Best Emulators For PC That You Should Totally Try!
The world of gaming is a huge one, with hundreds of different consoles and systems to choose from. If you've ever wanted to play your favorite game on your computer instead of just on the console it came out on, this list will show you how. We'll cover emulators that work with Macs and Linux computers as well as Windows PCs.
There are a lot of emulators for PC. If you want to play old games that are no longer available, these emulators can help. They also allow you to choose between different versions of an emulator and improve the performance of modern games. There are many emulators available, but some are better than others. You should choose one based on your needs and then install it on your computer by following these steps:
- Go online and download an emulator from its website
- Install the program onto your machine
- (If necessary) make sure that Windows recognizes it as an application
- Play any game in which you wish!
Here are our choices for the best emulators for PC.
Table of Contents
- RetroArch (Best Multi Console Emulator)
- OpenEmu (Best Front End Emulator)
- Bizhawk (Best PC Engine Emulator)
- Mupen64Plus (Best Nintendo 64 Emulator)
- Higan (SNES GBA)
- Mesen (Best NES Emulator)
- Nestopia UE (NES)
- Kega Fusion (Best Sega Genesis Emulator)
- ReDream (Sega Dreamcast)
- DeSmuMe (Best Nintendo DS Emulator)
- Stella (Best Atari 2600 Emulator)
- PCSX2 (Best Playstation 2 Emulator)
- Dolphin 5.0 (Best GameCube and Wii Emulator)
- PCSX Reloaded (Best PSX Emulator)
- Mame (Best Arcade Emulator)
- ScummVM (Best DOS Emulator)
- DOSBox SVN Daum (DOS)
- Visual Boy Advance-M (Game Boy, GameBoy Advance)
- Mednafen (Best Sega Saturn Emulator)
RetroArch (Best Multi Console Emulator)
RetroArch is an open source emulator for many consoles and computer systems. It’s designed to be a cross-platform, multi-system game emulator that supports most of the major gaming consoles from the mid-1980s through today. With so many people moving to elaborate home theatre setups, you'd be absolutely suprised that we didn't include it in our list of best emulators for PC.
RetroArch comes with more than 20 cores that emulate different hardware components of different systems—from the Atari 2600 to MSX2 to PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast—and there are even additional cores available online as well (such as RetroArch Plus). Some of these additional cores allow you access to features like shaders or netplay which weren't available on original hardware but are now commonplace in modern gaming environments such as PC games running through Steam or Origin.
OpenEmu (Best Front End Emulator)
OpenEmu is an open-source emulator for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X that has been around since 2003. It's one of the most popular emulators on PC and can be used to play games from both Nintendo and Sega systems. OpenEmu can run almost any game you throw at it.
The current version allows for donations which is a fantastic option if you're just looking for something to play old games with friends while they watch TV in the comfort of their own home.
Bizhawk (Best PC Engine Emulator)
Rounding up our Turbografx 16 section of the best emulators for PC list, Bizhawk is a portable emulator that runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. It supports a wide range of consoles and systems including the N64, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color and more.
It also has a built in debugger so you can easily inspect your program's behavior while running it on PC and Mac. The Wii U Pro Controller is fully supported by this emulator as well!
Mupen64Plus (Best Nintendo 64 Emulator)
If you're looking for an emulator that is more feature-rich and powerful, Mupen64Plus is the one to go for. It has all the features of other emulators with the added bonus of being able to run Android games on your PC (with varying degrees of success).
The interface is similar to that of other emulators but there are some key differences: You can enter commands into any field in order to affect your emulation or game play, this means you don't have any limitations on what commands are available depending on which mode you're in. For example, if you want to take a screenshot but don't know how exactly how it works then just type "screenshot" and away we go! The Nintendo 64 was such a fantastic console, we are extremely excited to bring you the best emulators for PC for this wonderful console.
Higan (SNES GBA)
Higan is a multi-system emulator for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Super Famicom. It supports many different ROMs, but its primary focus is on emulation of these two systems. Higan also has a built-in debugger that allows you to see what's happening under the hood as well as some other useful features like video recording and screenshotting.
