be it. Before we start emulationstation again, we’re going to install some background music to play while we’re viewing the library.

Let me know in the comments below which themes (especially custom ones), splashscreens or creators you like.

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