If you want to experience what it was like to play a video game on the old school consoles, then you do not need to buy individual consoles because now you can enjoy all the benefits of these consoles directly on your PC.
Emulation is the practice of using a program (called an emulator) on a PC to imitate the behavior of a videogame console. Certainly, this is not something new, but now they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can emulate 3D game consoles as recent as the Wii.
There are emulators for most retro game consoles, which are legal software packages as long as they are based on original copies downloaded from BIOS.
Next, you will find the best PC emulators that will allow you to enjoy some of the best video games in history.
1. Project64 – Nintendo 64 console emulator
The N64 was one of the first consoles of 3D games that had some great games like Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Golden Eye.
Project64 is a Nintendo 64 emulator that at first seemed to come from nowhere, offering excellent compatibility with small errors. Future versions only improved things more!
There are not many N64 emulators, but Project 64 is undoubtedly one of the best. With a decent graphics card and a good amount of RAM, this emulator will run most of the N64 games quite perfectly.
It also includes multiplayer support, cheat options and allows users to adjust the aspect ratio.
Download link: https://www.pj64-emu.com/
2. Dolphin – Emulator of the Wii and Game cube consoles
The Dolphin emulator is raising the quality for console emulation. That’s largely because it’s the first to emulate a seventh generation console, the Wii, as well as the GameCube.
It is also the first emulator that provides online games. The emulator is receiving regular updates that give it considerable compatibility and increase performance. Dolphin is now much faster after the 5 update. In a survey on the Dolphin website, about 87% voted that the emulator had perfect or playable compatibility with minor technical and audio issues.
As Dolphin emulates more hardware, it has higher system requirements than most emulators. You will have to have a system with at least 2 GB of RAM, Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a GPU that is compatible with Direct X 11.1 and OpenGL 4.4. Also keep in mind that this console emulator only runs on 64-bit platforms of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Download link: https://es.dolphin-emu.org/download/
3. NullDC / Reicast – Sega emulator dreamcast
NullDC is an emulator of videogame systems Sega Dreamcast and Sega Naomi open source for Microsoft Windows and other platforms.
After having not been updated for almost two years, the author of the project «drk || Raziel »announced its decision to release the source code with its new compilation and became, so to speak, Reicast.
Reicast is more than a simple emulator; It is part of a legacy. Some of you may or may not know that SEGA was once a powerful contender in the console market.
It was the first console with a 128-bit vector graphics engine and also the first to offer online connectivity. Dreamcast eventually closed with Sega’s console manufacturing business, however, its fans refuse to let it die. Reicast is an opportunity for veteran fans to bring their favorite Dreamcast titles with them.
More information: NullDC / Reicast
4. PPSSPP – console emulator sony psp
PlayStation Portable also known as PSP is one of the best portable gaming consoles ever developed.
The portable Playstation simulator suitable to emulate this console is the (PPSSPP), this emulator was specially created to run PSP games directly on your personal computer (PC), Windows, Mac OSX, PC with Linux and mobile devices.
The PPSSPP emulator has powerful and robust features, undoubtedly the best, since it made it possible to play most PSP games with amazing images. If you maybe want to revisit the old days when the PSP was still “fresh”, then you must download the PPSSPP emulator on your PC to recover those memories.
The PPSSPP emulator is very easy to configure and you can even transfer .ISOs and PSP to continue where you left off. The PPSSPP emulator is available in Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android.
Its acronym means PlayStation Portable Simulator Suitable For Playing Portable.
Download link: https://www.ppsspp.org/downloads.html
5. Epsxe – Play station one emulator
Considered by many as the best Playstation 1 emulator for PC, this program will allow you to run almost all your PS1 games without problems, as long as your machine has the juice and is configured correctly. The emulator uses a complement system where almost everything is handled with add-ons, so you may want to investigate the best way to configure it on your computer.
Like PCSX2, with the right add-ons and settings, and assuming a basic-good computer, your old PS1 games can run in HD, providing a nostalgic memory in high resolution.
Most games are compatible with the emulator and are added to the compatibility list every day. You can configure your control in the emulator and enjoy the games as if you were playing in the console.
Download link: http://www.epsxe.com/download.php
6. Pcsx2 – Play station 2 emulator
PCSX2 is the first PS2 emulator (Play station 2) for PC with Windows and Linux, this showed us that PS2 emulation is possible. Today has a great game compatibility that continues to grow with each new version.
For a complete compatibility list, you may want to check the official site before trying to play a game.
This allows you to run your favorite PS2 games in HD quality, such as Okami, Silent Hill 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Kingdom Hearts 2 and much more. The program is based on a complement system and requires a powerful computer to configure the internal structure of PS2.
More information: PCSX2
7. Openemu -Emulator of different retro consoles
OpenEmu is a single window tool designed to work with a large number of retro consoles, including Game Boy (Color and Advance), NeoGeo Pocket, NES, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Nintendo DS and Atari, to name a few.
You can set up physical games through USB and wireless, including Wii Remote and Wii U Pro, the Xbox 360 controller, PlayStation Dualshock 3 and Dualshock 4, Sega Saturn, Retrolink SNES and N64, Logitech gamepads and more.
OpenEmu can scan the hard drive of your Mac the first time it is opened and automatically adds any ROM that you have downloaded from the web. The application uses different open source cores to run games for different consoles, and the available emulators are shown in the left sidebar. You can create different collections of games from different consoles (something like a music playlist in iTunes).
Download link: http://openemu.org/
8. DoSBox – DOS game emulator
DoSBox is one of the best PC console emulators that recreates an environment compatible with MS-DOS. The emulator looks impressive and is complete with sound, inputs, graphics, controls and even basic networks.
