Did you own a video game? The 90s were an interesting period in most of our lives; if you were a gamer then, you will certainly want the best NES emulator to go back to those days. The anxiety of making it to the last win characterized the weekends.
It must have been easy for parents to manage kids during weekends; as long as the video games are up and running, cousins and neighbors will gather for a whole afternoon.
You would be forced to go take a bite because you are too busy. Actually, fingers would get numb because of long play hours and concentration on Super Mario among other games of the time.
History of gaming
1997 was a landmark in the life of gamers. NES came in to revolutionize the gaming industry; there was no better news at the time than accessing multiple games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Of course, not every home-hosted or could afford this.
Owning one in your room wasn’t fun, the scarcity made it more interesting because you would gather and probably play in turns. No time would be wasted; we were all looking forward to weekends and summer for nothing else other than games on NES.
Advancement in technology over the years robbed us of this experience. But luckily, NES has come to the rescue of many by developing emulators where you can access some of the ancient games through your PC.
If you are running windows then you have access to some of the best emulators that can bring back the good old times.
NES is now 15 years old but still vibrant in the gaming industry. The lasts update of their software was in 2017. Evidently, the company is not bowing out anytime soon; they are keeping up with new technology while striving to maintain the old gaming culture.
No better way to entertain yourself other than revising Contra but on your PC. You might be an avid and expert gamer with the new technology but you can agree there is a special feeling that comes with sticking your fingers on the keyboard for the early games.
Nothing against the modern game developments, but NES is rebranded and efficient more than ever. You will rarely encounter compatibility issues.
It is not only easy to customize the settings but also comes with additional tools including a controller for the ultimate gaming experience.
Best NES emulators: Our Top Pick 👌👌
Emulators are available for Android, windows, and PC users.
If you are not bothered with specifications and how the features work, this is the best option for you. No special configuration settings required.
All you need is downloading and launching jNES (Download Here). All the NES games you miss will easily be accessible.
If you have struggled with installation processes before, you know why an elaborate and direct emulator is first on this list. You can download it for free from the developer’s website.
It has the basic few features for accessing the games; you need nothing more than a simple NES emulator to go back to the good gaming old days.
The list cannot go on without mentioning this popular emulator. If you are enthusiastic about enhanced features and new technology, RetroArch (Download Here) is for you.
Any Nintendo game lover has an idea about this emulator; it is one of the early development of the NES but still maintains its popularity in the market because of its unique and flawless features.
The emulator addresses two things; smooth transitions and quality graphics, this is all a gamer on PC needs.
Most emulators you might know may have incredible graphics but the flow is compromised, they will lag as you try to rush for a win.
The full range of features will require you to seek help from the developer; to set up, thoroughly read the manual for correct installation, which will guarantee efficiency and effectiveness.
For gamers that prioritize graphics, FCEUX (Download Here) won’t be a disappointment. The emulator gives you the ultimate experience in gaming.
You also have a chance to customize settings to fit your individual preferences in games. Actually, you can keep on changing the settings to fit the needs of different games.
Some games require fewer graphics for your concentration and accuracy; in some graphics are everything.
Speeds can also be adjusted to give you the ultimate experience in gaming. FCEUX allows you to use a joystick and continue playing; its compatibility and flexibility attribute to its increasing popularity.
Beginners may find it challenging because of the enhanced features; conversely, no expert would want to spend hours on a screen with poor graphics. The answer is always with FCEUX.
For modern gaming enthusiasts, this will be exciting. The emulator allows you to play both online and offline.
Most gamers today like to interact to compete or play in teams. The online platforms courtesy of the Nesbox emulator (Download Here) allows people in different locations to play in real-time.
It is also convenient if you don’t want to slow down your gaming computer. Instead of downloading, find a suitable browser, and play online.
The graphics level has maintained the level, nothing to worry about the quality of sound and colors. Also, it doesn’t require any settings or complicated setups.
5. EmuBox – Fast Retro Emulator
Are you tired of using the same old emulator for ages? We understand your frustration when it starts lagging while playing your favorite game.
Well, we are here to make your life a little easier by introducing the brand new emulator; EmuBox. This is undoubtedly one of the best NES emulators of all time.
The all-in-one emulator is here to replace your frustratingly slow emulator in use.
EmuBox supports various platforms including GBC, NES, SNES, NES, NDS and PS1.
The multi-emulator enables you to save or load your games, fast forward them and attach an external controller to them.
The first-ever material design emulator permits you to capture your game’s screenshot at any point in time.
