Emulators ROMs and your HTPC

Emulators

MAME Emulator

Emulators and your HTPC

What is an emulator?

For those who are unfamiliar with emulators and ROMS, an emulator is a piece of software that is designed to replicate the function of something else.  In our case, the emulators we speak of are for emulating video game consoles.  Emulators are developed for most game consoles, classic and current.  There are Mac emulators and PC emulators that both function similarly, just on different platforms.  A ROM is a digital game cartridge.  So remember those old plastic Nintendo cartridges, they are now converted to a digital file called a ROM.  The great thing about emulators and ROM’s is there are plenty of ROM’s available online for you to grab, and there are plenty of emulators to run them, no matter whether you need a PC emulator or a Mac emulator.  There are some exceptions to the rule, especially when we are talking about Mac emulators as they are fewer and far between than their PC counterpart.  For whatever reason, PC emulators get more love and that is sad because there is a good market for Mac emulators.  Anyhow, let’s move forward with the good stuff.

What systems can I get an emulator for on my PC?

For PC there are a great number of emulators available to you.  Here is a quick breakdown of the most popular emulators and what system they are associated with.

  • Arcade systems emulator – MAME or Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator will run most arcade system ROMs
  • Atari 2600 – z26 is your best choice when it comes to Atari emulators
  • Nintendo Entertainment System – FCEUX is a great, easy to use emulator for NES.
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Snes9x this is clearly the best choice for SNES emulators, but also be aware of bsnes and ZSNES as they are also good applications.
  • Nintendo 64 – Couple choices here, but I prefer Sixtyforce for my N64 emulation.
  • Gamecube/Wii – Clearly the best choice here is Dolphin. note: also a working Wii emulator, although not fully functional.
  • Gameboy/Gameboy Color – I really like Goomba Paletted for my GBC emulation
  • Gameboy Advance – NO$GBA is probably the widest recognized here, and will also emulate NDS.
  • Nintendo DS – Not alot of experience with this, but I’d go with NO$GBA.
  • For all my Sega emulation I use Kega Fusion.  It’s a great emulator that can handle Master system all the way to 32x.
  • Playstation – PCSX is great for Playstation 1 emulation
  • PS2 – PCSX 2, why not?  PCSX for PS1 and PCSX2 for PS2.
  • XBOX – emulator support for Xbox is not great, so I would stick to other emulators that are well developed.

What kind of Mac Emulators can I get?

Before I delve into what Mac emulators you can get, I want to make you aware there is a plugin for Plex, called Game Launcher that will give you access to your ROMs right through Plex and launch them from your remote control or from your Xbox/PS3 controller.  No keyboard or mouse required.  That being said, I’m going to talk a little bit about some of the Mac emulators for those non-plex Mac HTPC users.  Although, if you have a Mac and use it as an HTPC… Get Plex already!

  • Dolphin – Mac emulator that can run Gamecube, Wii, and Triforce games.
  • MAME – Again, this is a cross platform emulator that will run arcade games on your Mac.
  • Atari 2600 – Z26 again will be your best bet.
  • N64 Emulator – Mupen64 is pretty awesome for N64
Honestly when it comes for emulator on a Mac, your best bet is to grab Mess.  The sister to MAME, MESS can really handle a whole slew of game formats that you throw at it.  I would really suggest you grab this before you even try configuring the others.

Downloading Emulators & ROMs

Now your best bet to download emulators is to go right to the app developers site and grab them from there.  However, with ROMs you can find those all over the web.  The best resource I have found to grab ROMs is to go to DopeROMs.  They have an expansive library of ROMs  to really get your gaming on.  Remember kiddies, only download ROMs for games you legally have purchased! 😉

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