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How to play Sega Master System games on Linux

The Sega Master System is an 8-bit home video game console. It was initially sold as the Sega Mark III, the third iteration of the SG-1000 in Japan. However, the name was changed.

Master System was released in 1987. However, you’ll still be able to enjoy the game in 2020 if you install the Blastem emulator, an app that can play Sega MS games on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for the Sega Master System. If you choose to install Blastem, please use game ROMs that you own and have backed up to your PC, legally.

Installing Blastem on Linux

The Blastem emulator is one of the best apps for playing Master System console games on Linux. To get the app working on your Linux PC, start by opening up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T.

Once the terminal window is open, follow the command-line installation instructions down below that correspond with the Linux desktop environment you currently use.


On Ubuntu, the Blastem emulator app can easily be installed on Linux with the following Apt command.

sudo apt install blastem


Debian Linux users have an easy way of installing the Blastem app, as it is available in the “Main” software repository. However, only Debian Sid and Debian 10 users will be able to get it using the Apt-get command below.

sudo apt-get install blastem

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users will be able to get the Blastem emulator up and running on Arch Linux thanks to the AUR. To start the installation, use the Pacman command to download the “Git” and “Base-devel” packages to your computer. These packages are required to interact with the Arch Linux AUR.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Once both the “Git” and “Base-devel” packages are done installing on your Arch Linux PC, use the git clone command to download the Trizen AUR helper tool. This program will make it very easy to build and install Blastem on Arch as it takes care of the dependencies automatically.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

Move into the “trizen” folder with the CD command and make use of the makepkg command to install the Trizen AUR helper onto the system.

cd trizen 

makepkg -Sri

Use the Trizen tool to install the Blastem emulator on your Arch Linux system.

trizen -S blastem


Fedora Linux does not have the Blastem emulator on the system, for whatever reason. However, it is still possible to get the Blastem emulator up and running on Fedora with Flatpak. Follow the Flatpak instructions later in this guide.


OpenSUSE, like Fedora Linux, cannot install Blastem directly from their software repositories. Instead, SUSE users looking to get the emulator up and running must follow the Flatpak instructions in this guide.


To get Blastem working through the Flatpak system on Linux, you must first ensure you have the Flatpak runtime installed and enabled on your system. Once that is taken care of, enter the following terminal command to get the app working.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install flathub com.retrodev.blastem

Playing Games with Blastem

Playing Sega Master System games with Blastem is very straightforward, thanks to its UI. To start, launch the app by searching for “Blastem” in the app menu. Then, when the app is open, look for the “Load ROM” button and click on it with the mouse.

Upon clicking the “Load ROM” button, a file manager inside of Blastem will appear. Use the scroll button on your mouse to find your Sega Master System ROM folder. Then, once you’ve found the folder, press the Enter key to access it.

Inside of the ROM folder, click on the ROM you’d like to play with the mouse to start playing!

Configuring a controller

As the Blastem emulator is a modern program, it is possible to set a controller to play games with it. Here’s how to do it.

First, locate the “Settings” menu in the Blastem main menu and click on it with the mouse. Once in the “Settings” area, find the “Controllers” option and click on it with the mouse.

Inside of the “Controllers” area, locate your controller in the menu. Blastem should automatically detect it. Then, click on the “Remap” button to customize the controls for your controller.

When the controller’s bindings are set, exit the settings area. It should then work in any Master System ROM game!

Saving and loading

Need to save the current state of the Master System ROM you are playing? Here’s how to do it. First, press the Esc key on the keyboard to pause the emulation. Then, once it is paused, find the “Save State” button, and click on it to save your game.

Want to load a previous save for your Master System ROM? Press Esc to open up the menu. After that, select the “Load State” button to load your game!

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