Video Game Emulators
Video Game Emulators
Video Game Emulators

Video Game Emulators

Here you will find all the best video game emulators for every common OS & device!

Star New to emulation? Need help with any of these emulators? Check out my emulation help site, Video Game Emulation for Newbies! The site also has an article where I break down the Top Emulators for Every System.

Standalone vs. Multi-system - which should you use?

Multi-system emulators (particularly RetroArch and BizHawk) have gone a long way. You can download just a single emulator to handle emulating nearly everything. For the most part, multi-system emulators replaced the need to use standalone emulators for NES, SNES, Genesis/Sega CD/32X, Game Boy/Color/Advance, Game Gear/SMS, TurboGrafx16/CD, Wonderswan/Color, PlayStation 1, and Nintendo 64.

Standalone emulators, though, are still a good option if you want something that 'just works out of the box'. They're easier to use and offer some features that multi-system emulators don't have. I recommend trying both standalone & multi-system emulators to find out which option works best for you.

Nintendo 64Gamecube/Wii

Dolphin

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Size: Around 20 MB

Dolphin is an emulator for two recent Nintendo video game consoles: the GameCube and the Wii. It allows PC (and Mac) gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles in full HD (1080p) with several enhancements: compatibility with all PC controllers, turbo speed, networked multiplayer, and even more! Check out its compatibility list to ensure the games you want to play fully work.

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Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

m64p

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Size: Around 40 MB

m64p (or Mupen64 Plus) is the best and most accurate Nintendo 64 emulator. I recommend it as #1. It can play games like Resident Evil 2, Rogue Squadron, Pokemon Snap, and World Driver Championship “out-of-the-box” (without the need to fiddle with settings, plugins, or anything of the sort). Versus Project64, it's a much more solid emulator with less bugs. However, it's not as feature-rich as Project64.

Project64

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Size: 4.28 MB, Version: 3.0.0, Homepage

Project64 was once a top N64 emulator. Although “m64p” is the top N64 emulator now, you may still prefer Project64 as it has more features. Note that the latest versions of Project64 may not run games well. From my experience, version 2.0 is the most stable version. Games such as Ogre Battle 64 run well on it.
*Note: My download of Project64 does not contain malware, unlike the download on the official site.

P64 Bundle

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Size: 16.5 MB, Version: 1.6-2.3, Homepage

The latest versions of Project64 run games differently. To help you find out which version runs your games best, here's a zip containing the latest builds. In this zip you'll find version 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.
*Note: These downloads of Project64 do not contain malware, unlike the downloads on the official site.

Extras

Size: 15.3 MB - Project64 already comes equipped with a good video plugin. However, if you want the best video plug-in, you want the GLideN64 plug-in! Check out these sample shots to see it in action. It's demanding on the CPU so this is meant for higher-end computers/devices.

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Super NintendoSuper Nintendo

Bsnes

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Size: Around 5 MB

Bsnes has the crown of being the #1 Super Nintendo emulator for its cycle accuracy. However, that doesn't mean BSNES is the best emulator for you. Its performance requires a fast CPU, so it may not run well on every computer/device. Features include 100% bug-free compatibility, Super Game Boy emulation, HD mode 7 graphics, a multi-threaded video graphics renderer, built-in databases for games/PCBs/cheat codes, and save state manager with screenshot previews.

Snes9x

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Size: 3.67 MB, Version: 1.60, Homepage, Github

Snes9x has tons of awesome screen filters, supports Game Genie/Action Replay cheats, can capture SPC music, take screen shots, capture save states with multiple slots, supports Super FX, record AVI movies, and more. It's easy to use, it runs great on whatever speed your computer is, and it has such neat features. It's an excellent SNES emulator! New with version 1.54: Snes9x now uses the Bsnes core to emulate games with cycle accuracy. So now they run like the real thing!
*Note: If you find that this version of Snes9x is not working well for you, try the previous version before the Bsnes source was added: v1.53 64-bit
*Also note: If you can't run games because of a ddx9_38.dll error, read this for the fix.

ZSNES

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Size: 847 KB, Version: 1.51, Homepage

ZSNES was the first popular video game emulator. It's a beloved classic. I have it here only for nostalgic purposes. I do not recommend ZSNES for a quality SNES emulation experience.
*You might also want to try ZMZ, a version of Snes9X with ZSNES's GUI.

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Nintendo (NES)Nintendo

Mesen

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Size: Around 10 MB

The #1 emulator for the classic 8-bit NES. It's a cycle-accurate! The authors are proud of it--over 220 mappers are supported, offering very high game compatibility. It includes the usual emulator features: save states, rewinding, movie/audio recording, overclocking, cheat codes, netplay, and more.