EmuBox provides you with the facility to plug in your gamepad or Bluetooth gamepad in order to make you feel comfortable while playing your favorite game.
The only drawback of the emulator is it does not have its own game ROM. Users are expected to bring their ROMs to the game party.
Download the apk file here.
6. Nestopia UE (Undead Edition)
The RetroArch look-alike emulator came into existence after the developer stopped working on its preceder, Nestopia. If you are looking for an emulator having almost identical features as Retrorach, then Nestopia UE (Download Here) will be the most suitable for you.
We all understand the hassles and difficulties one goes through while installing RetroArch. Nestopia is there to eliminate all those unwanted hard work as it is not only easy to install but also easy to use.
We can assure you that Nestopia UE is one of the best NES emulators of all time. It won’t disappoint you!
- Windows 10 is the best software that supports the emulator and helps it work smoothly.
- Comparatively, RetroArch undoubtedly provides more advanced features, but according to us, Nestopia UE has proven its worth by gaining the second-best position after RetroArch.
- Nestopia UE offers various gestures and customizations. Worried about forgetting to save your game? Well, Nestopia UE is here for your rescue as one of its features includes autosaving.
- Nestopia UE offers multiplayer support.
- Along with connecting external devices, the emulator will let the player in-app recording.
- The emulator supports various platforms including Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, NetBSD, and macOS.
- The only drawback of the emulator is if the option vsync is turned off, the player may face screen tearing, but at the same time turning it on may result in input lagging.
If you are looking for an almost replica of NES gameplay, then Nintedulator (Download Here) will show a smooth and satisfactory performance. The emulator is programmed in C++, which will be responsible for providing you with hassle-less, smooth and high-quality experience.
The realistic gameplay makes it one of the best NES emulators to date. The developers of the emulator had made their goal to emulate specific actions that have either been neglected or been avoided by other developers, or their importance has been overshadowed due to lack of attention.
Although there are emulators capable of providing more features, Nintedultor has its desirable features.
- The inbuilt Game Genie Support supports autoplay.
- It enables the players to use a USB gamepad.
- Just like the original Nintendo console, Nintendulator incorporates the hard and soft reset features, providing the players with a virtual Nintendo version.
- Savestates and battery-backed RAM are stored in the Device Data folder of the current owner, enabling Nintendulator to operate correctly and smoothly if it is not run as an administrator.
- NES, FDS, UNIF and NS are the supported file formats of the emulator.
- However, it is to be noted that in order to use the emulator at its maximum speed without lagging successfully, one needs to own a 1500MHz CPU.
Despite not getting any support from its developers in 2007, if the said emulator still manages to take its place on our list of best NES emulators of all time, then it speaks volumes of its smooth and effective working on various versions of Windows, including Windows 10.
The emulator is highly flexible as its customizations are designed in a way to fulfill the users’ demands. The feature supports connecting external joysticks or gamepads by the users, in order to play the game comfortably.
Tired of playing your games on a minimized screen? Want to experience how it feels like having a full screen entirely dedicated for you to play games? VirtuaNES (Download Here) has given justice to its name as its full-screen feature will let you experience the virtual world of gaming.
The full screen will allow you to indulge not only in the game but also in your feelings, as now it will feel more realistic, more fun, and exciting to play.
On the other hand, the adjustable screen will let you minimize your screen, allowing you to multitask.
The emulator offers to cheat code support, so for all our lazy sloths out there, we won’t need you to go through difficulties to play your favorite game. Just lie down and let the emulator do its job.
This is not the end! The emulator does not require additional support for you to play NES games. It is self-sufficient to cater to all of your wishes.
To experiment with new code cheats, all you have to do is do some needful edits, and you are good to go.
Plug-in language support is available for you to view instructions in your local languages.
9. Mesen (Download Here)
The emulator incorporates a simple interface making it user-friendly and compatible. The emulation takes place in a very smooth and satisfactory manner.
After conducting several surveys and evaluating reviews by the users, it is safe to say that Mesen is one of the best NES emulators ever. In fact, it is probably the most suitable emulator for all types of NES games out there, especially for the Windows and Linux versions.
Generally, in haste, we tend to forget to save our game before exiting. That leads to the nightmare of every gamer as now they are required to resume their levels from square one.
Yeah! Painful isn’t it? It is pretty much apparent that the developers of Mesen indeed went through the pain of losing their progressions of the game. So, our gamers, you need not worry as now Mesen will assure that all your progressions are auto-saved.
