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In Gaming Last updated: April 13, 2023
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Since the early times, gaming has been one of the most common forms of entertainment for human civilization. With the introduction of computers and smart devices, gaming on these instruments has become the most entertaining and fascinating form of engagement for people.

Gaming on computers is opted by most people since they don’t have to depend on any other person for their enjoyment. Gaming has also been one of the computer’s most exciting and alluring features, with people of all ages using it. 

The first few games launched on the computers were simple, easy, and enjoyable. They came to be known as classic or retro games and were enjoyed by a wide range of people.

With technological advancements, programmers and developers have started creating more complex and challenging games. Though these games have also managed to gain the limelight of computer users, people still want to play those games from the early times. But since the interface changed with technological advancements, running those games on our new age computers is impossible. This is where emulators come to our rescue. 

In this article, we will be reminiscing about our good old games, also known as classic games or retro games, and how we can run those games on our current computers using emulators. We will also discuss some emulators that can help us run those games. 

What are Classic games?

The first video game systems were substantial devices that required cash to operate. Next came NES and Gameboys, which simplified and streamlined games. For these platforms, innovators created countless video games.

Then the world of computers emerged, elevating gaming to a new level. Programmers and developers created high-end graphics video games, and many classic games were adapted for playing on computers. There are more than 100 games that everyone likes now and wants to play at least once per day. The games we played decades ago are still regarded as ‘Classics.’

Classic Games

Even though these classic games were made a long time ago, they are extremely exciting, and many people still prefer playing them. Running these games on the current computer systems can be a bit complicated, but such complications can be resolved with the help of emulators.

What are Emulators?

An emulator in computing is a tool that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. Emulators come in both hardware and software forms. It is primarily available in software form nowadays. Generally, it enables applications that cannot be run on the actual computer interface to operate on the host machine. It can also be utilized as peripherals created for guest systems.

The capacity of computer software to duplicate or simulate another program or system inside an electrical device is called emulation. Using an emulator, you can run software from a completely different device on your computer. Emulators are most frequently used to run alternative operating systems and play video games.

Why do we need emulators to run classic games?

As we already know, the technological world has undergone the most drastic advancement in the last few decades. The operating systems, display size, interfaces as well as the way of working for almost all computers have changed a lot over the years.

The classic games were designed to suit the previous versions of the computers. But the new age computers cannot run these classic games due to the change in interface. This is where emulators come to help. Emulators help the new age computers create an environment suitable for working of classic games. They ensure that without harming or changing the existing programs of the machine, the machine lets the gaming algorithm run without any issue. 

Retro Games

Finding the right emulator to run classic games on your PC can be difficult. Here, we have listed emulators best suited to run classic games on your computer. 


The Libretro community covers three projects, and they all work well together. These three projects are Lakka, RetroArch, and Libretro. Programs are ported to Libretro, an application library. Libretro is a concise API that enables the development of video games and emulators. It has a very straightforward character yet is highly effective. It takes some explanation to really appreciate how helpful it may be for your own projects, given how simple it all is.


Programs ported to Libretro run through RetroArch, a frontend application. Lakka is a Linux distribution that boots directly into RetroArch in under 5 seconds. It is a complete solution for converting affordable PC hardware into gaming consoles that are ready to use immediately.

Although console emulation has been the most popular use case for Libretro, it may also be used as a platform for nearly any 2D game. All systems with available Libretro front ends are instantly accessible to software that targets the Libretro API. This implies that players of those systems may play their game right away without having to worry about input/audio/video adapters, technical difficulties, or the numerous other issues of the actual host system.

So, you can start Libretro to enjoy all the classic games with uninterrupted fun.


A popular game emulator for Windows PCs is DeSmuME, which lets you play Nintendo DS games. Users can use this program’s DS ROMs that you obtain from the internet. The software has advanced significantly since the debut of the first GameBoy game. With the help of game emulators, Nintendo DS has improved and is now the ideal platform for playing early 1990s nostalgia-inducing works.


The user-friendly interface was created with beginners in mind and is intended for players everywhere. Initially, this tool was designed to help programmers test and refine their works. Although the program might be a little challenging for beginners, users can quickly become acquainted with the interface. Lastly, it supports a considerable number of ROMs. On top of that, the uninterrupted gaming session on this emulator is the fun part.


‘My Emulator Doesn’t Need A Frickin Excellent Name’ is abbreviated as Mednafen. Its previous name was Nintencer. It is a command-line-driven, open-source multi-system emulator. Its cores contain both original code and several ports of other emulators. Its actual cores for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo Virtual Boy, and NEC PC Engine are renowned for their excellent craftsmanship, compatibility, and precision.

You can play several classic games on this emulator. So, it’s time to bring back those nostalgic moments.


Although Mednafen only has a command-line interface in its official configuration, experienced users will find it simple to set up and operate. Except for the Sony PlayStation, NEC PC Engine CD, PC-FX, and Sega Saturn cores, most of Mednafen’s cores do not need a BIOS. The “firmware” folder in your Mednafen directory has to be where users put BIOS files.


‘Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator’ is known by the abbreviation MAME. This emulator’s goal is to preserve data. The capacity to play games is seen as a byproduct of their preservation process. Thousands of vintage arcade games are supported by MAME, albeit not all of them can be played. Its goal is to keep track of decades’ worth of software history. Though you can’t play every game, you can play plenty of retro games on this emulator.


MAME guards against the loss and oblivion of this significant piece of “old” software while electronic technology continues to advance quickly. This is accomplished by describing the hardware’s operation in detail. This documentation is provided as the MAME source code. MAME has a sister project named MESS, the abbreviation for ‘Multi Emulator Super System.’ This project helps MAME document the wide range of vintage computers, games, interfaces, consoles, etc. 

Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin is one of the most widely known emulators. It is a GameCube and Wii emulator that is free, open-source, and works with most operating systems. The first GameCube emulator capable of running paid games was Dolphin. After having a difficult time developing, Dolphin eventually became free and open-source software and included support for Wii emulation.

Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin operating on Android became a possibility as mobile hardware improved over time. Dolphin has garnered positive reviews from the IT and gaming press for its high level of compatibility, consistent development, plenty of features, and capacity to run games with graphical enhancements over the original platforms. 


For macOS, there is an open-source multi-system game emulator called OpenEmu. It offers a plugin interface to replicate the hardware of various consoles, including the GameBoy, Genesis, and Nintendo Entertainment System. Thanks to the design, other programmers can expand the system’s core count without taking specific macOS APIs into account.


Its backend uses many gaming engines while keeping the recognizable, native macOS frontend UI. The most distinctive aspect of OpenEmu is its ROM library, which lets users import ROM files and browse them in an iTunes-like gallery environment. The databases of OpenEmu can automatically upload game information and cover art.

If you are a macOS user, then there is nothing better than OpenEmu for enjoying various retro games. There is a vast library of classics to play from.


“Old is gold” is one phrase we keep hearing while reminiscing about the past. This phrase is also applicable in the gaming world. New age games have indeed made an impact in the current world, but they have not been able to diminish the charm of the classic games.

Emulators have helped bridge the gap between the new-age technologies and the retro gaming sphere. Choosing the right emulator can be challenging, but once you choose the right emulator for your system, which serves your requirement, playing classic games becomes easy. 

Next, check out the best cross-platform games.

  • Dhruv Parmar
    Dhruv is a senior content writer at Geekflare with proficiency in every niche. He mainly focuses on technology, product reviews, crypto, blockchain, and how-to articles. Other than these niches, he also likes to write about freelancing,… read more
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