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Hi, also a nooby but I maybe able to help…

Have you checked the es_systems.cfg in ./emulationstation? The EXTENSION= line for an emulator should match the respective extension of its roms.

As with not being able to startx with the sd card image, maybe try downloading it and writing it to you sdcard again as your download might have been dodgy?

I added my roms through ssh via ethernet cable bridged connection to my pc, I used the program FileZilla to just drag them into /RetroPie/roms/”emulator”

hope you get it sorted and playing games soon :)