The best NES emulators for Android and PC

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

best nes emulators pc android wikipedia pal

Though more than 33 years old, there’s still vast interest in the Nintendo Entertainment System and its iconic library of games. Just look at the mega-successful NES Classic Edition, the mini replica that packed in 30 of the console’s most popular games.

While the NES Classic is still available in stores today, but Nintendo isn’t planning on manufacturing additional units once current stock runs out. If you have one already, you may be happy to know that you can hack it to expand your library of 8-bit games.

But what if you can’t get your hands on an NES Classic? You can get some NES games through Nintendo Switch Online and others from the Nintendo 3DS eShop. You won’t be able to get any game you want, though.

Sadly, many NES games are virtually extinct due to high reseller costs or pure lack of availability. That’s where emulators for PC and mobile come into play. Emulators allow you to play basically any classic game your heart desires. Here are the best NES emulators for PC and Android.

Nintendulator (Windows)

Nintendulator is a great emulator for those who are looking for near-exact replicas of NES games. Emulation isn’t a perfect science. It’s hard to deliver the same experience that you’d find playing the original cartridge.

The developer behind Nintendulator has worked to remedy that with fairly frequent updates aimed at precise emulation. There are other emulators on this list with more features and better performance at times, but Nintendulator makes a valiant attempt at mirroring NES gameplay. It supports USB controllers, has Game Genie support, and even has the soft/hard reset features of the actual NES.

Download Nintendulator

FCEUX (PC, Mac, Linux)

best nes emulators pc android fceux

FCEUX is one of the more popular NES emulators. And for good reason. After downloading FCEUX, all you have to do is open it and load a ROM. If you want to do more than simply revisit an old classic, FCEUX has plenty of features that make it an excellent all-in-one emulator.

From debugging tools to tool-assisted features for speedruns, FCEUX lets you do far more than just play retro games as they were originally intended. FCEUX is the culmination of several previous emulators of similar names. Though its most recent version released in 2016, FCEUX remains one of the most reliable and easy-to-use NES emulators around. FCEUX is available for PC, Mac, and Linux.

Download FCEUX

Nestopia UE (PC, Android)

Just how good is Nestopia? Well, more than ten years have passed since development stopped for this NES emulator, and it’s still on our list. With RetroArch, a front-end UI for emulators, you can download the Nestopia “core” to enjoy the official version of this excellent emulator. Admittedly, RetroArch is somewhat hard to get the hang of.

Thankfully, there’s another option: Nestopia UE. The “Undead Edition” is a stand-alone emulator that carries on what Nestopia started. FCEUX has more features for those who want to get into speedrunning and ROM hacking, but Nestopia UE and the RetroArch core of the original are still great options.

Download Nestopia UE

Mesen (Windows, Linux)

best nes emulators pc android mesen

Though still technically in beta, Mesen has quickly become one of the most impressive NES emulators available. It supports every game for the NES and includes a bevy of features that will interest enthusiasts.

Along with video recording and debugging tools for speedrunning, Mesen allows overclocking, multiple video filters, a rewind feature, various sound effects, and even Netplay for online gaming. Mesen is one of the most accurate emulators around as well, rivaling the aforementioned Nintendulator. Look for Mesen to get even better over time, as it receives consistent updates.

Download Mesen

Nostalgia.NES (Android)

For mobile users, look no further than Nostalgia.NES. This Android-based emulator was designed using FCEUX, so it’s essentially a portable version of that tried and true emulator. Nostalgia.NES has a clean interface for touchscreen controls, but it also has a really cool feature that allows for up to four players to game wirelessly using separate Android devices as controllers.

You can also use standard Bluetooth Android gamepads if you aren’t a fan of touchscreen controls. Nostalgia.NES supports save states, rewinding, and does a pretty darn good job at emulating the NES Zapper for games like Duck Hunt. Before you download Nostalgia.NES, make sure you have a microSD card in your phone. All ROMs must be loaded onto the card in order to play.

Download Nostalgia.NES

Disclaimer: While downloading and sharing emulators is perfectly legal, downloading ROMs BIOS files is illegal, even if you own a physical copy of the game. This list is meant to be used as a reference. We do not advocate illegally downloading games. Nintendo also recently won a $12 million lawsuit against the operators two ROM sites.

Gaming

The Last of Us Part 2 finishes capturing its main characters’ performances

Calling it the most "ambitious cinematic shoot" the team has ever done, Naughty Dog revealed that the motion-capture performances for the main characters in The Last of Us Part II are finished.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Gaming

From the games to the hardware, here's what we know about the Sega Genesis Mini

The Sega Genesis Mini console was just announced, and it's set to release later this year. Here is everything we know about the console, including its hardware, as well as a list of included games.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Gaming

The best Switch GameCube controller adapters combine affordability and quality

Thanks to Super Smash Bros., the GameCube controller has remained relevant long past its original console's expiration date. You can use GameCube controllers with just about every game on Nintendo Switch, too. But first you need an adapter.
Gaming

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.
Deals

Amazon sale knocks 20% off Nintendo Switch, Pro Controller, and games

A new wave of savings on gaming content is crashing down in celebration of Earth Day. Amazon is slashing prices up to 20% off for used Nintendo Switch consoles, games, and accessories like the Switch Pro Controller.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we have a guide to help you unlock every allied race in Battle for Azeroth.
Gaming

Wired headphones are so 2018. Here's how to pair a Bluetooth device to your PS4

One of the best aspects of modern consoles is how easily you can pair them with other devices. Here's our quick primer on how to connect a Bluetooth headset (or really any Bluetooth device) to your PlayStation 4.
Gaming

Here are the best games to play with your friends on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch's hybrid design adds convenience to your gaming time, allowing you to play Switch games both at home and on the go. The design also benefits multiplayer experiences, from co-op to competitive and online to offline.
Gaming

Get Nindie with it and check out these awesome indie games for the Switch

The Nintendo Switch's portability makes indies feel at home on the platform. Luckily, there are plenty of great titles to choose from. Here are our picks for the best Nintendo Switch indie games.
Gaming

Epic Games bans more than 1,000 cheaters in 1st week of Fortnite World Cup

Epic Games has already banned more than 1,000 cheaters in the Fortnite World Cup. The developer is taking cheating seriously, especially as players are competing for a $1 million prize pool in every week of the qualifiers.
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 DLC characters reportedly leaked: Who’s next after Shang Tsung?

A datamine on Mortal Kombat 11 reportedly revealed all the DLC characters that will be added to the game's expansive roster. The leak corroborates the hint that the anti-hero Spawn is on his way to joining the fighting game.