EmulationStation Desktop Edition (ES-DE) is a front-end application for browsing and launching games from your multi-platform game collection.

It comes preconfigured for use with RetroArch although it's fully customizable and can be used to launch any emulator or application that you have installed.

It's free and open source and will remain so forever.

It's also true multi-platform and runs on numerous operating systems such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Manjaro, Fedora, FreeBSD, macOS and Windows.

Donations are very much appreciated to support the development!


Modern and responsive user interface
Full controller navigation support
Preconfigured for over a 100 different game systems

ES-DE System View

Simple to use, gets you ready for retrogaming within minutes

Ships preconfigured for RetroArch - minimal setup required

Still highly configurable and customizable if needed

ES-DE Gamelist View

Built-in scraper for downloading game info and game media

Supports scraping of both images and videos

Lots of scraper configuration options

ES-DE Scraper

Ships with a comprehensive theme set

Still fully themeable so you can adapt it to the look you prefer

Backwards compatible with all RetroPie ES themes

ES-DE Theme Support

The screenshot above shows a modified version of the Fundamental theme.


The latest available version is 1.0.1 (released 2021-05-01)

Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10, Linux Mint 20, possibly others


Fedora Workstation 33, possibly others


macOS 10.14 "Mojave" to 11 "Big Sur"


Legacy macOS 10.11 "El Capitan" to 10.13 "High Sierra"


Note: If upgrading from v1.0.0 to v1.0.1 on macOS, you need to delete the files ~/.emulationstation/es_settings.cfg and ~/.emulationstation/es_systems.cfg due to a change in RetroArch v1.9.2.

Windows 10 and 8.1



No binary distribution available for your operating system? ES-DE supports many more systems, but for the time being you will need to compile from source code. A detailed guide is available here describing this process step-by-step.

Refer to the Changelog for information about the ES-DE releases. This document also includes  a list of known issues.


This video shows how to install ES-DE v1.0 on Linux (Kubuntu). It's however also applicable to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

This video shows how to install ES-DE v1.0 on macOS, and should be applicable to all macOS versions supported by ES-DE.

This video shows how to install ES-DE v1.0 on Windows 10 although it's also applicable to Windows 8.1.

There is also a comprehensive user guide available that explains many more installation options as well as all application settings:

Source code and additional info


The ES-DE repository is hosted on GitLab, head over there for a lot of additional information. The Kanban board is where you can see the development progress and report bugs.


ES-DE by itself does not provide any emulators, instead it's mostly relying on RetroArch for this. So in order to have a working retrogaming setup, you need RetroArch installed as well.


One of the most important features provided by ES-DE is the ability to scrape for game information and game media. Two scraper services are supported, TheGamesDB and ScreenScraper. Without a doubt, ScreenScraper is the primary service as the quality of their data is superior. It's a good idea to register an account as their service is frequently closed for non-registered users. Please also consider giving them some financial support for their incredible work.


Please donate to support this independent open-source software development project!

Donations will be used wisely to be able to support additional controllers, computers and operating systems as well as to cover running costs.

You can make a one-time donation or recurring donations, whatever you prefer. If you can't or don't want to donate, then that's fine too.