List of notable ports
In situations where emulation of a system makes it harder to run a video game than natively, it might be worthwhile to consider playing a native port of a classic game instead. Some systems may even have inherent flaws that are avoided on other platforms. If your system of choice is a standard PC, a native port may be easier to run.
Emulation General does not aim to provide a complete list of every single port ever. Instead, we'll focus on games that are known to have issues that can be solved by using another system.
- This is an official emulated release. Usually the ROM can be extracted and played in another emulator.
- This is a remake, which can dramatically differ from the original game.
It's usually preferred to use a native PC port rather than emulation.
When veteran developers port PC releases, they usually take into account the variety of potential hardware configurations their users might have and strive to have games working well even on the lowest specs. However, to any standard developer this may not be feasible (probably due to deadlines), so they may often give very little customization targeting the recommended specs and move on to the next release.
Depending on the studio, some developers may opt to release on the three main x86 platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) but in most cases, PC ports are Windows-only (basically enforcing the catch-22 of Linux adoption) and may only get a polished but outsourced macOS port later on.
Most indie games likely have cross-platform support as a way to maximize sales, as opposed to major publishers that see cross-platform support as a hindrance to their sales.
However, sometimes ports were sloppy, and prone to bugs and/or optimization issues (e.g. Grand Theft Auto IV). Every port has its own issues so it has to be approached on a case-by-case basis. The game may also only have very outdated options, such as only a few resolutions. It's best to check PCGamingWiki for any potential issues you might have.
Classic games may only be available for the Windows 9x family as 16-bit software, which does not run on x86_64 without some form of emulation (x86 is a different story), so getting them to work could be stressful. However, Wine can play a majority of classic titles very well. Some ports may be for DOS and are supported by DOSBox.
There are also community patches which can fix some of these issues and depend on the complexity of the game, it may have a cross-platform game engine recreation. Depending on a game's popularity, it may even have a full remake. Obscure titles may have no fixes at all.
Older games may not have good controller support as Xinput does not have backward compatibility with DirectInput. One of the most common problems in the digital pad not being recognized. In that case, button mappers like AntiMicro can be helpful.
Console ports of PC games
Since game consoles are much less powerful than PCs, it is recommended to avoid PC games ported to consoles. Typically the games have to be altered to fit the constraints of the console and may be forced to use a radically different control scheme. An exception to this rule would be Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine's N64 port, and the console versions of certain Disney games like Cars 2 and Toy Story 3. In the latter case, the PC versions suffer from downgraded graphics as a consequence of having to account for lower-end systems used by most families.
- Main article: List of notable NES ports and remakes
NES games sometimes suffered from slowdown, and sprite flickering.
May be easier to emulate ports than the original versions.
|✓||Includes both the original game and a remixed version with remixed music, slightly altered level layouts, and an altered art direction based on the more recent games in the series.|
|Mad Stalker: Fullmetal Force||✓||PS1: A remake with sub-par graphics and music. Borrows gameplay elements from the developer's other game, Asuka 120%.
FM-Town: A port for the FM-Towns with updated graphics and remixed music.
PC-Engine: A PC-Engine CD version that uses graphics from the FM-Towns version with remixed Redbook audio music, more playable characters for VS. Mode (done through a cheat code), and a fully-voiced Story Mode.
|Genocide||PC-Engine: Inferior graphics and sound with worse gameplay than the original.
FM-Towns: released as part of the Genocide Square compilation. Features updated graphics, sound, new cutscenes, and revised gameplay.
|Genocide 2: Master of the Dark Communion||SFC: Lower sound quality and altered graphics. Level order for the first few levels is re-arranged from the Sharp X68000 version. Released only in Japan despite being developed by a British development team.
FM-Towns: Same as Genocide above.
DOS: Based on the FM-Towns version. Uses the Sharp X68000 version's cutscenes but has higher quality Redbook audio music. Released only in Korea but most of the game's menus are in English.
- Main article: List of notable SNES ports and remakes
Some SNES games suffered from slowdown which may be fixed in ports.
Many SNES games were ported to the GBA. These versions may have extra features but at the cost of poorer audio and visuals. The resolution is lower, and it was never intended to be played on a full display. The screen area may also be reduced due to the lower resolution. The audio is much lower quality than the SNES. Also, the GBA has much stronger colors to compensate for the lack of contrast in the original GBA display. To compensate, a shader or an option is needed. Additionally, for controls, the GBA has two fewer buttons.
