Buying a brand-new piece of hardware just to play video games can be problematic. However, in this day and age, the PC is strong enough to emulate the systems of all but the newest consoles. This is a grey area - players can pretty much play all kinds of games on various systems for literally no cost using emulators.

Nintendo consoles with their lower spec are the easiest to emulate. In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the top 10 best Emulators for Nintendo Consoles in 2022.

1. RetroArch

RetroArch is a program that acts as a hub for all your emulation needs. It is actually a collection of emulators called "cores" that allow players to play thousand of classic games on dozens of old consoles. The program is easy to use, giving the user tons of control to customize and fine-tune their experience. Cores can be installed directly within the emulator via the Online Updater.

Retroarch Hero

RetroArch is also available on mobile Android, allowing you to enjoy the full handheld experience.


The NES is the first system released by Nintendo. It created multiple iconic video game franchises, including Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros, Mega Man, and the Legend of Zelda. The FCEUX emulator is the go-to emulator of choice for most of the NES community, and it is super easy to install and use. Current ports include Windows, Linux, and MacOS, among others.

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This application has a lot of extra features for both casual and advanced gamers. There are video recordings, debugging tools, ROM-hacking... and creating speedruns.


SNES9X is the best SNES emulator currently - it is compatible with pretty much all SNES games, even the later Super Famicom releases. The SNES9X also has tons of great features that would be useful in modern systems - players can enjoy image upscaling, video filters, cheats, and online multiplayer.


There is also a Turbo Mode feature that speeds up some of the slower games, allowing players to power level and fast-forward through the grindy parts. Ports include everything from Windows and MacOS to mobile versions (iOS and Android).

4. Project 64 (Nintendo 64)

Project64 is a completely free and open-source emulator for the Nintendo 64 and 64DD written in C++. It is capable of playing your favorite N64 games on your PC with high definition graphics, excellent compatibility, save states, built-in cheat codes, and more.

Project 64 (Nintendo 64)

The simple and intuitive user interface of Project 64 allows games to just run out of the box with no configuring. Though if you want there are dozens of configuration options to make it work the way you want. The best part is a tool to alter the aspect ratio without any unnecessary cropping or stretching that would compromise the original viewing experience.

5. Dolphin (Nintendo GameCube and Wii)

Dolphin is an emulator for two famous Nintendo video game consoles: the GameCube and the Wii. It allows PC gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles with several enhancements: compatibility with all PC controllers, turbo speed, networked multiplayer, and even more!

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Dolphin (Nintendo GameCube and Wii)

In addition to anti-aliasing and quick-save functionality, you can also play games in 1080p high definition, a feature the actual Gamecube and Wii lacked. Dolphin is available for RetroArch, Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux.

6. VBA-M (Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance)

VBA-M is a powerful emulator that lets you play practically all the games from Nintendo's famous Game Boy devices. VBA-M merges the best elements of multiple Game Boy forks into an all-in-one emulator, similar to RetroArch.

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VBA-M (Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance)

It works as an emulator for the original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and even the Game Boy Advance, a portable device with one of the best game catalogs ever. In addition to being able to play all games from the Game Boy catalog, players can also record videos and save state, which allows one to save the game whenever needed.

7. DeSmuME (Nintendo DS and DSi)

DeSmuME is the most seasoned open source Nintendo DS emulator. It sports tools designed for hackers, speedrunners, youtubers, and casual gamers. Outside of a couple of issues with DSi compatibility, DeSmuME is pretty stellar. It is considered the best DS core for RetroArch and amongst the best emulators for DS emulation.

DeSmuME (Nintendo DS and DSi)

The Windows and OSX versions are both relatively feature rich, and there is a small universe of forks and mods that add even more features for casual gaming.

8. Citra (3DS)

Citra is an open-source emulator for the Nintendo 3DS capable of playing many of your favorite games. It is a work-in-progress Nintendo 3DS emulator that started in early 2013. Currently, Citra can currently emulate, with varying degrees of success, a wide variety of different homebrew applications and commercial software.

Citra (3DS)

This emulator also supports online play, save state, and even has an android port.

9. CEMU (Wii U)

Cemu is a Wii U emulator that is able to run most Wii U games and homebrew very smoothly. Players can even play Wii U games on PC at higher resolutions than 1080p, the base resolution of the console, via the usage of graphics packs.

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CEMU (Wii U)

There is also support for online play, using official Nintendo servers. You need to get a dump of a Nintendo Wii U data somewhere to access this feature, however.

10. Yuzu (Nintendo Switch)

Yuzu is an experimental open-source emulator for the Nintendo Switch from the creators of Citra. Yuzu is by far the best and most comprehensive emulator for the Nintendo Switch.

Yuzu (Nintendo Switch)

While Yuzu started with homebrew games in the beginning, it’s gone on to replicate Switch titles that are currently available to purchase. Recent tests have shown that the emulator can replicate some games at the exact same frame rate as the Switch itself!

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