FCEUX

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Size: 2.29 MB, Version: 2.2.3, Homepage

FCEUX (FCE Ultra) is a classic NES emulator that's been around a long time. It's not as good as Mesen. However, FCEUX is friendlier on slower/older machines.

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Nintendo DSNintendo DS

DeSmuME

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Size: Around 30 MB

DeSmuME is the #1 Nintendo DS emulator! It's been around a long time. They've had significant improvements since 2018. It now uses less CPU/GPU resources. It especially offers some good options for the display, since the DS has the double screen thing going on. Its game compatibility is great and improving.
Note: The downloads page I'm linking to is weird, I know. That is actually the official downloads page for the latest version of DeSmuME from their homepage. It's confusing because their site's main page promotes v0.9.11 as the latest stable release, but their Downloads page says “Don't download the v0.9.11 stable release because it's old from 2015!” So trust me, you can download the latest version of DeSmuME from the weird link.

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Game Boy Classic/ Color/ AdvanceGame Boy Advance

mGBA

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Size: 17.6 MB, Version: 0.9.0, Homepage

mGBA is the #1 emulator for Game Boy Advance. It's focused on being fast enough to run on lower-end hardware than other emulators support, without sacrificing accuracy or portability. Game compatibility is high. It even offers support for the Tilt Sensor and Game Boy Camera. mGBA's drawback is that it lacks the cool features that VisualBoyAdv-M has.

VBA-M

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Size: 20.4 MB, Version: 2.1.4, Homepage

Visual Boy Advance supports Game Boy Classic, Super Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and (of course) Game Boy Advance. It has several cool screen filters, supports cheats, record music, can take screen shots, capture save states with multiple slots, record AVI movies, and more. It's easy to use and it runs great on whatever speed your computer is. This version of the emulator is called “VisualBoyAdvance-M” (or Visual Boy Advance Merged), which is a continued effort by others since the original Visual Boy Advance authors abandoned the emulator in 2005.
*For the most accurate Game Boy Classic and Game Boy Color emulation, I recommend Gambatte in the Game Boy section.

VBA Classic

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Size: 597 KB, Version: 1.7.2

If for whatever reason you want the original Visual Boy Advance, here it is. Keep in mind that it hasn't been updated since 2005. “VisualBoyAdvance-M” above is the recommended version to use.

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Game Boy Classic and Game Boy ColorGame Boy Color

Gambatte

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Size: 1.96 MB, Version: r571, Homepage

In terms of accuracy, Gambatte is the #1 emulator for Game Boy Classic and Game Boy Color. You get the highest quality emulation with this emulator. Although it lacks all the cool features that VisualBoyAdv-M has.

BGB

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Size: 432 KB, Version: 1.5.7, Homepage

BGB supports Game Boy Classic, Super Game Boy, and Game Boy Color. The interface is uncluttered and clean. The screen is nice and sharp. BGB is good if you want something simple and fast/light-weight.

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Genesis, Sega CD, 32XGenesis, Sega CD & 32X

Kega Fusion

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Size: 383 KB, Version: 3.64, Homepage

Kega Fusion a top Genesis emulator! In addition to Genesis, it also emulates Sega CD, 32X, Sega CD+32X (it's the only emulator that supports this), Sega Master System, Game Gear, Sega SG-1000, and SC-3000. It has high compatibility and good speed. Keep in mind, though, that I recommend RetroArch or BizHawk (the top multi-system emulators) over Kega Fusion and Gens as the best option for emulation of all Sega systems.

GENS/GS

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Size: 2.66 MB, Version: Release 7, Homepage

Gens/GS is a version of the famous “Gens” emulator. The main goal of Gens/GS was to clean up the source code and combine features from various forks of Gens, as well as improving portability to other platforms. Gens/GS has a high compatibility rate and good speed. It also has many nice features including the usual screen renders, Sega CD support, and 32X support. It has a few neat features that Kega Fusion doesn't have. Keep in mind, though, that I recommend RetroArch (the top multi-system emulator) over Kega Fusion and Gens as the best option for emulation of all Sega systems.

Extras

Size: 264 KB - The Sega CD BIOS files that are required for booting up US, Euro and Japanese games on Gens and Kega Fusion.

Size: 1.95 KB - Contains the 32X BIOS files required to boot 32X games on Gens.