Higan is open source, which means that you can use it without paying money or signing any kind of paperwork with Higan itself (though there may be licensing requirements). This makes it easy for anyone who wants to get started using an emulator without having to worry about legal issues—but don't worry if you don't have time right now since there's no need!
Mesen (Best NES Emulator)
Coming in at the original Nintendo section of our best emulators for PC list, Mesen is a NES emulator for Windows, Linux and Mac. It uses bsnes-plus as its core and supports netplay. It's also one of the few emulators that supports savestates, which means you can save your game at any point in time so that you don't have to start over every time you play. Finally, it has cheats built-in—you just need to set them up before starting up your game!
Sadly, the developer of Mesen has moved on from creating releases due to pressure from the online community. We still think Mesen is a fantastic option for someone who just wants to play NES games on their PC.
Nestopia UE (NES)
Nestopia UE is a port of Nestopia to the C++ programming language. It's based on the source code that was used to compile Nestopia for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which makes it an excellent emulator for those who are looking to play their favorite old school games on PC.
Nestopia is one of the first emulators we've ever tried on our Windows 98 machine and brings back so many memories of playing Mario, Zelda, Megaman and many more classic NES games right on your PC.
Kega Fusion (Best Sega Genesis Emulator)
Kega Fusion is a new emulator that's been developed by the Kega Team, who previously worked on the popular Kega64 emulator. In addition to being able to play games from Sega's Master System, Game Gear and 32X systems on your PC.
We loved playing all of our favorite Sega games like Sonic, Streets of Rage, Castlevania Bloodlines, Contra Hard Corps and the flurry of fantastic Mega Drive sports games on PC. How could we not include the Sega Genesis on our list of best emulators for PC.
ReDream (Sega Dreamcast)
Redream is a Dreamcast emulator that's been around since the early 2000s. It offers support for several different languages, including English and Japanese, as well as features like custom themes and high-quality video output.
Redream also has great compatibility with various plugins for third-party games like Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut or ESPN Baseball 2005 or even Street Fighter III 3rd Strike—you can even play them with your own controller!
DeSmuMe (Best Nintendo DS Emulator)
DeSmuME is an emulator for the Nintendo DS, one of the most popular handheld consoles ever. It's been around since 2006 and has been updated regularly over the years, so it's stable and reliable enough to use without any problems. The software itself can be downloaded for free online or through its website (which also provides instructions on how to install it).
DeSmuME works by emulating a PC using your computer's processor and graphics card, allowing you to play games that were designed specifically for Nintendo handhelds like Pokemon Crystal or Fire Emblem: Genealogy of a Hero on Android smartphones as well as PCs running Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 operating systems (or newer). The DS has a wonderful library to choose from, it's no doubt that we had to consider it as a realistic option as part of our list of best emulators for PC.
Stella (Best Atari 2600 Emulator)
Stella was the first emulator for the Atari 2600, and it's still arguably one of the best. It supports all game cartridges from standard issue to those made after the console's release in 1977—and it can even play games from other platforms like ColecoVision and Intellivision!
Stella is an excellent choice if you're looking for a full package: It supports both 720p graphics and crisp sound emulation. If this sounds like what you're going for, then I highly recommend using Stella as your main emulator.
PCSX2 (Best Playstation 2 Emulator)
PCSX2 is an emulator for the PS2 and PlayStation 2 consoles. It has been around since 2006, but it's still one of the most popular emulators out there. The Xbox 360 version was released on December 31st, 2012, making it one of the oldest emulators still being developed today. PCSX2 includes many features that make it easy to use: The interface is intuitive and easy-to-use; you can even use custom resolution settings if you prefer lower resolution images than what comes with PCSX2 itself (although this is not recommended).
There are several built-in plugins available for all types of games so players can get started quickly without having to search through forums or other sites looking for additional plugins they may need later on down the road when trying out new games with different features built into them which wouldn't work well without these specific plugins added into their installation process automatically afterwards.
