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Steam Deck Emulation: How To Install Emulators

Your Steam Deck can run more than just Steam games.

Updated: Oct 18, 2022 8:55 am
Deck

Emulators are an incredible piece of technology that’s a foundation of gaming as a whole. Now that the Steam Deck is out though, you might be wondering how exactly to emulate games on that system. You might also be wondering how exactly Steam Deck Emulation works. Grab that right trackpad and the mouse trackpad and prepare yourself to have your minds absolutely blown if so.

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We have everything you need to know about how to install the wonderful EmuDeck, an all-in-one emulation system, onto the Deck. We’ve also got a full list of what console emulators this includes on the new Valve behemoth that gives absolutely unparalleled portability.

READ MORE: Best Steam Deck accessories: A buyer’s guide

How To Install EmuDeck On The Steam Deck

Steam Deck
Steam Deck

So the EmuDeck is a full bundle of emulators that install onto the Deck once you run it. Before you do any of this stuff, you need to go into desktop mode on your Steam Deck by holding down the power button. In order to install the stuff on the EmuDeck, you need to go through the following steps:

  1. Format an SD card to either ext4 or btrfs if you intend to store ROMs on an sd card.
  2. Download the EmuDeck installer, move it to the Deck Desktop, then run the file.
  3. Close Steam and open the Steam Rom Manager.
  4. Press Preview, Generate App List, and wait for the images to all download. Then press Save App list.
  5. Close Steam Rom Manager and the full installer window, click on Return To Game Mode and you’re fully set.

Emudeck is by far the best Steam Deck Emulator package, given that it installs literally everything you could possibly want onto your system and then fully guides you through the setup. It’s important to note however that SteamOS is based on Linux, meaning that installation isn’t as simple as using Windows.

Emudeck allows for different configurations and allows you to choose between external and internal storage, with a wide range of devices supported. We can’t help you get ROM files, though they’re not exactly difficult to get hold of, but once you’ve got them you just need to place the in the appropriate folder.

What Emulators Does EmuDeck Install?

EmuDeck
EmuDeck

Good question! So EmuDeck installs, and take a long deep breath here, the following Emulators:

  • Sega Genesis
  • SegaCD
  • Sega32X
  • PC Engine
  • WonderSwan
  • SNES
  • Mame
  • FBNeo
  • NES
  • Master System
  • Dreamcast
  • Neo Geo
  • Super NES Widescreen
  • Genesis Widescreen
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Neo Geo Pocket
  • GameGear
  • NDS
  • 3DS
  • PSP
  • Nintendo 64
  • Wii
  • GameCube
  • PlayStation 1
  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Wii U
  • Switch

Read More: What games can you play on Steam Deck?

Just having a Nintendo Switch Emulator alone would be worth the hassle, but with systems such as PPSSPP, cemu, duckstation, dolphin, Xemu, Citra, MGBA AND Yuzu included it’s a no-brainer really. That list is only going to grow too, so you can expect to see systems like the XBOX 360 supported in the near future too.

The setup process is so incredible easier to do through the instructions on the Emudeck website, and thanks to Valve working out kinks in the process you don’t really have to wait too long to get a reservation for the Steam Deck either. If done right, you’ll have an icon in your handheld mode and be able to get to the emulators by using the Steam button as well!

Are There Any Other Steps To Getting Emulation Working?

There are a few, depending on what system you’re emulating. While Emudeck will install the BIOS files necessary for a lot of these systems, you’ll still need to dump a PS2 bios file and a PS3 bios file to play games across these systems. In addition to this, if you do choose to play games through the Switch emulator then you’ll have to find a way to dump the correct key files and the correct title update files, or you’ll be unable to play certain titles. It can be a lot to set up and may take a while if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s certainly worth it when you’re done.

There are other methods to install emulators onto your Steam Deck, but none are as easy to use as Emudeck which is by far the best Steam Deck emulator, just by virtue of the fact you don’t have to spend hours getting everything sorted and the fact it uses retroarch as a baseline. It’s also easy to tinker with and make perfect, with multiple menus existing to help fix things up and a whole host of YouTube videos. Steam Deck Emulation means that emulating games has never been easier to do on the move.

Steam Deck Emulation FAQs

How Do I Install Emudeck On The Steam Deck?

  • Format an SD card to either ext4 or btrfs if you intend to store ROMs on an sd card.
  • Download the EmuDeck installer, move it to the Deck Desktop, then run the file.
  • Close Steam and open the Steam Rom Manager.
  • Press Preview, Generate App List, and wait for the images to all download. Then press Save App list.
  • Close Steam Rom Manager and the full installer window, click on Return To Game Mode and you’re fully set.

What Emulators Does Emudeck Install?

  • Sega Genesis
  • SegaCD
  • Sega32X
  • PC Engine
  • WonderSwan
  • SNES
  • Mame
  • FBNeo
  • NES
  • Master System
  • Dreamcast
  • Neo Geo
  • Super NES Widescreen
  • Genesis Widescreen
  • Gameboy
  • Gameboy Advance
  • Neo Geo Pocket
  • GameGear
  • NDS
  • 3DS
  • PSP
  • Nintendo 64
  • Wii
  • GameCube
  • PlayStation 1
  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Wii U
  • Switch

Is Steam Deck Good For Emulation?

The Steam Deck can emulate basically any system you want it to emulate, making it the perfect handheld PC for gamers.

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