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Sega SaturnSaturn

uoYabause

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Size: Around 60 MB

Saturn emulation has always been horrible. Then in the mid 2010s, uoYabause surfaced and surprised us all. This emulator offers an excellent Saturn emulation experience. Game compatibility is high. 3D graphics are rendered in a higher resolution (just like with PSX and N64 emulation). The drawback is that this emulator can be demanding on the CPU, so it may not run well on slower/older computers. I recommend checking its compatibility list before trying out games. uoYabause does not require the Saturn BIOS in order to boot games.
*Note: uoYabause might prompt saying it's missing “SDL2.dll”. You can download this file below.

SSF

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Size: 53 MB, Version: Preview R16, Homepage

Offers good compatibility and is easy to use. It lacks the fancy features we're used to with PSX/N64 emulation, like high-res 3D rendering and such. But hey, it's better than nothing! Its compatibility isn't perfect so I recommend checking its compatibility list before trying out games. And read my snippet about improving performance with SSF.

SSF (All)

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Size: 142 MB, Version: 0.06-0.12, Homepage

Curiously, games sometimes run better in certain older releases of SSF. If you're eager to have a game run as best as possible, download this zip and find out if an older version of SSF handles it better.

Extras

Size: 889 KB - Contains 'mpr-17933.bin' (US/UK BIOS) and 'sega_101.bin' (JP BIOS), which are the BIOS files required by multi-system emulators such as RetroArch and Mednafen.

Size: 2.18 MB - The BIOS files for NA, UK, and JP.

Size: 286 KB - On some machines, uoYabause requires “SDL2.dll” in order to run (Windows will prompt you that it's missing). Put “SDL2.dll” in the same folder as uoYabause.

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Sega DreamcastDreamcast

redream

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Size: Around 5 MB

Redream is compatible with nearly the entire Dreamcast library (Windows CE now supported), has a good user interface, is easy to set up, and can run without the BIOS. It can run even on low-end machines (provided that they support OpenGL 3.1). This is a big deal when compared to DEmul, which is CPU-heavy. The only catch is that if you want HD rendering, they're asking for $5 US for the premium version.

DEmul

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Size: 4.87 MB, Version: v0.7 build 111117, Homepage

A top Dreamcast emulator that's been around since the mid-2000s. Game compatibility and accuracy are high. It uses a plug-in system for video and audio outputs. The virtual memory card is also supported. It supports Windows CE games, but in general, they run worse than standard Dreamcast titles. DEmul hasn't been updated since 2018, so it's falling behind. I recommend checking its compatibility list before trying out games.

Extras

Size: 2.10 MB - This is required by DEmul. The zip contains the standard BIOS, Flash BIOS, and VMS BIOS.

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Game GearGame Gear/Master System

Multi-system

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There aren't any standalone emulators for Game Gear and Master System that I recommend. Rather, there's a variety of multi-system emulators that support them. My standalone recommendation is Kega Fusion. But if you want the best emulator, you need to use RetroArch or BizHawk and its “Genesis Plus GX” core.

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Playstation 1PlayStation 1

DuckStation

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Size: 20 MB

The #1 PlayStation 1 emulator! It focuses on playability, speed, and long-term maintainability. The goal is to be as accurate as possible while maintaining performance suitable for low-end devices. It comes with all the PGXP correction features expected from modern PSX emulators, has a robust Memory Card Editor, auto-downloads cheats, and more! It's also incredibly easy to use and well made.
*The DuckStation page can be a little confusing. Just scroll to the bottom and look for “Latest Development Build”. Then look for “duckstation-windows-x64-release.zip”.

ePSXe

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Size: 1.31 MB, Version: 2.0.5, Homepage: Click here

ePSXe is one of the most famous video game emulators. It takes advantage of the exciting plug-in system. It's a good emulator - if you're patient enough to work with that plug-in system (it can be annoying). Remember, Pete's Plug-ins are the best for ePSXe. You can download a bundle of the best plug-ins further down, as well as the ePSXe cheats pack. However, keep in mind that ePSXe hasn't been updated since 2016 and I do not recommend it. DuckStation is a far better emulator.

pSX

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Size: 784 KB, Version: 1.13

If the above emulators aren't running well for you, you should give pSX a try. It's an old emulator, but it runs great on slower/older machines.

Extras

Size: 236 KB - DuckStation, ePSXe, and pSX need this in order to boot games. It's “Scph1001.bin”, the most common BIOS file. In most cases this is all you need.
*Download by right-clicking the download link and go to “Save Link As”. When saving, rename the “_ip” file extension to “zip”. If you don't see the file extension, try showing them. I also made this GIF animation to show you how to change the file extension.

Size: 236 KB - This is “scph5501.bin”, the BIOS file required by multi-system emulators such as RetroArch and Mednafen.
*Download by right-clicking the download link and go to “Save Link As”. When saving, rename the “_ip” file extension to “zip”. If you don't see the file extension, try showing them. I also made this GIF animation to show you how to change the file extension.

