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How to play Sega Saturn games in Retroarch on Linux

Looking to add some Sega Saturn video games to your Retroarch collection? Unsure how to do it? Follow along with this guide as we show you how to Sega Saturn games in Retroarch on Linux!

Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for RetroArch. If you want to play Sega Saturn games with RetroArch, please use your own game ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally.

Install Retroarch on your computer

Before we can go over how to use the Sega Saturn core to emulate your favorite Sega Saturn ROMs, you will need to install the Retroarch application on your Linux system.

Setting up Retroarch is pretty easy on Linux thanks to package management. Open up a terminal window, search for “retroarch” and install it on your system the way you typically install Linux apps. Alternatively, follow our in-depth guide on how to set up Retroarch on Linux, if you’re having issues getting it working.

Install the Sega Saturn core

Emulation on Retroarch is not like other emulation tools. You don’t download individual emulator apps and install them for specific tasks. Instead, Retroarch uses “cores”. These cores are emulation libraries that are free and are designed to handle ROMs. For example, if you download the N64 core, Retroarch can handle Nintendo 64 games, etc.

To play Sega Saturn games with Retroarch on Linux, you must install the Saturn core. In this section of the guide, we will go over exactly how to set up the Saturn core. To start, launch the Retroarch application on your Linux desktop by searching for it in the app menu. Then, once it’s open, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Locate “Load Core” with the Down Arrow. Then, press the Enter key to select it. By selecting “Load Core,” you will gain access to the emulator core area in Retroarch.

Step 2: Inside of the “Load Core” area, you will see various options. Look through the “Load Core” area for the “Download a Core” option, and select it with the mouse. By selecting “Download a Core” you will be taken to Retroarch’s core downloader utility.

Step 3: In the Retroarch core downloader utility, you will see a massive list of downloadable cores from various gaming systems, and even some retro PCs and specific games. Scroll all the way through the list to “S,” and look for “SEGA”.

In the “SEGA” section, there are various SEGA console cores available, including 3 Sega Saturn cores. For best results, download “Sega – Saturn (Yabause)”. However, feel free to download the other Saturn cores as well, especially if the “Sega – Saturn (Yabause)” one does not work for you.

Step 4: Allow the Sega Saturn Retroarch core file to download to your Linux PC. It should only take a couple of seconds. When the download process is complete, hit Backspace on your computer’s keyboard to exit the “Download a Core” area. You may need to hit this key a couple of times to return to the main Retroarch menu.

Scanning for Saturn ROMs

To scan for Saturn ROMs, use the Left arrow key in Retroarch and move to the plus button icon. Once there, use the Down arrow key on the keyboard to select the “Scan Directory” option. Press Enter on the keyboard to confirm your choice. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Inside of the “Scan Directory” area, the locate “/home/username” option, and select it with the Arrow keys. Then, press the Enter key to confirm your selection.

Note: replace “/home/username” with your Linux PC’s username.

Step 2: Upon selecting “/home/username,”  you will see more folders in front of you. Using the Arrow keys, make your way to the location in which all of your Sega Saturn ROM files reside on your Linux PC.

Step 3: When you’ve found the directory in which all of your Sega Saturn ROM files reside, locate the “<Scan This Directory>” option, and select it with the Arrow keys. Press Enter to confirm your selection.

After selecting the “<Scan This Directory>” option, Retroarch will start to scan and add your Sega Saturn ROM files to Retroarch. Be patient, as this may take a bit of time.

Playing Sega Saturn in Retroarch

To play Sega Saturn games do the following. First, find the Sega Saturn controller in Retroarch, and select it with the mouse. You can also select it with the Arrow keys.

Once you’ve selected the Sega Saturn controller, you will see your Saturn ROMs listed. Select the ROM you’d like to play with the mouse or Arrow keys. Press Enter or mouse-click to confirm.

Click on the “Run” button with the mouse or the Enter key to start the ROM. When you start the ROM, you will be prompted to select a Saturn core. Select one of the Sega Saturn cores downloaded earlier to enjoy your game!

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