How to Play Retro Games on Steam Using Steam ROM Manager?.
The Steam ROM Manager lets you play your favorite retro games from Steam. In this article, I’ll walk you through the entire process of setting up the Steam ROM Manager and later on how to play these retro games from your phone and TV using the Steam Link. Let’s start.
How it works?
This method is quite simple, but it takes a while to set things up. Steam is the main application that will allow us to run retro games from our computer, smartphone or even Android TV using the Steam Link.
I’ll try to keep things simple, but for this method to work, you need a Windows computer. This entire process can be reproduced on a Mac as well, but I couldn’t get it to work on my Macbook Pro, so we’ll focus on Windows in this article.
Prepare your computer to play old games
For this method we need three programs. Download the following programs from the links provided and install them on your Windows computer. RetroArch is the main program that will help you run games in emulators. Steam is the program we’ll be using to stream games running on a PC to our living room TV and to our smartphones using the Steam Link. Finally, we used the Steam ROM Manager to add retro games to the Steam library.
- Steam ROM Manager
1. Install and setup RetroArch
Once you have all the programs installed. Go ahead and open RetroArch on your computer. Click Load Kernel and load specific kernel for your ROMs.
Kernels are similar to emulators and there are different kernels for different consoles. For example, there is a different kernel for NES games that does not work with the GameCube ROM. I mainly play Nintendo games and have the “FCEUmm” kernel installed. You can read more about cores on the RetroArch website and forums.
After you have installed the kernel, boot the ROM and check if the game works. The ROM is the actual game file, which looks like a digital cassette tape plugged into a retro console. You can read more about ROMs here.
For example, I play a Nintendo game and the Nintendo ROM will be a .nes file. To play the game, go to Load Content the path to the folder where the ROM is stored Click the ROM to start the game.
Once you are satisfied that the game is working, go to the main menu and click on Settings Video Allow Full Screen Mode. This will ensure a smooth transition when playing games using the Steam Link.
2. Set up Steam ROM Manager
Now open the Steam ROM Manager that we installed earlier. This program lists all the ROMs on your computer and displays them in the Steam library. Click Parsers on the left.
On the right, you will see several different options. Click on config presets and it will show you a list of all popular kernels.
Choose the core you use to play RetroArch games. I am using FCEUmm, so I chose it.
The only thing you need to do now is enter the path to the RetroArch application folder, the folder where your ROMs are stored, and the Steam program folder.
To find out the path address of RetroArch and Steam, you can right-click on the RetroArch icon and open properties. Copy the target address and paste it into the Steam ROM Manager. Repeat this for Steam and the ROMs folder and you’re done.
Just click the “Save” button to save the preset.
Now go to the preview section in the Steam ROM Manager and click on “Create Application List”. Make sure Steam is NOT running. Close it also from the taskbar.
Your NES games will now appear in your Steam library. Due to the lack of active development, some games will not have covers, but if the ROM works, you can still play the game on RetroArch.
3. Steam setup
Now just open Steam and create an account if you haven’t already. Open your library and all games will appear. You press the Play button to start the game.
But we haven’t covered that many steps to simply launch games from Steam. You can stream games to your Smart TV or phone using the Steam Link app. Steam Link is available for Android, iOS, and even Raspberry Pi, and it’s really easy to install.
Once you’ve installed the app and signed in with the same account, you can just keep playing games without any effort. The only requirement is to leave the computer on.
Play Retro games with Steam
It was a quick way to play retro games from Steam. I agree that this is not the easiest method and requires some lubrication, but if you want a seamless interface for future gaming sessions, setting it up is worth it. What do you think? Are you going to install it on your computer, let me know in the comments below, or contact me on Twitter?
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