Games continue to change and break new ground every year. With complex advancements like Virtual Reality, blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence coming into play, it is often tempting to revisit a time when games were much more simple. Back then, Mario jumped, Sonic ran, and villains were defeated by a solitary hero—and that was about it.
Today, we have NBA 2K20 scanning your face to make personalized players, Night Terrors making use of immersive technology for the scare of a lifetime, and much more. Games have become so advanced, that HP’s Tech Takes notes how most PCs come equipped with graphic cards to support 1080p resolution, and enough memory to boot up even the most complex games. This advancement is a testament to how much effort developers are putting into perfecting the art of gameplay. But despite how exciting modern games are there’s nothing quite like the allure of retro games.
If you want to harken back to the good old days and play some 8-bit, pixelated classics, here are some emulators to turn your PC into a retro console.
Nestopia for NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was revolutionary back when it released in 1985 and marked the start of today’s billion-dollar gaming industry. With Nestopia, you experience the 8-bit origins of many franchises, including Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Metroid, as well as Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Capcom’s Megaman.
Kega Fusion for Sega Genesis
The Sega Genesis marked the start of the Nintendo vs. Sega rivalry. In 1988, the Sega Mega Drive (called Genesis in Northern America to mark the age of new beginnings) pushed gaming technology from 8-bit to 16-bit and gave birth to Mario’s long-time rival: Sonic the Hedgehog. Kega Fusion gives you access to this (and its sequels), plus other familiar titles such as Jurassic Park, Super Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat.
PCSX-Reloaded for PS1
The ’90s marked the era of 3D gaming, and the PlayStation was nothing short of a success. Emulating PlayStation games can be a challenge as most of its games require different specifications. But according to a PS emulator comparison on Tom’s Guide, PCSX-Reloaded includes not only a list of games but the settings needed to emulate them as well. Now you can PC-play some of the more modern iconic titles like Final Fantasy VII, Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, and Crash Bandicoot.
Project 64 for N64
Riding on the success of the NES and the 3D craze, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64 (N64). The N64 is where most of the Nintendo-owned games appeared with their own non-flat titles, including Super Mario 64, Starfox 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Project64 is an N64 emulator that’s relatively easy to run as long as you don’t play with its settings.
VBA-M for Gameboy
If you’re looking to play the debut titles of big modern franchises such as Pokémon and Harvest Moon then you’re going to want a Gameboy in your PC. Since it uses cartridges and is handheld, it was much easier to emulate. Download VBA-M to run its games smoothly on a computer (also mobile devices).
PCSX2 for PS2
The PlayStation Second (PS2) marked the beginning and the end of an era. Gone were the flat 3D graphics all the previous consoles put out, and in came the fancy specs. Because of this, it arguably still has the best gaming library to date, with titles like Spyro, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest VIII, Madden NFL, Guitar Hero, the Grand Theft Auto trilogy, and more. PCSX2 faces the same problem as PCSX. However, again, its creator provides a settings guide.
Since retro titles are often designed for operating systems long abandoned by Windows and Apple, most emulators are tricky to operate. It’s why users are sometimes required to toggle with settings. However, it’s a small price to enjoy the classics.