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EmulationStation-DE is a front-end application to manage all of your ROMs.


EmuDeck installs EmulationStation-DE, which allows you to manage your ROMs through a single front-end application. It can either be used as an alternative or in tandem with Steam Rom Manager (an application that adds ROMs as game shortcuts to your Steam Library).


EmulationStation-DE Important Links

EmulationStation-DE currently scrapes art from and

Read the Steam ROM Manager page to learn more about Steam Rom Manager and how it can be used in tandem with EmulationStation-DE!

Emulationstation-DE Table of Contents

  1. Getting started with EmulationStation-DE

  2. EmulationStation-DE Tips and Tricks

Getting started with EmulationStation-DE

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Emulationstation-DE Configuration

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  • Executable Location: Emulation/tools/EmulationStation-DE-x64_SteamDeck.AppImage
  • Scraped Media Location: Emulation/tools/downloaded_media
  • Config Location: /home/deck/.emulationstation

Note: ~/.emulationstation is an invisible folder by default. In Dolphin (file manager), click the hamburger menu in the top right, click "view hidden files" to see these folders.

EmulationStation-DE Folder Locations

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These file locations apply regardless of where you chose to install EmuDeck (to your internal SSD, to your SD Card, or elsewhere). Some emulator configuration files will be located on the internal SSD as listed below.

$HOME refers to your home folder. If you are on a Steam Deck, this folder will be named /home/deck (you will likely not see deck in the file path when navigating using the file manager).

Paths beginning with Emulation/.. correspond to your EmuDeck install location. If you installed on an SD Card, your path may be /run/media/mmcblk0p1/Emulation/roms/... If you installed on your internal SSD, your path may be /home/deck/Emulation/roms/..

Do note that some of these paths have been adjusted from EmulationStation-DE's defaults. If you are reading EmulationStation-DE's User Guide, make sure to also use the below file locations as a reference.


├── collections
├── custom_systems
│   └── es_systems.xml
├── es_log.txt
├── es_settings.xml
├── gamelists
│   ├── atarilynx
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── gc
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── n3ds
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── nds
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── ps2
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── psp
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── psx
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── saturn
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   ├── scummvm
│   │   └── gamelist.xml
│   └── wii
│       └── gamelist.xml
└── themes
    └── epic-noir-revisited-es-de


This folder will also have your scraped media in folders corresponding to the system name.


How to Update EmulationStation-DE

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How to Update EmulationStation-DE

  • Through the Update your Emulators & Tools section on the Manage Emulators page in the EmuDeck application
  • Manual file replacement of EmulationStation-DE-x64_SteamDeck.AppImage
  • Through the application's automatic updater
    • When you open EmulationStation-DE, you may be prompted for an update, accept the prompt to update the application
      • The automatic updater is only available on EmulationStation-DE versions 2.1.0 and up

How to Launch EmulationStation-DE in Desktop Mode

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How to Launch EmulationStation-DE in Desktop Mode

  • Launch the AppImage in /Emulation/tools/EmulationStation-DE-x64_SteamDeck.AppImage
  • Launch EmulationStation-DE from Steam after adding it via the EmulationStationDE parser in Steam Rom Manager

How to Add EmulationStation-DE to your Steam Library

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In Desktop Mode, you can open EmulationStation-DE by opening the executable here: Emulation/tools/EmulationStation-DE-x64_SteamDeck.AppImage. However, it's recommended you add EmulationStation-DE to Steam through Steam ROM Manager so you can use it in Game Mode as a front-end for your ROMs.

Here's How

  1. In Desktop Mode, open Steam Rom Manager
  2. Turn all the parsers off except for EmulationStation-DE
    • It's recommended to turn on the Emulators parser as well so you can configure your Emulators directly in Game Mode
  3. Click Preview in the top left of the application
  4. Click Generate app list, wait a moment
  5. Click Save app list, wait for a message to pop up: Done adding/removing entries
  6. EmulationStation-DE will now be added to your Steam Library.

Watch the following GIF for a visual:

Emulationstation-DE Hotkeys

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EmulationStation-DE comes with a Steam Input profile for Hotkeys. Activate the Steam Input profile by clicking the Game Controller icon in Game Mode, change the template to Emudeck - EmulationStation-DE. The hotkeys below can only be used if you have the Steam Input profile active.

Hotkey EmulationStation-DE
Citra Left Trackpad Touch Menu
Cemu Left Trackpad Touch Menu
No Profile Left Trackpad Touch Menu
mGBA Left Trackpad Touch Menu
RMG Left Trackpad Touch Menu
melonDS Left Trackpad Touch Menu
PPSSPP Left Trackpad Touch Menu
DuckStation Left Trackpad Touch Menu


An explanation of the EmulationStation-DE Profile

Some emulators set up by EmuDeck need a unique steam input profile (like Cemu or Citra) since you cannot do combo hotkeys easily. These emulators use a Steam Input profile to bind keyboard keys to buttons on a radial or touch menu.

