The NES Classic is sold out, but these emulators do the same thing for free

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

The NES may have been a hit in the United States and abroad, but the 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System took console gaming to a whole new level when it was released in Japan in 1990. Despite being introduced surprisingly late compared to other 16-bit consoles at the time such as the Sega Genesis, the SNES far outsold its competition. Some of the top-notch titles included Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong Country, and dozens of other.

Standalone emulator: SNES9X

SNES9X is the clear victor in the battle for the ultimate SNES emulator. It’s among the most compatible of any SNES emulator — it’s capable of running even the later Super Famicom releases — and also comes equipped with a ton of great features that have been continually honed and refined over the years such as image upscaling, video filters, cheats, and online multiplayer. The Turbo Mode is another awesome feature for power leveling and fast-forwarding through games that seem to move along at a snail’s pace. Ports include everything from Windows and MacOS to mobile versions for the iOS and Android. SNES9X is also available as a core for RetroArch, should you choose to use it over bsnes-mercury.

RetroArch Core: bsnes-mercury


Bsnes-mercury is a SNES emulator core for RetroArch. It’s a fork of the BSnes emulator that has been steered toward adding in more robust functionality, such as the use of BIOS files, which is absent in our standalone SNES emulator pick, SNES9X. Bsnes is well-regarded for its clean code, but bears a reputation of having moderately higher minimum requirements for machines running it than most emulation software, as it does not use any workarounds to achieve its emulation speed or ROM compatibility. This is especially true of the more robust feature set on Bsnes-mercury. That said, if you’re emulating on a Windows PC, you will likely be able to run the emulator and most games with no trouble.

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