When you run a classic DOS game completely unmodified, the MS-DOS environment is complete enough to perform the task. The use of all the features of the DOSBox emulator is simple and basic, as long as it masters the necessary basic concepts that revolve around MS-DOS.
DOSBox is the perfect emulator that emulates consoles accurately and at native speed, followed by its great images. DOSBox is available in Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
In fact, it works so well that gaming companies use it to repackage their old DOS games so they can be played on modern computers. As a side note, it is entirely possible to run Windows 9x and DOS-based operating systems in DOSBox if desired.
Download link: https://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1
9. GBA-M – Game Boy Emulator, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance
VisualBoyAdvance-M, or simply VBA-M, is an improved branch of the inactive VisualBoyAdvance project, which adds several features and maintains an updated code base.
the VBA-M, emulates Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance.
After VisualBoyAdvance became inactive in 2004, several bifurcations began to appear, such as VBALink, which allowed users to emulate the linking of two Game Boy devices. Finally, VBA-M was created, which merged several of the vifurcations into a single code base. Therefore, the M in VBA-M, means Merge.
Download link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/vbam/
10. Desmume – Nintendo DS emulator
The Nintendo dual-screen console can be played on your computer using DeSmuME, with both screens simulated on your computer’s monitor. Your mouse is used as a stylus for touch input. It even supports games that require you to play with your device sideways.
DeSmuME is free and turns out to be the first Nintendo DS emulator to run commercial games. It is also compatible with Linux, OS X, Wii and AmigaOS 4 devices. It has also been ported to other systems.
It has been in constant development improving and adding new features so that it works without problems. And it has been on the scene for a long time, so most games should be able to work without problems. Note that the Linux version must be compiled by itself.
Download link: http://desmume.org/download/
11. Citra – Nintendo 3ds Emulator
To play 3DS games on PC, you must use the Citra 3DS Emulator. Although Citra has not reached the level of compatibility and accuracy of Dolphin, however, it performs admirably well. A good amount of the most popular 3DS games are fully playable in the emulator, to boot.
Citra 3DS is an easy-to-use emulator program that allows you to emulate the Nintendo 3DS on your computer or laptops. It also turns out to be an open-source DS emulator that is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
Citra offers some truly unique benefits. Namely, it is not under the limitations of the original 3DS hardware, so it can run games with a much higher resolution in Citra than it could be in your 3DS. You can also add some other graphic settings. For example, in Pokémon Sun / Moon, you can eliminate the irregular black lines of the characters and environmental models to have a clear gaming experience.
Download link: https://citra-emu.org/download/
12. Mame – Arcade Emulator
MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is an emulator application that has been designed to recreate the hardware of the arcade game system in software so you can run them on your personal computers. The main intention is to preserve the game history, to avoid that the old games are forgotten. The objective of MAME is to be a reference to the internal functioning of the emulated arcade machines.
The emulator now supports more than seven thousand unique games and ten thousand sets of real ROM images, although not all compatible games can be played. It is an emulator for many video game consoles and computer systems.
Discard links: http://mamedev.org/release.html
13. Kega – Sega Mega Drive emulator
The console that introduced us to Sonic The Hedgehog and his friends. The console that started a war with Nintendo and gave it a run for its money. Sega Genesis was one of the most successful consoles in the past and made Sega one of the giants of the game in those days. There are a lot of amazing games that deserve to be played on this console and if you do not have one again on the day, then you definitely have to play those games at this time.
SEGA no longer manufactures game consoles, but you always relive something of Sonic nostalgia with Kega Fusion. Fusion is perhaps the best emulator for SEGA retro consoles because you can play with Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, 32 X, SG1000, SC3000, SF7000 and MegaCD. That’s almost all the SEGA consoles except Dreamcast and Saturn. It provides support for USB gamepad, Netplay option for online games, video and audio capture options and cheat support. Kega Fusion is also a portable program that can run from USB flash drives.
Unlike most Mega Drive emulators of the time, Kega Fusion attaches an extremely high importance to accuracy compared to speed or other features (such as netplay, movie recording or other features found in emulators such as Gens). .
However, Fusion is highly optimized and works very efficiently. In a Pentium III class or similar microprocessor, Kega Fusion runs at 60 frames per second with Sega Mega Drive ROM, although with the popular 2xSaI graphics filter plugin, the processing power needed to achieve 60 frames per second is much greater (also It can be pointed out that by emulating Sega 32XROM at full speed, a 850 MHz or faster microprocessor is highly recommended).
Download link: https://segaretro.org/Kega_Fusion
14. Retro arch – All in one emulator
RetroArch is a new generation of all-in-one emulators that allows you to play games for a variety of retro consoles. As such, RetroArch runs most of the consoles from PlayStation 1 to GameBoy Advance. Users can add a variety of console emulator cores to the software. That’s a big advantage compared to most other emulators that are limited to a single game console. However, it requires a bit more configuration for alternative emulators.
This emulator allows you to run classic games on a wide range of computers and consoles through its elegant graphical interface. The settings are also unified, so the configuration is done once and for all.
RetroArch can run the usual platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, but it is independent since it can support many more platforms.
It supports operating systems that not even Microsoft and Apple support, such as macOS X on PowerPC Macs, and RetroArch is available on Windows operating systems from Windows 95.
In addition to all that, RetroArch also runs on iOS and Android for tablets and phones, as well as game consoles such as PS3, PSP, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U, Switch and more.
Download link: http://www.retroarch.com/index.php?page=platforms