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Developer(s) Alec Lofquist,
Nils Bonenberger,
Latest version 3.0.2 [+]
Active Yes (RetroPie fork)
Platform(s) Windows, Linux
Architecture(s) x86, ARM
Type Launcher
Programmed in C++
Website emulationstation.org
License MIT-like
Source code GitHub (RetroPie fork)
GitHub (original source)

EmulationStation is a graphical and themeable launcher for various emulators. It can import custom themes to use, but it doesn't have a large community so there is not an abundance of these. Comes with a metadata scraper. It is a great front end, and thanks to some users on the RetroPie Forum, development has been picked up after the original developers left. Some new additions include support for video playback as well as custom carousels.


Windows Linux macOS EmulationStation Desktop Edition
An active fork of EmulationStation made for desktop use.
Windows Linux Linux ARM RetroPie fork Git
Another active fork of EmulationStation
Windows RetroPie fork Git Continuous Integration Builds
Windows Builds from the RetroPie EmulationStation fork.

Linux ARM Linux RetroPie package
RetroPie for x86 Linux is only available Ubuntu (16.04 LTS or later) and Debian based distros.
Windows Batocera fork
Another active fork, from Batocera.linux
Windows Linux Linux ARM Original version
Last updated 2015.

List of forks[edit]

Name Platform(s) Latest Version Active Recommended
PC / x86
EmulationStation Desktop Edition Windows Linux macOS 3.0.2
RetroPie fork Windows Linux Linux ARM 2.11.2 ~[N 1]
Batocera fork Windows Linux Linux ARM Git ~[N 1]
AmberELEC fork Windows Linux Linux ARM Git ~[N 1]
Mobile / ARM
EmulationStation Desktop Edition Android 3.0.2
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 These are mostly recommended for Linux ARM based devices such as RetroPie. For desktop EmulationStation Desktop Edition is the recommended solution.