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Top 30 Best Game Emulator Consoles for Linux System in 2020

Everybody cherish those days when we used to play classic games all the time on retro consoles such as Sega, early PlayStations, and Nintendos. With personal computers getting beefier than ever and smartphones packing way much power than people imagined in those times, retro consoles are indeed in decline. However, you’re not the only one who’d like to play such old games on their modern, more recent hardware. There’s many like you and developers have created robust game emulator console systems which enable everyday Linux users to re-live those childhood nostalgias again. It’s our earnest desire to present you the best retro games emulator in this guide.

Game Emulator Console: An All in One Collection

A console emulator replicates the behavior of a particular system on another system, with different hardware components. When we talk about game emulator console, we refer to software that can emulate the functions of old game consoles in modern systems like Linux. While ROMs stand for the game files that you’ll need for playing specific games. Many ROMs found on the internet is illegal, and therefore, we don’t encourage readers to try them.

1. Mesen

As marketed by the developers, Mesen is a high-performing NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and Famicom emulator system which allows users to enjoy classic games exclusive to early Nintendo consoles. It is without any doubt among the best emulator for Nintendo fanboys and packs quite an extensive list of features including highly precise emulation, robust video filters, and Netplay. Mesen is written in C++ and C#, which helps it to deliver exceptionally smooth gameplay.

Mesen game emulator console

Features of Mesen

  • Mesen is exceptionally accurate, and it’s highly unlikely for you to find a more precise NES emulator for Linux.
  • It allows users to save current game state and reload them for later play alongside the ability to record gameplay, use cheat codes, and overclock.
  • The emulator has very high compatibility and supports over 290 mappers alongside player versus player games and Netplay.
  • Mesen’s robust debugging toolbelt include an APU viewer, Debugger, Assembler, PPU viewer, Text Hooker, Trace logger, and a Script window.

Download Mesen

2. Dolphin

Dolphin is another modern Nintendo emulator which provides users with the opportunity to play GameCube and Wii games smoothly in their existing Linux machine. It is a modern-day emulation system and allows you to play classic Nintendo games like Luigi’s Mansion, Super Mario Galaxy, and The Last Story in high-definition. Dolphin also offers an extensive list of enhancement abilities that makes playing retro games much more enjoyable.


Features of Dolphin

  • Dolphin is compatible with most standard PC controllers and supports turbo speed alongside Netplay, and cheat codes.
  • This modern retro games emulator supports spatial anti-aliasing, anisotropic filters, and powerful pixel shaders for delivering a better playing experience.
  • Users can also use their PlayStation DualShock controllers or Xbox 360 controllers for playing classic arcades.
  • Dolphin enables users to load personalized texture maps and save progress on flash memory.

Download Dolphin

3. RetroArch

RetroArch is a popular multi-system frontend for emulators and game engines written in C/C++. It is an extremely robust game emulator console which can emulate almost every retro consoles including the NES, SNES, GameCube, Atari, Neo Geo, Sega, and many more. Many people consider RetroArch to be the perfect emulation solution for old game consoles. What’s more interesting about RetroArch is that it is entirely cross-platform – thus allowing seamless performance across all major systems.


Features of RetroArch

  • Users can load a wide range of classic game consoles as “cores” and emulate games for them very quickly in everyday Linux.
  • RetroArch comes with in-built support for a diverse set of architectures, including the Raspberry Pi board and Odroid micro-computing devices.
  • It allows Netplay, an ability that lets users play classic console games with their friends over the internet.
  • RetroArch comes with a GNU GPL license that makes it extremely customizable.

Download RetroArch

4. SameBoy

SameBoy is an awe-inspiring console emulator for the classic Nintendo handheld Game Boy and Game Boy Color. It is written using C and aims to be extremely portable across devices. The emulator itself is lightweight and supports almost every garden-variety ROMs you find on the web. What we liked the most about SameBoy is its simple yet effective text-based debugger which allows users to get around common problems with game files pretty quickly.

SameBoy nintendo handheld emulator

Features of SameBoy

  • Users can choose from either Game Boy(DMG) or Game Boy Color(CGB) for emulation despite the ROMs.
  • SameBoy is very accurate and utilizes modern techs like Retina/High DPI display supports.
  • This game emulator console allows users to save game states and optional frame blending using OpenGL for advanced graphics.
  • The permissive MIT License of SameBoy is attractive to opensource devs who want to develop robust, more modern Nintendo handheld emulators.

Download SameBoy

5. Genesis Plus GX

The Genesis Plus GX is a powerful multi-system emulator for the classic Sega 8/16 bit home consoles. The developers initially built it for the Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Wii systems but later ascended support for the popular Sega consoles. Genesis Plus GX takes pride in its hundred percent accurate emulation of the Sega Mega Drive, Mega-CD, Master System, Game Gear, and SG-1000. It’s a must try if you’re a Sega fan.

Gnesis Plus GX Sega Mega Drive emulator

Features of Genesis Plus GX

  • Genesis Plus GX offers the best emulation among traditional sega consoles.
  • Users can enjoy flexible interfaces with extremely high navigational speeds using robust file directories.
  • Genesis Plus GX comes with built-in support for SD card, USB drive, DVD, and an extended screen mode.
  • It allows users to use their USB mouses for playing classic games on their Linux system.

Download Genesis Plus GX

6. higan

One of the most powerful and diverse Nintendo consoles we tested for this guide is higan. It is an extremely robust multi-system emulation solution which allows Linux users to play classic games from different consoles. Some of higan’s console choices include the NES, SNES, Game Boy variants, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Sega Mega Drive, and many more. People who want a single emulator for playing a diverse selection of games would prefer higan over anything else.

higan game emulator console

Features of higan

  • This modern-day emulator supports multi-threaded PPU renderers which take advantage of the multi-core CPUs present in modern Linux machines.
  • It comes with in-built support for an extensive list of custom chips alongside DSPs OBC1, SA1, SDD1, SPC7110, SRTC, ST010, and SuperFX.
  • Users can upscale their game graphics using unique video filters and load ROMs directly.
  • It allows automatic configuration of inputs and delivers cycle-accurate emulation.

Download higan

7. PCSX2

The PCSX2 is a full-fledged Linux emulator for popular Sony console PlayStation 2. It comes with highly optimized dynamic translators for the PlayStation 2’s MIPS and VU chips and increases the performance significantly by utilizing multi-core CPUs. Built on top of PCSX, its predecessor, PCSX2 also follows a plugin-based architecture that separates most non-game functions such as graphics, controls, DVD drive, USB, and sound from the core emulator.

PCSX2 sony console emulator

Features of PCSX2

  • The multi-core support of PCSX2 allows this emulator to deliver outstanding emulation speed compared to other PS2 emulators.
  • PCSX2 enables users to save their game states as snapshots and reload them later for continued gameplay.
  • This PS2 emulator comes with pre-built support for many gamepads including the DualShock 2.
  • The powerful patch system of PCSX2 makes using cheat codes much more manageable and can be used for getting around many broken games.

Download PCSX2


MAME is a highly portable, multi-system console emulator for Linux which allows many old retro consoles to be emulated nearly perfectly. It is an opensource project that has been in active development since its inception and adds support to new consoles and games almost every month. MAME is written using the generic C/C++ derivatives and achieves a fairly impressive emulation speed when compared to most retro game consoles.

MAME retro games emulator

Features of MAME

  • MAME supports a wide range of retro consoles including both home consoles and handhelds like PlayStation Vita and Nintendo DS’s.
  • It utilizes multi-threading for dividing tasks across several cores in multi-core systems and accelerates 3D emulation much faster.
  • MAME leverages 3d hardware for compositing game artworks and scaling to full available screen width.
  • Users can compile the MAME source code for many different Unix variants including Linux and BSD.

Download MAME

9. Atari800

Linux Games Console - Atari VCSThe Atari800 is a powerful Atari console emulator developed for streamlining classic games available on various Atari platforms like the Atari 800, 800XL, 130XE, and 5200. The project started as early as 1995 and aimed to be a portable and easily distributable emulator for old Atari systems. If you’re an Atari fanboy and looking for simple yet effective emulators that will let you enjoy your favorite games seamlessly, try out the Atari800.

Features of Atari800

  • Atari800 can be configured in several ways, including Curses, X Window + Optional XVIEW, CBM Amiga, Sega Dreamcast, JVM, and many more.
  • It comes with 130XE compatible memory expansions and supports cycle-exact 6502 emulation, NMI interrupts, ANTIC, and GTIA emulation.
  • Users can load their old Atari executable files and BASIC programs directly into this game emulator console.
  • It comes with out of the box support for different cartridges, gamepads, paddles, Atari touch tablet, Koala pad, light gun, and many more features.

Download Atari800

10. Nestopia UE

Nestopia UE(Undead Edition) is a powerful NES/Famicom emulator for Linux which enables users to play classic Nintendo games on modern home computers effortlessly. The project sits on top of the original Nestopia source code and enhances functionality for an increased gaming experience. This opensource NES emulator is suitable for people who are looking for a simple, lightweight yet effective emulation solution to play their favorite NES games.

Features of Nestopia UE

  • Nestopia UE comes with in-built support for a wide range of ROM files including .nes, .unf, .unif, and XML formats.
  • It allows users to save current game states, record movies, and rewind the gameplay with its friendly, intuitive GUI.
  • The cheat manager of Nestopia UE is simply great and features flexible import/export capability alongside multiline cheats.
  • Users can map more than nine joysticks and choose to play both Vs. and Playchoice 10 games.

Download Nestopia UE

11. mGBA

The Game Boy Advance(GBA) was the successor of the famous Game Boy Color and one of the best selling Nintendo handheld devices of its time. The 32-bit system allowed users to play games much more smoothly than many of its competitors and proved to be a major success in terms of worldwide revenue. mGBA is a modern-day emulator which allows people to enjoy those classic Game Boy Advance titles conveniently in modern PCs.


Features of mGBA

  • mGBA is fast enough to run on older hardware yet leaves no stones unturned when it comes to portability.
  • The built-in BIOS implementation of mGBA is quite effective and allows users to load external BIOS files very easily.
  • It comes with nine slots for saving current states and allows cheat codes alongside Video and GIF recordings.
  • mGBA supports rewind, screenshot, remappable controls, frameskip, Game Boy Camera, and Game Boy Printer.

Download mGBA


PPSSPP is a fast, flexible, and extremely portable emulator for PSP(PlayStation Portable), the popular handheld Sony console. It is written using C++ and thus offers very fast emulation speeds. PPSSPP takes pride in its ability to run PSP games in full high-definition and works out of the box on all major systems including Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and such. The source is released for the public and encourages personalized modification.

PSP sony console emulator PPSSPP

Features os PPSSPP

  • Users can use and customize on-screen touch controls for playing PSP games alongside the traditional controllers or keyboards.
  • PPSSPP allows users to utilize anisotropic filtering and texture scaling for a much better graphical experience.
  • The backend can leverage multi-threaded OpenGL for accelerating the gameplay to a whole new dimension.
  • PPSSPP comes with default support for Vulkan, RetroArch, Discord, Image capturing features, and many more.

