It was fixed using the information in the thread above. I had to disable the EDID detection and add manual configuration settings on my display via the config file.
This is also the info from the online documentation:
Setting hdmi_ignore_edid to 0xa5000080 enables the ignoring of EDID/display data if your display does not have an accurate EDID. It requires this unusual value to ensure that it is not triggered accidentally.
Note that if you installed the Desktop version of Raspbian you can't launch Emulationstation from it. You have to quit the desktop or set your pi to start under console instead of GUI ( you can set this from raspi-config )