The auto-saving feature of the emulator will store all your progressions and would let you resume your game for where you had left.
Another unique feature of the emulator is that it is capable of remembering the latest ROM files used by the gamer in the previous game.
In the next game, a screenshot of the ROM files would be captured and provided to the gamer by the emulator. One would be able to view the game play time of the previous game. This feature is available not for only one file but several other files as well.
The emulator offers an extensive set of debugging tools.
If you are impressed by all these features, then be ready to be explored with happiness as Mesen offers several other useful features. Netplay, video filters, rewinding, cheat codes, overlocking, and HD packs are some features that have attracted gamers to use the said emulator.
If you are in search of a reliable and competitive emulator with not so complex interface, then RockNES (Download Here) will serve your needs.
The emulator is not only easy to operate because of its straightforward and to-the-point functions but also incorporates unique and exciting features that will make the smooth working of the gameplay and will allow the players to enjoy the games with jamming music playing in the background.
The emulator is programmed in C and uses the Allegro library for audio and video.
If you are using a PC with older OS versions, then the emulator may decrease its speed. But once the versions are upgraded to the latest ones, the speed of the emulator increases, and it stops lagging.
Although comparatively, the speed may be slower than other emulators, it is almost negligible. Play with an open mind, and you won’t even feel the difference.
One of the best features of RockNES is that it uses Eagle mode to increase the quality of the graphics. Eagle mode will let you control the inbuilt graphics and audio sound of the game.
All types of NES games are supported by RockNES. What more could one possibly ask for?
A file named ROCKNES.CFG is created by the emulator after the first round of the game which is editable to the players. If the player seeks to control the audio, video and the game controller, then appropriate edits made to the file would enable them to do so.
Mirroring Nintendulator, RockNES has also incorporated the Game Genie feature to make the emulation user-friendly and more comfortable to run. The user need not worry about the procedure of using the unique feature.
The emulator comes with a text file with an elaborated explanation about the steps one is required to take to understand the Game Genie feature of the emulator.
Other features include saving states, triple buffering in full screen, a sound recording of the game, palette RAM viewer, monochrome mode, and more.
Do not hesitate to try one of the best NES emulators of all time. Give it a try and enjoy smooth emulation while you play.
The emulator developed by Nostalgia Emulators (Download Here) serves the best on android devices. If you are feeling too lazy to reach your PC for playing games, do not worry. Nostalgia.NES is here to provide you with excellent quality of gameplay on your mobile phones.
The android emulator is developed based on one of the best NES emulators of all time; FCEUX. Undoubtedly, the emulator incorporated similar features to that of FCEUX.
The clean and steady interface is the reason which enables the players to play their video games on mobile phones without any hassles. We can guarantee that Nostalgia. NES, one of the best NES emulators of all time will continue to satisfy your gaming needs.
The standard features that mirror other emulators are; save and load of the gameplay, attaching external controllers, rewinding the game when one messes up, and more. A wifi-controlled mode is also available for the users.
The most significant feature is that the stable interface supports the screen touch feature of the smartphones and at the same time, one could even use other android devices as controllers of the game being played on their mobile phones.
A micro SD card is required for the user to download Nostalgia.NES. To play games on their phones, all the ROMs are required to be stored inside of the microSD card.
If the players are not comfortable using touch screens, then the emulator enables them to use Bluetooth gamepads to control the game.
The wifi-controlled mode enables the player to connect with various devices and play with their friends to make it more fun. The maximum limit of forming a group is up to 4 players.
The customizable virtual controller lets the player adjust the buttons of the controllers according to their comfort.
The emulator also provides the facility of capturing screenshots of the game at any point of time. Want to show off your skills or achievements? Just click it and use the screenshots to boast about your talent.
By downloading Nostalgia.NES Lite, the player will be excused from getting interfered by annoying pop-ups or advertisements during the gameplay.
The free, open-source game emulator is made compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and Linux. It was released nearly 17 years ago on September 22, 2003, by Dolphin Emulator Project (Download Here). Even nearly after a decade, the emulator continues gaining its spot on one of the best NSE emulators of the all-time list.
The emulator is available in 24 languages, making it available to a diverse group of players. With the development of smartphones, Dolphin has been able to make its name in the emulators’ market. It was one of the first emulators that could smoothly carry out the gameplay of commercial games.
The emulator supports two types of network play. The first is Emulated local multiplayer which can be accessed only among Dolphin users. It applies to the games having no default online options to play.
