Video Game Emulation for Newbies

Need help with video game emulators?

This is the BEST site for help with video game emulation. Here you will find a thorough introduction to emulation and tutorials for the most popular emulators.

1

Intro to Emulation

Everything a newcomer needs to know about video game emulation: what it is, the cool things it offers, and the legality.

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2

Download & Setup

I review a few details pertaining to downloading ROMs. I also walk you through some basic Windows tasks such as how to work with zip files.

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3

Gamepads

The emulation experience isn't complete without a gamepad! Here I list the best ones and review every category of gamepads.

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Windows Windows Video Game Emulators

Intro & Multi-system

Intro

Best Emulators

An article listing the best video game emulators for each system. They're recommended in a variety of categories.

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Multi-system

RetroArch

Supports over 40 systems: NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, Saturn, PSX, and more! It offers tons of features.

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Multi-system

Mednafen

Supports nearly 20 systems: NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, Saturn, PSX, and more! Even boots TurboGrafx-CD images!

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Nintendo

GameCube/Wii

Dolphin

The #1 emulator for GameCube and Wii. It offers excellent game compatibility and many helpful features.

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Nintendo 64

Project64

A once top emulator for N64. It has good game compatibility, and conveniently comes bundled with the best plug-ins.

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Nintendo DS

DeSmuME

An excellent emulator. Offers good options for handling the DS's dual display. Game compatibility is good and getting better.

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GBA

mGBA

Focused on being fast enough to run on lower end hardware than other emulators support, without sacrificing accuracy or portability.

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GBA

Visual Boy Adv

A classic Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulator that was once super popular. It offers lots of features and games run great.

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Super Nintendo

Snes9X

A top emulator with near perfect compatibility, high-quality performance, and a nice selection of features.

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NES

FCEUX

A classic emulator that's still a great option if you want something simple. It's friendly on older devices as well.

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Game Boy

Gambatte

The best emulator for Game Boy and Game Boy Color, offering high accuracy. It's easy to use and offers the standard features.

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Sega

Saturn

uoYabause

An excellent Saturn emulator with great game compatibility. 3D graphics render in higher resolution. Offers good features.

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Saturn

SSF

Some prefer SSF over uoYabause. Game compatibility is high. It runs well on older/slower machines. Getting started can be confusing.

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Genesis

Kega Fusion

An excellent, powerhouse emulator that supports Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, Sega CD+32X, Game Gear, and SMS!

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Genesis

Gens/GS

This emulator is a build based on Gens, a legendary Genesis emulator. It also supports Sega CD and 32X.

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Sony

PlayStation 2

PCSX2

The first and best PlayStation 2 emulator! Offers good game compatibility. Its speed hacks really help for slower systems.

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PSP

PPSSPP

Currently the best PSP emulator. It's open source and has ports for every system! Has the usual assortment of features.

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PlayStation 1

DuckStation

The current #1 PS1 emulator. It comes with all the hottest features including PGXP corrections for 3D graphics.

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PlayStation 1

ePSXe

A famous emulator that's been wildly popular for decades. It uses a plug-in system to control its core functions.

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PlayStation 1

pSX

A classic emulator that's easy to use and doesn't require fussing with plug-ins. It works best on older/slower computers.

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Arcade

Multi-system

RetroArch

This emulator has multiple 'cores' for MAME and FinalBurn, both the latest versions and legacy versions by year.

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Arcade

MAMEUI

Everyone knows about MAME. It's a powerhouse that supports ALL arcade games. MAMEUI is an old Windows build of MAME.

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Arcade

FB Alpha

FinalBurn Alpha is a top arcade emulator. It only supports Capcom, NeoGeo, Konami, and Cave games.

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Android Android Video Game Emulators

Intro

All Emulators

A general run-through of video game emulation on Android.

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Multi-system

RetroArch

A massive emulator that supports over 40 video game systems!

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Archived tutorials based on old Windows emulators that are no longer recommended:

ZSNES (SNES), Nestopia (NES), MagicEngine (TG16), Ootake (TG16), Kawaks (Arcade)