Adding Commodore Plus/4 emulators, YAPE and VICE, to RetroPie

One day, my dad decided we were going to get a new computer. At this point we had a Commodore VIC-20, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth, and for some reason half the games weren’t working any more.

So off we go to the shops. Would we be getting a Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum like my friends had? Nope. We were talked into getting a Commodore Plus/4. It had ten games with it, so seemed very good value.

Depsite none of my friends owning one, and scant little coverage in the Commodore magazines, I loved my Plus/4. It gave me my first experience of a Word Processor (albeit, a not very good one), had some awesome hidden-gem games, and I learnt to program BASIC on it.

So if you are in a similar boat to me and want to play Commodore 16 and Plus/4 games on your RetroPie then this tutorial is for you!

Warning: Fiddling about with things in RetroPie may break your set up. We advice you make a back-up of your SD card before doing anything we mention here. Although these instructions work with our set-up we cannot guarantee they will work with yours. We advice you to read all of this tutorial before commencing.

RetroPie does come with Plus/4 support, with the VICE emulator, but lumps it in with Commodore 64, and you’d need to edit each game individually to mark it as a Plus/4 game. That’s far too much faff. So, we’re going to set up a separate screen on our RetroPie for Commodore 16 and Plus/4 games.

So before we begin this tutorial, lets make sure you have what we need.

  • A RetroPie system (A set up tutorial is here)
  • A keyboard to plug into your RetroPie (for set up and for playing some games)
  • A text editor

And you’ll need ideally to have set up the ability to access your Raspberry Pi via SSH and SAMBA. If you haven’t done this, you’ll find this in the tutorial here for Windows or for Mac OS.

Okay. We are going to set up two emulators to use for our Plus/4 games: VICE and YAPE. You don’t need to install both. If you are after the easiest option, then VICE is the way to go.

Setting up VICE​

This is fairly straightforward. Go to Retropie Setup from within the RetroPie settings Menu.

Select Manage Packages

Then select Manage Optional Packages and from the list, choose vice

You can choose from a pre-compiled binary (quicker), or install from source (slower). We’ve gone for the pre-compiled binary.

Your screen will now fill with stuff like this for a bit, and then it will be installed!

On this screen, you can just select back. Keep pressing backs and exits until you get back to the RetroPie menu.

Installing YAPE​

RetroPie doesn’t come with the ability to set up YAPE via RetroPie’s menu, so we’ll have to do it manually. Quit EmulationStation, by pressing F4 and you will come to a screen like this:

type the following, pressing enter after each line, and waiting until you get the $ prompt before typing the next one. You can also do this via SSH if you like.

git clone --depth 1

cd yapesdl


sudo cp -r /home/pi/yapesdl /opt/retropie/emulators/yapesdl

The above code downloads Yape, compiles it, and moves the emulator to where RetroPie keeps its emulators.

Might be an idea to reboot the Pi after all this, so just type sudo reboot and the Pi will restart.

Setting up a page for Plus/4 in the emulation station menus​

To add a new page for the system in RetroPie, we need to access a file called es_systems.cfg and access the themes directory. To do this we need to make a copy of these folders. We have a full tutorial for that here, if you have already copied these files, you won’t need to do it again.

Go to configs > all > emulationstation and open es_systems.cfg in a text editor. Paste in the following code, making sure that you are not pasting it in within another systems tags. You can place it anywhere you like, the systems are in the order they are displayed in the RetroPie menus.

this in this tutorial. If you need a logo to use for your Plus/4, this might be useful.

Making a ROMS folder for your Plus/4​

Go to your ROMS section via SAMBA. Make a new folder called plus4. You can also put your games in here while you are at it.

Tell RetroPie how to run a Plus/4 game​

In a text editor, create a new file and paste the following:


Save the file as emulators.cfg.

You need to make a new folder in the volume, configs called plus4 and upload the above file to that.

Reboot your Pi, then you’re ready to go

Using VICE​

When you open VICE you might find that it has a tiny screen! To remedy this, press F12 to go to the options menu

Go to Video Settings, and select Size Settings

Then select Fullscreen

Press Backspace to get back to the main Settings screen, go to Settings Management, and choose Save Settings

You can exit the Setttings section by pressing the escape key. The Setting screen is also where you can set up joysticks, and tell VICE which port you wish to use.

Using YAPE​

When we set up our Plus/4 config file, we made VICE our default emulator. If you wish to switch to YAPE, then you can do so by pressing a button on your keypad when you load a game to launch the Runcommand Menu, where you can change the default emulator for the system, or for just that game.

  • Left Alt and I to switch your joystick port.
  • F8 or Right Shoulder brings up the option screen, though you’ll need your cursor keys to navigate the menu
  • Left ALT + S to remove display frequency
  • F12 quit YAPE

I can’t work out to remove the mouse pointer on screen sadly, so if anyone knows how then let me know!

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

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