Followed the above retroarch and ES installation guide, I've managed to play my favorite beat'em up arcade game the "Warriors of Fate" using my very modest Rpi3A+. Not completely without issues but solvable with a little more tinkering.
1. won't work with the cutting edge mihouse testbuild, am using the latest stable build
2. won't work with external USB audio (no Chord Mojo), pi HDMI audio output is fine
3. joypad button mapping could be tricky, my first time had got the center playstation button (Dualshock 4) mapped as START. so every time I want to play I bounced off back to the retroarch interface. My recommendation is to map the button A to X, button B to O, button X to SQUARE and button Y to TRIANGLE if you using playstation's joypad. Objective : X is always the action button and O is always the back button.
4. for mame game, the rom directory name is "mame", tried "arcade" but won't work
So far so good. Thank you again for your knowledge sharing.