Introducing Simple30, an Optimized PocketGo S30 Firmware

Last updated: 05SEP2021 (see Changelog for details)

I’m very proud of the PocketGo S30 Add-On Pack that I created last month, but something didn’t sit well with me about it. For starters, it was basically a series of clever workarounds to improve the experience, but it wasn’t perfect or sustainable. Today I’d like to introduce something I’m calling “Simple30”, which is a compilation of many improvements made by the retro handheld community that turns this device into something truly neat.

If you haven’t already, consider buying a PocketGo S30. For $60, it’s an excellent deal.

Table of Contents
First things first
Required BIOS files
Supported systems
Known issues


First things first

The honest truth is that I had very little to do with the actual development of Simple30. This project is available thanks to a number of developers whose work enabled me to basically compile and streamline the user experience.

Developer bkacjois was able to create a fully-formed RetroArch 1.9.0 that works on the S30
Steve from Tech Toy Tinker (and RetroArena) added dozens of new emulators and ports to the device
DaMikki developed a safe shutdown mechanism for use with this device

So really I just took their work and put it into one package. I don’t think that Simple30 is the end of this development, either; I think that there are plenty more milestones to come.


When it comes down to it, the goal of Simple30 is to give the user a fully capable device, but with a pick-up-and-play experience.

Simple30 is:

  • Optimized to allow you to play 90 systems and ports altogether, but the flexibility to pare down your system list to as few systems as you’d like (or as many as you’d like).
  • Pre-configured with optimal graphics settings to give you an excellent viewing experience without having to tinker with the settings yourself (but with the freedom to tinker if you’d like).
  • Pre-loaded with all relevant shaders and cheat files for your viewing and gaming pleasure.
  • Pre-configured with hotkeys to allow you to quickly and efficiently navigate your games.
  • Able to use a safe shutdown mechanism that allows you to safely power off your device and preserve your save games and configuration settings.


I recommend you upgrade the stock SD card in your device to a 128GB or 256GB microSD card, from a reputable brand like SanDisk or Samsung, so that you have a reliable storage option with plenty of space for your game collection. It is also confirmed that 512GB cards also work fine on this device. Here is a link to my recommended cards.

In order for this card to work on your device, you will need to format it to FAT32 file system. Windows can only format cards which are less than 32GB to FAT32, so you will need to use a program called guiformat. For Mac, you can use the Disk Utility program that comes with MacOS to format (“erase”) the card, with MS-DOS (FAT) as the format. In both cases, you can name the card “SIMPLE30”.

Once your card is formatted, download Simple30 here, and unzip the contents and drag them into your FAT32-formatted SD card. That’s it, you’re done. You can now add your game files to their respective folder within the main “roms” folder, and your BIOS files, too (more on that in the next section).

Required BIOS files

The BIOS files now need to be placed in the retroarch/system folder. Here are the necessary BIOS files for the default systems:




GAME BOY (for boot logo):

GAME BOY COLOR (for boot logo):





Supported systems

The Simple30 image, by default, contains about 20 of the most popular classic systems:

Arcade (FinalBurn Neo)
Arcade (MAME 2003-Plus)
Arcade (Neo Geo)
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super NES
Nintendo 64

Game Boy
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance
Sega Master System
Sega Genesis
Sega CD
Sega 32X

Sega Dreamcast
Sega Game Gear
Sony PlayStation
Sony PSP

Note that with this new software, Nintendo 64 is now available. But just like Sega Dreamcast and Sony PSP, performance is relatively limited. The other systems play just fine.

If you want to remove any of these systems from your main menu, simply go to the sections/emulators folder on your SD card, and move the respective system launcher file (they’ll be labeled according to the system they support) into the sections/emulators/optional folder; this will make the system disappear from your main menu.

