How to Turn Steam Deck Into a Retro Game Emulator | Den of Geek

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Video How to play nintendo games on steam deck

To start, you need to enter the Steam Deck’s desktop mode by pressing the power button and selecting “Switch to Desktop.” Once on the desktop, you can search the internet through Steam Deck’s web browser (or install one and then use it). The most popular emulation options are Retroarch are Emudeck since unlike most emulators they support a veritable rainbow of game platform ROMs. However but Emudeck has a slight edge since it was designed specifically for Steam Deck, so we will use that as a baseline. If you would rather install a different emulator, you are free to do so.

To install the Emudeck, you should first visit the emulator’s website and download the installer as you would on any other PC — just click “Download” at the top of the screen, and then click the “download installer” button. Once the program is finished downloading, open your Steam Deck’s download folder and double-click “Emudeck Desktop” to start the installation. The installer will then run you through a few questions to get a feel for your preferences. First, it will ask if you want to use the “Easy” or “Expert” mode to install the emulator. While your gaming instincts will tell you to avoid “Easy” mode, we recommend it to make the installation as painless as possible. Next, the installer will ask where you plan to store your ROMs: internally or on an SD card. If you want to store your games on an SD card, make sure you format it before the installation. If you forgot, exit the installer and format the card before starting again.

Once you have answered the final question, assuming you selected “Easy” mode, Emudeck will complete the installation for you. Afterward, you should see a bunch of Emudeck icons on your Steam Deck’s desktop, including one for an updater and one for the Emudeck program itself. If so, congratulations, you’re almost done.

How to Install Retro Game ROMs on Steam Deck

Now that you have the Emudeck (or your preferred emulator of choice) on your Steam Deck, it’s time to populate your emulator library. As noted above, just be sure that you acquire all of your ROMs legally in order to avoid a lot of heartbreak and potential trouble.

Remember during the installation process when Emudeck asked you where you want your ROM folder? Keep that choice in mind because the installer creates a bunch of files for your ROMs in whatever area you selected. No matter what you picked, though, you need to stay in Steam Deck’s desktop.

Now it’s time to copy your ROMs into your Steam Deck. If you selected an internal folder during Emudeck’s installation, open your Steam Deck’s file manager. From the “Home” folder, scroll down to “Emulation,” and in that folder, double-click on the “roms” folder. You should see a window full of folders, each for a different game console, e.g., Amiga, Gamecube, Dreamcast, etc. If you selected an SD card, you first have to scroll down the file manager’s left bar until you reach the “Removable Devices” portion. Open the first option, “Primary,” and then you will see the “Emulation.” folder. Open that and then click on “roms.” If you open the “roms” folder, you should see a window full of folders, each for a different game console, e.g., Amiga, Gamecube, Dreamcast, etc. Now just copy the ROMs into their corresponding folders.

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