How to set up EmuDeck on Steam Deck


EmuDeck is a powerful tool that makes it possible to enjoy retro gaming while on the move, and it can be set up on your Steam Deck easily. Here’s how to do it.

The gaming world is constantly evolving, and while some things may become outdated, new solutions like EmuDeck are being developed to keep the retro gaming flame alive. This software aims to simplify the process of emulating retro games on the Steam Deck, allowing gamers to easily access and play their favorite titles from the yester years.

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Thanks to its impressive performance, Steam Deck is an excellent device for retro gaming, as it can run games from various systems, including PS3 titles. Additionally, some third-party software has been featured in Valve’s official trailers, showcasing the Steam Deck’s potential for emulation.

One of the unique features of the Steam Deck is its touch screen, which comes in handy while emulating games that require two screens. For example, while reviewing Gungrave G.O.R.E, we could play the original Gungrave on Steam Deck. Remember this retro game is no longer available for download but thanks to EmuDeck we got to try it.

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While emulation remains a somewhat controversial area, it is an essential tool for preserving the history of video games. As older games become more challenging to run on modern systems, emulation projects like EmuDeck play a vital role in keeping the gaming industry’s legacy alive.

How to install EmuDeck

Installing EmuDeck is much easier than when it first launched. With an actual user interface and the lack of having to see a terminal, you can have the whole thing installed within a few minutes.

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Either head to the website, or hit the button below, to download EmuDeck.

When you open it up for the first time, it’ll ask where you want to install everything. If you plan on using an SD card, ensure you’ve formatted it to ext4 inside SteamOS’ Game Mode. Inside Desktop Mode, you’ll want to follow along with how to do it via KDE Partition Manager in our external storage guide.

Once you’ve made your choice, it’ll begin downloading and installing everything it has access to. This includes PS3, PS2, and other console emulators – even the Vita one that’s not functional.

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After it’s completed, your Steam Deck will now have a vast quantity of emulators and files at your disposal. Organizing them so you can access them via SteamOS game mode requires a little bit more work.

You’ll need to now run Steam Rom Manager. This will integrate your library of games into Steam itself. If you don’t want your emulators and games to appear in SteamOS, you can skip this step and simply remove any shortcuts from your Steam library. They won’t appear on the initial screen in game mode until you run them, and are neatly tucked away in the Non-Steam Apps section of SteamOS.

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What is Steam ROM Manager?

This is where you’ll need to go if you intend to integrate your library with Steam Deck’s game mode. Each time you load in a new game, you’ll want to come back here to refresh the list of games available to you.

It looks daunting, but it’s mostly just knowing where you’ll be installing games. Once you’ve pointed it in a single direction, you should then keep yourself saving games to that particular location.

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How to use Steam ROM Manager

Load up EmuDeck, if it isn’t open. Then on the update page, ignore it and choose ‘Tools & Stuff’. Amongst the options, just Steam ROM Manager and it’ll load up a green and black window. It’ll ask if you want to exit Steam, so just hit yes, as it makes life easier.

From here on, you’ll need to use the trackpads and triggers to activate the mouse controls, if you’ve not go an external setup with a USB-C hub or Dock.

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Using the right trigger and trackpad, scroll down to find the emulator you want to configure. For instance, we’ll use DuckStation, a PS1 emulator.

Choosing a community preset will immediately fill out the information like Steam Categories, directories, and the like. What we need to instruct ROM Manager to do is where we have saved our games and emulator to.

In our case, once the file manager window appeared, we went to:

Home > Deck > Emulation > roms > PSX and the directory line looks like this:

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Of course, if you’ve decided that you’re going to keep your emulators and software elsewhere, navigate to where you’ve placed them. We’re using the EmuDeck defaults.

Pointing ROM Manager at the right place to launch your emulator, we followed this navigation path:

Home > Deck > Emulation > Tools > Launchers >

Which wound up looking like this:


Again, point it to where you’ve instructed EmuDeck to install the emulators.

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To get certain emulators running, you’ll need the BIOS, which can be placed anywhere and you’ll need to individually instruct the emulators themselves as to where you’re keeping them.

After this, scroll up and choose preview, and ‘generate app list’ and ‘save app list’ if you want to integrate it into steam. If not, choose ‘remove app list’.

You can follow along with all our Steam Deck guides, including how to install Windows and the best microSD card for your money.

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Do not forget to read our other guides

Best Steam Deck Accessories | Best Steam Deck dock in 2022: Top alternatives & more | Best unverified Steam Deck games | Can you play Forspoken on Steam Deck | Best Steam Deck Alternatives | Best Steam Deck Controllers | Best Steam Deck Skins

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