Download PPSSPP

13. Snes9x

Snes9x is one of the best SNES emulators for Linux systems with a ton-load of robust, modern-day features that makes playing old classic games fun again. It is a genuinely cross-platform emulator with native applications available for Linux, Windows, AmigaOS 4, MacOS, MorphOS, Xbox, PSP, PS3, GameCube, Wii, iOS, and Android. The software is maintained pretty well, and frequent updates take place with support for newer games every year or so.

Features of Snes9x

  • Snes9x is written in C++ and thus offers an incredible emulation speed matched by only a few SNES emulators.
  • It supports almost every working SNES ROM files and provides a powerful debugger to distinguish stack problems.
  • Snes9x comes with out of the box support for Cg shaders and improved gaming experience using MSU-1 enhanced chip.
  • It supports standard game audio and multiple controllers for playing against friends.

Download Snes9x

14. Citra

Citra is one of the best retro game consoles for emulating Nintendo 3DS games. This cross-platform Nintendo handheld emulator is written using C++ and requires OpenGL version 3.3 or onwards to run the games. Citra is known for running almost every homebrew games alongside many commercial titles. The development team does a very job at maintaining the project and rolls out newer updates with additional game support and bug fixes frequently.

Citra game emulator console

Features of Citra

  • Citra is exceptionally portable and runs across every major operating system such as Linux, Windows, and MacOS.
  • The game audio emulated by this 3DS emulator is incredibly accurate due to its robust cubeb audio backend implementation.
  • Users can script Citra for reverse engineering 3DS games, accelerating framerates, memory manipulation, and many more.
  • Citra comes with in-built support for features like encrypted games, controller hotplugging, stereoscopic 3D, and shadow mapping.

Download Citra

15. Stella

Stella is a powerful, multi-platform emulator for the classic Atari 2600 video computer system. It is written using C++, which makes it extremely fast and portable. It supports very high-quality game emulation using advanced technologies like TIA emulation and interfaces perfectly with a diverse set of peripheral devices. If you’re an Atari lover who’d want to try their hands again on those classic video games, Stella is a pretty decent choice for you.

Features of Stella

  • Stella achieves extremely high emulation speed using very optimized C++ code and cycle-exact TIA core.
  • It can emulate the Atari 2600 joysticks, keyboards, paddles, and the CBS BoosterGrip Controller using your computer’s keyboard, and mouse.
  • Stella comes with in-built support for all known bank switching schemes, EEPROM emulation for AtariVox, and a built-in ROM database alongside many others.
  • This Atari emulator for Linux packs a robust debugger which allows users to play with game data much more effectively.

Download Stella

16. Mupen64Plus

Mupen64Plus is a rock solid emulator for the early Nintendo 64 consoles. It is arguably one of the best N64 emulators that run hassle-free in everyday Linux PCs. The emulation accuracy of Mupen64Plus is simply amazing, while it also makes sure users can run an extensive list of ROMs. If you’re an N64 enthusiast who’d love to try his hands again on those classic Nintendo titles, Mupen64Plus is an excellent choice for you.

Mupen64Plus N64 Emulators

Features of Mupen64Plus

  • It comes with dynamic recompilers for both the x86 and amd64 platforms which aid in increased performance and faster bug fixes.
  • Mupen64Plus offers two powerful OpenGL video plugins which help play older games in Hi-resolution texture.
  • It comes with in-built support for LIRC infrared remote control, Rumble Pak, Cheat codes, and speed adjustment.
  • This cross-platform game emulator console allows users to use several Linux frontends including RiceVideoLinux and M64Py.

Download Mupen64Plus

17. DeSmuME

DeSmuME is a modern-day Linux emulator for Nintendo DS handheld devices. The DS family is arguably among the best classic game consoles for many, and DeSmuME is here to let you live those glory days again. Although the software is entirely cross-platform, there’s no official installation file for Linux. However, don’t let this turn your back as you can easily compile the software using the publicly available source code.

Features of DeSmuME

  • DeSmuME is a simple, lightweight, and robust yet effective choice for emulating your favorite Nintendo DS titles.
  • It comes with three different flavors, namely the desmume-cli, desmume-gtk, and desmume-gtk-glade.
  • DeSmuME offers support for 3D emulation, .duc files, FPS limiter, Sprite rotation, and scaling.
  • The software comes under the GNU GPL license and is, therefore, entirely customizable.

Download DeSmuME

18. VBA-M

The VBA-M project is a collection of several forks of the original Visual Boy Advance, a free emulator for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance consoles. It can also emulate games for the Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy 2. The Windows version of the project utilized DirectX, while Linux users used a version built on top of SDL, an independent and free graphics library. VBA-M combined several of these projects and delivered a standalone console emulator for these Nintendo handhelds.


Features of VBA-M

  • It comes with in-built support for virtually every Nintendo Game Boy console including Super Game Boy and Super Game Boy Advance.
  • VBA-M allows users to use cheat codes for their games by utilizing the Gameshark system which offers a pre-built cheat code menu.
  • The original Visual Boy Advance was very lightweight at around 1.9 MB, and the VBA-M is no different.
  • It supports most Game Boy ROMs out of the box and requires very less tuning.

Download VBA-M

19. bsnes

bsnes is an extremely powerful and modern-day Linux emulator for the Nintendo SNES consoles. It is by the same author who developed higan and also utilizes the higan core. bsnes is, without any doubt, one of the best SNES emulators for Linux users simply because the number of features it comes with. The software is also extremely accurate and makes sure you don’t miss a single thing when playing those classic retro titles.

Features of bsnes

  • bsnes can emulate SNES title very accurately and is extremely compatible with most frontends.
  • It achieves exceptional performance by utilizing cycle-accurate emulation, multi-threaded PPU renderers, and highly optimized codes,
  • The software allows users to load ROMs directly and provides a robust cheat editor, and state finder.
  • It features an extensive set of video filters including Pixellate2x, Scale2x, 2xSaI, Super Eagle, LQ2x, HQ2x, and NTSC.

Download bsnes

20. AdvanceMAME

AdvanceMAME is a capable multi-system game emulator console based on the MAME and MESS emulators and aims at providing advanced video support for TVs, Arcade Monitors, and Fixed Frequencies Monitors alongside Linux PCs. What makes AdvanceMAME stand out from most other retro game console is that it provides users with the maximum customization capabilities. You can program the video board directly to get that perfect video mode, size, or frequency.

AdvanceMAME retro games emulator

Features of AdvanceMAME

  • AdvanceMAME can create perfect video modes with appropriate size and clock and supports a wide range of video boards.
  • It allows users to play vertical games like Pac Man in horizontal arcade monitors and can be used in creating Retro Arcade Machines.
  • AdvanceMAME comes with in-built support for Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) support and allows video mode switching at runtime.
  • The software can be customized pretty easily and used for driving external hardware devices like LCDs using scripts.

Download AdvanceMAME

21. Yabause

The Sega Saturn was a highly successful 32-bit console developed by Sega. It was a major success among fifth generation video game consoles and still enjoys a large fanbase around the globe. Yabause is a simple yet lightweight Linux emulator for this console system and offers some quirky features for Sega lovers. Although not a full-fledged Sega console, Yabause will attract those looking for a resource-friendly solution to Sega Saturn emulation.

Features of Yabause

  • Yabause is written using C++ and utilizes the OpenGL library for graphics rendering.
  • It comes with support for a substantial list of games and allows multiple region emulation.
  • Yabause offers a robust cheat system and allows Netplay over LAN or internet.
  • This cross-platform Sega emulator supports the Saturn mouse and 3D control pad alongside mdf/mds dumps.

Download Yabause

22. DGen/SDL

DGen/SDL is a modern and capable Linux emulator for Sega mega drive or Genesis console systems and offers an outstanding feature list which makes it worth a try. The software utilizes the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) library creates a virtual environment that can emulate old Sega games with reasonable accuracy and speed. It runs under most Linux and BSD distributions without any trouble and can be easily modified without requiring any explicit permission.


Features of DGen/SDL

  • It can emulate Sega Mega Drive games fairly accurately and has support for OpenGL textured video output.
  • Users can examine game dumps pretty quickly by using the in-built, simple to use yet effective debuggers(M68K/Z80).
  • DGen/SDL comes with default support for compressed ROMs, joystick support, Hex codes, and VGM dumping.
  • It provides perfect quality audio emulation and can output 16‐bit, 8000 to 48000Hz sound.

Download DGen/SDL

23. Mednafen

Mednafen is a useful multi-system game emulator console that can emulate a number of old consoles including the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Atari Lynx, NES, SNES, and Sega Game Gear. It provides users the ability to save game progress and load them for later play. The software also allows real-time game rewinding, a fancy feature which aims to make classic games much fun than earlier. Additionally, users can take snapshots as PNG files and share them anywhere.

Features of Mednafen

  • Mednafen is packed with double-buffered video emulation in place with added support for multi-threaded video blitting for improved performance.
  • The real-time game rewinding feature of this Linux console emulator lets going back as long as 10 seconds.
  • The input configuration system is quite versatile and allows remapping of the hotkeys alongside joystick support.
  • Mednafen can load games directly from compressed ROM files and allows state saving.

Download Mednafen

24. RPCS3

The RPCS3 is an extremely lightweight and easy to use Linux emulator for the popular Sony console PlayStation 3. It is an experimental project that has been gaining massive momentum since its inception. RPCS3 is written using a combination of C++ and Assembly and does incredibly well when it comes to performance metrics. It utilizes projects like OpenGL, Vulkan, and DirectX 12 as its backend and hs binaries available for Windows and Linux.

SOny Console PS3 emulator RPCS3

Features of RPCS3

  • RPCS3 is exceptionally lightweight, the Linux version weight around at only 43 MB.
  • The native user interface packed with the emulator is resource-friendly and easy to use for people with less computing skills.
  • It comes with in-built support for up to 10K resolution scaling and up to 16X anisotropic filtering.
  • Up to seven players can play games at the same time through local network connections.
  • The official website displays 3044 games already compatible with the multi-system emulator.

Download RPCS3


ZSNES is a simple yet efficient Linux emulator for the popular Super Nintendo (SNES) game console. It allows users to enjoy old SNES games effortlessly in everyday Linux PCs and enables modern-day features like network play and gameplay recordings. Known for its first ever successful implementation of the HQ2X interpolation algorithm, ZSNES lives up to the hype and provides a pretty well to do emulator for SNES fanboys.

Features of ZSNES

  • ZSNES runs very fast even in lower hardware, and the video output can be tweaked further using specialized graphics filters.
  • The software is written using the Intel x86 assembly language and is thus very portable and efficient.
  • ZSNES supports seven different modes, SuperFX, smoothing, and dynamic image scaling alongside several sound formats.
  • It comes with in-built support for various cheat systems including Game Genie, Pro Action Replay, and GoldFinger.

Download ZSNES

26. Reicast

Reicast is a Linux emulator for the sixth generation video game console Sega Dreamcast. The significant portion of the software’s codebase is derived from the nullDC codebase and play games on the x86, x64, and aarch64 based platforms. If you’re looking for a hassle-free yet useful emulator for playing your favorite Dreamcast games, Reicast might prove to be a viable solution for your venture.