Size: 5.81 MB - If for whatever reason you need all the PS1 BIOS files, here they are.
*Download by right-clicking the download link and go to “Save Link As”. When saving, rename the “_ip” file extension to “zip”. If you don't see the file extension, try showing them. I also made this GIF animation to show you how to change the file extension.

Size: 1.37 MB - To save you even more trouble, I put the best plug-ins for ePSXe in a zip file for you! :) This contains the following: Pete's Soft GPU 1.18b, Pete's PSX GPUs 1.77, Pete's OpenGL2 PSX GPU 2.9, Pete's OpenGL PSX GPU 1.78, DirectSound Driver 1.0, Eternal SPU 1.41, Pete's CDR plug-in 1.4

Size: 1.67 MB - The official ePSXe cheats pack that contains Game Shark cheats for every PlayStation 1 game.

Size: 14.7 MB - If pSX is giving you a “Missing d3dx9_26.dll” error, download this!

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Playstation 2PlayStation 2

PCSX2

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Size: Around 10 MB

This is the first and best PlayStation 2 emulator. Great compatibility and nice speeds make this a must-try on fast machines! It can run just about any game, with some minor hiccups (mainly Tri-ace games). The BIOS is required in order to boot games, which you can download below. Game compatibility isn't perfect; I recommend going through its compabitility list.

Extras

Size: 12.7 MB - This is required in order to run games with PCSX2.
*Download by right-clicking the download link and go to “Save Link As”. When saving, rename the “_ip” file extension to “zip”. If you don't see the file extension, try showing them. I also made this GIF animation to show you how to change the file extension.

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Playstation 3PlayStation 3

RPCS3

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Size: Around 20 MB

RPCS3 is the top emulator for PlayStation 3. It should go without saying that emulating the PlayStation 3 is demanding on a CPU. So if your computer isn't on the higher end, don't have high hopes with RPCS3. At this time, approximately 60% of the game library is playable.

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PSPPSP

PPSSPP

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Size: Around 20 MB

PlayStation Portable Simulator Suitable for Playing Portably (PPSSPP) is a free and open-source PSP emulator for Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry 10 and Symbian with an increased focus on speed and portability.

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ArcadeArcade

Multi-system

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This is a stub to highlight that my top recommendation for arcade emulation is the #1 multi-system emulator, RetroArch. It has the latest core for MAME, which is a big deal because using the standalone version of MAME is too complicated. RetroArch has a core for FinalBurn Neo (the latest version of FinalBurn) and FinalBurn Alpha. It has multiple cores for older versions of MAME by year. If you've tried arcade emulation before, you know it can be a frustrating experience due to finding out that many of the arcade roms readily available in rom sites don't work on the latest arcade emulators. So making it easy to jump between new & old arcade emulators is an essential feature for the best arcade emulation experience, which RetroArch does well. Otherwise, you can use the standalone arcade emulators below and manually swap between old & emulators.

FinalBurn Neo

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Size: Around 10 MB

FinalBurn Neo is a continuation of FinalBurn Alpha. Aside from MAME, it's the only other top arcade emulator that is still in active development. Just like FinalBurn Alpha, this emulator supports many boards, such as Neo Geo, Capcom CPS1-3, and others.

FB Alpha

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Size: 7.09 MB, Version: 0.2.97.43, Homepage

FinalBurn Alpha is a great arcade emulator supporting Neo-Geo, Capcom, Konami, and Cave games. This emulator's last update was in 2018 and it was no longer active, so it is recommended to use FinalBurn Neo (above) instead.
*The attached download is for the 64-bit version. Looking for the 32-bit version? Download it here

MAMEUI

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Size: 15.7 MB, Version: 0.154, Homepage

MAME is the most compatible and capable multiple arcade machine emulator. Over 3,000 classic arcade games are supported, and development continues actively. MAME itself is a command-line-driven program, so it doesn't have a front-end GUI. For many years until 2014, “MAMEUI” was the top recommendation for MAME with a visual interface.
*The attached download is for the 64-bit version. Looking for the 32-bit version? Download it here

MAMEUI (old)

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Size: 9.98 MB, Version: 1.15 (May '07)

Unfortunately, a lot of arcade ROMs that are readily available in popular arcade ROM sites do not work with the latest arcade emulators due to legacy reasons. So if you're having a lot of trouble trying to get games to work, this decade old version of MAME from May 2007 should work better for you.

