rev. 18 January 2009


License: Open Source
Description: “Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Stella was originally developed for Linux by Bradford W. Mott, however, since its original release several people have joined the development team to port Stella to other operating systems such as AcornOS, AmigaOS, DOS, FreeBSD, IRIX, Linux, OS/2, MacOS, Unix, and Windows. The development team is working hard to perfect the emulator and we hope you enjoy our effort.”

Nintendo Entertainment System

FCE UltraFCE Ultra
License: Open Source
Description: FCE Ultra is an NES emulator with a long history—it has several unofficial offshoots, and development had in fact stopped until earlier this year, which it revived.
License: Open Source
Description: Nestopia is an NES emulator written in C++ which is still in active development. A Win32 version is available, and OS X and Linux ports are in the works.

Sega Genesis

GenSGenS/GS / GenS32
License: Open Source
Description: GenS is an emulator, that is, a program that acts like a console gaming system. It’s small and very full-featured. Simply download ROMs (a file “image” of a game catridge) and you can play them as though you had a Genesis/Master System, 32X, or Sega CD in front of you. Two new forks of GenS have emerged which are technically superior to the original; GenS/GS is a multiplatform port which is being slowly rewritten in C++; GenS32 is an older fork which offers more features. The original GenS site can be found here.
Kega FusionKega Fusion
License: Freeware
Description: Kega Fusion is arguably one of the best emulators available for the Sega Genesis / 32X / Sega CD. It is the result of a merging of two different emulation projects. It focuses on accuracy rather than speed or extra features, and as such is written largely in assembler. Spring 2008: a new version, including some donated code, appears likely in development.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

License: Open Source
Description: ZSNES is an emulator, that is, a program that acts like a console gaming system. It’s small and very full-featured. Simply download ROMs (a file “image” of a game catridge) and you can play them as though you had an SNES in front of you. Hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s very stable as-is. Spring 2008: drastic developmental changes, including a new sound core a and a third-generation GUI including true windowed (native GUI) support, is currently happening in SVN.
License: Open Source
Description: SNES9X is another very mature SNES emulator that’s still under active development. Along with ZSNES, it’s considered one of the best emulators around—and it’s multi-platform, too.
License: Open Source
Description: BSNES is a relatively new (2004) emulator that focuses almost exclusively on emulation accuracy. As such, it requires better hardware than some of its contemporaries, but offers unparalleled fidelity in its emulation. It’s cross-platform (big bonus points), but one of the biggest faults that I can find is that it has no support for save-states. If that’s not important to you, BSNES is an excellent choice of emulator.

Playstation One

License: Freeware
Description: ePSXe is a mature emulation system for the PSX (Playstation One). It required a fair amount of out-of-the-box configuration (plugins, BIOS, settings), but seems to work pretty well.
License: Open Source
Description: PCSX is a developmental emulator for Playstation One, the development of which was eschewed in 2003 in favor of a Playstation 2 emulator.

Playstation 2

License: Open Source
Description: PCSX2 is the best Playstation 2 emulator I’ve seen so far, and it’s open-source to boot; there’s a Linux version available as well. Like many other emulators, it functions with the help of additional plugins; it will also need BIOS files which a little searching will net you.


License: Freeware
Description: Project64 is a Windows-based emulator for the Nintendo64 console. It is constantly developed, with an updated compatibility database, support for cheats, saved, and all the other emulator necessities. It gets a pretty good speed on midrange machines.
License: Open Source
Description: 1964 is an open source N64 emulator with extensive plugin support. Unfortunately, the project hasn’t been updated since 2003, so results may vary.
License: Open Source
Description: Mupen64 is another open source N64 emulator last updated in 2005. Its development community doesn’t seem to be particularly vibrant, but it works on a variety of platforms and seems stable.


License: Freeware
Description: nullDC is a new Dreamcast emulator that released its first public beta earlier this spring. Early reports are that it works quite well.

Gameboy (Advance)

VisualBoy Advance
License: Freeware
Description:VisualBoy Advance is one of the best emulators out there for Gameboy and Gameboy Advance. It supports a wide variety of features and is very fast.


License: Open Source
Description: MAME is an enormous project: it seeks to serve as emulator for every arcade game. To that end, it’s had a lot of success, as its latest release (it’s under very active development) boasts compatibility with thousands and thousands of games. Popular Win32 builds of MAME (that is, extensions which include powerful frontends) include: MAMEUI (also in a native x64, like the original command-line version of MAME) and MAME32fx
License: Open Source
Description: ScummVM is a multi-platform emulator for old graphic adventures games a la Monkey Island. It supports (officially and unofficially) a wide array of games, some of them even available as free downloads from the site.
License: Open Source
Description: DosBox is a program that emulates the DOS environment for playing old DOS games like Carmen Sandiego variants.
§1441 · By · October 11, 2006 ·

3 Comments to “Emulators”

  1. Hi,

    I notice you’ve completely left out Nintendo GameBoy and variants. Rather than list them here, a quick guugle search for gameboy emulator will turn up lots of free (often open source) emulators. A popular one is VisualBoy Advance ( A list of GameBoy emulators can be found at


  2. S4R says:

    you should as add pSX. it’s essentially the bsnes equivalent for playstation (accuracy before graphical enhancements) with one huge advantage, it’s its save-state function is more stable than other playstation emulators.

  3. DMB062082 says:

    Nice list here. No love for rockness though. That was the 1st nes emulator I ever laid my hands on.

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