But additionally, there are other emulators and ports that you can play on your device, such as:

MAME 2010
Neo Geo CD
Famicom Disk System
Super Famicom
Sufami Turbo
N64 (Parallel core)
Virtual Boy
Game & Watch
Super Game Boy
Dreamcast VMU
PSP Minis
Neo Geo Pocket
Neo Geo Pocket Color
Atari Lynx
Wonderswan Color

ZX Spectrum
MSX Turbo R
Odyssey Videopac
Atari 2600
Atari 5200
Atari 800
Atari 78
Atari ST
Amiga 500
Amiga CD32
Channel F
Sharp X1
Amstrad CPC

Thomas MO5
Commodore 64
Commodore 128
Commodore PET
Commodore Plus4
Commodore VIC20
Palm OS
Pokemon Mini
Wolfenstein 3D
Mr. Boom
Rick Dangerous

To add these systems to your device, navigate to the sections/emulators/optional/ folder, and move whatever system you would like to play into the sections/emulators folder instead. Note that some of these systems will require additional BIOS files, and the ports will require retail files added to their respective rom folder.


All of the emulators (except for the standalone PSP emulator) will take advantage of RetroArch’s universal hotkeys system. Here are the hotkeys that you can use while in a game:

RetroArch hotkeys

SELECT + POWER = Quit game and return to main menu
SELECT + START = RetroArch Menu
Hold START (3 seconds) = RetroArch Menu
SELECT + Y = Toggle FPS (frames per second)
SELECT + B = reset game
SELECT + A = pause emulation
SELECT + R1 = save state
SELECT + L1 = load save state
SELECT + L2 = rewind (when enabled)
SELECT + R2 = fast forward (see note below)
SELECT + RIGHT on d-pad = save state slot +
SELECT + LEFT on d-pad = save state slot -
SELECT + UP on d-pad = volume up
SELECT + DOWN on d-pad = volume down

Thanks to developer DaMikki, we now have working Fast Forward on Simple30.

– Launch RetroArch without a game loaded, then navigate to Settings > Video > Threaded Video > ON
– Go to Main Menu > Configuration File > Save Current Configuration
– Exit RetroArch, launch a game, and then press SELECT + R2 to toggle Fast Forward

Note that threaded video will introduce some screen shimmering on certain games, which may be undesirable. If you want to have the feature only on certain games, then launch that game, turn on Threaded Video, and then save the setting within Quick Menu > Configuration File > Save Game Configuration.


Here are some random notes that may help you get the most out of this unique device:

  • If you load your roms onto your SD card and do not see them in the menu, go into the sections/emulators folder on your SD card and find the appropriate launcher file for your system. Open that file with a text editor, and find that last bit of code: (selectorfilter=gdi,cdi) or similar, and add the file extensions of your roms (.iso, .img, and so on).
  • To scrape boxart or videos for your menus, check out this section of my Starter Guide.
  • You can adjust the brightness within RetroArch by going to Settings > Video > Output > Screen Brightness. I find this easier than closing out of the game and adjusting the brightness in the main menu.
  • With the way the system is currently configured, you cannot switch between RetroArch cores in one system. For example, while most Nintendo 64 games play best with the Mupen64Plus N64 emulator, others may play better with the Parallel N64 core. There isn’t a way to set the Parallel N64 core to launch with certain games. Instead, I’ve made a Parallel N64 core section, so that you can launch the same N64 library with that core instead. To set it up, go into the sections/emulators/optional folder on your SD card, and move the file named “07 parallel (n64)” into the sections/emulators folder. Now you will see a Parallel N64 option in your main menu.
  • If you would rather just run RetroArch by default and not deal with the Simple30 menu interface, that is set up as well. Go into the bin/RA launcher folder on your SD card, and move the gmenu2x from from that folder into the bin folder (replace the one that’s already in there, although I would make a backup in case you want to revert back at some point). From now on you will launch directly into RetroArch whenever you boot up the device, and quitting RetroArch will shut down the device.

