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How to play Sega Saturn games on Linux

The Sega Saturn was an excellent console for fans, but it failed to garner as much mainstream success as it’s predecessor the Genesis. As a result, finding games in the real world is much more difficult. If you’re a Linux user, you’ll be able to emulate the console for free with Yabause and play Sega Saturn games on Linux.

Yabause is an older program, so it’s stable and can run Sega Saturn games very well! In this guide, we’ll teach you how to get the emulator up and running, and even how to configure a USB controller! Let’s get started!

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

Install Yabause

Installing the Yabause program on many Linux distributions isn’t a difficult task. The reason that it’s easy is that the program is provided for easy download directly in many mainstream Linux OS package repositories.

In this section of the guide, we’ll go over how you can load up Yabause on your Linux distribution of choice. To start, open up a terminal window (which can be done quickly with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard) and following the instructions that outline the OS you use.


The Yabause emulation tool is available for every Ubuntu Linux installation and has been since 14.04 LTS. However, before you can install the package from the archive, it’s critical that you enable the “Universe” software repository.

Setting up the “Universe” software repository is a little bit like adding a PPA to Ubuntu. However, you won’t need to specify a short PPA-like URL. Instead, do:

sudo add-apt-repository universe

With the Universe repo up and running, it’s time to run the “update” command. Using it will allow you to access packages in the new repo.

sudo apt update

With update done, it’s safe to install the Yabause software package to Ubuntu using the Apt install command.

sudo apt install yabause


The Yabause Sega Saturn emulator is available on Debian Linux in the “Main” software repository. If you’re a Debian user, it is possible to install it quite easily with the command below.

sudo apt-get install yabause

Arch Linux

Need to get the Yabause emulator on Arch Linux? Lucky for you, it’s available in the “Community” software repository! Install it with the following Pacman command in a terminal window.

Note: many Arch Linux users do not enable the “Community” repository by default during installation. Before attempting to run the Pacman installation command, edit your /etc/pacman.conf file and enable it.

sudo pacman -S yabause-gtk

Or, if you prefer the Qt/KDE version of the app do:

sudo pacman -S yabause-qt


If you’re on Fedora Linux and you want to enjoy Sega Saturn, you won’t be able to install the app through traditional Fedora software sources. Instead, you must first enable RPM Fusion Free. Here’s how to do it.

Note: replace X with the version number of Fedora Linux you are currently using.

sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-X.noarch.rpm -y

With RPM Fusion Free working, install Yabause on Fedora with:

sudo dnf install yabause -y


OpenSUSE doesn’t have great support for the Yabause emulator. However, thanks to the OBS, there is an unstable Git-based package for OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. You can install it here.

If the unstable Git package doesn’t work on SUSE, consider switching to another one of the distributions on this list that support Yabause better.

Generic Linux

Yabause is open source, so if you’re using a lesser-known Linux distribution, you’ll need to compile the source code from scratch. To do this head over to the project’s GitHub and read the instructions.

Playing games in Yabause

Yabause is a very straight-forward emulator when it comes to design, and this is refreshing as it enables even newbie fans of classic Saturn games the ability to use it efficiently.

To load up a game in Yabause, put a Saturn ROM on your Linux PC. Then, click “Yabause”  and select the “Preferences” option.

Under “Preferences,” go to “General” and locate the “Cdrom” option.

Click “Browse” and navigate to the Sega Saturn ISO file. Then, click “OK.”

After clicking the “OK” button, select the “Yabause” button. From there, click “Run” to load up the game.

Note: for the Qt version, click “Yabause,” then “Open ISO.”

Configuring the graphics

To tweak the graphical settings in Yabause, click the “Yabuse” menu button. From there, locate “preferences” and select it to open up the emulator’s settings area.

Inside the settings area, locate “Video” and click on it to get to the Yabuse graphical settings. From there you can change things like video width and height, video format, frame skip, rendering, etc.

Configuring Controllers

Having a controller makes a huge difference when playing emulated games. If you’re looking to set one up in Yabause, you’ll need to start by clicking on “Yabause,” then “Preferences,” then “Input.”

In the “Input” area, look for “Pad” and click on it. After that, select the drop-down menu and set it to “Linux Joystick Interface.”

With the driver settings in Yabause set to “Linux Joystick Interface,” you can go through and assign buttons to your USB controller.

Saving and Loading

To save your game, click the “Yabause” menu button while the game is running. Then, find “Save state” and click the “Save” button to save the game.

Alternatively, to load a save, find the “Save state” menu and select the “Load” button.

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