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

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Gaming

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
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

Here's how you can play your favorite PC games with a Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Gaming

Get creative and collect 15 coins with our Fortnite overtime challenges guide

The first Fortnite overtime challenges are now available. Use our guide to help you collect the hidden coins in the featured Creative mode islands and get closer to that free season eight battle pass.
Gaming

I'm canceling my backlog for Apex Legends. Be back never

Live service games like Fortnite and Apex Legends are eating up everyone's time, leaving other games out in the cold. While my backlog continues to grow, it seems the gaming industry is struggling to keep up as well.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Gaming

Become a champion with our beginner's guide to Apex Legends

Jumping into Apex Legends for the first time? Need help becoming a champion? Our Apex Legends beginner's guide has 15 tips and tricks that will hopefully help your team make it into the champion's circle.
Gaming

Buy a new Switch console and get a $35 eShop gift card at some retailers

Multiple retailers are currently offering the Neon Blue and Red Nintendo Switch console with a free $35 eShop gift card. The system still costs the standard $300 and includes Joy-Con controllers and the dock.
Gaming

Thrive in the nuclear apocalypse with our Metro Exodus survival guide

Metro Exodus is a difficult shooter, especially if you're new to the series' blend of stealth, action, and scavenging. Here is what you need to know to survive the nuclear apocalypse.
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

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Gaming

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.