Arcade emulators

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Example of a Ms. Pac-Man arcade cabinet.
Arcades are not a single console, but rather hundreds of separate arcade system boards. Most arcade emulators focus on emulating many systems in one program, with some focusing on a few systems, and others attempting to emulate every system.

Emulators[edit]

PC
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version # of Emulated systems Libretro Core Recommended
MAME Multi-platform 0.183 Thousands[1] ✓*
Final Burn Alpha Windows 0.2.97.37 Hundreds
DICE Windows, Linux, OS X 0.9 18
Supermodel Windows, Linux, OS X 0.2a 1 (Sega Model 3)
Raine Windows, Linux, OS X 0.64.10 1058
Kawaks Windows v1.65 3 (Neo Geo, CPS1, CPS2) ?
Model 2 Emulator Windows 1.1a 1 (Sega Model 2)
CPS3 Emulator Windows 1.0a 1 (CPS3) ?
DEmul Windows 0.7A 6 (NAOMI and variants)
Daphne Windows, Linux, OS X 1.0 ? (Laserdisc)

* RetroArch cores: mame (latest), mame2014 (0.159), mame2010 (0.139), mame2003 (0.78), mame2000 aka mame4all (0.37b5)

Consoles
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version # of Emulated systems ROM Set Libretro Core Recommended
Virtual Console Wii n/a Various Namco, Sega, Tecmo and Capcom boards, plus Neo Geo ?
NJEMU CPS1PSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.5 1 (CPS1) MAME 0.152
NJEMU CPS2PSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.5* 1 (CPS2) MAME 0.152
NJEMU MVSPSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.5* 1 (Neo-Geo) MAME 0.152
NJEMU NCDZPSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.5* 1 (Neo-Geo CD) MAME 0.152
UO CPS1PSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.1 1 (CPS1) MAME 0.120
UO CPS2PSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.1* 1 (CPS2) MAME 0.120
UO MVSPSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.1* 1 (Neo-Geo) MAME 0.120
UO NCDZPSP PlayStation Portable 2.3.1* 1 (Neo-Geo CD) MAME 0.120
FBA4PSP PlayStation Portable v12.4.0 1 (CPS1) MAME 0.141

* Generate cache with included romcnv utility.

Mobile
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version # of Emulated systems ROM Set Libretro Core Recommended
MAME Android 1.3.6* ? Depends on core
MAME4droid (0.139u1) Android 1.11 ? MAME 0.139u1
mame2010
MAME4droid (0.37b5) Android 1.5.3 ? MAME 0.37b5
mame2000
aFBA Android 0.2.97.35 ? FBA 0.2.97.35
(based on MAME 0.159)

* Only available on mobile as a libretro core (e.g. RetroArch).


Comparisons[edit]

  • MAME is very extensive, with the majority of arcade system boards from the 1970's, 1980's and early 1990's supported. Do not expect support for more recent boards, such as Atomiswave. MAME focuses on accuracy and archiving arcade games, which means it does not always focus on usability for the end user. Only the most up to date romdumps will work in the latest MAME. There are many MAME front-ends available.
  • Final Burn Alpha supports a many boards, such as Neo Geo, Capcom CPS1-3 and others. It is very good for the boards it supports. The Neo-Geo X system in fact uses FBA. It offers much better speeds on lower end hardware than MAME and has been ported to many different devices, such as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Original Xbox, Sega Saturn, Android, Wii, Dingoo, and many others.
  • DICE is made for emulating old arcade machines from the early 1970's at a very high level of accuracy. Since these machines had no CPU, the emulator instead emulates discrete logic components in the circuit board. This method is very system-intensive, and getting full speed requires at least a mid-range gaming PC along with the 64-bit version of the emulator.
  • Supermodel emulates Sega's Model 3 arcade platform focusing in accuracy. Presently, Supermodel is in a very early "alpha" stage of development, meaning it lacks many planned features. It does not yet have a user-friendly graphical interface, game compatibility remains low, and all CPUs are emulated using straightforward (and slow) interpretation rather than fast just-in-time translation.
  • Model 2 Emulator emulates, as per it's name, Sega's Model 2 arcade platform with a focus on speed over accuracy. Despite this however, it still manages to play games for that hardware with far higher accuracy than MAME currently can.
  • Virtual Console emulates Sega, Namco, Capcom and Tecmo arcade games, in addition to Neo Geo. It is a viable method for official emulation, but forces you to play like you would on a real arcade machine.

References[edit]

  1. http://mamedb.com/history