The Most Popular Emulator, Ranked

Choose the emulator you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 19, 2024 06:37
Finding the right emulator can be a daunting task, given the multitude of options available today. Each emulator offers unique features and supports different systems, creating a diverse landscape for users to navigate. A ranked list based on public opinion helps clarify which emulators are currently preferred by the majority, providing guidance for newcomers and experienced users alike. By participating in voting, users contribute to the accuracy of the ranking, ensuring it reflects current preferences and trends. This dynamic approach keeps the list relevant and useful for everyone. Voters also benefit by seeing how their favorite emulators compare in popularity to others, possibly discovering new options they might not have considered before.

What Is the Most Popular Emulator?

  1. 1
    86
    votes
    RetroArch is an open-source, cross-platform frontend for emulators, game engines, video games, media players, and other applications. It supports a wide variety of systems, including Atari, NES, SNES, PlayStation, and more. RetroArch provides a user-friendly interface with powerful customization options.
    RetroArch is a powerful and popular emulator that serves as a frontend for other emulators, game engines, and media players. It allows users to access a wide range of classic and modern gaming platforms on various devices.
    • Platform support: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi, and more
    • Emulator support: Supports a vast number of gaming platforms, including NES, Super NES, Sega Genesis, PlayStation, and many more
    • User interface: Highly customizable and intuitive user interface with touchscreen support
    • Shader support: Offers a wide range of shaders for enhancing graphics and visual effects
    • Core system: Utilizes the Libretro API, enabling cross-platform support and compatibility
  2. 2
    37
    votes
    Dolphin is an open-source emulator for Nintendo GameCube and Wii games. It allows players to enjoy their favorite games in high definition and offers advanced features like save states, cheat codes, and multiplayer support.
    Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals known for their playful and social behavior. They have sleek bodies, with a curved dorsal fin on their back, and are usually gray in color, although they can also be white or black. Dolphins have streamlined bodies, allowing them to swim swiftly through the water. They communicate using a complex system of clicks, whistles, and body movements.
    • Common Name: Dolphin
    • Scientific Name: Delphinidae
    • Size: Varies depending on the species, ranging from 4 to 30 feet (1.2 to 9 meters)
    • Weight: Ranges from 90 pounds (40 kg) to over 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg)
    • Habitat: Found in oceans and seas worldwide, preferring warmer waters
  3. 3
    30
    votes
    PCSX2 is a free and open-source PlayStation 2 emulator for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It allows players to play their favorite PS2 games on their PC, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    PCSX2 is a free and open-source PlayStation 2 emulator for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It allows users to play PS2 games on their computers by emulating the PS2's hardware. The emulator has gained popularity for its accuracy, compatibility, and advanced features.
    • Platform: Windows, Linux, macOS
    • License: GNU General Public License (GPL)
    • Supported Games: Most PS2 games
    • Graphics: Hardware and software rendering options
    • Controller Support: Keyboard, mouse, and gamepad support
  4. 4
    25
    votes
    Citra is an open-source Nintendo 3DS emulator for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It allows players to play their favorite 3DS games on their PC, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    Citra is a popular open-source Nintendo 3DS emulator that allows users to play 3DS games on their computers. It is highly compatible and provides smooth gameplay experience.
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
    • First Release: April 2014
    • Latest Stable Release: March 2021
    • License: GNU General Public License v2.0
    • Language: C++
  5. 5
    12
    votes
    Cemu is an experimental Wii U emulator for Windows. It allows players to play their favorite Wii U games on their PC, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    Cemu is a highly popular emulator used for running Wii U games on computers. It provides an opportunity for gamers to enjoy Wii U titles without owning the actual console. The emulator aims to deliver smooth gameplay, high compatibility, and various enhancements like higher resolutions and faster framerates.
    • Operating System: Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 or better
    • Graphics Card: NVIDIA or AMD GPU with OpenGL 4.5 support
    • RAM: 8GB or more
    • Storage: 5GB of free disk space
  6. 6
    7
    votes
    MAME is an open-source emulator for arcade games. It allows players to play classic arcade games on their PC, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a well-known emulator that allows users to play vintage arcade games on modern computer systems. It is designed to accurately replicate the hardware and functionality of arcade machines from the past.
    • Compatibility: Supports thousands of arcade game titles from various manufacturers
    • Accuracy: Aims to reproduce the original hardware behavior and game experience
    • Open-Source: Developed and maintained by a collaborative community of enthusiasts
    • Software Rendering: Emulates the original graphics and sound chips of arcade machines
    • Customization: Allows users to configure controls, video options, and other settings
  7. 7
    13
    votes
    ePSXe ePSXe is ePSXe is a PlayStation emulator for Windows, Linux, and Android. It allows players to play their favorite PS1 games on their PC or mobile device, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    ePSXe is a popular emulator for the Sony PlayStation console, allowing users to play PS1 games on their computers. It offers enhanced graphics, improved compatibility, and additional features to enhance gameplay.
    • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
    • System Requirements: Processor with SSE2 support, OpenGL 2.0 or higher compatible GPU, 2 GB RAM
    • Resolution Support: Up to 4K (depending on hardware)
    • Controller Support: Keyboard, mouse, gamepad, and joystick
    • Multiplayer Support: Local multiplayer via split-screen, online multiplayer via network plugin
  8. 8
    2
    votes
    Project64 is a Nintendo 64 emulator for Windows. It allows players to play their favorite N64 games on their PC, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    Project64 is a popular emulator for the Nintendo 64 gaming console. It allows users to play Nintendo 64 games on their computer by emulating the console's hardware and software. The emulator aims to replicate the N64 experience as closely as possible, providing high compatibility and accurate gameplay.
    • Platform: Windows
    • Latest Version: 2.3.2
    • Release Date: May 14, 2005
    • Input Methods: Keyboard, mouse, gamepad
    • Audio Support: High-quality sound emulation
  9. 9
    7
    votes
    VisualBoyAdvance is a Game Boy Advance emulator for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It allows players to play their favorite GBA games on their PC or mobile device, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    VisualBoyAdvance is a popular Game Boy Advance emulator for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It allows users to play Game Boy Advance games on their computers, providing a nostalgic gaming experience. The emulator provides various features and customization options to enhance the gameplay.
    • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
    • Compatibility: Supports most Game Boy Advance games
    • Speed: High-performance emulator
    • Save States: Ability to save and load game states
    • Controller Support: Gamepad and keyboard support
  10. 10
    6
    votes
    PPSSPP is a PSP emulator for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. It allows players to play their favorite PSP games on their PC or mobile device, with features like high-resolution graphics, save states, and cheat codes.
    PPSSPP is a popular emulator that allows users to play PSP (PlayStation Portable) games on various platforms. It is known for its high compatibility, excellent performance, and advanced emulation features, making it one of the top choices for PSP emulation.
    • Platform(s): Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, Meego/Harmattan
    • Language(s): C++, C#, Assembly
    • Latest Version: 1.11.3
    • Release Date: November 4, 2021
    • Multithreading Support: Yes