Several SNES games were ported to the PlayStation. These are typically emulated, and the CD format creates long loading times. Generally, it is recommended to avoid the PS1 ports for this reason and to stick with the original releases. However, in some cases, the PS1 port might offer more features.
Saturn emulation is poor, with only two emulators (SSF and Mednafen) worth using. Both have drawbacks, however; the former is closed-source and Windows only while the latter has more compatibility issues and is extremely demanding.
|Panzer Dragoon||✓||✓||✓||Both versions differ from the Saturn original (PS2 being a slight update). Also on Xbox as an unlockable in Panzer Dragoon Orta (it's a modified PC build)|
|Guardian Heroes||✓||Enhanced port with 16:9 aspect ratio, graphics and gameplay options, and expanded multiplayer modes.|
|Nights into Dreams...||✓||✓||✓||✓||Features both the original game and an enhanced graphics mode. The port to 360, PS3, and PC is missing a few effects. All re-releases include Christmas Nights into Dreams, but lack versus mode and Sonic the Hedgehog into Dreams.|
|Virtua Fighter 2||✓||✓||✓||✓||PC: Contemporary to the Saturn port. Contains the same extra plus Online Multiplayer. Might be hard to run on Modern OS.
PS2: Sega Ages 2500 release is a direct port of the arcade version. Runs in 640x480 and 60FPS (Arcade version ran slightly slower at 57.5FPS). Missing extras from Saturn & PC releases and has minor graphical glitches. Released only in Japan.
360 & PS3: Very similar to PS2 release. Runs in HD (Possibly Pillboxed?). Includes online play.
The PS1 has problems with 3D which become more noticeable when emulating the games at higher than native resolutions. Many PS1 games were ported to Windows. However, some of these PC ports are difficult to run on modern Windows operating systems.
|Breath of Fire III||✓||Adds widescreen support and an extra minigame.|
|Breath of Fire IV||✓||Has shorter load times and includes an option for sprite smoothing.|
|Castlevania: Symphony of the Night||✓||✓||Saturn: Inferior graphics, but a few new areas and playable Maria. Released only in Japan.
PSP: Included in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. It has a few porting issues. It also replaces the remarkably cheesy voices with technically-better-but-unremarkable voices, as well as playable Maria (albeit completely different from her Saturn version).
The Xbox 360 version is largely similar to the original release. It removes loading times but lacks FMVs for the North American version.
|Dino Crisis 2||✓|
|Final Fantasy VII||✓||Backgrounds/FMVs are the same resolutions as the PS1 version. The original release had the music played through terrible MIDI instruments. The music can be fixed with a mod. The recent PC release on Steam release fixes all issues, making it the current definitive version. A PS4 and iOS port of the recent PC release will be released in the future.
A full remake of the game has also been announced, coming first to the PS4.
|Final Fantasy VIII||✓||Same stance as FFVII. The recent Steam release even includes Chocobo World from the Japanese release (via PocketStation).|
|Final Fantasy Tactics||✓||Titled Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Includes extra content, multiplayer support, redone cutscenes, and new game modes. Suffers from stretched aspect ratio and slowdown; these can be fixed with unofficial patches. It also has a new translation. This version was later released on iOS and Android devices.|
|Mega Man 8||✓||✓||Saturn: Features a Bonus Mode with a gallery of official and fan-submitted artworks, a sound test, and watchable FMVs. Some also feature new music tracks and the ability fight Cut Man (MM1) and Wood Man (MM2). Original music is somewhat different due to using PCM encoding and FMVs, however, are worse quality than the PlayStation version due to compression format used to fit onto the Sega Saturn.
PS4/XB1/NS/PC: Featured as part of Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 with some new challenge stages from this game but is based on the PlayStation version.
|Mega Man Legends||✓||✓||✓||PC: Music doesn't loop. Cutscenes don't sync up with audio properly. Requires a mapping program to play comfortably with a XInput controller.
N64: Simultaneously better and worse in the graphics department. The sound is compressed so it can fit on a cartridge. Released as Mega Man 64 in North America.
PSP: Standard port with widescreen support. Lock-on is done by holding L and R simultaneously. Released only in Japan.
|Mega Man Legends 2||✓||✓||Released on PC only in Japan and Taiwan. Does not work on modern video cards.
