Gaming on the big screen in the living room isn’t really new, but that has traditionally been the domain of gaming consoles. In recent times, however, even other gaming platforms, like PCs and even mobile, have started to make their presence on TVs known. Most of these games come from more modern titles that try to take advantage of every pixel that a 2K or 4K TV can offer. RetroArch, in contrast, is coming from the opposite end and is bringing the games of Amazon’s Fire devices, including Fire TV.
RetroArch itself isn’t actually an emulator, something that would have made distributing the app in official channels more problematic. Instead, it is a sort of platform, technically a front-end, for emulation “cores” that serve as the actual engine for the consoles they emulate. If you want to play Nintendo DS games, you’d need to plug in an NDS core into RetroArch.
RetroArch’s popularity comes from two traits. For one, it offers a uniform interface and experience, no matter which gaming platform you’re trying to emulate. For another, it is available on a wide variety of devices, both officially, like Google Play Store, or unofficially, like on actual consoles.
The emulator front-end is adding one more platform to its list, a sub-platform, really. RetroArch’s developers announced its official availability on Amazon Appstore, which means everyone with a Fire TV or a Fire tablet can easily download and use the app without having to resort to sideloading or workarounds. In theory, it can be installed on some of Amazon’s older Fire tablets, but don’t expect decent performance due to the hardware demands of emulation.
As mentioned, RetroArch alone doesn’t emulate consoles, and you’ll have to look for and install the appropriate cores, not to have game data available. That’s a legally grey area, though, but RetroArch also supports running original CDs, if you can figure out how to do that from your Fire TV, that is.