Game shell menu systems for linux box

I don’t know where to post this but this is something I’ve been interested in doing for a while. Would it be possible to make a menu system similar to the gameshell’s menu system for a linux box? Something that can be easily navigated with a gaming controller.

I want to make a linux gaming machine that will basically be a gaming console with a simple menu system to be controlled with some gaming controllers.

Does something like this exist already?

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Have you tried RetroArch?
or even RetroPie (for PC)?


I hadn’t seen that before. Does that menu system work for modern games I have from GOG?
I was thinking of an all in one box. A super console that will play everything from old games to modern games like Bioshock Infinite.

Also will that menu system allow me to use the controller to navigate everything from boot? I was think about using this linux box as a console replacement. So I’d be playing it from the couch preferably without a keyboard.

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with bigger icon and resolution, I think the launcher of gs can be used on other linux box

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I don’t know about GOG, but you can probably create a shortcut from any of the options I suggested.

Another option is Steam in “Big Picture mode”. It accepts being controlled by controller, accepts you to create shortcuts to other applications outside steam, and uses Wine (they call Proton) to run Windows games on Linux (works very well btw).


I hadn’t thought about Big Picture mode. I guess that could work. It’s just not ideal because it requires online connectivity to work. Plus I don’t know how Big Picture mode would play with roms of old games.
I mentioned GOG games to get around needing any sort of client like Steam because I can easily move my copies around from GOG.

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I guess I like the idea of being able to just boot up my old gamecube and play whatever I have lying around. Or to boot up my DS and just play whatever. Same with the gameshell. Stuff just works.
I like Steam but I hate when the client gets between me and my game because of some connectivity issue. I have a gaming PC with Steam on it. but that PC is also my day to day PC for getting stuff done. It’s set up like an office with the screen 3 feet from my face.
This linux machine would be cool like a console that I can play from the living room on the couch. Minimal menu system with just your games that you just need a controller to navigate.

I don’t know why some company hasn’t tried to make something like this… I get the roms might be an issue, but all the other stuff.

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Valve tried with SteamOS and their Linux Gamming Box, didn’t work.

The problem I see is that each user has his own needs: An expensive machine to play AAA actual games, and here all target specs: 4k, 1080p, 30FPS, 60FPS…, a cheap machine to play relative old games, or an even cheaper to play ROMS from consoles from +20 years ago. The options, and price range are huge.

We are also limited by the OS, and maybe there is no space for another OS enter the market. Linux is just starting to be an option for games. You can check the Atari VCS campaign (Be careful with this product, there are rumors saying that this is a fraud), probably this is the closer option for what you want.

I think all the menus/front-end that I mentioned before (retroarch, EmulationStation…) are free, open source and support you to create a shortcut to another application.


No, ROMs are not an issue actually. It is entirely up to the user of the linux console to pirate illegal ROMs…

Recently, they officially put Retroarch on Steam. Considering a good portion of the Gameshell’s functionality relies on Retroarch, this would definitely give you some relatable options, allowing you to use Steam Big Picture.

Reading about Retroarch/Retropi made me think of Kodi. You can operate it with a basic remote/game controller.

That wouldn’t be an OS per se, just like how the Gameshell OS is more a launcher built on Debian.
If you’ve got something powerful enough to play bioshock infinite, having it as a media hub would be very handy!

You could use the AEL LNK launcher function, and basically direct it to wherever your executables lie.
The only things lacking would be scraped information/cover art etc.