Features of Reicast

  • It allows users to play many popular Sega Dreamcast title including Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, and Space Channel 5.
  • Reicast supports several Dreamcast dump formats including gdi, cdi, chd (compressed images).
  • This free Linux Dreamcast emulator has default support for multipass rendering, fogging support, and tile clipping support.
  • Reicast can display VMU screens directly when playing and offers improved YUV texture quality.

Download Reicast

27. Kega Fusion

Kega Fusion is a standalone multi-system emulator which can emulate many of Sega’s classic game consoles including the GameGear, Genesis (Mega Drive), Master System, Sega 32X, Sega Pico, SG-1000/3000, and the SF-7000. The software is based on Kega Lazarus, another multi-system emulator for Windows by the same developer. If you’re a Sega fan and would like a single emulator for depicting different consoles by the company, Kega Fusion is a suitable choice.

Kega Fusion

Features of Kega Fusion

  • Kega Fusion is among the best Linux emulators for playing classic Sega Mega Drive titles.
  • It has incredibly high compatibility with most Sega ROMs and can also emulate the Sega Virtua Processor.
  • This retro game emulator console allows users to play multiple CD games and provides ten slots for saving states.
  • Kega Fusion comes with support for several Sega Mega Drive controllers including 3/6 Button Pad, Sega Mouse, Sega Menacer, and Konami Justifier.

Download Kega Fusion

28. Xe

Xe is another multi-system emulator that can be used for playing many classic home and handheld console games. The quality of the gameplay is quite bad and pretty accurate. It is a simple yet useful game emulator console which supports many old game consoles including Nintendo DS, NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Sega Mega Drive, Game Gear, Master System, SNK NeoGeo, and SNK NeoGeo Pocket.

Features of Xe

  • Xe runs on both 32 bit and 64 bit Linux systems and weights only around 1 MB.
  • It is one of the most lightweight retro games emulators for older Linux machines.
  • The software is available freely and can be customized or modified pretty easily.

Download Xe

29. Regen

Regen is a popular Linux emulator which can emulate many early Sega consoles especially the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, GameGear, SG-1000, and SC-3000 systems. It aims at accuracy and delivers a blazing fast emulation speed for your favorite games. If you are looking for a lightweight yet effective Linux game emulator console that doesn’t compromise too much on features, Regen might be an option for you.

Features of Regen

  • Regen is highly compatible with most ROMs you will find on the internet and support Netplay.
  • It can emulate the Sega Virtua Processor used for expanding the 3D capabilities of the Sega Mega Drive.
  • Regen allows support for hardware accelerated video cards, VSync, DirectInput, and many other exciting features.
  • It also comes with multiple video plugin with added support for RPI plugin scalers and AVI recording.

Download Regen

30. Gens

Gens is a useful yet straightforward Linux game emulator console for Sega Mega Drive, MegaCD and 32X systems. It offers a modest set of emulation features that can fulfill the requirements of hobbyists quite well. The software is also very lightweight and resource friendly. So, if you’re running an older Linux machine with low hardware configuration, Gens might serve you pretty well.

Gens emulator for Sega Mega Drive

Features of Gens

  • This retro game console emulator sports a mesmerizing GTK+2 interface which looks quite sleek.
  • Gens comes with pre-built support for OpenGL, joysticks, Game Genie cheat system, and Netplay.
  • It allows users to save game states as they like and later play them anywhere, anytime.
  • Gens equips with numerous sound and video enhancement abilities like Vertical Synchronization and 2xSaI graphics filtering.

Download Gens

Ending Thoughts

Retro games will always strike something different in us. Although long gone the days we’ve touched some of these old consoles; the experiences remain with us. Luckily, a plethora of robust, modern-day game emulator console makes it extremely easy for us Linux fanatics to enjoy those evergreen games again. Our editors have put a lot of effort behind this guide, and hopefully, we were able to provide you the insights required for choosing your option. Try some of them right now and let us know what you think of them in the comment section.


The Best Legal ROM Websites To Find Your Favorite Retro Games

As time and technology progresses, it becomes increasingly more difficult to play older video games. Maybe your original console stopped working or you lost the cartridge in a move. In some cases, you might not have a TV that works with the console anymore. If you really want to play the SNES version of Pirates of Dark Water again, emulation is your best option.  

The key to emulating your favorite classic games is to find a reliable ROM site, and that can be tricky as not all ROM sites are legal.Some sites allow users to download stolen ROM files. In many instances, downloading a ROM violates various copyright laws. 

Under no circumstances should you pirate a game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ROMs for download that don’t break any laws.

Get Homebrew Titles At RomHacking & NESWorld

Cracking a ROM is illegal, as it means you’re breaking the copyright management protections in order to access the game. On the other hand, homebrew titles are free to download. 

Sites like NESWorld and RomHacking have entire sections dedicated to homebrew titles, which are just games that developers and enthusiasts have created over the years and distributed for free to anyone that wants them. This is a great way to find unofficial titles that few other people have played.

If you want to find homebrew titles for other systems, just do a quick Google search for what you want. There are avid homebrewing communities for nearly every platform in existence – it just might take a bit of searching to find them. After all, the folks developing new titles for the Atari 2600 are few and far between.

Look For Public Domain ROMS

Public domain ROMs are similar to homebrew titles in that they are not copyrighted and anyone that wants can download and play them. 

PDRoms is one of the largest public domain sites on the web with thousands of ROMs for dozens of consoles. You can find titles for everything from the 3DO to the Watara Supervision here.

Look For Abandonware – But Know The Risks

Abandonware is a grey area in terms of legality. While technically still under copyright, abandonware is defined as content that is no longer distributed or supported by the original creator. In many cases, the creator has gone out of business, so the rights to a title are in limbo. 

When this happens, it is often classified as abandonware and thought of as free for the taking. However, abandonware can still fall under copyright, which makes downloading a ROM of it illegal.

Despite this, many people see abandonware as fair use, as an out-of-business developer isn’t likely to pursue a lawsuit over copyright infringement. It’s possible that someone might file a DMCA takedown or pursue legal action, but it is also highly unlikely.

Back Up Games You Already Own

If abandonware is a grey area, then downloading ROMs of games you already own is a light-grey area. Under US copyright law, you have the right to back up and archive software you have already purchased. 

It isn’t possible to back up the source code of cartridge-based software (without a lot of additional effort and technical know-how, anyway), but you can download a ROM of a game you already own.

For instance, you could search for an NES ROM of StarTropics and download it to preserve the integrity of the software. Provided you are not distributing the software to others, you aren’t violating any laws as long as you personally own a copy of the title.

The emulation community is active and thriving and represents a fantastic way for retro gaming enthusiasts to experience their favorite titles all over again. Just take care to only download ROMs from legal sources.

If you aren’t sure whether a site is legal or not, do your due diligence to find out. After all, violating copyright law can not only land you in hot water with the developers, but it hurts the industry as a whole. 


Nintendo Switch Review

Nintendo took a bold step with its latest game system. The $299 Switch is a fully functional home game console like the Wii U, but it can also be used as a handheld system like the 3DS. Between its 6-inch tablet body and its detachable, wireless Joy-Con controllers, Nintendo is exploring some very interesting concepts with this device. Instead of directly facing off against the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, the Switch represents a whole new path in gaming.

Nearly two years after it first came out, the Switch has a strong collection of excellent first-party titles, ports of great games from the past, and a remarkably wide selection of fantastic indies, most of which offer the choice of playing on a TV at home or in your hands anywhere else. And innovative titles like the Labo series show there is seemingly no limit to Nintendo’s creativity and the system’s versatility. Its online service can use some work, but we still have no qualms giving the Switch our Editors’ Choice recommendation. If the game selection appeals to you and you want to play handheld, but don’t need the TV connectivity, the Switch Lite is an excellent, portable-only version of the system.

The Tablet

The Nintendo Switch ($299.99 at GameStop) includes the tablet-like system, left and right Joy-Con controllers, the Joy-Con grip to hold the controllers like a conventional gamepad, two Joy-Con wrist straps, the Switch Dock, a USB-C wall adapter, and an HDMI cable. No games are bundled with it, though Nintendo periodically offers Switch bundles that include games and accessories, at higher prices than the standard Switch.

Nintendo Switch

The Switch itself looks like a plain, slightly chunky black plastic tablet. It measures 4.0 by 6.8 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 10.6 ounces. The thickness and weight work to the Switch’s advantage, since it makes the tablet feel solid both on its own and with the Joy-Con controllers attached.

Metal rails on the left and right securely hold the Joy-Cons in place, and their edges are rounded enough that you can comfortably hold just the Switch without any connection points poking your hand. The system is only available in black, but you can choose between two bundles: one with two dark gray Joy-Con controllers, and one with a blue Joy-Con and an orange Joy-Con.

Atop the Switch is a small power button and a volume rocker toward the left, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and game card slot to the right. Switch games look like slightly thicker SD cards, or slightly longer 3DS cards. A fan grille sits between the volume rocker and the headphone jack, keeping the system ventilated without making any noticeable noise. The bottom of the Switch has a USB-C port for charging and connecting to the Switch Dock.

On the back panel, there’s a pair of speakers that get surprisingly loud, along with a small plastic kickstand that flips out of the left side. The kickstand lets you stand the Switch up on a table, and reveals the microSD card slot behind it. Unfortunately, the kickstand feels flimsy, and is both thin and positioned near the edge of the system, so it doesn’t stand up with much stability; the Nyko Kick Stand is a $5 replacement made of metal that feels much sturdier, even if it doesn’t quite fix that balance issues of the stand being located so far off to the side. You get 32GB of internal storage, with support for microSD cards up to 2TB.

Display and Dock

The Switch is equipped with a 6-inch, 720p capacitive touch screen, the most advanced ever put on a Nintendo device. The 3DS’ screen only shows a 400-by-240 picture (per eye, for the handheld’s 3D effect), which means the Switch’s 1,280-by-720 screen has nine times as many pixels. It’s a bright, sharp screen, with excellent colors even when viewing it off-angle. It isn’t as crisp or as high-res as the 1080p and Quad HD screens of many modern smartphones and tablets, but for a Nintendo gaming device, it’s very impressive.

Nintendo Switch

You can charge the Switch by plugging the included USB-C wall adapter directly into the tablet, but you’ll more likely plug the adapter into the included Switch Dock and drop the Switch into the dock when you want to either charge the system or play with it on your TV. The Switch Dock is a block-shaped piece of black plastic measuring 4.0 by 6.8 by 1.9 inches that charges the system, provides an HDMI output so you can connect it to your TV and play games in 1080p on a big screen, and provides three USB 3.0 ports for storage and accessories. The Switch drops into the dock easily, and automatically switches the output to HDMI as soon as it connects.


The included Joy-Cons are a pair of wireless controllers that can be used with the Switch in different configurations. Each Joy-Con measures 4.0 by 1.4 by 0.5 inches (not including the analog stick or shoulder trigger protrusions), and looks like half of a conventional gamepad built into a rounded one-handed grip with a large flat side equipped with an attachment rail.

Both Joy-Cons feature half the controls found on a standard gamepad, including an analog stick, four face buttons that double as a digital direction pad, and two shoulder buttons you can easily reach when holding it in one hand, plus left and right shoulder buttons, a pairing button, and four indicator lights hidden on the attachment rail. A mechanical release sits near each Joy-Con’s rail; accessories stay solidly connected once they click into place, and you can only remove them by pressing the release before sliding the Joy-Con upward.