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Ranking factors for popular emulator

  1. Platform Compatibility
    The emulator should be compatible with various platforms, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, or even mobile operating systems. A good emulator supports multiple platforms, making it more widely accessible to users.
  2. Performance
    A good emulator should have high performance, providing smooth gameplay without lag or glitches. It should be able to run games at a consistent frame rate and support various resolutions.
  3. Ease of Use
    The emulator should have an easy-to-use interface, making it simple for both tech-savvy and novice users to operate. It should have clear instructions on how to install, configure, and play games without much difficulty.
  4. Customizability
    Users should be able to customize various aspects of the emulator, such as controller configurations, video and audio settings, and more. A good emulator allows its users to tailor their experience to their preferences.
  5. Stability
    A popular emulator should be stable and have a low crash rate. It should be capable of running games reliably without frequently crashing or freezing.
  6. Support and Updates
    A good emulator should have a strong support community, with developers frequently updating the software and fixing bugs. Active development ensures the emulator remains up-to-date, compatible with new games, and maintains a stable user experience.
  7. Legal Considerations
    Emulators should operate within legal boundaries, not promoting the distribution of copyrighted material or piracy. A popular emulator should comply with laws and regulations in regions where it is available.
  8. Additional Features
    An emulator that offers additional features, such as multiplayer support, save states, or screenshot functionality, may be more popular among users. Extra features can enhance the gaming experience and make the emulator stand out from its competitors.
  9. Reputation
    Finally, a popular emulator should have a good reputation, with positive reviews from users and the emulation community. People often trust word-of-mouth recommendations, so having a solid reputation is key to the emulator's popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular emulator. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or emulator is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 2542 views
  • 214 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each emulator once every 24 hours. The rank of each emulator is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular emulator

Emulators have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they allow users to play video games from different consoles on a single platform. The term "emulator" refers to software that simulates the hardware of a specific gaming console, allowing users to play games designed for that console on their computer or mobile device. There are numerous emulators available for different consoles, including popular ones like Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox. Each emulator has its own unique features and capabilities, making it important for users to do their research before choosing one to use. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which emulator is the most popular. However, by looking at user reviews and feedback, we can get a better understanding of which emulators are preferred by gamers. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular emulators and explore their features and benefits.

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