Emulators

21 of the Best Free Linux Video Console Emulators

This page is retained for historic interest only. Read our updated article showcasing the best free Linux video console game emulators.


Emulation refers to the duplication of functions of one system using a different system. Specifically, an emulator is software specifically written to emulate aspects of the original console or computer, primarily the CPU, I/O and memory system.

This article focuses on selecting the best software which enables a Linux machine to emulate classic video consoles, such as the GameBoy, Nintendo 64, Megadrive, PlayStation 1 & 2, and many others. Please be aware that although all of the software featured in this article is free to download, some of the emulators are not open source.

Other emulators that are worthy of mention include Dolphin, and Snes9x; the former is a promising Gamecube / Wii emulator in its very early stages of development, the latter is a cross-platform emulator for the SNES.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 21 high quality Linux Video Console emulators. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to have some fun and reminisce about their misspent youth.

Now, let’s explore the 21 emulators at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Video Console Emulators
DeSMuMeNintendo DS emulator that aims to be portable
FCEUXNTSC and PAL Famicom/NES emulator
KiGBAccurate emulator for Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Super Gameboy
MednafenEmulates GameBoy (Color), GameBoy Advance, and other systems
Mupen64PlusPlugin-based N64 emulator
NestopiaNES/Famicom emulator
TuxBoyFork of the open source GameBoy/Color emulator gnuboy
VisualBoyAdvanceGame Boy Advance emulates GBA, GBC, SGB, and GBA roms
ZSNESSuper Nintendo Entertainment System with advanced features
DGen/SDLVirtual environment for Sega Genesis games
GensSega Megadrive, MegaCD and 32X
lxdreamDreamcast emulator
MekaMulti machine emulator, originally started as a Sega Master System emulator
YabauseEmulator for the Sega Saturn
ePSXeSony PlayStation 1 emulator
PCSXAdvanced PlayStation (PSX) emulator
PCSX2PlayStation 2 emulator
pSXSelf-contained Sony PlayStation 1 emulator
AdvanceMAMEUnofficial MAME/MESS versions
GnGeoNeo-Geo game platform
SDLMAMEPort of the popular emulator MAME

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Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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