Nintendo Switch

The Joy-Cons aren’t symmetrical, and the left and right versions have a few different controls and features. The left Joy-Con has a minus button for accessing menus near the top, and a capture button that takes screenshots just below the face buttons. The right Joy-Con has a plus button for pausing games and accessing menus near the top, and a home button just below the right analog stick. The right Joy-Con has some more advanced internal sensors as well, including an infrared camera and an NFC chip for reading Amiibos.

Typically the left and right Joy-Cons rest in your left and right hands, letting you access the analog sticks and face buttons easily with your thumbs. You can also turn a Joy-Con sideways with the attachment rail facing away from you and use it as a simpler controller. This enables two-player gaming out of the box without needing to buy more Joy-Cons. The asymmetrical design of the Joy-Cons become apparent in this configuration, because the left features the analog stick on the far left side and the face buttons in the middle, while the right features the face buttons on the far right side and the analog stick in the middle. Whether the Joy-Cons are awkward to use in this position is a matter of hand size and personal taste—I didn’t mind either after a few moments to get used to the different spacing of the controls.

The Switch can help you find wayward JoyCons if you listen closely. The tablet can remotely activate any paired JoyCon within range with a tap of the touch screen, so you can listen for them. They have no speaker or buzzer, but their rumble motors are powerful enough that they can make an audible buzz on their own, which is very useful if you dropped one behind the couch or left it in a drawer.

Grips and Straps

The included Joy-Con wrist straps are simple plastic rails that slide over each Joy-Con, providing a wrist strap to keep it secure and placing larger, easier-to-press mechanical shoulder buttons over the tiny ones on the naked controller.

The Joy-Con grip is a plastic shell you can insert the two Joy-Cons into to use them as a conventional gamepad. With the Joy-Cons attached, it feels like a slightly lighter, smaller version of the standard Xbox controller. The grip has four light tunnels for each attached Joy-Con to indicate their connection status (the status lights on the rails of each Joy-Con shines through the tunnels to the front of the grip).

Nintendo Switch

The grip itself is just a plastic shell, and doesn’t provide power to the Joy-Cons; if you want to charge while playing, you need to get the optional $30 charging grip, which looks very similar to the Joy-Con grip, but has a power pass-through to keep the controllers charged when in use. You can’t charge the Joy-Cons in the included Joy-Con grip, so you need to remove them and attach them to the Switch itself when they run out of power. Third-party accessory makers like Bionik and Nyko also provide alternatives with dedicated Joy-Con chargers and power grips.

Additional Joy-Cons go for $50 each or $80 a pair, and are available in dark gray, neon blue, neon red, and neon yellow versions. Alternatively, you can also pick up a $70 Switch Pro Controller. It’s a traditional one-piece gamepad that feels quite solid, but doesn’t come apart for separate use.

Portable or Home Console

Switching between Switch configurations is as easy as it looks. The system automatically turns the screen on when you remove it from the Switch Dock, and outputs video over HDMI within seconds of inserting it in the dock. The Joy-Cons wirelessly connect to the system quickly, and pair automatically by directly sliding onto the tablet. While the mechanical latches on the Joy-Cons don’t make the satisfying clicking sound the Switch commercials show, the Switch’s speaker plays that very sound effect whenever you connect a Joy-Con to the tablet’s rails when it’s out of the dock.

Nintendo Switch

As a handheld game system, the Switch feels large but comfortable. It’s thicker than a tablet but much thinner than the Wii U gamepad, and far more natural to hold. It’s 9.4 inches wide with both Joy-Cons attached, making it too cumbersome to easily put in a pocket, but it can fit in most bags without a problem. I bring my Switch with me to work every day on the subway. It fits comfortably in my bag when I’m not playing it, and doesn’t feel overwhelmingly bulky when I play it while standing.

Nintendo says the Switch’s battery can last between 3 and 6.5 hours depending on what you play, which is a fairly weak showing for a gaming handheld (the New Nintendo 3DS can easily manage 5 to 6 hours per charge). However, because the Switch charges with USB-C instead of a proprietary Nintendo connector, you can keep it topped up with an external battery pack and a USB-C cable. The Joy-Cons, meanwhile, are rated to last up to 20 hours per charge.

Even with the short battery life, I really like the Switch’s portable mode. It’s incredibly convenient to pick up the system and go without needing to stop your game. It’s just as satisfying to get home after playing on the subway, dock the Switch, and sit back with it like a home console. I often found myself in the middle of a quest in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when a favorite show was coming on, so I simply attached the Joy-Cons and played on the couch while half-watching TV. It’s a flexibility we simply haven’t seen in a game system before.

Nintendo hasn’t announced any plans for a virtual reality accessory or system to work with the Switch, like Sony’s PlayStation VR for the PS4.

Online Service

Nintendo has joined Microsoft and Sony in requiring a paid subscription to play more games online. While you could play games like Mario Kart 8, ARMS, and Puyo Puyo Tetris with other people all over the world for free in the first year and a half that the system was available, you now must subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service. The good news is that, at $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year, it’s a third the price of PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. The bad news is that it doesn’t offer much benefit besides just enabling online multiplayer.

The service also enables cloud saving for your games, which is important because there is still no way to back up your saves to local storage. Unfortunately, cloud saving doesn’t work with every game, and even first-party games like Splatoon 2 and the upcoming Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Evee! won’t use it. That makes it incredibly limiting.

Nintendo Switch Online also enables voice chat on paper, but it’s so unwieldy you might as well use Discord, Skype, or some other app. Instead of enabling voice chat through the Switch itself using a wired headset, it’s done through the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app. It coordinates voice chat through your phone, requiring you to juggle two devices at once if you want to talk to other people in your game. It’s effectively useless next to other VoIP apps.

While Nintendo hasn’t announced any Virtual Console for the Switch yet, Nintendo Switch Online lets you play several dozen NES and Super NES games in their own system library apps on the Switch. The selection isn’t close to the Virtual Console, but they add a few new games every few months, and some excellent classics are on there.

Nintendo Switch


The Switch is already home to many classic games. It started with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and since then we’ve seen fantastic titles like Mario Tennis Aces, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Splatoon 2, and the superlative Super Mario Odyssey.

The digital eShop currently offers a good handful of compelling independent titles and a surprising number of Neo Geo classics released by the Hamster Corporation as the ACA Neo Geo series. Lots of good older games have also been released separately by Nintendo and other publishers as full Switch ports, including Bayonetta 2, Lumines Remastered, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Okami HD, and The World Ends With You: Final Remix. Indie games are well-represented, with ports of Inside, Night In The Woods, Stardew Valley, Undertail, and dozens of other acclaimed titles.

Nintendo has been experimenting heavily with the Joy-Cons, most notable in a series of Labo kits for the Switch. Nintendo Labo is a line of combination craft projects and games, using cardboard to build elaborate “Toy-Cons” to hold the Joy-Cons and serve as complex mechanical controllers. They show off how precise the Joy-Cons’ motion sensors are, and how functional the right one’s infrared camera is, using cardboard levers, cord pulley systems, and reflective stickers to create some truly cool devices. The Labo Variety Kit, for example, lets you build a cardboard piano with moving keys that each play different notes on the Switch tablet. The Labo Vehicle Kit lets you build a steering wheel with windshield wiper levers and a reverse gear. They’re impressive feats of cardboard engineering.

Nintendo Switch


I played Breath of the Wild on the Switch both in a handheld configuration and on a 65-inch 4K TV, and the game nicely shows off the system’s power in both cases. While Nintendo has made no claims about the Switch’s graphical capabilities in comparison with the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One, it’s clearly more powerful than the Wii U. Connected to a TV and outputting at 1080p, the game’s stylized graphics look sharp and eye-catching. They’re just as good on the smaller 720p screen of the Switch itself.

The details and draw distance in Breath of the Wild far outshine those of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and the game features more impressive models and textures. The graphics stutter slightly in large outdoor scenes with lots of individually modeled waving grass, but generally it’s very smooth.

Breath of the Wild is an open-world adventure, incorporating elements of both the Legend of Zelda series and Western open-world games like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Your character, Link, can run around a massive Hyrule and explore dozens of different mini dungeons, gaining new abilities and equipment as he explores. Not only is it fun to play, it’s easily the best-looking Zelda game yet.

The Joy-Cons are fun to use in all configurations. I spent time with them connected to the system, with them plugged into the Joy-Con grip, and with them held in each hand with nothing connecting them. All three methods are responsive and surprisingly comfortable. In particular, holding the Joy-Cons separately feels like a natural evolution of the Nintendo Wii; there is no physical tether between the Joy-Cons, and each has both an analog stick and face buttons, so the controls are much more functional than the fewer, markedly asymmetrical controls on the Wii remote and nunchuck. Motion detection feels very accurate, and I could easily aim my bow by tilting the right controller.

Currently, you can’t copy or transfer your save files unless you have Nintendo Switch Online, and even then the cloud save function doesn’t work on some games. This is frustrating, since you still can’t simply put your saves on a USB drive in case something happens to your Switch (which is possible if you use it primarily as handheld system).

Nintendo Switch

Should You Make the Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is a remarkably ambitious, clever game system concept that manages to live up to its promise of convenient switching between home console and gaming handheld. The Joy-Cons are smart, modular controllers that let the system work in a variety of ways, and the Switch itself has enough graphical power to run the best-looking Zelda and Mario games yet. The sheer number of options you have for playing are impressive, and even with the relatively weak battery life, just the ability to take the system anywhere without worrying about wires is one of the most useful additions we’ve seen to a home game system yet. It’s become a staple of my daily commute.

The Switch is an excellent game console and an excellent handheld. More importantly, it’s built a fantastic library of must-play games from both Nintendo and other publishers. It regularly sees noteworthy new titles, and ports of older games are given new life with the option to play them on the go. The inventive design of the Joy-Cons adds to the possibilities of the system, and enables projects like Labo.

That said, the Switch isn’t a perfect game console. It only reaches 1080p when the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can both reach 4K, and Nintendo saddles it with some strange and frustrating limitations. However, the home and portable experiences are incredibly fun, and there are so many games available on the system that are really worth your time, even if you’ve played some of them before. For these reasons, the Nintendo Switch easily earns our Editors’ Choice for offering one of the best gaming experiences available.

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  • Attractive, innovative design.

  • Excellent game library.

  • Solid build quality.

  • Joy-Cons feel comfortable to use in multiple configurations.

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The Bottom Line

The Nintendo Switch works as both a home game console and a handheld, offering access to a remarkably strong library of excellent games on your TV at home or in your hands on the go.

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The Best Emulators for Playing Retro Games on Modern Devices

Every year, hundreds of retro video games are rendered unplayable as old consoles—from Super NES to PlayStation 1—stop working.

Many older games are available via PlayStation Now and Nintendo Switch Online, but what happens when a subscription service is no longer supported and companies stop storing games on their servers? Unless you have a DRM-free copy of a game, and a way to play it, you’re at the mercy of game distributors and their bottom lines.

Enter emulators, which allow you to play game ROMs on modern platforms. There are emulators for every retro game console—some even support multiple systems—and a variety of operating systems. There are legal gray areas surrounding ownership of ROM files, while some emulators require complex setups, but they’re one of your best options for a hit of old-school gaming nostalgia. Read on for your emulator options.

