If you are a serious gamer, then most likely you know about emulators. Emulators are programs which give you the power to play games for another console on your PC or console. This article will talk about the PC emulation scene, as that is the most active nowadays.
New Age Soldier does not approve of piracy. We expect that you use emulators only if you already own the games.
Nintendo consoles: From NES to Wii U
Most devices nowadays, including smartphones, can emulate the NES and the SNES. Some smartphones can even emulate the Nintendo 64 and the DS. However, the PC is where the emulation scene shines, as not only are PCs capable of running most Gamecube and Wii titles at full speed, but beefier PCs are now able to boot certain 3DS and Wii U titles.
The most stable and promising emulator out there is Dolphin, which gives PC players the ability to play an impressive number of Gamecube and Wii games at full speed, even on mid-range PCs. What is more, Dolphin also allows PC gamers to add multiple Wiimotes and Nunchuks in order to perfectly emulate the Wii experience. All these are possible due to a very talented and dedicated team, which quickly release new updates. Dolphin is also making its way to smartphones, but it only features Gamecube emulation and it still has a lot to go before it’s a viable emulator.
If you’re looking for some recent releases, then you won’t have to wait too long before you’ll be able to play 3DS and Wii U titles, as the current emulators are making huge progress. The 3DS emulator, named Citra, is currently able to boot and run a small portion of Pokemon X, along with other popular titles, albeit at low FPS and a lot of glitches. The Wii U emulator, which was recently released, is called Cemu and has been making huge progress over a small period of time. The game can run recent releases, such as Splatoon and Super Mario Maker at decent speeds, so it won’t take long until PC gamers get to create their own Mario levels.
Other notable emulators are: Visual Boy Advance for Gameboy Advance and DeSmuME/NO$GBA for the Nintendo DS.
The PlayStation emulation stage has been active for a long time, with even the Dreamcast getting a PlayStation emulator that could run Metal Gear Solid. Nowadays, low-end PCs are able to run the first PlayStation, while mid-range and up can play PlayStation 2 titles. The best PlayStation emulator is ePSXe, and the best Playstation 2 emulator, with another talented and dedicated development crew, is PCSX2. An emulator for the PlayStation 3, titled rpcs3, is still in the works, with it being able to run a few indie games. The release of DirectX 12 has helped the development a lot, as it is also able to run After Burner Climax, a demanding 3D game at impressive speeds.
The PlayStation 4 doesn’t currently have any emulators in the works, but given that the current-gen consoles have the same architecture as a PC, we estimate that developing emulators will be easier.
If you want to emulate PSP games, you should check out PPSSPP, a very smooth emulator with a user-friendly interface and a huge catalog of playable games. It is impossible to emulate the Vita at the moment.
Fans of Xbox franchises aren’t as lucky as Sony and Nintendo fans, as no Xbox console so far has a viable emulator. The first Xbox has Xeon, which can only play Halo: Combat Evolved, but the Xbox 360 has a very promising emulator called Xenia, which is currently in the works. Xenia can boot certain triple-A games, such as Halo Reach, but it can only access the menus. The emulator can play certain japanese indie titles, but it still has a long way to go before it’ll give you access to Microsoft’s best exclusives. The Xbox One is in the same position as the PS4: it has no emulator in the works.