What just happened? RetroArch, an interface that brings together emulators for a wide range of classic computers and game consoles, is now available to the public through Steam. This comes after a year of beta testing and should make RetroArch easier to use.
The version of RetroArch on Steam is mostly the same as the one available on the official website or through itch.io, except for the way users download cores – which allows RetroArch to emulate different systems. Instead of using the “Core Downloader” in RetroArch itself, users should download them as they would download the DLC for any Steam game. RetroArch on Steam is free with all “DLC”.
As of this writing, 10 cores are available this way. Collectively, they should allow users to emulate systems such as Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Atari 2600, Neo Geo, Sega Saturn, Original PlayStation, Nintendo 64, etc. Additional cores will be added in the future, but it is also possible to manually install other cores by downloading them directly from the RetroArch site and copying them to the RetroArch folder in steamapps> common> RetroArch> cores.
RetroArch has been hailed for years as a simple way to emulate many different classic systems through a unified interface. Downloading it through Steam should make it easier to install and maintain RetroArch.
Steam’s controller configuration settings should be of great help to RetroArch as well. When using a controller, it will also be easier to start RetroArch through Steam’s Big Picture Mode. Starting RetroArch directly through the executable does not require running Steam.
This could prove to be a big plus for Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck handheld, as RetroArch can run natively through SteamOS. A Linux installation of RetroArch would probably have worked on the Steam Deck before, but now potential owners will be able to install and use it without leaving the Steam interface.
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