Best GameCube and Wii Emulator: Dolphin

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

Dolphin emulator user interface (Image: Dolphin)

If you’re looking to emulate GameCube or Wii games, your best bet is Dolphin. It found a way to emulate the Wii’s motion controls, so even if you don’t have a Wiimote lying around, you can still play games that require it, like Skyward Sword and Mario Galaxy. Dolphin also emulates Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing you to add online play for supported games.

As great as this sounds, there are some drawbacks. Since GameCube and Wii games are a bit more complicated than earlier systems, the technical limitations of some computers may get in the way here. The developers recommend using a powerful CPU and GPU to avoid glitches.

Get the program from the website’s download page, but be careful here. Scroll down to the Stable versions section and hit download on the Windows or macOS button next to the most recent update. Dolphin allows you to turn on cheats, set a memory card path for save files, and change the default resolution and aspect ratios. You can also enable overclocking to improve game performance and add anti-aliasing or other graphic enhancements.

By default, Dolphin is set to use your keyboard for all input commands, but you should change that. Dolphin supports wireless controllers, GameCube peripheral devices (like the DK Bongos), actual GameCube controllers with an adapter, and the Wiimote through Bluetooth. You can also connect multiple gamepads at a time for local multiplayer.

Dolphin emulator also runs on Android devices. Some games can be choppy and Wii motion controls don’t translate well to touch screens, but it’s a great option for mobile gaming.

Best DS Emulator: DeSmuME

Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android
Alternatives: melonDS, DraStic (Android, paid), iNDS (iOS)

DeSmuME emualtor interface (Image: DeSmuME)

There are many ways to play Nintendo DS games, but DeSmuME is considered the best emulator for overall performance. It can be used through the command line or as a graphical program, but the trade-off is the lack of a mobile version.

As an emulator, DeSmuMe offers features like save states, screenshot support, cheats, and video and audio recording. The program does well to mimic the experience of the real handheld device by providing screen filters, microphone support, and screen gap customization.

You can also link a controller or customize your keyboard input and hotkeys. And in case you were wondering how a desktop program emulates the DS touch-screen features, DeSmuMe allows you to click with the cursor for in-game movement and interactions.

Best Sega Genesis Emulator: Kega Fusion

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
Alternatives: Genesis Plus

Kega fusion emulator interface (Image: Kega Fusion)

Kega Fusion has long been the favorite emulator for Sega Genesis games, but it supports titles from other Sega systems, too, like the SG-1000, SC-3000, SF-7000, Master System, Game Gear, Sega CD, and 32X.

As an emulator, Fusion supports multiple save slots, cheat codes, screenshots, and netplay. You can also fully customize the video with screen filters, as well as the system’s sound. Controllers can be configured for specific consoles.

Best Arcade Games Emulator: MAME

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

MAME Emulator interface (Image: MAME)

MAME is the best way to play arcade games on your PC, but it’s not particularly user-friendly. The emulator offers a bare-bones graphical interface, but it’s clunky and confusing. Your best bet is to activate MAME through the command line, no matter how adverse to coding you might be, or download a compatible third-party front end.

Consult with the MAME documentation from developers to better understand the setup process and how to use the program. Essentially, what you need to do is extract the MAME file into a folder, then download ROMs and extract them inside the “roms” folder provided by the emulator. MAME should then be able to see your ROM and play the game through the command line or user interface.

As an emulator, MAME allows you to play games from many Capcom, Namco, Neo Geo, and Sega arcade systems, plus some older home consoles and personal computers. MAME even offers a page with ROMs that are safe to download, if you’d prefer to avoid any legal gray areas. Remember that not all ROMs will play perfectly, so developers also offer an FAQ page for game-specific issues you might come across.

If this feels too complicated, you can instead turn to a multi-system front end like RetroArch (PC) or OpenEmu (Mac), which use the MAME core for arcade games and do much of the work for you.

Best PS1 and Sega Saturn Emulator: Mednafen

Platforms: Windows, Linux
Alternatives: PCSX-R, ePSXe

Mednafen emulator interface (Image: Mednafen)

Mednafen is a multi-system program that leads the pack in emulating the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine. It also supports titles for the Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket, NES, Sega Genesis, Super NES, and other systems to various success.

Mednafen lacks a graphical interface, so setting things up won’t be the most user-friendly process. In the most basic sense, you need to install the Mednafen .exe file and acquire the proper BIOS files, which you can find on the web. PlayStation requires files scph5500.bin, scph5501.bin, and scph5502.bin; Saturn requires sega_101.bin and mpr-17933.bin. Add these files to the “firmware” folder that Mednafen creates. You can then download your ROMs, extract the files, and drag the .cue file from the ROM folder onto the emulator’s .exe file to run the game.

Despite the lack of a GUI, the emulator supports many features, including save states, rewind, screen filters, cheat codes, screenshots and video recording, hotkey remapping, controller connectivity, and netplay. For assistance in setting up the program, playing multi-disc games, learning your hotkeys, or accessing any of its features, there is documentation at the Mednafen website and a wiki with instructions.

Other standalone emulators are easier to use, but none get as consistent results as Mednafen. If this all seems too complicated, turn to RetroArch (PC) or OpenEmu (Mac) instead. These front ends use the Mednafen core for PlayStation emulation. Their graphical interfaces should make playing PS1 games much easier, though you will still need the proper BIOS files.

Best NES Emulator: Mesen

Platforms: Windows, Linux
Alternatives: Nestopia UE, puNES, FCEUX

Mesen emulator interface (Image: Mesen)

If you’re looking for an emulator you can use to play ROMs for the Nintendo Entertainment System, look no further than Mesen, which has great results for NES and the Famicom. Mesen also supports the Famicom Disk System, VS. System, Dendy, and multiple regional variants. Built-in features include video and audio recording, screenshots, debugging, netplay, and rewind.

Further enhance your gameplay through palette filters, sound and video customization, and overclocking. If you find the original NES graphics hard to enjoy, there are texture replacement packs you can upload to improve the graphics. The developers have also provided documentation to help you get everything right.

Best Multi-System Emulator for Mac: OpenEmu

Platforms: macOS
Alternatives: RetroArch (for Windows)

OpenEmu emulator interface (Image: OpenEmu)

Instead of worrying about which emulator is for what ROM, turn to OpenEmu, an all-in-one front end with multiple emulator cores built into a user-friendly interface. This allows you to easily play any game the platform supports without ever having to interact with complicated emulators or worry about compatibility issues.

OpenEmu is a Mac exclusive that works with a long list of systems, including: Atari, DS, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, NES, N64, PS1, PSP, Sega Genesis, Super NES, and more. The program contains a game library and comes with a collection of homebrew games. You can also add filters, configure controllers, take screenshots, and maintain many different save states at once. Setup is easy, but we have a full guide to get you started.

Best PlayStation 2 (PS2) Emulator: PCSX2

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
Alternatives: Play!

PCSX2 emulator interface (Image: PCSX2)

If you want to play old PS2 games, PCSX2 is your best bet. However, be aware that this emulator requires a lot of resources. Between the program itself, the PS2 BIOS files, and the large ROMs, it takes a lot of memory to run PlayStation 2 games. PCSX2 is also very hardware-intensive, so be certain you can even run the program correctly. If your computer doesn’t have enough CPU or GPU power, the games will run so slowly you won’t even be able to play.

PCSX2 is plugin-based, so it may require some configuration and tweaking. If you need help, the developers have a setup video guide, a configuration guide, and a quick guide for solving various issues. If you’re curious about which games play best, there’s a compatibility database on the emulator’s website.

Once you have everything ready, you will find that PCSX2 is a little different than other emulators. Follow the program’s setup process and extract the BIOS files into the appropriate “bios” folder. Choose your ROM with the ISO Selector, then choose your Boost ISO option to start a game. One interesting feature is that the program can play ROM files as well as actual game disks from your computer’s disk drive. You will find that PCSX2 opens two windows—one with all the emulator commands and settings, and another that plays the game.

Inside the program’s settings are controls for basic features like save states, cheat codes, screenshots, and HD video recording. PCSX2 also features a debugger and the ability to map memory cards. You will also find the option to connect controllers through a plugin, or use a keyboard and mouse.

More advanced settings include frame skipping and limiting, VSync, speed hacks, custom resolutions and aspect ratios, anti-aliasing, and other features to help improve game graphics and performance. An online plugin can also help you play certain PS2 titles online.

Best PlayStation Portable (PSP) Emulator: PPSSPP

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android

PPSSPP emulator interface (Image: PPSSPP)

PPSSPP is the emulator you turn to for playing PlayStation Portable games on a computer or mobile device. It’s a free program, but you can also purchase PPSSPP Gold to support the developers. Whether on a PC or phone, the emulator includes a customizable games library that will list all the titles you have previously uploaded for easy access. You can also download homebrew games directly through the emulator.

Multiple input options allow you to use a mouse on PC and touch-screen controls for mobile. PPSSPP includes basic features like save states, screenshots, and cheat codes. You can record audio and video, and play online with a built-in chat tool. Optimize your gameplay experience by using screen filters, VSync, upscaling, frameskip, and other settings to make these games look as good as possible.

Best Nintendo 64 (N64) Emulator: Mupen64Plus

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
Alternatives: Project64

Mupen64Plus emulator interface (Image: Mupen64Plus)

If you’re looking to play Super Mario 64 or GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64, look no further than Mupen64Plus. This emulator supports save states, take screenshots, and has built-in cheats. Keyboard shortcuts are supported for multiple system functions. Advanced features like online play and graphic enhancements like anti-aliasing and VSync are also included.

Download and install the program from GitHub (or Google Play for Android), and it’s ready to go—no complex run commands required and no interface plug-in necessary. ROMs won’t be stored inside the GUI, so it’s a good idea to arrange your games in one centralized location for easy access. By default, Mupen64Plus assigns all input to your keyboard, but you can also connect up to four controllers.

Best Dreamcast Emulator: Redream

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
Alternatives: DEmul, Flycast

Redream emulator interface (Image: Redream)

For Dreamcast games, Redream is your best option. The developers advertise the emulator’s compatibility with a list of games and how well they work with the program. Redream also requires no BIOS files or controller configurations. The emulator allows you to upload games into the program’s library for easy access. You can then switch titles mid-game, apply cheat codes, connect a controller, and even remap buttons.

The base emulator is free, but this is a commercial program, so the developers want you to upgrade to the $5 Premium edition. If you decide to pay up, you gain access to multiple save slots for the same game and add high-definition gaming with 1080p and 4K support. There is also an official Android version.

Best Multi-System Emulator for PC: RetroArch

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Alternatives: OpenEmu (for macOS)

RetroArch emulator interface (Image: RetroArch)

For PC gamers, RetroArch is like the holy grail of emulation. This all-in-one front end uses the libretro API to support cores for multiple systems, with an immense selection of configurations to fully customize gameplay elements and video/audio settings. However, RetroArch lacks a user friendly setup scheme, requiring you to download individual cores and select which you want to use before booting up a game.

