Game pads not working in emulation station menu

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  doanerock 3 years, 4 months ago.

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    i have two snes controllers wired into the gpio with a hacked up IDE connector. Ran the setup script and the game pads work flawlessly in the games. They do not work at all in the menu though. Not sure what is happening….

    Anyone have any ideas?

    the keyboard works fine in the menu so I can still play 🙂



    Never mind. i was able to find this

    i just needed to add a sleep command to the emulation station startup script so that the game pad drivers load first

    Thanks again



    I added a sleep 15 in a line above ./emulationstation in the /usr/bin/emulationstation file…

    … that didn’t work…..going to sleep now



    You need to delete ~/.emulationstation/es_input.cfg and restart Emulation Station. A screen should appear that allows you to configure ES for your first game pad.



    Thanks for the quick response and all your hard work.

    I was able to get it working with controller 2 only. I noticed it mention that it will only work with the first controller plugged in. Rebooted with only player 1 plugged in and I can’t complete the es setup because it doesn’t recognize anything being input.



    You need to swap the data connections of the controllers (hardware solution) or to swap the pin assignments for data 1 and data 2 in SNESDev (software solution,


    Hope that helps!?



    So I edited main.c with
    pads.data1 = RPI_GPIO_P1_07;
    pads.data2 = RPI_GPIO_P1_05;

    Instead of
    pads.data1 = RPI_GPIO_P1_05;
    pads.data2 = RPI_GPIO_P1_07;

    In both the rev 1 and else portions of the if statement. (I have a rev 2 pi)
    then a ran:
    make clean

    Rebooted and it still doesn’t work.

    For the hardware solution, wouldn’t swapping physical inputs just cause p1 controller to now be p2 controller? Then I’d be in the same situation where I have to control emulation station with p2 controller and pickup p1 controller to play?



    After re-compiling SNESDev you need to copy the binary into the directory /usr/local/bin/. You might need to stop the running service “SNESDev” before, which you can do with

    sudo service SNESDev stop

    After copying the newly compiled binary to that location mentioned above, restart the SNESDev service with

    sudo service SNESDev start


    No luck.

    Does everyone who wants to control their emulations ration menu with their player 1 controller have to go through these steps?

    I assume I am missing something obvious here. Should I just start from scratch with the latest image?



    No luck. Does everyone who wants to control their emulations ration menu with their player 1 controller have to go through these steps? I assume I am missing something obvious here. Should I just start from scratch with the latest image?

    I am afraid that using the latest image won’t help here.

    • You have to configure Emulation Station for your joystick: Therefore, a screen in Emulation Station will pop-up at start after a gamepad has been recognized for the first time. The settings for Emulation Station are then saved in the file /home/pi/.emulationstation/es_input.cfg.
    • You have to configure RetroArch for your joystick. Please refer to for questions about specific controllers.
    • If you are using SNESDev, make sure that you are using exactly the pins as described at!
    • If your controllers for player 1 and 2 are swapped, another option (compared to the ones stated above) would be to change the settings in /home/pi/RetroPie/configs/all/retroarch.cfg

    Unfortunately, setting up the controllers for your RetroPie system heavily depends on the very specific hardware setup of the individual users.



    Ok. So I finally figured out my issue…..

    Somehow my retroarch.cfg config had gamepad= 1 as player 1 and gamepad=0 as player 2.  This caused the swap I was seeing when playing games.

    I made player 1 gamepad=0 and player 2 gamepad=1 and then went through the emulation station pop-up screen. now everything works fine.  Now on to exiting roms with holding down select and pressing start……..

    Thanks for all your help!!!!!!



    Glad to hear!



    First of all thanks a lot for all your hard work. Everything went smooth with image installation. My only problem is when I plug my NES USB controller during the initial setup screen for controller in Emulationstation and follow the directions on screen everything is OK until I come to PgUp PgDown section. The controller has the directionpad and 4 extra buttons Start select A and B. So when I am at PgUP I run out of buttons. With the keyboard it is OK but I do not know what to do with my controller. I have been looking around on the web for a hint but no luck . I would appreciate any help. Thanks.



    Just choose a dummy button. Try Select, for instance. And hit Select (or your dummy button) for all of those buttons. Then go into your retroarch.cfg file, scroll to the bottom where the controller inputs are, and delete the “PgUP, PgDwn.. etc” lines that you don’t need.



    Sorry, you’re talking emulation station. The file to edit is .emulationstation/es_input.cfg
    Not the retroarch.cfg file.



    Thanks a lot for help jbaker1225. I can use the controler on retroarch. But with Emulationstation you cannot map a dummy button. When you run out of buttons and hit the same one again. It says that button is already mapped.



    Ahh, interesting.
    Have you checked to see if the es_input.cfg file exists in your .emulationstation directory?
    If not, you might be able to create one and put it there.
    If you need, I can put the contents of my es_input.cfg file up here when I get home so you can try and create your own.



    I think this issue was also mentioned at the repository of Emulation Station (



    Thanks a lot jbaker and petrockblog. I haven’t came across that post in emulationstation. Let me try that and post the results here.



    Success. Thanks a lot for your help jbaker and petrockblog. I reviewed and solved it if anybody else has the same controller ( or similar problem:

    Go ahead and run the Emulationstation wizard with keyboard while the usb controller is plugged in. It will capture the keyboard keys in es_input.cfg but it will give you your usb device name for the joypad just before </inputlist> tag. Then use the the sample below and correct your es_input.cfg which is under .emulationstation folder under home folder.

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <inputConfig type="joystick" deviceName="USB Gamepad ">
    <input name="a" type="button" id="1" value="1"/>
    <input name="b" type="button" id="0" value="1"/>
    <input name="down" type="axis" id="1" value="1"/>
    <input name="left" type="axis" id="0" value="-1"/>
    <input name="menu" type="button" id="3" value="1"/>
    <input name="right" type="axis" id="0" value="1"/>
    <input name="select" type="button" id="2" value="1"/>
    <input name="up" type="axis" id="1" value="-1"/>



    Thank you so much Depmod, I hate when people say I figured it out and then don’t tell you how they did it. I had the exact same NES pad and this worked perfect.



    Why can I not sue the gamepad if it detects the gamepad?

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