Beacon Game Launcher Setup Guide

What is Beacon Game Launcher?

For those that have only seen the name and have no idea what it is, Beacon Game Launcher is a front end launcher for all your favorite retro games on Android. This means, you tell Beacon what folders your games are in, what emulators you have installed, and it’ll connect them to so that you can launch them right from Beacon.. Think of it like the interface you see when you boot up a Switch, PS5 or Xbox – same idea.

One thing that I do want to point out, especially if you’re coming from using Linux handhelds with EmulationStation and others. Beacon doesn’t actually change the settings in any emulators or games, so any changes we make in Beacon, doesn’t affect them. They’re separate instances and Beacon is only a frontend with pretty pictures and easy navigation to get to all your games. Moving on. 


Just ahead of all that, if you’re going to be following along, I suggest having your emulators already installed and some games somewhere on your device. You can always do that part later if you want, but those would be the two things I’d say you need before starting this guide. If you’re stuck on where do you get ROMS to play, check out my Retro ROMs Beginner’s Guide here


Let’s jump in. The first thing you’ll need to do is head to the Google Play Store, and search for Beacon Game Launcher by NERDS TAKE OVER.

Open it when it’s done downloading and you’ll see a big plus icon to add a new platform. All that means, is Beacon wants us to tell it what platforms we want it to show, so what we have games for.

Click the Plus icon to add a new platform.

  • Platform type: This would be the emulator system, or Android, if you want to add Android games as a platform.
  • Player app: The actual app to be used for that system. For example – if for Platform type you chose Nintendo Game Boy Advance, then the Player app would be the app that you use to play GBA games, so typically RetroArch.
  • ROMs folder: The location of the folder that has your ROMs for the platform you chose. So in the above example, point it to the folder that has your GBA ROMs.

When you’ve decided on all of the above, click Add Platform. Don’t worry, you can come back and add as many platforms as you’d like in a bit.

Navigating Beacon

You should now be at the main screen, likely the NOW tab and you can navigate tabs by touch or using the controller with L1/R1.

If you push the B button, or select Apps from the bottom, you’ll get to your Android apps screen.

On this screen, you can also access the Android settings menu from the Settings cog top right.

From the main screen, if you push Y you get the Beacon Settings.

Adding more Platforms

In Beacon Settings, under Platforms, you can click the Plus icon bottom right to add more Platforms following the same steps we did above during the installation.


In Beacon Settings, under Scraping, you can enable or disable sources. For and, both require accounts from their websites and you can then click Add Account in Beacon to add them.

Theme color, Background Style & Font

In Beacon Settings, under Preferences, you can change the Theme to match dark or light or whatever your device is using.

You can change the Theme color, which will turn the text to the color you choose – Emerald is default.

You can change the Background Style, which adds cool backgrounds – Waves is default.

You can also change the Font, and a lot of other options if you scroll down.

Gallery, List & Grid View

From the main screen, if you touch the cards at the bottom next to Settings, you can change from Gallery to List to Grid view.

Setting as the home app

If you’re like me, and you installed Beacon on a dedicated gaming handheld, you would want the device to boot right into Beacon from startup and also to get back to Beacon after any games or apps. So let’s head to Apps (B), Settings cog top right, and now this will be different for all Android devices, but you want to head to Apps, or Applications or something along those lines. In there, you should see something like Default Apps, and if you go into that, you should see Home app. If you click that, you can now change your home app to Beacon, and you’re done.

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