As an emulator, RetroArch supports an impressive number of systems, including Atari, DS, Game Boy, GameCube, MAME, NES, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, SNES, Wii, and more. The front end supports basic features like save states, screen filters, screenshots and video recording, and controller and hotkey customization. More advanced features include netplay, custom achievements, rewind, fast-forward, and slow motion, user interface customization, and built-in streaming.

Graphical settings allow you to adjust refresh rate, display resolution, aspect ratio, VSync, anti-latency, anti-aliasing, and anti-ghosting features. RetroArch also gives you full control over audio controls and sound mixing. For basic setup or advanced configurations, reference the libretro documentation.

Best Multi-System Emulator for Microconsoles: RetroPie

retropie logo (Image: RetroPie)

If you prefer not to be stuck on a computer, you can build a classic game system for cheap with a Raspberry Pi board and an operating system to run it. This is where RetroPie comes in; it’s a free Linux distribution based on Raspbian and combines LibRetro’s RetroArch API with the EmulationStation front end. Other items you will need include an SD card for games, case, power source, and controller.

Similar to other multi-system emulators, RetroPie supports a laundry list of consoles, and once your new microconsole is built, everything should be good to go. We have a guide to help you through the setup process.

Best Super Nintendo Emulator: Snes9x

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
Alternatives: bsnes, bsnes-hd

Snes9x emulator interface

Snes9x is the best emulator for Super Nintendo and Super Famicom games. Download the program from one of the sites the developers link to on the Downloads page to get started. An open-source port called Snes9x EV+ is available for Android devices.

You will find that Snes9x supports multiple save slots, multicart emulation, cheat codes, and ROM hacks. The emulator also allows you to tweak frame rate and sound, take screenshots and video, and play online through built-in netplay.

When it comes to game input, you can customize your hotkeys or connect a controller. Snes9x can emulate the original Super Nintendo controller, as well as the Super NES Mouse, Super Scope, and other peripherals.

Best Atari 2600 Emulator: Stella

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
Alternatives: Pantheon

Stella emulator interface (Image: Stella)

For those looking to relive (or discover) the Atari experience, Stella is the emulator of choice for all Atari 2600 games. The program includes a robust selection of features that makes it easy to use and customize. While everything can be done from the Stella user interface, command line support is available for those who are interested.

All you have to do is download the emulator, select your ROMs from the game launcher, and begin playing. Stella supports a large selection of hot keys that can control save states, difficulty adjustment, screenshots, and more. The developers have found a way to successfully emulate joysticks, paddles, and other controllers from the original system, so all you need is your computer’s keyboard to play.

Behind the scenes, Stella allows you to fully customize your gaming experience with screen filters, button remapping and combo creation, and interface customization. The program also contains a debugger for homebrew games, support for cheat codes, and a time machine mode to automate and improve the save process.

If you need help playing games and customizing Stella, the developers have included an in-depth user guide.

Best Game Boy and GBA Emulator: VisualBoyAdvance

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
Alternatives: mGBA, SameBoy

VisualBoyAdvance emulator interface (Image: VisualBoyAdvance)

VisualBoyAdvance is your one-stop destination for Nintendo’s retro handheld devices as it supports Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. The emulator has a surprisingly robust feature set, including cheat code support, controller mapping, import and export for save states, as well as screenshot and video recording capabilities.

More advanced features including ROM hacking and debugging tools, as well as screen filters and GUI skins to provide a more authentic Game Boy experience. VBA has done such a good job emulating the capabilities of these handheld devices that you can even emulate the Game Boy Printer add-on. Compatibility with the Dolphin emulator allows you to connect Game Boy Advance games with GameCube games, just like the real consoles.

Further Reading

Gaming Reviews

Gaming Best Picks


Retro Gamer


Read on for details of how to get the magazine while the shops are closed!


Sure, the pun’s bad, but this arcade classic is not!


Mario’s debut is the subject of this week’s Retro Spotlight


This week’s spotlight focuses on Atari’s apocalyptic arcade hit.


Konami’s classic avoid-’em-up Frogger is the subject of this week’s Retro Gaming Spotlight

A screenshot of Robbit looking at a frog enemy, which is wearing a top hat OPM REVIEW

Find out how the Official UK PlayStation Magazine rated this innovative 3D platform game back in 1995


Our latest fantastic issue comes looks at the making of Yoshi’s Island, and comes with a special Rob Hubbard remix CD


Steve Priestley narrates the Funtenga Radical Previews video

A screenshot of R. Mika being placed on the battlefield ARCADE REVIEW

This crossover card-slinging caper is one of the most popular Neo Geo Pocket Color games, and Arcade magazine felt that popularity was richly deserved

A screenshot of Athena Asamiya performing the Psycho Sword attack CVG REVIEW

It might have lengthy loading times, but this Neo Geo CD fighter certainly impressed the reviewers at Computer & Video Games.

A screenshot of Tung Fu Rue blocking Geese Howard's Reppuken special move EDGE REVIEW

The legendary UK magazine was impressed with SNK’s Neo Geo fighter – but you’ll have to read on to find out just how impressed it was…

Tweets by @RetroGamer_Mag

A screenshot of Mr Domino approaching a car PLAY REVIEW

Play magazine said “if this game had a middle name, it’d be ‘originality’” – but was that enough to earn this PlayStation cult classic a top score?

Retro Gamer 187 cover BLOG

Special issue comes with gifts including The Mini SNK Companion and a cool sticker sheet

A screenshot of Sparkster using his rocket pack to fly over the sea, with a snake like enemy below SEGA POWER REVIEW

Were Sparkster’s charms able to win over a platformer-fatigued Sega Power in 1993? Find out here…

A screenshot of Marco Rossi on a precarious ledge, shooting an enemy soldier EDGE REVIEW

The Metal Slug series is now firmly established as one of gaming’s greatest run-and-gun franchises – but what did Edge magazine make of the original in 1996?

A screenshot of Knuckles approaching a spring ramp SATURN POWER REVIEW

Sonic fans are often divided by their opinions on this racing spin-off – what did Saturn Power magazine make of it in January 1998?


SNK’s producer explains the company’s new all-women tag team fighter


Crowdfunded sequel also parts ways with Adult Swim Games


Mega gifts accompany our Mega Drive feature in our Sega special – and it’s out today


Our annual E3 PC gaming showcase takes place on 11th June


Famed competitive gamer is barred from competition and has his scores stripped from the record books


Two great Pac-Man features and fantastic C64 gifts lead this month’s exciting magazine


Bigben Interactive and Kylotonn Racing Games are producing the series’ first new game in 15 years


Popular UK gaming event finally comes to the capital


YouTube gaming series hits full funding on the morning of the campaign launch

BLOG offers SNK’s classic crossover fighter for zero pennies, for a limited time only


YouTube gaming channel offers an excellent interview with Spectrum coder Bo Jangeborg


Enjoy retro computer gaming from Amiga to ZX Spectrum at London Olympia, 17-18 February


Retro-Bit, Hyperkin and My Arcade showcase their latest retro gaming wares at this year’s tech show


We speak to the company about the Data East and Jaleco compilations coming to NES and SNES


Why we’re fond of Taito’s RPG-inspired arcade game


Nick explains his curious enthusiasm for this particular HD remaster project…


13 games from the original 2001 console have gone live on Microsoft’s current hardware


Famed videogame composer’s works to be celebrated with a book, albums and potentially a concert!


$10,000 NHL 94 competition hits Las Vegas on September 30th


Online PC game retailer is offering the classic puzzle-platformer completely free


Old games: PC classics that are still worth playing

There are many perks to being a PC gamer, but we will save extolling them all for a day when we are feeling particularly inflammatory. For now, we will focus on just one: the best old games remain forever playable. At least for now.

Yes, even on the highest end multi-cored rigs with the latest X-Titan Turbo Hydra Fulcrum Mk.III GPU, you can still boot up veteran strategy games, majestic ancient RPG games, trusty ol’ point-and-clicks, and other legendary games of yore. These enduring classics will transport you back to the halcyon days of the past and prove that everything was just better back then. Sometimes these old PC games are even updated thanks to ongoing patches made by an adoring community, or continued mod support.

Below you will find a testament to those PC stalwarts which prove that great old games are truly timeless, and deserve your time to this day. If you have missed any of these special PC gaming experiences, correct your mistake with these, the very best old games around.

The best old games are:

X-COM: UFO Defense

Strategy gaming meets turn-based tactics. The first X-COM game is still one of the best strategy games ever released on PC. This excellent old PC game inspired the team that went on to make Fallout, birthed several spin-offs and sequels, and was officially remade in 2012 as XCOM: Enemy Unknown – one of the other best strategy games ever made on PC. That’s some legacy.

In X-COM: UFO Defense, much like the remake, players must defend Earth from an alien invasion. In doing so, players must manage the clandestine X-COM group, choosing where to position bases and what technologies to research in order to effectively combat the extraterrestrial threat. Players must also win battles on the ground using a squad of X-COM soldiers in turn-based tactical combat.

Want more aliens: Here’s the best space games on PC 

The game itself has aged brilliantly where gameplay is concerned, though it is nowhere near as pretty as its modern-day remake. Assuming total control of mankind’s final barrier against the alien menace is still a joy: progressing through the research tree, turning your operatives into psionic super-soldiers, and then deploying them in the field to kick xeno-butt never gets old.

Fancy some modern XCOM instead? Check out our XCOM: Chimera Squad review.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

A 2D platformer where absolutely everything can kill you in an instant: long falls, any enemy attack, grazing past an obstacle, overcooking a grenade… the list goes on. Its puzzles are complex, its gaps between saves overly long, and its enemies nearly impossible to avoid. Frustrating? Rewarding is the word you are looking for. Probably.

At the centre of all this struggle is the titular Abe, an enslaved Mudokon who discovers the meat processing factory where he works is soon to be the slaughterhouse of his entire race. Abe breaks free and begins a quest of emancipation that the player can either go along with (making their journey much more difficult) or ignore. Choosing to steer a group of your own people into a volley of gunfire as a means of distracting an enemy is never an easy decision to make.

Stranger’s Wrath fan?: Here’s the best western games on PC

If you are not keen on jumping too far back in time in order to play this, one of the best old games available, check out the official HD remaster of the hilarious Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty.

Alpha Centauri

Sid meier’s Alpha Centauri

Like any Civ game, Alpha Centauri is all about colonising a world, growing an empire, and competing and cooperating as you see fit with other factions vying for power. The twist? Set on a distant planet in the future, this old PC game is far more story-driven, forcing you to interact with mysterious alien lifeforms and races that previously inhabited the planet.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri fits the 4X games formula of empire-building, research, war, and diplomacy with an excellent story. Featuring fascinating factions and complex leaders, Alpha Centauri offers a more focused experience than the ‘blank canvas’ of the main series. The smaller scope of the game emphasises everything that is great about this old game’s narrative, helping Alpha Centauri remain as memorable as always.

A fight with a dragon in Baldur's Gate, one of the best RPGs on PC

Baldur’s Gate II

There is something about that beautiful, seemingly hand-drawn aesthetic of the Infinity Engine that is completely timeless, and Baldur’s Gate II uses that to deliver one of the best role-playing games of all time. That means the pressure’s on for the sequel – yes, it’s actually happening – so you better get playing this before the Baldur’s Gate 3 release date rolls around.