Known issues

Like any software solution, Simple30 is a work in progress. Here are some of the issues that I have noted:

  • The “Save Content Directory Overrides” function does not work, which means that you cannot save settings specific to one game folder for systems that use the same core. For example, you cannot save Game Gear specific settings because it shares the same core as Master System, Genesis, and Sega CD.
  • Some shaders will rotate the screen when turned on.
  • Fast forward function does not work at this time.
  • Volume and brightness levels are reset when the device is powered off/on.
  • With MAME2003-Plus, some button presses register as multiple buttons. Until a fix is in place, you can do a workaround by swapping out the RetroArch core with MAME2003 (open the sections/emulators/ folder, find the MAME 2003-Plus file, open it with a text editor, and change the core to (params=-v -c retroarch-arcade.cfg -L


– Added Fast Forward instructions

– Published guide

– Added note about adding additional file extensions
– Added known issue about MAME 2003-Plus buttons

191 thoughts on “Introducing Simple30, an Optimized PocketGo S30 Firmware

  1. Hi. Love this handheld and the work you do for it, thanks.
    I have a problem though.
    If I play Super Metroid via Retroarch, the collar buttons won’t work, so I can’t select/de-select the items I pick up.
    The same goes for the Metroid games on GBA via Retroarch.
    I’ve gone into the mapping setting and configuered them, but it still doesn’t work.
    Any ideas/solutions please ?
    Thanks in advance.


    1. That is because the Select button is setup as a hotkey for RA shortcuts. You will need to create a game options file for the controls for Super Metroid.

      Start up Super Metroid and then press Start + Select to access the RA Quick Menu

      Select Controls

      Select Port 1 Controls

      Scroll to Select Button and press left 3 times until you see “—”

      Scroll to L2 Button (Trigger) or R2 Button (Trigger), whichever you prefer to use, and press right 3 times until you see it say “Select”

      Press B to leave this menu, and then scroll to “Save Game Remap File” and press A on that.

      Press B to leave this menu, and scroll up to and select Resume

      now, your Super Metroid will load this specific control setup each time you use it, and the Select hotkey will still work and the L2 or R2 will be considered the Select button in the game itself.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Gaming Stuff,

      Regarding issues with GBA game performance, please look at older posts as I suggested a solution using the GPSP Core.

      Kind Regards


  2. The only thing I can’t do is play ps1 games. I apparently don’t understand how to place bios with psx so that Roms show up in the plays toon icon on the game system. I can add other games to other emulators but just psx


    1. There are Youtube videos to help with this.
      I went back to the old version as I have too many problems with Simple30.


    2. Have you figured this out because I have not. I’m placing the Bin file in the respective psx folder and nothing.


    1. I’m talking about the menu that has options to save and load state, which was accessible pressing the power button.


  3. I read on Obscure Handhelds it was possible to plus the S30 directly to the PC through USB-C.
    But when I do so, I can’t access the folders.
    Any idea how to proceed? Do we need a driver?


  4. Hi, i am unable to save shader or setting configurations. after i save core preset or other settings and exit game, then play another game of the same kind again, it goes back to the default shader instead of the one i have chosen. please help me, thanks.


  5. Hello, I have a question. With this firmware it is possible to play in retroarch’s netplay? obviously using a wi-fi adapter.


    1. Hi Santimanco, Russ,

      Unfortunately the Pocket Go S30’s USB C port only supports charging, it does not allow data, therefore no WiFi or USB dongles will ever work with the device sadly.

      Kind Regards



  6. Is there anyway to bring back the old power button menu that lets you save, load and quit?
    I really enjoyed feature for my kids

    Keep up the awesome work 🙂


  7. Hi, Russ. Couple of questions about the menu system:

    1) Is it possible to navigate through multiple sections? By default, everything is in Emulators, so its one long left/right sequence. Being able to toggle through various sections would make it possible to group emulators into subsets (e.g. Nintendo emulators, or dedicated Ports). The PowKiddy V90 menu is a good example of this (sections for Apps, Emulators, Games, and Settings). I tried creating new sections, but couldn’t find a way to navigate between them.

    2) Is it possible to add support for subfolders to the ROM directories? Right now it seems the menu can only find ROMs if they are in the emulator’s “root” directory (e.g. “\roms\nes\” for NES); if they are in subfolders of that directory, they don’t appear in the list. I like organizing my ROMs into subfolders for easier navigation.

    Thanks! Really appreciate all the work you’ve done!


