Best programs to emulate game consoles and video games like Playstation, Nintendo, SNES, Xbox, Sega and others on PC

Playstation emulator As the Wikipedia page tells us, emulators, in computer science, are programs that allow you to run on a computer, applications, and software designed for other types of devices.
For example, you can start Windows programs on Linux and vice versa.

In particular, emulators have used to install a game environment on the PC, so as to be able to start console video games.
These are always programs developed by amateur programmers (in the sense that they are not commercial software), for Windows Linux and Mac, who, fond of a particular console, want to run the video games of these consoles on a normal PC.

There are hundreds of emulators and, on an English Wikipedia page, there is the complete list of all emulators divided by console, starting from computers of the 70s, 80s, 90s and up to today.
There are also on the list emulators for Playstation, Nintendo console, for the first Xbox, for the old ones Saw and for many other video game consoles, including some that never arrived in Italy.

The emulators of the latest consoles require recent and rather powerful computers to be able to replicate console functions such as Playstation 2 for example.
Sometimes these programs also have some games included but, in general, you have to download the ROMs, searching for them on dedicated sites.
It should also be noted that, in some cases, it may be illegal to play games where there is no free copy.
The following emulators am, believe, best available to play the most famous and historic games of past consoles.

1) SAW

With this Japanese house, whose traces have been lost, you can start with the historian Sega Master System to 8 bits (1985) and of the successor Sega Mega Drive (1988) at 16 bits.
Above all the Mega Drive was a worldwide success that you could and can still play today, like games like Sonic.
The emulators to play with these 80s Sega consoles are two programs for Windows, Linux, and Mac: KEGA Fusion is Gens GS.

The successor of the Mega Drive was the Sega Saturn 32-bit, a console that was crushed by the Playstation.
The Saturn games are not many because this console did not have the desired success; however, the quality of the videogames is very high.
Yabause is the Sega Saturn emulator and the last Sega console, the Dreamcast.
Yabause also allows you to play with burned or original game CDs (including PSP) and runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.

Sega DreamcastThe last Sega console was the Dreamcast 128 bit from 1998.
It was a failure but the Dreamcast remains a cult console because it had innovative and cutting-edge hardware features for those times.
Some independent companies are still developing Dreamcast videogames today.
Reicast or NullDC is the emulator for Windows while on Mac and Linux another emulation program called lxdream.
Both emulators are still under development, so not all games work and, as the Dreamcast was powerful, you need a good computer.

2) Nintendo

Even Nintendo is a historic home of video game consoles that, at present, has risen to prominence with the DS and the Wii.

Starting with the first Nintendo, you can play today at Nintendo Entertainment System from 1983 with the emulator FCEUX for Windows.
Another great emulator is Nestopia.

The Super Nintendo 16-bit with cartridges, you can play on the PC with the emulator ZSNES which should work well enough to replicate videogames downloadable from ROM sites or even with SNES9X which is better and newer.

on Nintendo DS emulators I had already written an article.

After the great success of Super Nintendo, the Japanese company came out with the Nintendo 64 which was a commercial flop due to the cost of the games (still with cartridges) and of the Playstation competition which instead used CDs.
On N64, however, you can play fantastic titles, including the first adventure of Mario Bros in 3D.
The emulator Mupen64Plus works on Windows, Linux, and Mac with decent compatibility for most ROMs.

Nintendo gamecube Nintendo tried again a few years later with the GameCube which, finally, used disk media in the form of 1.5 GB mini DVDs.
The GameCube sold very little and it really seemed like the end for Nintendo, which was only supported on the Nintendo DS portable console, before the Wii launch which, as we know, is done a bang.
The fantastic emulator Dolphin is capable of running GameCube games as well as those of the Wii on Windows, Linux or Mac (Intel OS X).
The most surprising thing is that this emulator plays high-definition Wii and GameCube videogames, which is not possible on the original consoles.
Dolphin is really worth trying and Wikipedia also talks about it.

3) Playstation

In 1994 the Sony conquered the world of video games with the PlayStation that killed the competition from Sega and Nintendo.
There PlayStation 2 is the best-seller of all-time consoles.
The console has been so successful that Sony still keeps it in production (the PS2 slim), and there are over 10,000 video games available.
As seen in another post, there are two Playstion and PS2 emulators for Windows to play old games.
Playstation Portable or PSP can be emulated on a PC with the program PPSSPP

4) Xbox

In 2001, Microsoft threw itself into the world of video game consoles with the Xbox.
The first Xbox sold little more than the GameCube and it was not exactly a hit despite games like Halo.
DxBx is the emulator available but does not work well and there are few playable games.

5) NeoGeo

A console that deserves a quote is the NeoGeo of the SNK that brought games like Fatal Fury, King of Fighters and Puzzle Bobble.
This console was very expensive and the games could be found in the arcades of the past.
The emulator is Neoragex.

The NeoGeo games and many other arcade titles of arcades are also played on the excellent MAME emulator, which I talked about some time ago.

OpenEmu is perhaps the best console emulator for Mac that has been seen to date, which focuses on usability, with an easy to use interface.

Surely something is missing so if you have experience of other emulators loaded onto your computer successfully, let them know.
Finally, I remember that some old 80’s and 90’s games can be downloaded for free on PC.


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