The EmulationStation-DE combines all of these different profiles into a single menu and allows you to select your emulator profile on the fly. For emulators without a Steam Input profile, use combo hotkeys. Visit the Hotkeys page for both a list of the specific buttons on the various radial and touch menus as well as the combo hotkeys.

How to Use the EmulationStation-DE Profile

The EmulationStation-DE profile will be automatically applied to your EmulationStation-DE shortcut. If you have an older install of EmuDeck, you may need to re-run Steam ROM Manager with the EmulationStation-DE parser toggled to apply this profile.

After the EmulationStation-DE profile is applied, use the left trackpad to pull up the menu and long-press an icon to switch into the respective profile. The buttons on the various touch and radial menus use a long-press to activate the respective hotkey.

All of the profiles include a Return to Main Menu button allowing you to return to the profile switcher menu.

If you do not see an emulator on the EmulationStation-DE touch menu, it likely uses combo hotkeys. The Hotkeys page covers the combo hotkeys for the various emulators.

All of the Steam input profiles featured on the EmulationStation-DE profile are specifically for standalone emulators. For example, the melonDS and the mGBA profiles will not work if you are using the RetroArch cores. You will need to use the combo hotkeys instead: RetroArch Hotkeys. To switch to the standalone emulator in EmulationStation-DE, read How to Select a Different Emulator for a System.

Video Showcase

EmulationStation-DE Tips and Tricks

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Tips for Navigating EmulationStation-DE

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Quick-Jumping Through Menus

  • If you use the shoulder and trigger buttons, you can quick-jump through all menus, including the gamelist view menus.

How to Select a Different Emulator for a System

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  1. In EmulationStation-DE, press the Start button
  2. Scroll down and select Other Settings
  3. Select Alternative Emulators
  4. Scroll down to the system you would like to configure, press B, and select your preferred emulator.

Watch the following GIF for a visual:

How to Select a Different Emulator on a Per-Game Basis

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EmulationStation-DE allows you to pick alternative emulators on a per-game basis. This may come in handy when different emulators have different levels of compatibility. You can use this option to switch between Yuzu and Ryujinx on a per-game basis for the Nintendo Switch.

On a game in a console list, press the select button, scroll down and select EDIT THIS GAME'S METADATA, scroll down and select ALTERNATIVE EMULATOR, pick which emulator you would like to use for that game.

Note: This feature is also required to get PrimeHack to work through EmulationStation-DE. For Primehack, place your Metroid Prime Trilogy ROM in the wii folder. Follow the above steps, and choose PrimeHack [Standalone] for Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Watch the following GIF for a visual:

How to Manage Multiple Discs

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  1. Create an M3U File
  2. Place all of your disc files with the M3U file in a folder
  3. Rename the folder to match the M3U file exactly including the file extension .m3u
    • Example:


Method 2: Create an M3U file and hide each of the disc entries in EmulationStation-DE

  1. Create an M3U File
  2. In EmulationStation-DE, press Start, Other Settings, toggle Show Hidden Games off
  3. For each disc entry, press select, press Edit This Game's Metadata, scroll down, toggle on Hidden, press Save, Apply
  4. Repeat for each disc entry

How to Download Themes

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Themes List:


  • EmulationStation-DE 2.0.1 or above
  • Update through the Update your Emulators & Tools section on the Manage Emulators page in the EmuDeck application

How to Download Themes

Method 1: Theme Downloader
  1. Open EmulationStation-DE
  2. Press Start
  3. Scroll down to UI Settings
  4. Select Theme Downloader [Experimental]
  5. Select the theme(s) you would like to download
  6. When you are finished, back out of this menu
  7. On the UI Settings menu, press Theme Set and select your preferred theme
Method 2: Manual

MiSTer Menu will be used as an example in the below guide.

  1. From the themes list:, select a theme under EmulationStation Desktop Edition (ES-DE) - Themes
  2. Open the link for the respective theme, it will take you the respective theme section on the EmulationStation-DE themes page
  3. Open the Github link, it will take you to a Github repository
  4. On the Github repository, press the green Code button in the top right
  5. Click Download Zip, download to a folder of your choice
  6. Open the folder with the zipped theme, right click the theme, click Extract, Extract archive here
  7. Move the unzipped theme folder to /home/deck/.emulationstation/themes
    • ~/.emulationstation is an invisible folder by default. In Dolphin (file manager), click the hamburger button, ☰, in the top right, click Show hidden files
  8. To use the theme: Open EmulationStation-DE in Game Mode, press the Start button, UI Settings, Theme Set, and select the theme you downloaded