    1. Hi, Russ. Just wanted to follow up. I found solutions for my earlier questions, and have one more — hopefully an easy one for you. First, the solutions, in case anyone finds them helpful:

      1) Section navigation is enabled, technically; however, the inputs need to be mapped in the input.conf file (root folder). I would have preferred to map these to the L and R buttons, but I wasn’t able to find their key codes (tried everything between 1 and 322, no luck). So, I settled for the X and Y buttons instead (by default, they’re not assigned to anything). The critical lines are:


      In the \sections folder, create new folders for the sections you want, and organize your emulator links in them as desired. Just like emulator links, section navigation is alphabetical, so use this to your advantage when naming your folders.

      2) Subfolder navigation is already supported, just disabled. It can be enabled on a per-emulator-link basis by editing that emulator’s file in the \sections folder:

      a) Change “selectorbrowser=false” to “selectorbrowser=true”
      b) I recommend creating a file type filter if it doesn’t already exist: on a new line, enter “selectorfilter=” where is the set of file types to include, separated by commas, without spaces (e.g. “selectorfilter=.fc,.fds,.nes,.rar,.zip” for NES).

      I’m not sure if this will work with all emulators, but I do expect it will work with most.

      And finally, this brings me to my new question:

      Is it possible to change the path where the system looks for scraped artwork? I understand by default it looks for the \images and \videos subfolders within the emulator’s ROMs folder. If it’s doable, I’d like to be able to change it to point to paths outside the ROMs folder. That way the \images and \videos folders won’t appear in the games list alongside the folders I *do* want to see. (Yeah, I fully acknowledge I’m deep in picky-picky territory now…)

      Apologies for the length. Hopefully the info was worthwhile. Thanks!


    2. Argh — the form garbled my (2b) line, and I don’t see a way to edit it. Trying again, with different punctuation…

      b) I recommend creating a file type filter if it doesn’t already exist: on a new line, enter “selectorfilter=[file extensions]” where [file extensions] is the set of file types to include, separated by commas, without spaces (e.g. “selectorfilter=.fc,.fds,.nes,.rar,.zip” for NES).


  8. BTW, did your YouTube channel just get hijacked? Saw this “Cardano [News]” channel I didn’t recall subscribing to, doing a livestream on a completely unrelated topic. Has a few of your videos. Looks like at least some of your videos embedded on pages here are dead links, too.


  9. The “Save Content Directory Overrides” function does not work, but is someone working on it? that problem in some Nes games for example SMB3 that leaves a vertical stripe on the left side will be fixed?


    1. When it happened to me I took everything off the SD card, formatted it again and put everything back on. Then it was fine.


  10. Personally, after experimenting with Simple, I went back to Russ’s add-on pack from February. It has 90% of the systems I want, and I have not had a bit of trouble with it. PS1 works perfectly, as do the usual PSP games (2D, puzzle and minis) with this chipset. It is far simpler than “Simple,” and I especially like that a light touch of the power button brings up the menus to save, load or exit a game.
    If you’re good with the systems that are emulated, I recommend it. Load it on a separate card and experiment yourself.


    1. I totally agree, after using Simple for a while I went back to Russ’s add-on pack – it’s simpler(!), feels more light-weight and works great.


  11. everything seems to work fine with simple30 except for GBA. most of my gba library plays laggy, especially the sound is very choppy. I tried putting simple30 on different brand micro sd cards, and different micro sd sizes. they all have the same result where GBA plays worse than the original pocketgo s30. i tried messing around with the video settings and latency stuff but I need help!!!


    1. Hi Esther,

      Please try disabling rewind as per Russ’s advice, however if that doesn’t work please try the following :-

      __ previous post

      Hello NeoRage,

      Sorry for the delay in my reply.

      Yes the core goes to SDCARD://retroarch/cores/
      However a copy of the GBA bios goes to SDCARD://retroarch/system/gba_bios.bin

      For documentation on a core just google the core name eg or look in

      Next, in the SDCARD://sections//emulators folder do the following :-

      Create a file called “11 gpSP (Game Boy Advance)” stick whatever number you want at the beginning mine is 11.

      Put the following text into the file :-

      title=Game Boy Advance
      #description=GBA Emulator
      params=-v -c /mnt/extsd/retroarch/retroarch.cfg -L /mnt/extsd/retroarch/cores/

      Save it and you should have a new GBA option that will use the gpSP core. I would suggest doing that rather than replacing the other, as you can chose which core runs best. Final Fantasy VI will now run at 60FPS on this core.

