Emulation aggregator RetroArch is now on Steam, and free

Daniel Sims

Posts: 106   +5
Staff
What just happened? RetroArch, a frontend 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 using RetroArch easier.

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 are what let RetroArch emulate different systems. Instead of using the "Core Downloader" in RetroArch itself, users have to download them the way they would download DLC for any Steam game. RetroArch on Steam is free along with all the "DLC."

As of this writing, 10 cores are available this way. Collectively, they should let users emulate systems like the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Atari 2600, Neo Geo, Sega Saturn, the original PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and more. Additional cores will be added in the future, but it's also possible to manually install other cores by downloading them directly from the RetroArch site and copying them into the RetroArch folder in steamapps > common > RetroArch > cores.

RetroArch has been hailed for years as a straightforward way to emulate many different classic systems through a unified interface. Downloading it through Steam should make installing and maintaining RetroArch smoother.

Steam's controller configuration settings should be a big help to RetroArch, too. While using a controller, it'll also be easier to boot up RetroArch through Steam's Big Picture mode. Starting RetroArch directly through the executable doesn't require Steam to be running.

This could prove to be a major asset to 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 eventual owners will be able to install and use it without leaving the Steam interface.

Permalink to story.

 

emmzo

Posts: 348   +332
Cool, now I only have to find cartridges from 30 years ago that still work and somehow rip the ROMS. I don`t think you can legally buy ROMS and Nintendo made sure you`ll never find any online. Hmm...
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 574   +543
Cool, now I only have to find cartridges from 30 years ago that still work and somehow rip the ROMS. I don`t think you can legally buy ROMS and Nintendo made sure you`ll never find any online. Hmm...
You can find A LOT of "interesting items" on the Internet Archive
 

Linoleum77

Posts: 59   +75
It's probably the worst platform to get RetroArch from... Any downloadable assets (image, cores, roms, etc) needs to go through Steam DLC download. Right now, there are only a handful in the store compared to the gazillion existing.
 

meric

Posts: 322   +335
Cool, now I only have to find cartridges from 30 years ago that still work and somehow rip the ROMS. I don`t think you can legally buy ROMS and Nintendo made sure you`ll never find any online. Hmm...
Maybe they are planing to sell ROMs on steam?
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,078   +993
People are getting dumber, lazier and needed to be spoon fed nowadays, if they need Steam to install everything for them.
 

Norsiiii

Posts: 84   +110
People are getting dumber, lazier and needed to be spoon fed nowadays, if they need Steam to install everything for them.
"Reaching a wider audience and making things more accessible is bad"

Hot take from the Techspot comments, as usual
 

AMN3S1AC

Posts: 85   +54
Cool, now I only have to find cartridges from 30 years ago that still work and somehow rip the ROMS. I don`t think you can legally buy ROMS and Nintendo made sure you`ll never find any online. Hmm...

you are obviously joking, right?
 

supra5mge

Posts: 17   +34
This may be the beginning of official “ROMS” from publishers being sold via Steam possibly?
I use quotes there because who knows what ****ery that may ensue. Pardon’ my French!
 

David Matthews

Posts: 430   +83
Staff member
This may be the beginning of official “ROMS” from publishers being sold via Steam possibly?
I use quotes there because who knows what ****ery that may ensue. Pardon’ my French!
Honestly, I like this idea a lot. Sony, Nintendo, and Sega should just simply sell digital ROMs that can be used on emulators. They'd make a crap ton of money and people wouldn't have to pirate.
 

supra5mge

Posts: 17   +34
I do as well, but how they would implement anti-piracy would be the crux. I should have stated it better. Coffee has kicked in now!
 

gamerk2

Posts: 600   +524
Honestly, I like this idea a lot. Sony, Nintendo, and Sega should just simply sell digital ROMs that can be used on emulators. They'd make a crap ton of money and people wouldn't have to pirate.

For their own IP's, sure. But then you get into some interesting legal issues for the rights for a lot of those properties, especially licensed ones. For example, Konomi no longer owns the TMNT license, so those NES games wouldn't able to be re-released without significant amounts of negotiation with all the rights holders.

But yes, the fact the majority of these aren't able to be legally purchased is a major wasted opportunity for all parties involved. I'm one of the few who legally purchases/backs up my own titles, and I would honestly prefer to just purchase/download ROMs legally. [Especially given the jacked up resale markets]
 

Daniel Sims

Posts: 106   +5
Staff
Just some minor examples, but if you buy the SEGA Genesis Collection on Steam, the original ROMs are in the game files and you could just run them in RetroArch as opposed to SEGA's emulator. The workshop section for that game contains more ROMs that Steam just distributes. The SNK games on the Humble Store also come with the original ROMs if you look through the game files after installing each one. That technically counts as publishers legally selling ROMs.

If you still have a PC with an optical drive, RetroArch can also dump Sega Saturn (I think) and original PlayStation discs.

Honestly, I like this idea a lot. Sony, Nintendo, and Sega should just simply sell digital ROMs that can be used on emulators. They'd make a crap ton of money and people wouldn't have to pirate.
But yes, this is something I've wanted to see them do. You'll never see Nintendo do it unless their hardware business dies or something, but if third party companies like Konami and Capcom did it, it really would be the best legal solution for game preservation.

I think it would take a company like GOG going to those publishers to work out deals to sell the ROMs DRM-free. I think I'd pay $10 for a SNES ROM if it came with every version, PDF guides and manuals, artwork, and the soundtrack. Right now many are just releasing their own retro collections on modern consoles and PC, and you've got Hamster's Arcade Archives, which is at least something.
 
What the author fails to mention is the biggest advantage. For multiplayer it uses Steam play together, or how it is called. Instead of the somewhat flawed Netplay from Retroarch itself.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,864   +796
It's past time for sellable roms. It's a no brainer. But I suspect they fear lack of control thereafter.