Gamers brought up on modern role-players may have trouble adapting to the tactical Dungeons & Dragons combat and plethora of dialogue, but it is precisely these traits that make Baldur’s Gate II endure as one of the best old PC games. The dark fantasy setting of Amn is a joy to explore with your party of companions, who are unforgettable for their excellent writing and catchy sound-bites (“Go for the eyes, Boo!”). From its pretty pre-rendered backgrounds to its rich, mysterious world brimming with character, Baldur’s Gate II is truly ageless.

Planescape: Torment

Planescape: Torment

This list will not turn into an ode to the great CRPGs of the ‘90s, we promise, but… just… one… more…

In contrast to Baldur’s Gate II’s classic, companion heroics, Planescape: Torment is a lonely, personal journey to uncover the lost memories of a person who has lived and died untold lives with no recollection of them. Set in a surreal otherworld of multiple planes and bizarre creatures that defy conventional fantasy tropes, Torment is one of the oddest and greatest videogame stories ever told. Focused more on dialogue and choices than combat, Torment encourages you to uncover its world through exploration, conversations, and clever, choice-filled questing.

Half-Life, one of the best old games


Back in 1998, Half-Life’s storytelling and the conviction of its fictional world were far beyond anything else in the genre. Indeed, they were beyond anything else in gaming.

Related: The best FPS games on PC 

The opening in which you fly through the Black Mesa Research Facility is magnificent. Radioactive waste passes by, witty comments sound out from speakers overhead, doors open and close all around. Valve crafted a world full of minutiae and intricacies that you could pore over in between all the alien fighting and physics-based puzzling. Seamless level transitions and a narrative that never broke away from the first-person perspective make this game not only one of the best old games, but one of the finest games ever made.

We’ve spent years waiting for the mythical Half-Life 3, but with the recent release of Half-Life: Alyx, our hunger for new Half-Life has only gotten more ravenous. Sounds like the perfect excuse to revisit – or begin – the series.

If ageing visuals really aren’t for you then the fan-made Black Mesa remake is officially out and receiving just as positive reviews as the original.

Deus Ex, one of the best old games

Deus Ex

Visually, Deus Ex has not aged as gracefully as some of the pixel-era games on this list, but its deep RPG systems, dense hub-worlds, and intriguing conspiracy crackpot plot make it proper ‘PC games bucket list’ fodder.

Action Man: Check out these action-adventure games next

The number of ways in which you can tackle the game’s missions still hold up today: you have countless means of moulding JC Denton to your play style. Your choices about how you interact with the world all feel significant and, as a result, Deus Ex continues to be the gold standard that immersive sims, stealth games, and RPGs strive for, and remains one of the best old games on PC.

A shootout in a bar in Outlaws, one of the best old games


The lack of tribute to this gunslinging wild-western shooter is no less criminal than the exploits of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Outlaws was among the PC’s best first-person shooters, sprite-based or not.

Several gameplay innovations helped Outlaws stand out, including a manual reload system, and the first ever sniper scope used in a shooter. The orchestrated Sergio Leone-inspired soundtrack is spine-tingling, and the animated cutscenes have that lovely LucasArts touch that provides context to the tough, rootin’ tootin’ gunfights taking place across trains, frontier towns, and other environs of the Old West. Outlaws is a goldmine of excellent stylistic and gameplay features in a classic FPS package, and an exceptional old PC game at that.

An assortment of intriguing characters at the helm of a ship in The Longest Journey, one of the best old games

The Longest Journey

Coming in the twilight years of point-and-click adventure games, The Longest Journey is a poignant swansong for the genre. You are April, an 18-year-old student who shifts between two contrasting realms to restore the mysterious force that allows them to exist harmoniously.

The contrasting realms of the magical Arcadia and gritty urban Stark realm are evocatively presented, and in both you will meet characters as strange and well-rounded as your strong, troubled protagonist. Yes, it suffers from the point-and-click pitfall of absurdly cryptic puzzles, but they are worth toughing through to experience this beautiful interdimensional adventure. The Longest Journey’s sequel Dreamfall is also worth playing, though it is not quite on a par with Funcom’s original.

Female fighters hide from a monster in one of the best old games, Diablo II

Diablo II

The continuation of online support and the fact that Blizzard released a patch for Diablo II in 2016 attest to the game’s enduring appeal as one of the finest old PC games, even as we eagerly await information on the Diablo 4 release date.

The high-intensity action RPG mechanics, which have been emulated but rarely topped by other games over the years, and its grungy, well-animated pixel art set Diablo II apart. Its loot-‘em-up gameplay is so appealing that it does not need to ‘move with the times’. Blizzard’s perfection of this formula has allowed Diablo II to completely defy the typical videogame life cycle. 

Fallout 2, one of the best old games

Fallout 2

Looking at the image above, it is easy to say that Fallout has come a long way since the isometric days. But that would ignore the tremendous narrative and mechanical depth hiding amidst those pixels and pre-rendered backdrops. Fallout 2 is on Steam and, in high-res and with cloud saves, this fantastic old game is all the more appealing to revisit.

Fallout 2 is not forgiving, and bad decisions or character development can essentially ruin your experience. But ride the wave of its deep systems and you have one of the greatest RPGs of all time. The range of factions, side-quests, and characters paint a rich picture of a post-apocalyptic world that is a grim joy to explore. It is harsh, bleak, and kind of ugly, but Fallout 2’s wild wasteland came to define the series.

Several patients amass in a corridor in Theme Hospital, one of the best old games.

Theme Hospital

Still one of the funniest and most whimsical building sims on PC, Theme Hospital is a unique gem that no developer has even dared try to emulate. Its sense of humour ranges from excellent soundbites of the receptionists urging patients not to die in the corridors, to the emergent chaos of a mass vomit breakout in the waiting areas. AI prodigy Demis Hassabis was even involved in the project as a young boy, making this literally the work of a genius.

More like this: The best management games on PC 

The cutesy visual style, so great at conveying fictitious illnesses like Bloaty Head and Hairyitis, conceals a relentless and challenging sim. Up there with the best old PC games, Theme Hospital stands in a league of its own… unless you count spiritual successor Two Point Hospital.

An altercation in a corridor in System Shock 2, one of the best old games. The sign on the wall reads 'Safety First'.

System Shock 2

You never forget the confused fear you feel when a mutant is apologising to you while battering your head in with a wrench. It is harrowing, deeply unsettling, and captures the dark spirit of this lonesome story in which you are hounded by a murderous AI aboard a spaceship.

Yes, System Shock 2 was sort-of succeeded by BioShock, but it is a tonally different beast – a psychological horror that drips with a cold, claustrophobic atmosphere. Grab one of the mods that updates the graphics and lighting to revive that intense technophobia you felt all those years ago. What’s more, thanks to a Kickstarter project, we will be getting a shiny System Shock remake, too – followed by System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition to celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary. 

The threats close in in Quake, one of the best old games


It is hard to imagine anything dislodging Doom’s place in the pantheon of PC gaming greats. However, it is Quake that sees id’s vision of demonic corridor-shooting executed most successfully. Of the two forefathers of those great franchises, Quake proves most affecting to revisit in 2016. Doom’s cacodemons and hell knight sprites look kitsch now, but Quake’s roster of far less recognisable abominations – all lipless mouths and faceless horrors – still manage to unsettle. They are helped along by flawless sound design created in collaboration with Trent Reznor, and a medieval occult level design aesthetic that falls somewhere between Doom and Hexen.

The culmination of those elements – not forgetting its excellent arsenal of high-impact, heavy weapons – feels like id’s best attempt to pull together the elements they experimented with throughout the ’90s. Post-Devil Daggers, Quake’s graphics are considered retro chic.


Starcraft may have been somewhat left behind by its shinier sequel, but even those not looking for a competitive experience could do a lot worse than revisiting one of the finest narrative RTS campaigns ever. Along with Warcraft 3, the original Starcraft represents pre-Activision Blizzard at their creative pinnacle.

Ok, so, in the same way that Warcraft owes a lot to Tolkien, this story of space marines, space bugs, and ethereal elder beings may owe a lot to Warhammer 40k, Aliens, and Starship Troopers. Everything owes a lot to Aliens, though, and that doesn’t stop this genre classic holding up today. Come for the pitch-perfect execution of archetypal RTS games scaffolding, stay for the character-focused sci-fi epic stuffed with juicy plot reveals.

The Curse of Monkey Island

While the first two Monkey Island titles are genre-defining adventure games, produced at the peak of LucasArt’s heyday, that doesn’t stop them being a daunting proposition for modern gamers curious to see what all the fuss was about. Monkey Island 3: The Curse of Monkey Island may not have the best puzzles, the best story, or the best jokes, but it is the easiest to slip into for new players, and it’s still an excellent adventure game in its own right.

Featuring singing pirate barbers, a lactose-intolerant volcano god, and a giant chicken demon among its less ridiculous elements, The Curse of Monkey Island continues the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, the world’s most useless pirate. A colourful cartoon aesthetic and a jaunty, moreish soundtrack top off this hearty mug of adventure game grog.

Now that you’ve taken a historical tour of our most cherished classic videogame memories, you know what to do: turn those old games, into ‘sold’ games. Ok, we’ll stick to writing, writing more list features, that is. Speaking of which, how about you find out about the finest when it comes to the opposite of old games: the best new PC games might lack the nostalgia of the games above, but they are still worth your time.

And, if you want the cream of the crop both new and old, here are the best PC games of all time or if you don’t want to splash the cash, here are all the best free PC games. For now, though, we’ll be going back to embracing the sweet, sweet nostalgia of our misspent youth.


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Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition HardwareNintendo Super NES Classic Edition Hardware

  • Color: Gray
  • Platform: SNES
  • Feature: The Super NES Classic Edition system looks and feels just like the original ’90s home console, except it’s super small. Play 20 classic Super NES games plus *gasp* the never-before-released Star Fox 2 game!
  • Dimensions: System: 4.33″ x 1.60″ x 5.24″ (W x H x L) Controller: 1.01″ x 5.67″ x 2.49″ (W x H x L)
  • Model #: 045496590758
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Super NES Classic Edition Console SNES Mini SFC Retro Built-in 400 Games+2 Handle Controllers

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RS-34 HDMI HD Video Game Entertainment System Classic Mini TV Game Console With Built-in 600 Games, 2pcs USB Cable Controller (support HDMI HD + AV video dual output function

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DREAMGEAR DG-DGUNL-3203 6 RETRO BURGERTIME MICRO ARCADEMy Arcade MS. PAC-Man Pocket Player Portable Handheld with 3 Games: MS.PAC-Man, Sky Kid & MAPPY

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CoolBaby RS-97 Retro Game Classic Games Retro Handheld Game Console with 3.0 HD Screen

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My Arcade Rolling Thunder Micro Player Licensed Collectible 6.75 Inch Mini Retro Arcade Machine Cabinet

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My Arcade Taito Elevator Action Micro Player 6Retro Mini 8 Bit 3 Inch LCD Screen Arcade Handheld Game Console Built-in 360 Classic Games with Two Gamepad For Kids GiftGame Phone Case Back Cover HD Screen Protective Shell for iPhone8 7 Black

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Arcade1UP BurgerTime Arcade Cabinet w/ RiserArcade1UP BurgerTime Arcade Cabinet w/ Riser