PSP: Standard port with widescreen support. Released only in Japan.
|Mega Man X4||✓||✓||PS2/GC: re-released as part of the Mega Man X Collection for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. Based on the PlayStation version.
PC: same as Mega Man X3's PC port. May not run properly on Windows 8 or later.
Will be featured in an upcoming compilation(s) with the rest of the series for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
|Mega Man X5||✓||✓||PS2/GC: same as the other games in Mega Man X Collection.
PC: Uses a different font for the in-game text from the PlayStation version. May not run properly on Windows 8 or later.
|Mega Man X6||✓||✓||PS2/GC: same as the other games in Mega Man X Collection. Some of the voice-acting is missing in this version.
PC: Released only in Korea and some other parts of Asia.
|Metal Gear Solid||✓||✓ (R)||PC: Significantly improved graphics. Lacks motion blur. Patches needed for modern systems. FMVs don't work on XP or newer due to more modern OSes lacking the resources needed for .ddv video files.
GC: Remake titled Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. Uses the MGS2 engine, but not properly balanced to accommodate for the engine change. Lacks the VR Missions. The tone is a complete face-heel turn, having much less realism than the original game.
|PaRappa the Rapper||✓||Adds widescreen support, ad-hoc multiplayer, and song remixes as DLC. Might suffer from slight input lag, which can be fatal for those who played the original release.|
|Persona 2: Eternal Punishment||✓||Part two of Persona 2. This port has widescreen support, a revamped UI, updated cutscenes, an optional updated OST, and selectable difficulty levels. Released only in Japan.|
|Persona 2: Innocent Sin||✓||Part one of Persona 2. This port has widescreen support, a revamped UI, updated cutscenes, an optional updated OST, and selectable difficulty levels.|
|✓||✓ (R)||Rereleased twice on PS1. The poorly-named Director's Cut is still cut, but includes better character models, an arranged mode, auto aiming from the Japanese release, and an added Beginner difficulty. The Dual Shock Ver. includes DualShock support and a different OST that can only be described as...different. Must be heard to be believed.
Saturn: Includes an extra game mode.
PC: Has compatibility issues with modern OSes. The only English version of the original game that includes all uncensored FMVs.
GC: Full remake. Same on the Wii. Redone in HD for its most recent PC release, as well as on most modern HD consoles. The PC version plays at 60 FPS and lacks minor stability issues that the other HD versions have.
|Resident Evil 2||✓||✓||✓||✓||Later re-released on the system with DualShock support and a new game mode.
480p on other systems; varies between 240p and 480p on N64. Each version adds more features, with the DC version having the most.
|Resident Evil 3||✓||✓||✓||480p, more features|
|Revelations: Persona||✓||✓||PC: Released only in Japan.
PSP: Titled Shin Megami Tensei: Persona. It has additional content as well as widescreen support, a revamped UI, updated cutscenes and OST, and selectable difficulty levels. The English release reverts many of the original localization changes to be more faithful to the Japanese script. It also reinstates the Snow Queen quest.
|Suikoden I - II||✓||Adds widescreen support (although maps and scenes are not redone to accommodate for the larger screen area) and fixes a couple of glitches. Adds a couple of more, as well. Released only in Japan.|
|Wipeout 2097||✓||✓||These ports feature a different OST from the original release. Released in North America as Wipeout XL.|
The Nintendo 64 is a difficult system to emulate, and no emulator has a high degree of game compatibility. It may be easier to rely upon a port rather than try to emulate it.
While system requirements are substantially higher, emulating the N64 Virtual Console releases on the Wii results in more accurate emulation, even making some unplayable games playable.
