The latest version is 2.1.1 (released 2023-07-16)

New to ES-DE? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions

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

It's free, open source and multi-platform, running on Unix/Linux, macOS and Windows.

ES-DE comes preconfigured for use with RetroArch and a large selection of standalone emulators. It's also fully customizable so you can easily expand it to include emulators or applications not covered by the bundled configuration.

Please consider donating to the project to support its future development!


Modern and attractive user interface
Full controller navigation support
Supports over 150 different game systems

ES-DE System View

Ships preconfigured - minimal setup required

Simple to use, you'll be retrogaming within minutes

Still highly customizable if you prefer to tailor your setup

ES-DE Gamelist View

Built-in scraper for downloading game info and game media

Supports scraping of images, videos and game manuals

Lots of configuration options

ES-DE Scraper

Fully themeable which allows for very different looks

Ships with two comprehensive themes

Lots of additional high-quality themes available for download

ES-DE Theme Support

The screenshot above shows the Modern theme that is bundled with ES-DE as an alternative to the default Slate theme


The latest version is 2.1.1 (released 2023-07-16)



For the portable release make sure to read the README.txt file that is included in the ZIP archive. For new installations this is also the recommended release since it's much easier to setup.

macOS (Apple and Intel processors)



10.15 "Catalina" and later.

Arch Linux, Manjaro, possibly others (AUR)

Linux AppImage



The first AppImage should work on most distributions. The second AppImage is specific to the Valve Steam Deck.


If you're using a Raspberry Pi or if you run FreeBSD, NetBSD or OpenBSD then you need to compile from source code as no prebuilt packages are provided for these platforms. A detailed guide is available here describing this process step-by-step.

If you would like to download an earlier version for any of the supported operating systems, then you can find all releases at the GitLab Package Registry.

Refer to the Changelog for detailed information about each release.


Themes are most easily installed via the built-in theme downloader, but you can also browse the web version of the themes list which provides some additional details.

Below are a few examples of themes from this list to give a feeling for how different the application can look depending on the theme set used.

Alekfull NX (Revisited)

Alekfull NX (Revisited)

Atari 50 Menu

Atari 50 Menu

Art Book Next

Art Book Next

Retrofix (Revisited)

Retrofix (Revisited)


There are videos available to explain the basic ES-DE installation, and there is a comprehensive user guide that covers setup and configuration in more detail. This guide also covers all application settings. If you need additional support, join our Discord server. For new users the FAQ is a good starting point as it answers some common questions about ES-DE.

This video shows how to install ES-DE on Windows 10 although it's also applicable to Windows 11 and 8.1. As of ES-DE v1.1 you no longer need to set the Path variable manually as RetroArch will be auto-detected.

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

This video shows how to install ES-DE on Linux (Kubuntu). It's however also applicable to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. As of ES-DE v1.1 no workaround is required any longer if you've installed the Flatpak version of RetroArch.

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 (it's also OK to provide bug reports via Discord).


ES-DE by itself does not provide any emulation support, instead it's relying on a number of different emulators that you need to install separately. RetroArch is set as the default emulator where applicable, so it's a good starting point to at least install this together with ES-DE.


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 with the latter being the primary choice as they have a better database of information and media. It's a good idea to register an account with them as their service is frequently closed for non-registered users.