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Game Emulators

Old dedicated video game platforms from childhood can often be disproportionately expensive for what is oftentimes just a desire for a nostalgic escape from the moment. That’s where emulation comes into play. From multi-system emulation systems such as RetroArch to specialized and high performance emulators such as higan, there are many modern methods to play the games of your childhood without having to break the bank in order to get old hardware.

  1. What is RetroArch? RetroArch is a modular multi-system emulator system that is designed to be fast, lightweight, and portable. It has features lacking in some emulators frontends, such as real-time rewinding and game-aware shading. What systems does it play?
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    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    Snes9x is a portable, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator. It allows you to play most games designed for the SNES and Super Famicom Nintendo game systems on your PC.

    Main Snes9x mirror: http://snes9x.ipherswipsite.com
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  2. Dolphin is an emulator for two recent Nintendo video game consoles: the GameCube and the Wii.
  3. PCSX2 is a PlayStation 2 emulator for Windows, Linux & Mac, started by the same team that brought you PCSX (a Sony PlayStation 1 emulator).
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    • FreeProprietary
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • Android Tablet
    ePSXe (enhanced PSX emulator) is an emulator of the PlayStation video game console for x86-based PC hardware. ePSXe makes use of a plugin system to emulate GPU, SPU, and CD drive functions, similar to the model first introduced in PSEmu Pro.
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  4. Project64 is a Nintendo 64 emulator for the Windows platform. It employs a plugin system that allows 3rd party developers to implement their own software.
    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • BSD
    • Haiku
    • AmigaOS
    • MorphOS
    VisualBoyAdvance (VBA) is a free software (GNU GPL) emulator targeted for the Game Boy, Super Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance handheld game consoles sold by Nintendo.

    Discontinued

    The project is no longer developed. Last version, 1.8.0 beta 3, released in October 2005, can be still downloaded from FileHippo

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    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    ZSNES is a Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator. Aside from emulation accuracy, many interface features first introduced in ZSNES have been adopted by other emulators.

    Discontinued

    The program is no longer updated. Last version, 1.51, released in January 2007, can be still downloaded from the official website.

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  5. The ROM Depot is dedicated to the preservation of outdated software. There are currently 90 platforms containing over 100,000 files including games, manual, soundtracks, emulators, boxart, and more. You can even contribute your own files to the archive.
  6. Open Emu is an open source project to bring game emulation to OS X as a first class citizen, leveraging modern OS X technologies such as Cocoa, Core Animation and Quartz, and 3rd party libraries like Sparkle for auto-updating.
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    • FreeOpen Source
    • Linux
    • Raspberry Pi
    RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favourite classic games with the minimum set-up.
  7. MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used in conjunction with images of the original arcade game's ROM and disk data, MAME attempts to reproduce that game as faithfully as possible on a more modern general-purpose computer.
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  8. CoolROM is a database and download site for emulators and ROMs of classic videogame systems such as Nintendo 64, SNES, Game Boy and more. Have you ever wanted to play old videogames on your computer?

    Warning

    The "Download Now" button downloads an application installer (CoolROM Downloader) that can contain harmful pieces of software. Use the "Alternative Download Link" to download the rom directly. Virustotal results - Windows: https://www.virustotal.com/#/file/8680cb03307d5d4f0910690c07edc8251df43183a3bf7cbfb81353c34e16357d Mac: https://www.virustotal.com/#/file/7f5cde211c7374fbd70d32d1b58a7fa9867cc537eacde62fa83c9ed4606c2b01

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Cubieboard
    • HummingBoard
    • Raspberry Pi
    • Nintendo Switch
    • Odroid
    Lakka is the official Linux distribution of RetroArch and the libretro ecosystem. Each game system is implemented as a libretro core, while the frontend RetroArch takes care of inputs and display.
  9. higan was formerly known as bsnes. The project was renamed after becoming a multi-system emulator. higan is a Nintendo multi-system emulator that began development on 2004-10-14.
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