Kawaks

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Size: 552 KB, Version: 1.65

Kawaks is a fantastic arcade emulator with lots of neat features. However, Kawaks was last updated in 2016 and has since been abandoned. It's still awesome and runs fast. It only supports NeoGeo and Capcom games. On Windows 8 & 10 it might have issues with full-screen mode.

Extras

Size: 931 KB - MAMEUI and other modern arcade emulators need this in order to play NeoGeo games.

Size: 236 KB - Kawaks, old arcade ROMs, and other old arcade emulators need this. (Rename it to "neogeo.zip")

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TurboGrafx16 / Turbo DuoTurboGrafx16

Multi-system

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This is a stub to highlight that my top recommendtation for TurboGrafx16/PC Engine emulation is the #1 multi-system emulator, RetroArch or BizHawk. Game compatibility is excellent and it has full support for booting games from ISO files. Plus they offer a wide variety of features.

Ootake

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Size: Around 2 MB

When it comes to standalone emulators for TurboGrafx16/PC Engine, MagicEngine and Ootake are your best options. MagicEngine doesn't support ISO files and it costs $16 US, so scratch that off the list. Ootake is the next best option. It's a (free) emulator that has good game compatibility with HuCard, SuperGrafx, CD-ROM, Super CD-ROM and Arcade Card emulation. It is a Japanese emulator translated to English so expect the language to be a little quirky. Like MagicEngine, note that Ootake doesn't support running CD games from their ISO. You need to use RetroArch for that.

Extras

Size: 492 KB - The BIOS files that are required in order to boot CD games.

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Wonderswan and Wonderswan ColorWonderswan & Wonderswan Color

Oswan

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Size: 116 KB, Version: 1.7.3

Wonderswan Color isn't exactly a popular system, so emulation support for it is scarce. Oswan is old and simple; it was last updated in 2007. It gets the job done, though. It has good CPU timing and joystick support. The multi-system emulators below are better options for emulating Wonderswan. In RetroArch, look for “Bandai - WonderSwan/Color (Beetle Cygne)”.

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Multi-systemsMulti-system

RetroArch

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Size: Around 200 MB

I *love* RetroArch! It's my favorite multi-system emulator. It has a nice, clean UI--something that competing emulators such as Mednafen lack. It supports 40+ video game systems including PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, N64, Nintendo DS, SNES, NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, NeoGeo Pocket Color, Virtual Boy, Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD/Mega CD, 32X, Sega Master System, Game Gear, PC Engine/TurboGrafx16 (plus CD support), Wonderswan Color, Atari Lynx, and arcade (MAME). Its only drawback is that it offers many features & options, which can make RetroArch more intimidating than helpful for new users.
*I have a tutorial for RetroArch if you need help getting started with it.

BizHawk

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Size: Around 30 MB

BizHawk is a multi-system emulator designed for speedrunners that supports NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Genesis, SMS, Game Gear, Sega CD, 32X, PlayStation 1, PC Engine/TurboGrafx16, WonderSwan Color, NeoGeo Pocket Color, and retro computers. Unlike RetroArch, BizHawk offers a front-end Windows UI, so it's easier to use. Many of its cores are the same ones used in RetroArch, so emulation quality is generally the same between the two. RetroArch, though, still offers more features than BizHawk.

Higan

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Size: Around 3 MB

An awesome multi-system emulator that supports NES, SNES (+Super Game Boy), Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Master System, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega Drive (+Sega CD/Mega CD), TurboGrafx16/PC Engine, NeoGeo Pocket/Color, Wonderswan/Color, and more. What separates Higan from other multi-system emulators is that it's impeccably programmed to be as accurate (cycle accurate) as possible. That also comes at the cost of processing - Higan is CPU heavy and isn't friendly on older computers or slow devices.

Mednafen

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Size: 15 MB

Mednafen is a multi-system emulator that supports pretty much everything: PlayStation 1, N64, Nintendo DS, SNES, NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, NeoGeo Pocket Color, Virtual Boy, Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD/Mega CD, 32X, Sega Master System, Game Gear, PC Engine/TurboGrafx16 (plus CD support), Wonderswan Color, Atari Lynx, arcade (MAME), and more. Mednafen is command line based so it doesn't include a frontend GUI. The best frontend is Mednaffe.

Extras

Size: 3.45 MB - This is a handy bundle of all the BIOS files required for emulating PlayStation 1, Sega CD/Mega CD, TurboGrafx-CD/PC Engine CD, Sega Saturn, and NeoGeo arcade games.
*Download by right-clicking the download link and go to “Save Link As”. When saving, rename the “_ip” file extension to “zip”. If you don't see the file extension, try showing them.

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