EmulationStation on Steam Deck! Showcase and Guide

Well, that didn’t take long. The desktop version of EmulationStation works really well with the Steam Deck, and allows you to streamline your emulation setup on this impressive handheld. Plus it works in perfect sync with EmuDeck, allowing you to have preconfigured emulation settings AND multiple options when it comes to organizing your ROM library. In this video we’ll go over basic setup, add artwork, and improve how it displays in SteamOS.

Download EmulationStation Desktop Edition here, and be sure to check out their extensive user guide.

Other tools used in this video:
EmuDeck for emulator auto-configuration
SteamGridDB for posters, heroes, grid, and logo images
ScreenScraper.fr to sign up for a free account for scraping images

Note that while I didn’t show it in the video, you can go into Main Menu > Other Settings and adjust the default emulators to your liking. This is helpful if you have a preferred RetroArch core or want to use a standalone emulator.

00:00 introduction
01:38 installation and EmuDeck setup
05:26 EmulationStation setup
07:22 scraping and some configuration
11:52 configure ES for SteamOS UI
16:29 testing ES in handheld/gaming mode
18:57 themes showcase
19:42 summary & conclusion

Some notes from the ES-DE developer:

  • New versions will be coming out frequently. Be sure to check their changelog for updates.
  • Future ES-DE releases will have a single filename (EmulationStation-DE-x64_SteamDeck.AppImage, which will allow you to drop-in the new AppImage for version updates without having to re-add the AppImage to Steam UI every time.
  • ScreenScraper is the preferred scraping utility, thanks to its more robust media support.
  • ES-DE works over a network share, in case you wanted to access your games from an NAS. However, when setting it up, SMB protocol performance very poorly compared to NFS, which can startup 10-30 times faster. So if you are looking to use NAS for your ROM library, be sure to use NFS.

4 thoughts on “EmulationStation on Steam Deck! Showcase and Guide

  1. Can you specify what systems when you say PSP and down. And what systems we need to get an outside emulator. Maybe a suggestion list as well. I have the Odin and PSP down does not work that way on it. So just wanted a simple list so we not looking or guessing.. Thank you


    1. Hi Andrew, like I mention in the video, if you click on the “show list” link on EmuDeck.com it will list out each of the recommended emulators by system. Happy hunting!


  2. I’m a big fan of the arcade classics in Mame but cannot work out how to display scanlines – is this possible on Steam Deck?


  3. How do you back out of a game back into EmulationStation? I can’t figure out so I have to keep quitting ES entirely.


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