10 Best Emulators To Turn Your PC Into A Retro Console

Best Emulators To Turn Your PC Into A Retro Console

Many of us grew up playing with one video game or another. Tetris, Super Mario, Pacman, whatever floats your boat is part of our childhood, and occasionally we desire to revisit that childhood, but unfortunately, these games are challenging to come by.

An alternative is to play these best and golden games with an emulator, right on your PC. There are enormous video game emulators that are dedicated to emulating different consoles from the past.

In this article, I’ll be listing 10 highly-rated emulators that can help you play your best-loved childhood games all over again. Before proceeding, it should be noted, while emulation software is legal or lawful, downloading the ROM images (a copy of the game in software form) from the internet isn’t. Emulators are meant to play the games you already own, and you’ll have to dump the ROM images from the cartridges yourself.

1. DOSBox

Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

DOSBox works exclusively in emulating an environment where MS-DOS programs can run as intended. So if you’ve some old DOS games lying around that will not run on your modern PC, give it a try on DOSBox. It should emulate the game correctly and at native speed.

It runs fine that game companies use it to repackage their old DOS games to modern computers. Additionally, it is completely possible to run Windows 9x and DOS-based operating systems on DOSBox if you wish to.

2. OpenEmu

Available on: Mac OS X

OpenEmu is partially based on Retroarch but to provide a Mac-like experience. It contains a gallery view of games similar to iTunes, assisting you in organizing your collection. The default download of the software will not emulate the same amount of consoles as Retroarch can, but there’s an experimental version that will; note that it may not be as stable.

If you have a Mac and many old video games lying around, OpenEmu is undoubtedly the one to get. With it, you can easily manage your collection with an elegant front-end, as OpenEmu can assist you to name the games & get the box art automatically online.

3. PCSX2

Available on: Linux, Windows

There is no denying that the Playstation 2 is one of the highest-selling consoles to date, and with PCSX2, you’ll be able to play its enormous backlog of games. The one drawback is that this emulator needs a reasonably powerful computer due to the structure of the PS2 internals. Still, if you have got that covered, it can run most of the games available on the platform.

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Furthermore, PCSX2 is based on a plug-in system, & with the proper configurations, you can upscale your games to HD quality.

Remember that a Mac version exists but is outdated with no signs of updates.

4. RetroArch

Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, mobile devices

RetroArch is an excellent emulator that can run games from pretty much every retro console out there. On the home console front, you’ll be capable of running Playstation 1 games & older, and while for handheld game consoles, it will support Game Boy Advance games & older.

RetroArch is based on cores, with each core emulating a console; for instance, GBA will have its own core & the NES. It means that as new emulators get created, it’s possible to turn them into cores to run on RetroArch. It is even possible to run it on different modern consoles.


Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, mobile devices

PPSSPP (Playstation Portable Simulator Suitable For Playing Portably) is a relatively new emulator to run PSP games. It was created by one of Dolphin’s cofounders, and just like Dolphin, it is easy to set up and can play a massive number of PSP games.

You can also transfer your PSP saves into it and continue where you left off. Moreover, PPSSPP is still a work in progress with new features & fixes continuously being added.

6. Dolphin

Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

Dolphin is the best GameCube/Wii emulator and is recently the merely emulator that can emulate a console of the 7th generation (PS3/Wii/Xbox 360) & emulate it fine, due to the internals being similar to the GameCube. The emulator boasts a high compatibility rating, so your favorite games will likely be able to run on it.

The emulator will also enable you to run your GameCube games on an HD widescreen, even if the game does not support it. Their latest ability to tap into Nintendo WiFi Connection is under constant development, so expect continuous improvements & updates.

7. ePSXe

Available on: Linux, Windows

Considered by many to be the excellent Playstation 1 emulator for the PC, this program will enable you to run nearly all your PS1 games flawlessly, so long as your machine has the juice and is configured correctly. The emulator uses a plug-in system where almost everything is handled using plug-ins, so you might want to research the excellent way to configure it to your PC.

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Same as PCSX2, with the proper plug-ins and configuration, and assuming a robust computer, your old PS1 games can run in fantastic HD, bringing your nostalgic memory in high-resolution.

8. DeSmuME

Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Nintendo’s dual-screen console can be easily played on your PC using DeSmuME, with both screens simulated on your PC monitor. And your mouse is used as a stylus for the touch input. It also supports games that need you to play your device sideways.

Furthermore, it’s been in constant development with the developers improving and adding new features to make it run seamlessly. And it has been actually on the scene long, so most games should be capable of running on it without issues. Note that the Linux version needs to be self-compiled.

9. ScummVM

Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, various other systems

If you are a lover of the old-style click-and-point adventures, you are sure to enjoy ScummVM. This program is designed to run games that use the SCUMM scripting language used in many click-and-point games made by LucasArts and other companies.

Due to this, it can run games on systems aside from the one originally intended. And, games that were made for Windows can now work or run on Linux or Mac. Like DOSBox, game companies use this emulator to repackage their games to run on modern systems, so you know it’s well worth a look.

10. Mupen64plus

Available on: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

Mupen64plus is an N64 emulator. The program itself does not come with a GUI, so downloading a front-end may be needed for ease of use, with the developers giving links to some recommended ones. Like many programs emulating its generation of consoles, it uses a plug-in system, and you would want to try some to enhance your performance.

Furthermore, N64 emulation is a bit hit-or-miss due to how the console was designed, so it probably not hurt to have an alternate emulator if your game does not run on it. But in case it does, this is one of the great N64 emulators to get due to the plugin system.

Well, if you know of more emulators on this list, let us know in the comments.

Tags : EmulatorsEmulators To Turn Your ComputerEmulators To Turn Your Computer Into A Retro ConsoleRetro ConsoleTurn Your Computer Into A Retro Console

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