Dolphin 5.0 (Best GameCube and Wii Emulator)
Dolphin is a GameCube, Wii and Triforce emulator for Windows and Linux. It supports many popular games from Nintendo's consoles, including Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (the first Zelda game to be released on the Wii U), Super Smash Bros Brawl which features characters from every generation of the series starting from Melee up to Smash 4 (it also includes all DLC characters).
Dolphin is free and open source software available for download here on GitHub. It was originally created by Hboxx as a replacement for Visual Boy Advance (VBA) but has since grown into an emulator capable of emulating other devices such as PSPs or Dreamcast systems through plugins like those found in Mednafen/PCSX ReARMed which are not currently supported by Dolphin 5.0 yet nonetheless work well enough when used along with existing hardware extensions installed within it; however they will only work properly if your machine meets certain requirements!
PCSX Reloaded (Best PSX Emulator)
Bring you to the PSX section of our list of best emulators for PC, we have PCSX Reloaded. This emulator is a PlayStation emulator developed by the PCSX Reloaded team. It's based on the open source project PCSX-Reloaded, which itself is based on PCSX-df 1.9 and earlier versions of the PS2_libretro port of libretro.
Enjoy playing all of your favorite PSX titles like Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Castlevania SOTN, and many others with the use of PCSX emulation right on your PC!
Mame (Best Arcade Emulator)
MAME is a multi-purpose emulator that can emulate several different systems, from arcade games to old computers. It's available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The program is free and open source—you can download it from their website or use their online installer if you have Homebrew installed on your system (it's easy).
The most popular version of MAME has been released as an app for Android smartphones and other mobile devices so that people who don't have access to a desktop computer can still enjoy some of the same excitement that comes with playing old games on modern hardware. This app is great if you want something portable but still enjoy having all those bells and whistles at your fingertips while playing retro titles like Pacman or Donkey Kong!
ScummVM (Best DOS Emulator)
ScummVM is a free emulator that runs on many platforms and can play many old games, including LucasArts and Sierra titles. It has a scripting language, which allows you to create your own scenarios or even modify existing ones. This means you can use ScummVM to play games that would otherwise be unplayable due to bugs or missing data files (for example, if your favorite adventure game has an incomplete soundtrack).
ScummVM also includes support for save states so you can easily navigate through the game at any point in time without having to restart from the beginning each time!
DOSBox SVN Daum (DOS)
DOSBox SVN Daum is a DOS emulator that can play games from the 80s and 90s. This emulator supports a wide variety of game controllers, including several that were never made for PCs before.
DOSBox SVN Daum is open source software and available for Windows, Mac OS X (10.9), Linux (64-bit only) and Android devices.
Visual Boy Advance-M (Game Boy, GameBoy Advance)
If you're a fan of the Original Gameboy or GBA, you'll want to consider this option as one of the best emulators for PC. Visual Boy Advance-M (VBA-M) is a Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance emulator written in C++. It's one of the most popular emulators for Windows PC.
Visual Boy Advance-M (VBA-M) is a Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance emulator written in C++. It's one of the most popular emulators for Windows PC.
Mednafen (Best Sega Saturn Emulator)
Mednafen is a free, open-source multi-system emulator. It's the oldest of the emulators on this list and has been around since 1999. It can run games from most systems, including Super Nintendo, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (Genesis), Atari 2600/2600XL/VCS System 5/1040ST (Atari 5200), Sega Master System & Game Gear (SMS) as well as many more!
Mednafen also supports several other features including: auto-loaders for ROMs; cheat codes; save states and savestates through memory cards; player 1 controls; joypad support. We recommend Mednafen specifically for those who are looking for Sega Saturn emulation as we've found they run extremely well in for all of your favorite games like Saturn Bomberman, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Virtua Fighter 2, Radiant Silvergun and many others!
There are many emulators out there, but these are some of the best. In addition to playing old games on your PC, it can be great for testing new games before they come out or learning how a game was made.