Best programs to emulate game consoles and video games such as Playstation, Nintendo, SNES, Xbox, Sega and others on PC
These are always programs developed by amateur programmers (they are not affiliated with console manufacturers), for Windows Linux and Macwho, fond of a particular console, want to run the video games of the past on the PC.
In the following guide we will show you what the programs to emulate Playstation, XBox, Nintendo and Sega consoles on PCso as to be able to transform our computer into a game room where all the games of the old glories are present.
We remind you that downloading game ROMs and console BIOSes is against the law: use emulators only if you have the original consoles and games (from which to extract the ROMs and original BIOS), so as to avoid any problems with the law.
READ ALSO -> Emulators of old programs, operating systems and games
1) PlayStation emulators
The best emulator that we can download for PlayStation consoles is PCSX2available free for Windows.
This emulator allows you to play video game titles released for the Sony Playstation 2among the most appreciated and loved consoles by gamers of the time.
The interface is very simple and allows you to immediately access the ROMs of your favorite games, complete with the original cover of the game and a very powerful emulation systemable to run the vast majority of games available for the PS2.
If we want to emulate Sony PlayStation games we can use the emulator ePSXeto emulate PlayStation 3 games we can try the emulator RPCS3 and finally to play PSP games we can use the emulator PPSSPP extension.
For the record, we inform you that many of the classic games for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 are available in Sony’s online cloud gaming (accessible from PS4 and PS5 consoles), by subscribing to Playstation Plus Premium.
For further information, we can read our guide to best PlayStation emulators for PC.
2) Emulators for Xbox
Many of the games available for Xbox were also released as Game PCso it’s not clear to what extent it’s worth emulating Xbox games (perhaps only the few exclusive ones that aren’t found on PC).
The best emulator for Xbox is definitely xeniaan open source emulator designed to run games released on the Xbox 360the most famous console and loved by fans of the Xbox world.
The operation is similar to that of other console emulators: we will have to load the BIOS and ROM of the game to try and, if the emulator supports the game in question well, immediately start playing it with the keyboard keys or with a compatible controller .
Also in this case we remind you that it is possible to play old Xbox classics using the Xbox cloud gaming, accessible with a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
3) Emulators for Nintendo
Nintendo has released many consoles over the years and, by extension, is the manufacturer that boasts the largest number of emulators for its consoles.
For example, let’s start with nintendo 64: if we want to play the titles of this console we can download the emulator Mupen64Plusamong the best for emulation capabilities and support for games released on the Nintendo console of the time.
If instead we wanted to emulate the Nintendo GameCube and Wii we can rely on the emulator Dolphinavailable in Italian and able to provide such high compatibility as to enjoy the games of these consoles on PC in full HD (1080p) with numerous improvements.
To play the titles of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System or, as it was known by us, SuperNintendo) we should immediately rely on emulators Snes9x And monthboth very good for playing the ROMs of retro games that were very popular at the time of the launch of the two consoles.
If we love the Nintendo portable consoles we can emulate the GameBoy Advance and the Nintendo 3DS using as emulators Visual Boy Advance And Citraboth of which are great for playing pocket titles made for handheld consoles (most notable are many versions of historic Pokémon games).
Nintendo has also tried to “intercept” retro game enthusiasts, offering many of the old videogame titles made by the Japanese company directly as cloud gaming with a simple subscription to Nintendo Switch Online; with the add-on package you will get emulation of Nintendo 64 games, emulation of GameBoy Advance and emulator for SEGA Mega Drive.
Those interested in emulating the Nintendo Switch, we invite you to read our in-depth analysis on best nintendo switch emulators for pc.
4) Emulators for SEGA
SEGA made a few niche consoles that enjoyed some success until the early 2000s, with the market going out after the commercial failure of the SEGA DreamCast.
Anyone wishing to try the DreamCast games can use the emulator Redream, among the best emulators reviewed in this guide. DreamCast game support is practically complete, just load the ROMs to start playing right away.
Who wants to emulate the SEGA Saturn can use the emulator Yabause. To emulate the SEGA Mega Drive games we can use the excellent emulator Fusion.
On the same subject we can read our guide on how to emulate dreamcast games on pc.
5) Arcade cabinet emulators
Separate mention also for the arcade cabinet emulators (those of the arcades), among which theMAME emulatorable to run in a small window the games that accompanied many teenagers of the 80s and 90s in unique challenges with tokens (here obviously fake, we will be able to play without limits and without losing money).
Other MAME-like emulators for Arcade games are also Final Burn Neo And Zinc.
Emulators will allow you to play old video games directly from a PC, without having to buy old used consoles (which in the meantime have become collector’s items and therefore very expensive).
There are certainly some hurdles to overcome (such as recovering game BIOSes and ROMs), but with clever research we will be able to play old games from the 80s and 90s with a quality similar to that offered by the consoles of the time.
To learn more, we can also read our article on how to get the Old games from the 80s and 90s free download for PC.