      If this doesn’t work, please let me know.

      Kind Regards

      DaMikki (Jay)


  12. I have simple30 installed on my pocketgo s30. For the second or third time simple haa lost my save state. Am i doing something wrong? 2nd, for the ps1 emulation, if i get to the point where i finish a disk, how can i switch disks? Especially since it seems like the most reliable way is to use save state…


    1. Hi Nelson,

      Please don’t turn the device off, use the shutdown option in the menu to properly switch the device off otherwise you will lose your save states.

      Kind Regards



  13. I can’t configure the controller for a specific game, I leave the screen brightness at its lowest but in the game it stays with high brightness, this retroach is very strange, it lacks many options
    Mais sobre o texto originalÉ necessário fornecer o texto original para ver mais informações sobre a tradução
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    1. I would go back to the original that came with the S30. There are too many problems with Simple 30, and it looks like they’ve given up trying to help etc.


  14. Anyone can help me ? i want to play final fantasy type 0 but when i start the pocketgo the game don’t appear in my list do I have to do something else besides putting the game on the memory card? note: the game is almost 3 giga is this the problem i don’t know


    1. Hi RenanLima,

      Please make sure that your PSP games have the correct file extension my PSP section contains the following :-

      title=Sony PSP
      #description=PPSSPP Emulator

      My PSP games are all compressed ISO files (.cso) so my selectorfilter=.cso as listed above, you can change that to show different file types or leave that line out completely to show all files.

      Also double check your selectordir is set to the correct location for your PSP files. I don’t have Final Fantasy Type 0 installed on my Pocket Go S30 but I will give it a try tomorrow.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards



  15. i wanted to know how do i go about changing the menu wallpaper when I’m scrolling through my roms? each emulator just shows a super Nintendo wallpaper when scrolling through roms.


  16. Simple 30 does not support Chinese… When switched to, it just shows blank where it should be Chinese characters. Any of you Ninjas from the above knows which file/folder from the v1.7 card archive I should drag over? Thanks.


  17. is there a way to install the amiga uae4all emulator on this device i no there is a amiga emu in retroarch but its not as good from my experience of using it with retroarch ?


    1. Hi Flavio,

      Please don’t turn the device off, use the shutdown option in the menu to properly switch the device off otherwise you will lose your save states.

      Kind Regards



  18. Great tutorial thanks a mill for the effort put in.
    My only issue is saving states…seems to work for PSP no problem, but all other emulators only save the state until I turn off the device. Turn it back on the states are gone. Any idea if this is a bug or I’ve done something wrong? Thanks again


    1. Don’t turn the device off, use the shutdown option in the menu to properly switch the device off otherwise you will lose your save states.


  19. Thanks for the reply… Where is the shut down option? When I’m in the main menu (where you choose an emulator), there isnt any shutdown option (which is why I just hold the power button to turn off)… Just a settings icon but no option.

    Then when in a game, still no shutdown option, just a close content option to close the game. Thanks


  20. Hello Folks,

    Firstly Gerb, I am glad you managed to find the shutdown option and your save states are working OK now. The missing save states was a major issue with the device. It was me who developed the shutdown menu option for Russ, who found it useful and so he added it to the Simple 30 menu ages ago.

    Speaking of Russ, as Russ is making a lot of videos on so many handhelds (awesome content and very busy schedule), he obviously doesn’t have much free time to help out with problems on Simple 30. I had been helping out to solve a few problems a few months ago. However, somehow this email list was marked as spam, I only noticed that there were so many posts yesterday when I finally visited the forum again. So I would like to apologize for leaving so many of you hanging with no solution to your issues with Simple 30.

    I am back now and will be checking the forum (not just my email) as often as I can. I can’t guarantee I will be able to fix everyone’s problem but I will do what I can when I can.

    Kind Regards

    DaMikki (Jay)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. DaMikki: hello, I understand that I have to turn off using the app and not holding the pocketgo s30 turn off button, but there is some problem with the save only for translated games, I had to get rid of some roms unfortunately


    1. Hi Flavio,

      With regards to translated ROMS losing saves states, it sounds like you have a badly patched set of ROMS.