The second one is Nintendo Wifi-Connection. It enables Dolphin users and real Wii users to play with each other online. This network play only supports gameplays having WFC-supported Wii games.
Like other emulators, Dolphin also supports save states of the gameplay. Virtual GameCube memory cards are used to store the progression of the game.
The transfer of the saved files to and from the virtual Game cube memory cards are made possible with the Memory card manager incorporated inside the emulator.
Unlike Nintendo, Dolphin has the feature which enables the players to play the game in stereoscopic 3D form.
Unlike the GameCube and Wii, which can support the graphical elements to a maximum of 480p, Dolphin boasts its capability of picturing the graphics in 1080p resolution.
The only drawback is the emulator is not free from bugs. But the developers have done a pretty good job in managing the issue. The emulator will not let the bugs affect your gameplay!
Other features consist of the use of Action Replay cheat codes, inbuilt recording tools and many more.
The expansion of controllers is supported by the emulator. If one wishes to control the GameCube controller through USB adaptors, then one would be able to do so with the help of Dolphin. Wii remotes can be connected through Bluetooth.
By granting the user access to the Nintendo eshop servers, Dolphin has done a fantastic job in gaining popularity in the world of gamers.
Do not be surprised if you find Dolphin working better than the original game console Nintendo. After all, being at the top of the market even after 17 years is not a matter of joke. Dolphin is indeed one of the best NES emulators of all time.
13. Snes9x Ex +
The emulator is specially designed for android users. The light weighted app will grant you access to playing your favorite console games on your mobile phones or tablets.
PCs may be out of reach for you to play games. Suppose you are traveling and the gamer inside you comes alive in the middle of nowhere. Will you let the absence of PCs come between you and your hobby? Snes9x Ex + (Download Here) will not.
Now, you will be able to experience the smooth gameplay of the PC on your mobile phones. The emulator will let you access the controlled console games from the comfort of your android devices. It is indeed one of the best NES emulators of all time.
The portable version will allow you to save your game at any point in time. This feature becomes more useful on android devices as mobile phones are meant to be carrying out multitasking. Interrupted by a phone call? Do not worry about losing your progress. The emulator will save them all.
A unique feature of the app is that it grants you access to the Super Scope. YES! All Nintendo users, we could feel your excitement already! For our newbies, Super Scope is the Super Nintendo gun.
All you need to enable the feature is to inform the emulator about getting the device connected to it. And BAM! Fight and kill your enemies! The supergun is with you!
It allows external devices to be used as controllers. Bluetooth devices could be attached as controllers while the players use the screen of the android devices as the display.
Players will be able to transmit and save games either in the internal storage or the SD card according to their convenience.
Various formats of ROMs are supported by the emulator including SMC, SFC, zip, rar and more.
14. CastNES- CHROMECAST GAME
CastNES (Download Here) is one of the most popular Chromecast game emulators. The reliable and compatible emulator supports nearly all types of NES games and can be applied in all types of android devices.
The simple interface of the emulator provides the gamers with satisfactory and hassle-less gameplay even on their phones or tablets. It should be noted that the emulator does not incorporate any games by default.
The payers are expected to download games on their own, and the NES files would automatically be added to the emulator. The emulator is also commendable for its high speed.
Overall CastNES will let you enjoy playing smooth, fast and uninterrupted gameplay on your android devices. Go ahead and download one of the best NES emulators ever.
The game-saving features of the emulator are comparatively easier to understand. You are not required to spend a long time performing various steps to save your progress.
The emulator also offers auto game-saving systems along with backup addition systems.
The android devices could be used as full-sized controllers, providing the users with more convenience and comfortability, while the game is being displayed on the Chromecast devices.
The emulators are compatible in working with zipped ROMs.
This concludes our list of the top NES emulators of all time. Be it your PC or android devices we have tried to include every possible emulator that would satisfy the needs of our gamers.
Let us know about your favorite picks in the comment section below. If we have missed incorporating your favorite emulators, always know that this list will always have a place of expansion. You let us know about our missed emulators, and we will include them on our list and check them out.
We are aware of the importance of the emulator in the gaming world. Thus, we can assure you that all the emulators on our list have unique features that will provide you with the best experience of the gameplay on your computers, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
We hope to serve you with more console emulators in the future. Remember, we are always open to suggestions.
Let your gaming buddies know of your knowledge about emulators in the comment section below, and we will see to it that your gaming keeps on continuing.
So this quarantine, stay safe, but do not stop playing games! We will always have your backs if you find yourself in confusion regarding gaming!