  • Games: BurgerTime, Karate Champ, Bad Dudes, and Caveman Ninja!
  • Feature: 4 games in 1: BurgerTime, Karate Champ, Bad Dudes, Caveman Ninja, Original artwork, Light-up marquee, Full-color 17” display, Coinless operation
  • Weight: 79.5
  • Model #: 8152210273346
  • Item #: 9SIAP0HCAR6019
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  • $599.99 –
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Arcade1UP Space Invaders Counter-cade - English OnlyArcade1UP Space Invaders Counter-cade – English Only

  • Games: Space Invaders
  • Feature: Table top design, 2 Games in 1, Upgraded 8″ Color LCD screen, Real feel arcade controls & buttons, Original Artwork, Coinless operation, Volume control, On Screen Game Selection Menu, Plugs into an AC outlet
  • Weight: 11.1
  • Model #: 815221026186
  • Item #: 9SIAP0HCAR6031
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  • $199.99 –
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Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition

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Hyperkin RetroN 1 HD Gaming Console for NES - GrayHyperkin RetroN 1 HD Gaming Console for NES – Gray

  • Color: Gray
  • Platform: NES
  • Feature: 1985 in High Definition 8-bit gaming never looked this good! The RetroN HD will play original NES (NTSC AND PAL) cartridges in beautiful, crisp 720p. Everything You Need out of the Box It includes one premium classic-style controller, a 3 ft. HD cable, and a 6 ft. Micro USB charge cable. High Compatibility with NTSC and PAL Cartridges Its amazingly high compatibility with NES titles assures you and your game collection are in for a treat. PAL cartridges work at the flip of a switch! HD audio and video (720p) High compatibility for NTSC AND PAL cartridges (via bottom case switch) 16:9/4:3 aspect ratio switch Premium classic-style “Cadet” controller (10 ft. cable) 3 ft. HD cable 6 ft. Micro USB charge cable with USB AC Adapter Also includes AV ports with AV cable Cartridges not included. No pre-installed games….
  • Model #: M01888-GR
  • Item #: 9SIAAYY61C2109
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  • $74.65 –
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Mini NES TV Video Game Anniversary Edition Console Built-in 620 Class Games+Double Gamepads

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New Mini Retro HDMI HD Classic NES Edition Console TV Game Built-in 600 Games + 2 Handle Controllers

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Classic Retro Game Console 30 anniversary 500 Video Game Family TV Game RS-36

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8 Bit Mini Video Game Console Game Controller Build in 89 Classic Games Support TV Output Plug & Play Game Player Best Gift

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Mini Super SNES/SFC Retro Classic Edition Console Built-in 621 Games 8Bit HDMI Out + 2 Handle Controllers

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Mini 8Bit Retro Classic NES Console TV Game Built-in 500 Games + 2 Handle Controllers

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Super NES Classic Edition Console Super Mini SFC/SNES Retro Game Console Built-in 400 Games+2 Handle Controllers

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3 Inch 16 Bit PXP3 Slim Station Video Games Player Handheld Game Console With 2pcs Game Cart built-in 150 Classic Games Gifts for Child

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Hyperkin RetroN 1 HD Gaming Console for NES - BlackDreamgear DGUNL3227 My Arcade Pac Man Pocket Player

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Hyperkin SupaRetroN HD Gaming Console for Super NES/Super FamicomHyperkinHyperkin SupaRetroN HD Gaming Console for Super NES/Super Famicom

  • Color: Gray
  • Platform: SNES
  • Feature: HD audio and video (720p). High compatibility for NTSC AND PAL SNES cartridges (via bottom case switch). Hyperkin-engineered Pin Perfect™ (Patent Pending) technology sets a new standard for state-of-the-art, high-quality pins. Hyperkin-engineered Pin Perfect™ (Patent Pending) technology sets a new standard for state-of-the-art, high-quality pins. 16:9/4:3 aspect ratio switch (Patent Pending). (2) x “Scout” premium classic-style controller (8 ft. cable). 3 ft. HD cable. 6 ft. Micro USB charge cable with USB AC Adapter*. Also includes AV ports with AV cable *If AC adapter is not included, we strongly advise you use a 5 volt 1 AMP USB wall AC adapter.
  • Dimensions: 11″ x 4″ x 8″ (L x W x H)
  • Model #: M06888
  • Item #: 9SIAAYY8EZ6557
  • Return Policy: View Return Policy
  • $116.20 –
  • $54.20 Shipping

MY ARCADE Bandai Namco PAC-MAN 6MY ARCADE Bandai Namco PAC-MAN 6″ Micro Arcade Machine Portable Handheld Video Game

  • Color: Yellow
  • Feature: Collect all the Pac-Dots and fruits, but watch out for ghosts! Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are out to get one of gaming’s most iconic characters, PAC-MAN™. Originally released in 1980, PAC-MAN™ is often regarded as one of the most famous arcade games and is still a staple in arcades across the world. Features artwork inspired by the original PAC-MAN™ arcade cabinet. Full color, 2.75” screen. Removable joystick. 6.75 inches tall. Volume control and 3.5mm headphone jack.Perfect for any game room, office, or display case! Power with a Micro-USB cable or 4 AA batteries (not included)
  • Model #: DGUNL-3220
  • Item #: 9SIAA4YANN4792
  • Return Policy: View Return Policy
  • $48.22 –
  • $9.99 Shipping

MY ARCADE BANDAI NAMCO Dig Dug 6MY ARCADE BANDAI NAMCO GALAGA 6Handheld  Game Console Children Handheld Game Console Classic 8bit 3.2 inch Game Player Built-in 280 Games Support AV-0UT OutputChildren Handheld Game Console Classic 8bit 3.2 inch Game Player Built-in 280 Games Support AV-0UT OutputMY ARCADE Pixel Classic Portable Handheld 300 Built-in Video Games w/ Data East Hits: Bad Dudes, Cavman Ninja, BurgerTime, and Many MoreDreamgearMY ARCADE Pixel Classic Portable Handheld 300 Built-in Video Games w/ Data East Hits: Bad Dudes, Cavman Ninja, BurgerTime, and Many More

  • Color: Red
  • Feature: Packed with 300 games, featuring classic, memorable Data East titles. Features fun, 8-bit accents that classic gamers and new gamers alike will love. Volume control and 3.5mm headphone jack to connect your headphones. Powered either by 4 AAA batteries (not included) or by any Micro-USB cable (not included), which allows for ultimate portability. Data East titles. Data East titles includes Bad Dudes, Cavman Ninja, BurgerTime, Karate Champ, Heavy Barrel, BreakThru, Side Pocket, and B-Wings.
  • Dimensions: 4.5 X 1.5 X 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 0.45 lbs
  • Model #: DGUNL-3201
  • Item #: 9SIA90R6TG2811
  • Return Policy: View Return Policy
  • $81.44 –
  • Free Shipping

PRO 3 inch HD Display Handheld Family Pocket 8 Bit FC/NES Video Game PlayerMY ARCADE Bandai Namco MAPPY 6

  • $40.99 –
  • Free Shipping

My Arcade Retro Arcade Machine X

  • $74.96 –
  • Free Shipping

Hd Tv 4Gb Video Game Console Built-In 600 Classic Game For /Snes/Smd/Ne S Format Hdmi Out Put Dual Gamepad Uk PlugDREAMGEAR DG-DGUNL-3200 10IN RETRO MINI ARCADE MACHINEDreamgearDREAMGEAR DG-DGUNL-3200 10IN RETRO MINI ARCADE MACHINE

  • : Full color, 4.25 screen. 10 inches tall. 34 Built-in Data East Games. Removable joystick. 3.5mm headphone jack. Built-in speaker with volume control. Officially licensed by Data East. Perfect for any game room, office, or display case!
  • Electrical Outlet Plug Type: Others
  • Model #: DGUNL-3200
  • Item #: 9SIA90RCA20244
  • Return Policy: View Return Policy
  • $172.85 –
  • Free Shipping

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Play Retro Games on Your Computer or Mobile Device

New to Emulation? Make sure to visit our tutorial section first!

Looking to play retro games on your computer or mobile device?
You’ve come to the right place! is the largest retro gaming resource on the net – we have thousands of games (ROMs) and the latest emulators to run them. Most games have screenshots and are sorted for your convenience. Navigate using our menu above now!

Popular Emulator Sections:
DS Emulator
GBA Emulator
Gameboy Emulator
Nintendo Emulator
SNES Emulator

If you like what we’re doing, please share us with your friends using the links below:

December 12, 2012
Christmas came early for all of our loyal users. Introducing our new 635 GB Nintendo Gamecube ISOs section!

August 10, 2012
Heads up – our server will go down for approximately 30 minutes after 9 PM PST tonight for a SSD drive installation and RAID-1 buildup. This will give the site more redundancy moving forward!

June 22, 2012
After a long time of uploading, not to mention running into a string of server problems, I am proud to finally preset to you our new PSX ISOs section! Included are 1,691 full ISOs totalling over 440 GB! The Playstation was my favorite console growing up, and looking at the list of titles brings back many fond memories as a kid. I hope it has the same effect on you – enjoy!

June 17, 2012
How do you play the Commodore 64 ROMs we just added without any emulators? Therefore, we have created a new Commodore 64 emulators section! We also went ahead and updated all of our emulators to their latest versions.

June 7, 2012
Due to the recent surge of traffic to both our web site and forums, we have outgrown our current single server. This has caused, as you may have noticed, a significant slowdown when accessing and browsing our forums.

In order to keep our user experience high, we had another server (with a SSD drive) implemented just to handle our forums’ MySQL database. This should greatly improve forums speeds in every way, and the lessen the load on the main site server.

Thanks for continuing to support CoolROM – we strive to be your favorite emulation community!

June 4, 2012
Due to your numerous requests, we have now added a Commodore 64 ROMs section totalling 5,656 files! Enjoy and stay tuned for more updates; we’re not done quite yet…

June 1, 2012
It’s June 1st, so you guys know what that means… it’s time to announce our fourth contest winners! Here they are:

Grand prize: Austyn B.
Second prize: David G.
Third prize: Jerome C.

Winners: please check your email for gift card prizes or further instructions. Thanks to everyone who participated – the turnaround was truly amazing. For those who didn’t win: there’s always the next contest!

April 16, 2012
We have just updated our MAME ROMs collection to the latest version: 0.145! This brings our collection up to 18,550 files totalling 44.6 GB!

April 3, 2012
Gamers rejoice! Our mobile optimized site is now online! You can check it out here: (mobile devices only). Make sure to bookmark it and tell your friends. Also, as a way of saying thank you for the support throughout the years, we are keeping the mobile site ad-free for a limited time!

February 25, 2012
2 more prizes were added to the contest for more chances to win! Check them out here!

February 24, 2012
It’s been a while since I last said this, but I am proud to present’s fourth contest! This time, we are giving a way a brand new PS Vita (ever heard of them?) and Uncharted: Golden Abyss! Learn more about our contest here. Good luck everyone!

February 24, 2012
After quite some time, CoolROM is finally on Twitter! Please follow us to receive the latest updates and ROM additions. Now, I know there are alot of you who browse CoolROM on your iPhone and Android devices, so we are developing a mobile friendly site for yall! Stay tuned 🙂