      Did you patch them yourself or did you download pre-patched ROMS ?

      I would suggest getting hold of the original ROMS and patching them yourself using the instructions and patches from this site :-

      Hopefully this helps.

      Kind Regards



  22. For anyone who plays dreamcast on this and plays SA2, I had to lower the analog sensativity to 0.9 to get my character to stop running down, you move a little slower but it fixes it, don;t know why issue came up only on dreamcast emulator.

    Hope this helps others.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Actually I would like to know if there’s a fix for the fast forward? Playing pokemon Mystery Dungeon is a drag without FF.


  24. When I boot SIMPLE30 firmware, the screen auto-scrolls (as if the down direction on the analog stick is pressed). I can’t navigate the menus because the screen constantly scrolls. I tried re-formatting and a separate SD card (both FAT32) with no luck. I was able to get it to the joystick calibration screen and tried to recalibrate it holding ‘UP’ on the analog stick, and also holding ‘down’, neither of these seem to fix the problem. When I put the stock SD card, the menus scroll fine. Any idea what could be happening?


    1. Hi Dan G,

      Your issue sounds very strange, it’s as though you have a hardware fault on your analogue stick but it is strange that it works on the original firmware.

      I would suggest you delete your download copy of simple 30 and redownload it, as it could also be a corrupted download. Try writing the newly downloaded image to another card and see if that works.

      Otherwise I will have to think what else could be wrong:-

      1) Could the analogue stick in your Pocket Go S30 be a different model to the usual one ?
      2) Could a software setting in the original firmware compensate for an issue with your analogue stick?

      I will give it some thought.

      Kind regards



      1. Thanks DaMikki,
        I tried a different SD with a freshly downloaded simple30. Same result, still does not work properly. I just received my s30 so I wonder if you are correct about it being a different model analogue stick. I appreciate the reply!


      2. Another observation… I tried reformatting the replacement SD cards FAT32, which formatted fine, and copied the files from the original SD card that came with the S30. All of the 3 new SD cards (4GB, 64GB, and 64GB) all have the same scrolling issue. Very odd, but tells me it probably isn’t a configuration file issue. Maybe I’m formatting them wrong (I’m using guiformat that retrogamecorps recommends, maybe wrong sector size)? The cards boot but automatically scroll and do not stop. Thanks again.


  25. Hi Dan G,

    Try this as a test, use balenaEtcher to make a clone image of your working SD card. Then flash that image to a new SD card. Do you get the same issue or does it work OK ?

    Let me know & I will get back to you as soon as I can.

    Kind Regards



    1. Thanks DaMikki, I cloned the SD with Etcher, the clone has the same issue. Now when I put in the original, it has the same scrolling issue. It looks to be a hardware issue now since I can’t get the original to work any more. I will see if I can get the unit replaced, I’ll keep you guys posted.


    1. What system are you trying to run fast forward on ?

      I will take a look to see if I can get it to work.

      Kind regards



      1. When I said which system, I meant which emulated system you are trying to use fast forward on ?

        In the meantime I will take a look at my S30 and see if I can get some systems to fast forward.


      2. Hi PranksterSableye,

        Sorry for the delay in my reply, I have been trying to make fast forward work on the mGBA & the gpSP core in RetroArch version 1.9.0 which is used with Simple 30.

        I now have it working !

        Step 1 : Enable Threaded Video as it does not work without it.
        Load a GBA game – go to the Retroarch menu – press b – select settings – select video – Toggle Threaded Video.

        Step 2 : Ensure that a hot key for fast forward is set, for mine it’s the power key and right on the dpad. Yours would probably be Select and Right on the dpad but can be whatever you want.
        Retroarch menu – press b – select settings – select Input – select Hotkeys – set a key for Fast forward toggle.

        Step 3 : Save the new settings so they work every time retroarch starts.
        Retroarch menu – press b – select Configuration File – select Save Current Configuration

        Quit retroarch and then load a game as usual. Use your set hotkey (mine is power and right on dpad, again yours would probably be Select and Right on the dpad) to toggle fast forward on and off.

        I hope this helps you.

        Kind Regards


        Liked by 1 person

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