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How To Run Games From Kodi

As we’ve seen from previous numbers, Kodi is a pretty powerful application that can be extended to power your entire media experience from local downloaded and physical media to a nearly infinite number of media streams, but we have not covered exactly how to run games from Kodi. For this, we’ll obviously need some games installed on our system, and we’ll need to download an add-on called Rom Collection Browser (if you followed my recommendation to use the Aeon series of skins, you will have RCB already installed on your system).

Rom Collection Browser is available through the stock Kodi repository under the programs menu and is installed like any other add-on.

Before we begin the setup, we must ensure that our files are sorted correctly on the computer. For emulators, each set of roms needs to be in its own folder, sorted by system (all NES roms need to be in an exclusive folder, all SNES roms need to be in an exclusive folder, etc.). For Windows games, make a new folder and place a shortcut to each game’s executable file within.

On first run, Rom Collection Browser will prompt you to create a configuration file, click OK and it will bring up the initial configuration file for a new rom collection. First, RCB will ask you to choose a location for the game information and artwork. Since this is a first run, you will most likely need to download all the pertinent artwork and information, so choose the online option.

Wizard - Online 2 - small

Next, you’ll need to choose a platform for your game collection. If you are adding roms for an emulator, choose the appropriate system for the emulation. If you are adding PC games installed locally, choose the appropriate option (Windows/OSX/Linux).


Once you’ve set your platform, RCB will prompt you to browse to the emulator executable (unless you are adding Windows games, in which case, RCB will skip to the next section). Once you have selected the executable, you will be prompted to enter the particular emulator’s command-line parameters, if applicable. Most emulators worth their salt offer a CLI parameter set to add a measure of granular control over each game as it is executed, because who wants to dick around with settings on a game-by-game basis every time you want to play something different? RetroArch, by far, is the best of the bunch in this respect, and I highly recommend it for all your emulation needs.

RCB will now ask you to browse to the folder containing the roms you are adding. On the next screen, you will type in the file mask for the particular set of roms you are adding (for Windows games, the file mask is *.lnk).

Next, you’ll select a path to the artwork folder. I prefer to use the same folder that contains the roms. RCB will create folders for the basic types of artwork (boxfront, boxback, screenshot, fanart), so you needn’t specify a location for each…yet.

Finally, RCB will ask if you would like to add another rom collection. I recommend only adding one collection at a time as it tends to be easier to watch for mistakes, but you may prefer to do all your scraping at once, and that’s your mistake to make. If you choose to add another collection, you’ll be redirected to the platform choice dialog and start the process over again. If you choose not to, you will be directed to the scraping dialog.


In the scraping dialog, you will be presented with several options. First, choose the particular system that you will be scraping information for. Next, choose the level of interactivity you wish to utilize. For large collections, I recommend starting with the fully-automated (“Automatic: Accurate”) option to do the heaviest lifting without needing to constantly monitor the progress. Once the majority of games have been successfully scraped, use the “Interactive: Select Matches” option to import the titles that may have oddly formatted or incorrect file names. On first fun, I recommend using the default trio of scrapers. Later edits may require changing scrapers, but these three should take care of the bulk. RCB will now query the specified scrapers for information and artwork regarding each game you’re importing (much like Kodi does for your video or music library). Once finished, you will be presented with a list of games ready to play. Simply select them from the list, hit “OK” on your remote, and get to playing!

10 thoughts on “How To Run Games From Kodi”

  1. RCB is an awful excuse for an addon. Unless you add every single emulator in one go, it seems impossible to add an emulator later. I’ve used Hyperspin, Emulationstation, and Launchbox, and the procedures on those are far more intuitive. I’ve spent hours scouring any tutorial for RCB I can find, and there doesn’t seem to be anything indicating how to add additional emulators. Anytime I had questions regarding adding emulators and roms to the other frontends, the answers were pretty easy to find. Stay the hell away from this thing.

    1. I must admit that RCB is pretty terrible now, but to be fair, it has been out of development for some years now. I never had the problem that you speak of, though, as I’ve always been able to easily add new emulator libraries from the settings menu. My problem was scraping–if the ROM files are not labeled just so, the scrapers will not recognize them. What I do like about RCB is that it matches the menu styles of Kodi and it offers the option to list alphabetically regardless of console (I like having all the Castlevania games listed together, for example) which was unavailable from other front-ends at the time. I’ll be revisiting this in the future when I start playing with emulation again, so keep an eye out for articles about other front-ends as I try them!

    2. It’s possible to add emulators later, it’s just not intuitive.

      While in the RCB interface, type “C” on a keyboard or the context menu button on a remote. This opens up the RCB settings menu with options like “Edit Rom Collection” and “Add Rom Collection”.

      1. I’d say it’s about as intuitive as doing anything else in Kodi.

        Which is to say that, unless you already know the keyboard commands, it’s not very intuitive.

  2. I can’t get past “retroarch app location”. Where are these files located? I keep reading that the roms are already downloaded…..where??? How do I find these files? Please help!!

      1. I’m really not sure. I’m using a t8 TV box. It’s got kodi am all that pre-installed. So when I download the emulator I can only get as far as retroarch file location. I have no clue where the roms are stored

        1. I apologize that I can’t be of more help, but you’re dealing with a hacked-up Android box with who-knows-what installed. To be honest, I don’t recommend them (I have experience with several models and usually find them wanting), and I would avoid using RCB on it in favor of running RetroArch from the launcher. It’s cleaner and far more stable that way!

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