uoYabause Tutorial

By Alejandro Rodriguez. Last revised January 15, 2020.


About uoYabause

This tutorial is to help you with uoYabause for Windows. It's known as the #1 Sega Saturn emulator. It's based on Yabause, an old Saturn emulator that was abandoned. uoYabause was first released in 2015. Although it was around 2018 where it really began picking up speed and blazing past all other Saturn emulators in terms of quality and game compatibility. uoYabause is an impressive emulator. Finally, we can all experience Sega Saturn with the same quality that we enjoy other systems such as PlayStation 1 and N64. uoYabause is also available for Android and iOS.

uoYabause has a few drawbacks. It's a rather CPU heavy emulator. If your computer is slow or old, or if you're using a Windows tablet, it may not run well. It offers a limited selection of features. It's also still buggy and sometimes crashes games.

*If you would like to download uoYabause, I have it in my emulators page.


uoYabause is a standalone program so it does not have an install wizard. Installation is simple: just extract uoYabause from its zip file. Not sure how to extract zip files? Here's a video tutorial showing you how: how to unzip files on Windows.

IMPORTANT! uoYabause must be placed in a common folder on your computer. I recommend Documents, Downloads, or create a folder on your desktop. If you place uoYabause somewhere else on your main C drive, then you may be restricting it to read-only access. Doing so prevents uoYabause from saving anything.

To open uoYabause, double-click on uoYabause's EXE

Note: If after opening uoYabause you're prompted with a message that “SDL2.dll” is missing, read this.

Setting up the keyboard or gamepad

Here are the default keys on the keyboard:

  • Direction pad = up, down, left, right arrow keys
  • A button = Z key
  • B button = X key
  • C button = C key
  • Start button = Enter key

You can also customize the keyboard keys or configure a gamepad the same way. Here's how:

The Sega Saturn controller
  1. Access the Settings window. There are three ways to bring it up: go to File > Settings, press Ctrl+S, or click on the Settings icon icon.
  2. You'll arrive at the Settings window. Click on the Input tab, then click the Configure player 1 icon icon for port 1:1 (player 1) - as shown here .
  3. This brings up a picture of a Saturn gamepad with a green checkmark over every button (as shown above). From here, configuring your own buttons is simple. Click on the button you want to configure, then press the keyboard key or gamepad button that you want it reconfigured to.
  4. When you're done, you can close these windows and return to the main uoYabause window. That's it!

Booting ISOs

  1. Downloaded Saturn 1 ISOs typically come in a ZIP, RAR, or 7Z file. The first step is to extract it. To extract a RAR or 7Z file you can use 7-Zip (it's free).
  2. Using 7-Zip is easy. Just right-click the RAR or 7Z file and go to 7-Zip > Extract Here, as shown here .
  3. Once the ISO is extracted, now take notice of the file format of the ISO. uoYabause ONLY supports ISO files that are in ISO or BIN format. Here's a visual example of how they look like (the icons will look differently):
    ISOs supported by uoYabause
    If the Saturn game you downloaded came in a weird format such as NRG, IMG, UIF, DAA, CDI, XBX, B51, BWI, etc. - they are not supported. I recommend trying to find your game(s) in ISO or BIN format.
  4. Loading an ISO from the File menu
    Now let's load your Saturn ISO. There are three ways to bring up the “Load ISO” window: go to File > Open ISO, press Ctrl+I, or click on the Load ISO icon icon.
  5. At the Load ISO window, navigate to your Saturn ISO (or BIN). Click on it, then click the Open button - as shown here .
    *If your game is a BIN/CUE, don't click on the CUE file to load the game. uoYabause will give you a black screen if you try it. It's misleading because this window tells you that you can load a game by its CUE file, but that's a lie!

*When booting an ISO, it's possible that uoYabause may immediately crash, give you a black screen, or it stops responding.

Booting CD games

Firstly, I do not recommend using real Saturn game CDs with uoYabause (or any other emulator). The process is prone to have problems and you will experience slow loading times. Rather, what I do recommend is ripping your Saturn game to a “BIN/CUE” ISO. There is plenty of space on your hard drive for it. Plus it's good to have a digital backup of your game, just in case your physical copy gets lost or broken.

Anyway, if you really want to play your Saturn game with uoYabause: just click the CD icon icon, select the drive letter for your CD-ROM drive, and click OK.

*When booting a CD game, it's possible that uoYabause may immediately crash, give you a black screen, or it stops responding.

Q: uoYabause crashes on game boot!

Is uoYabause immediately closing without warning when you attempt to boot games? uoYabause doesn't even give you an error message when this happens. It just crashes; it closes as if you clicked “close”. This is the result of bad configuration and it's easily fixed.

  1. Open a folder and navigate to the following location:
    This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Users > [name of current windows profile] > AppData > Local > yabause
  2. Look at this reference picture . Look for a file called “yabause.ini” and delete it!
  3. Now try booting a game with uoYabause. It should be working now.

Q: I get a black screen when I boot games!

This is tricky. Consider the following:

  • First of all, give uoYabause a minute or two before you decide that nothing is happening; maybe the game takes a while to boot.
  • See if the game you're trying to play even works with uoYabause - check the compatibility list.
  • If this is a Saturn ISO that you downloaded, perhaps it's bad. Try this:
    • I've been told that sometimes bad ISOs can be repaired. Try using CDmage's “Scan for Corruption” feature. Then use “Fix Corruption” to see if it finds anything.
    • Try downloading the game from another site.
  • If nothing works, then your computer is probably not compatible with uoYabause. Sorry :(

Q: I get 'not responding' when I boot games!

