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RetroDECK โ€ Story & Philosophy

How RetroDECK was born?

Let's take a step back.

RetroDECK was born on March 4th 2022 in Kyoto, Japan, with the name of 351EDECK.

I am also one of the founding members of 351ELEC now AmberELEC. What I wanted to do was to "port" 351ELEC to the Steam Deck, but instead of doing a custom firmware to flash, doing it as an application that could be launched from Steam.

Eventually, after talking to the other team members, we decided that we didn't want to support another platform such as Steam Deck, so I decided to continue the project on my own, renaming it to RetroDECK.

Back then I had many options on how to create 351EDECK, such as a bash script, appimage and flatpak. In the beginning I opted for a simple shell script, in fact RetroDECK aka 351EDECK v0.1a existed as a mere shell script.

However I had bad feedbacks from the community because someone was feeling unsafe to give my script the root privileges so evaluating the Steam Deck use case I felt like it was not the right direction to take, the people was not feeling comfortable to give the sudo to a random script downloaded from the internet, so they asked to packetize it in some way.

Valve suggests the flatpak technology to port the applications on Steam Deck so, I decided to follow their guidelines, and I created the RetroDECK that you know today, starting from a Manjaro virtual machine as a development environment because I didn't have a Steam Deck yet.

// Xargon

What is RetroDECK's philosophy?

Emulation is a global multi-generational effort of development that has lasted for decades, motivated by the pure love for video game preservation for current and future generations. RetroDECK depends on the constant development of all our dependencies (the emulators, front-end, various assets, etcโ€ฆ). It would be unfair to both the hard work that has been done in those projects and to the entire open-source community if we said otherwise or tried to take credit, conceal, or obscure it for our own gain.

We always strive to have the best possible relationship with the teams that generously provide and develop the third-party software we are depending on now and in the future. Everyone that works on RetroDECK is immensely grateful for the global collective effort and work that has been done. Without these projects and those passionate people RetroDECK would not be possible.

We also want to add a word for the developers of the third-party projects: Please feel free to reach out to us, talk to us for any reason and share your ideas. We value your feedback and suggestions, and our door is always open for collaboration and improvements. You are the backbone of our project, and we appreciate your contributions.

You can find more about our dependencies on the wiki and how to donate to them or us under the donations page on this wiki.

// The RetroDECK Team