Recently, I’ve wanted to get back into some classic gaming with consoles-like NES, SNES, N64, Sega Mega Drive, PlayStation. So I went on a hunt to try and find the best emulators for Windows. I’ve created a list of what I’ve found so others can start to play some awesome retro games!
6 Best Windows Emulators
Number 1. Nestopia
Starting off my list of best emulators for Windows is Nestopia which is one of the best NES emulators. The Windows port has completely been rewritten from scratch improving performance. Plus the emulation core has totally changed as well. Another great thing about Nestopia is that its open-sourced and updated frequently.
When it comes to playing Nintendo NES games, the supported selection of games is very high. I doubt you’d come across a game that can’t be played by Nestopia. Also, the controller support is great as well, it allows me to use my XBOX 360 controller. Therefore making my time playing my favorite NES games enjoyable.
One more thing that I’ve only just discovered, is NET PLAY. That’s right, Nestopia gives you the ability to play over the internet with your friends, using the Kaillera Network. Just make sure you and your pals have the same emulation settings before connecting, otherwise, you could come into issues.
Second Best Retro Emulator is
Number 2. ZSNES
Second in the list of best emulators for Windows is ZSNES. ZSNES is one of the first projects that gave support for a wide variety of SNES games. And now has become one of the leading emulators for the Nintendo SNES console. One of the best things about this emulator is its ability to handle some of the most complex features and hardware used in the SNES console. For example the SuperFX chip and its small memory footprint.
Other awesome features are its ability to emulate 44.1khz audio and other special effects, an array of video filters, movie creation, and of course netplay. Not only is it available for Windows, but it has support for DOS and Linux.
Third Best Emulator In The List
Number 3. Fusion
At third in the best emulators for Windows is one of my favorite emulators, not because of the emulator itself, but because of the memories, I’ve got playing games on the original Sega Mega Drive console. As soon as I downloaded Fusion and grabbed a few games, I had to test it out, and I wasn’t disappointed. I did spend hours and hours playing some of the old games like Sonic, Golden Axe, and Streets of Rage, etc.
Fusion handled the games I played very well, and I think it has to be one of the top emulators for Sega SG1000, SC3000, Master System, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega Drive, and SegaCD/MegaCD systems.
Fourth Best Emulator For Windows is
Number 4. Project64
You can pretty much guess what system this emulator is for, that’s right, the Nintendo N64. It has to be one of the most popular consoles ever, and I reckon people still by it today, I know I was going to buy one age ago, so I can’t be the only one. Even though the N64 didn’t outsell the PlayStation, it was the better console specification wise, and games like GoldenEye, Super Mario 64, etc. were big hits. And that’s exactly why I wanted to play those games again.
Project64 actually popped out of nowhere and became a leading success in the emulation of N64, with its huge support for games and few little bugs, with each version released getting better. The creators also released a version with net support, allowing you to play with your friends, pretty cool.
You can download the latest version from Project64, but apparently the versions after 1.6 are riddled with malware, so download at your own risk.
Fifth Best Emulator For Windows is
Number 5. Visual Boy Advance
In at five is Visual Boy Advance, is a Gameboy advance emulator and has been around for a number of years, in fact, the actual developer of VBA as long stopped developing the system as it’s pretty much perfect, it allows you to play games from previous Gameboys like the Gameboy classic and Gameboy color.
And now it’s open-sourced, which has led to many variants of the original VBA emulator.
To be honest, I had a Gameboy classic when I was a kid, but I haven’t got round to playing those old games yet. There’s really only one game that comes to mind when I think of Gameboy and that’s Pokémon, and I think it’s the only reason why other users want to download it as well.
Since playing Pokémon on VBA, I love the control support which again allows me to use my XBOX 360 controller as a gamepad, rather than bashing my keyboard all the time. Not only that, in VBA there is a setting where you can skip frame rates, which makes playing Pokémon more enjoyable and faster, helps to level faster without using cheats.
I haven’t come across any downside to using this emulator yet, although you will need to grab yourself a BIOS file before you’ll be able to load any games up, these are easy to find on the internet if you use Google.
Another variant: Visual Boy Advance 1.8.0 Beta 0 (includes link play so you can connect to multiple VBA’s.
Note – You may need to download Direct X which is required by VBA and other emulators.
Sixth Best Windows Emulator is
Number 6. ePSXe
Last on the list of best emulators for Windows is ePSXe, highly considered one of the best PlayStation emulators. It was the first emulator to run PlayStation games at a reliable rate. The support for games is high but I do believe users have experienced problems with some games, which I myself have never played, just because I tend to play games I have heard about or played as a kid.
You’ll also need to configure ePSXe plugins and bios file, otherwise, you’ll find that ePSXe will not work.
Use Google to find yourself a PSX bios, it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Download ePSXeCutor 184.108.40.206 (ePSXe Configuration utility).
Please comment below if you’ve come across any contenders you think should be in my best emulators list.
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