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How to play Amiga games on Linux

In 1985, Commodore released the Amiga family of personal computers to the market. They were pretty successful in their time and sold quite a few units before ultimately being retired by Commodore in 1996.

These days, old computer emulation is as popular as old console emulation, especially on Linux. However, when it comes to emulating the Amiga line of computers, none do it better than FS-UAE, a cross-platform emulation application that allows users to experience Amiga video games and software.

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

Install FS-UAE on Linux

Playing Amiga on Linux requires the FS-UAE emulator, as it’s the only known emulation tool out there that works on modern systems. FS-UAE is an excellent piece of software, and the developers support Linux distributions rather well, providing support for most mainstream Linux distributions.

To get your copy of FS-UAE working, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, from there, follow the detailed installation instructions that match up with the operating system you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu Linux, you’ll need to use the dedicated PPA that the FS-UAE developers have available to install the software. To enable the PPA, start by using the add-apt-repository command below.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:fengestad/stable

Following the add-apt-repository command, run an update to allow Ubuntu to refresh it’s software sources.

sudo apt update

Finally, install the FS-UAE packages on Ubuntu.

sudo apt install fs-uae fs-uae-launcher fs-uae-arcade

Debian

Debian has access to FS-UAE thanks to a third-party software repository. To add the repo, start by gaining root access and entering the following echo command in a terminal window.

Note: as of now, FS-UAE only supports Debian 9. 10 users should try their luck with one of these Deb packages on Launchpad.

su -
echo "deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/FrodeSolheim:/stable/Debian_9.0/ /" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/FrodeSolheim-stable.list

Next, download and install the FS-UAE release key using the wget command.

wget http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:FrodeSolheim:stable/Debian_9.0/Release.key
apt-key add - < Release.key

Run the update command to finish setting up the software repository on Debian.

apt-get update

Finally, install FS-UAE.

apt-get install fs-uae fs-uae-launcher fs-uae-arcade

Arch Linux

There isn’t a dedicated software repository or official package for FS-UAE on Arch. Instead, users must build from the AUR. The fastest way to do this is to use Trizen.

To start the process, install the Trizen package.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git
cd trizen
makepkg -sri

With the Trizen AUR helper installed on your Linux PC, it’ll be possible to install the FS-UAE software directly through the app. Using the trizen command below, start the installation.

trizen -S fs-uae

Fedora Linux

The developers of FS-UAE have dedicated repositories for nearly every release of Fedora Linux. To get the repo working on your Fedora PC, start by using the CD command and move it to the default repo folder.

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/

Next, wget the repo file. Be sure to change XX in the command below with the release number of the version of Fedora Linux you are using (like “30” for Fedora 30, etc.)

wget http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:FrodeSolheim:stable/Fedora_XX/home:FrodeSolheim:stable.repo

With the repo installed on Fedora, grab the latest FS-UAE packages.

sudo dnf install fs-uae fs-uae-launcher fs-uae-arcade kernel-modules-extra

OpenSUSE

FS-UAE is ready to install on every single release of OpenSUSE. To start the installation process, open up a terminal and use the Zypper command to add the third-party software repository to your system.

Tumbleweed

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:FrodeSolheim:stable/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/home:FrodeSolheim:stable.repo

Leap 15.0

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:FrodeSolheim:stable/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/home:FrodeSolheim:stable.repo

Leap 42.3

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:FrodeSolheim:stable/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/home:FrodeSolheim:stable.repo

Following the repository, use the refresh command.

sudo zypper refresh

Finally, finish up by installing FS-UAE.

zypper install fs-uae fs-uae-launcher fs-uae-arcade

Configuring FS-UAE to load games

The FS-UAE app is pretty straight-forward and works out of the box quite well. However, you’ll still need to set up a configuration file manually, or nothing will work. Thankfully, the developers have a stock config file that can be downloaded with wget.

cd ~/Documents/FS-UAE/Configurations
wget https://fs-uae.net/files/Default.fs-uae

After setting up the configuration file, there should be no need to edit it. From here, open up the FS-UAE GUI window by pressing Alt + F2 and typing in the command below.

fs-uae-launcher

With the UI open, make your way to “Floppy Drives.” Then, click “Drive Count” and set it to the number of floppy drives you need for your ROM.

After setting up your floppy drives in the emulator, locate Amiga Model and change the default selection to the right model of Amiga that the ROM is compatible with. When everything looks good, press “Start” to run the game.

Further reading

The Amiga is a very involved system, and it may come off as very confusing if you don’t understand how everything works. For most, loading up a ROM and clicking “Start” should be enough. That said, some games are a bit more complicated, and may involve using special features in FS-UAE.

If you find yourself stuck figuring out some of the more advanced features in FS-UAE, do check out the official documentation. They cover how to create hard drives, and the ins-and-outs of the emulator that go far beyond the basics covered in this tutorial.

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