When you load a game with uoYabause, it may freeze and prompt you with a 'not responding' error. Let Windows close uoYabause, then re-open it. I don't know why exactly uoYabause seems to randomly hang up like this.

Full screen mode

Simply press Alt+Enter to bring uoYabause into full screen. Press Alt+Enter again to exit full screen.

You may find that one or more portions of the screen are cropped off in full screen mode. I don't think there's a fix. Let's hope the author of uoYabause fixes this in future releases!

Screen filters

uoYabause offers two filters for rendering the screen: Scanline filter and Bilinear. To enable them:

  1. Access the Settings window. There are three ways to bring it up: go to File > Settings, press Ctrl+S, or click on the Settings icon icon.
  2. You'll arrive at at the Settings window. Click on the Video tab.
  3. Take a look at this . Towards the bottom of the window, you're going to click on the drop-down field with “None”. This is where the filter options are.
  4. Next, close and re-open uoYabause for the filter to take effect. (Yeah, it's kind of annoying to have to do that every time you change the filter.)

Save states

uoYabause's save state feature

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in any game. However, this feature with uoYabause is very buggy! Sometimes it works, sometimes it just kills the song currently playing, and sometimes it flat out crashes the game. In my experience, it seems to work better for certain games than others.

If you're playing an RPG such as Shining Force 3, for now I would recommend using only regular in-game saving and avoid save states until this is fixed.

Here's how save states work:

Saving a state

This feature only works when a game is running, so go ahead and start playing a game. uoYabause offers up to 10 different save slots. Meaning, you can have up to 10 different save states per game. There are three ways you can save a state:

  • Method 1: Go to File > Save State. As shown here , select one of the 10 slots.
  • Method 2: Click the Save icon icon in the toolbar to bring up the toolbar save slots . Then select one of the 10 slots.
  • Method 3: Pressing the F5 key will bring up the save file window where you can enter a filename to save your state. This method is not as convenient as the above two methods, but it allows you to customize the name of every save and have unlimited saved states.

Loading a state

There are three ways you can load a state:

  • Method 1: Go to File > Load State. Select the desired save you want to load from the slot you put it in.
  • Method 2: Click the Load state icon icon in the toolbar to bring up the toolbar load state slots. Select the desired save you want to load from the slot you put it in.
  • Method 3: If you previously pressed the F5 key to save your state, now you can press the F7 key to bring up the Load State window where you can select the save file you want to load.

Capturing screen shots

Press Ctrl+P to capture a screen shot. You'll be prompted to choose a destination & enter a filename for your screen shot. By default, the file format is set to BMP (bitmap). I recommend changing the format to PNG. It's much smaller and retains the same image quality.

Click Save when you're ready to save it. uoYabause will save it in the same resolution as you currently have your uoYabause window.

Finding Saturn games (ISOs)

In my links page, I have some good links to sites where you can download Saturn ISOs. If you want to try to find more sites than what's in my collection of links, just Google around. For example, if you want to download Shining Force III just Google “download shining force iii saturn”.

Q: SDL2.dll is missing?

Upon opening uoYabause, Windows might prompt you with a message saying “SDL2.dll” is missing and uoYabause won't open. This is an easy fix - just download this file below:

Extract “SDL2.dll” from the above zip file, place it in uoYabause's folder, and open uoYabause.

Q: uoYabause isn't saving anything!

If you're using uoYabause for the first time and you're finding that you have all these problems:

  1. Save states aren't working. You save a state, then when you try to reload it nothing happens.
  2. In an RPG when you save your game at a save point and close/re-open uoYabause, you find that the save is lost.
  3. Emulator configurations that you changed aren't saved. When you close/re-open uoYabause, you have to make those configuration changes again.

Then your problem is that you currently have uoYabause in a read-only location on your computer. You must move uoYabause to a more common location such as Documents, Downloads, or a folder on your desktop.

Burning Saturn games from ISO

These directions are for burning an ISO or BIN/CUE archive to a CD-R. Note that in order to play CD-R copies on the Sega Saturn system, you need to use the boot trick.

  1. Download & install ImgBurn (it's free). You can download ImgBurn from the ImgBurn homepage.
    *If you have an anti-virus such as AVG, it may flag ImgBurn for containing adware . Don't panic - it does not contain adware! This warning is false. All that ImgBurn does is show you ads during the install wizard (which is why AVG falsely flags it). ImgBurn is 100% safe.
  2. Upon opening ImgBurn, click Write image file to disc, as shown here .
  3. Under “Source” click the folder icon, as shown here . Navigate your computer to where your Saturn ISO or BIN/CUE resides. Select it and click Open, as shown here
  4. Take a look at this picture . Insert the CD-R disc. Upon insertion, you'll see information appear (where indicated in the picture at “1”). Next, make sure your CD drive is selected (it should do it automatically).
  5. Click the icon to burn. Depending on the speed of your CD drive, your game could take maybe 2-10 minutes to finish burning. That's it! Enjoy your fresh copy of a Saturn game.

Copying/Backing up Saturn games

These directions are for duplicating a real Saturn game or a CD-R copy.

  1. Download & install ImgBurn (it's free). You can download ImgBurn from the ImgBurn homepage.
  2. First, you need to rip your Saturn game to an ISO. Open ImgBurn. Click Create image file from disc, as shown here .
  3. Make sure the proper source drive is set in “Source”, then click the Read icon - as shown here .
  4. Ripping your Saturn game will take maybe 20-30 minutes. By default, ImgBurn will toss the BIN file (the ISO) into Documents. Now that you have a BIN/CUE of your game you can follow the burning directions right above. Scroll up to Burning Saturn games from ISO.