|Banjo-Kazooie||✓||✓||Added widescreen mode, generally better framerate and draw distance. Ice Key and Secret Eggs are available if the user also has a savefile for Banjo-Tooie or Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Removed Nintendo references, some of which were endearing. XBLA version also included in Rare Replay.|
|Banjo-Tooie||✓||✓||Generally better framerate and draw distance. Ice Key and secret eggs collected in BK are available here. Removed Nintendo references, some of which were endearing. XBLA version also included in Rare Replay.|
|Blast Corps||✓ (E)||Improved graphics, better framerate.|
|Conker's Bad Fur Day||✓ (R)||✓ (E)||Titled Conker: Live and Reloaded. It's censored but has much better graphics and updated multiplayer. Only plays on an original Xbox. Rare Replay includes an emulated version of the original. Not sure if it's censored or not. Has more stable framerates and slightly better graphics than original.|
|Doom 64||✓ (U)||Unofficial fan-made port by the developer that went on to remaster the Turok games. Features widescreen, higher frame-rate, keyboard and mouse support. Has some bugs that are left unaddressed, however. Requires extracting data from the game's ROM to play. Can be found here: https://doom64ex.wordpress.com/|
|The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||✓ (E)||✓||Both the original game and the Master Quest are emulated at 480p on the GameCube. The 3DS port (sans vibration) is the definitive version of the game.|
|The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask||✓ (E)||✓||The GameCube version has audio glitches when moving between areas in Clock Town, framerate issues, and random crashes. The 3DS version features enhancements similar to those in Ocarina of Time 3D, as well as manual camera control when played on a New Nintendo 3DS. However, it changes some key gameplay mechanics in ways that fans of the original might not prefer and is missing some rumble features.|
|Jet Force Gemini||✓ (E)||Improved graphics, better framerate.|
|Killer Instinct Gold||✓ (E)||Improved graphics, better framerate.|
|Perfect Dark||✓||✓||Improved graphics, better framerate, online multiplayer. XBLA version also included in Rare Replay.|
|Super Mario 64||✓ (R)||The DS remake has three more playable characters and some extra features but has poorer controls, mixed graphical changes (they look more "accurate" but have fewer polygons and worse textures), and altered progression. Some may prefer it, others not so much.|
|Star Fox 64||✓ (R)||The 3DS remake has updated graphics, a slightly different instrumentation, multiplayer, and some token 3DS features including an easy mode with a misleading name. It is missing rumble features. It also has redone voices, for better or worse.|
|Turok: Dinosaur Hunter||✓||Remastered for PC.|
|Turok 2: Seeds of Evil||✓||Remastered for PC.|
Since the system died early, many of its games were ported to other consoles.
|Skies of Arcadia||✓||Updated with new features and content. The music has been compressed to fit on one disc.|
|Ikaruga||✓||✓||✓||Slight remix, PC Demo & Full game available. X360 version compatible with Xbox One systems.|
|Grandia II||✓||✓||The PS2 version is technically inferior.
The original PC version has a plethora of bugs. The newest PC release is based on the DC version. Even though it suffers from its own bugs, it's still the best version available.
|Resident Evil Code: Veronica||✓||✓||✓||✓||Titled Resident Evil Code: Veronica X. Features additional cutscenes and, in the case of HD-capable ports, HD resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.|
|Sonic Adventure||✓||✓||✓||✓||Titled Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. Features updated character models and a new mission mode. Doesn't include Chao Adventure due to lack of VMU. The 2003 version includes unlockable Game Gear games. The GC version features GBA connectivity for the Chao Gardens. Unfortunately, each successive port of the game manages to be more bug-ridden than the last. Unofficial patches to fix many issues exist for the PC release(s).|
|Sonic Adventure 2||✓||✓||✓||✓||Titled Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Features slightly better character models, a more in-depth multiplayer mode, and a new Chao minigame. Doesn't include Chao Adventure 2 due to lack of VMU. The GameCube version features GBA connectivity for the Chao Gardens. The most recent ports have HD resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio but separates the multiplayer content as paid DLC.|
- Main article: List of notable PS2 ports and remakes
Emulation for the 3DS is in early development. It is not currently in a state meant for regular usage.
|Azure Striker Gunvolt||✓||Used to feel like an emulated version put on PC as it sometimes plays using a dual screen setup. Some keys cannot be remapped at all for keyboard, and certain modes do not retain controller remapping changes. Has new modes the 3DS version lacks. This used to be only way to enjoy the full story cut from the overseas release up until the 3DS version received a patch in some territories and the Striker Pack compilation rectified this. A new port of the Striker Pack for the Switch which runs at 60 FPS, features HD event graphics and portraits, balance tweaks, and incorporates its sequel's difficulty system. A patch was released for the PC version on May 2018 that removed dual screen setup and added 60 FPS support.|
|Resident Evil Revelations||✓||✓||✓||Also on Wii U. All ported versions are in HD.|
|The Legend of Dark Witch||✓||Higher resolution artwork and revised UI utilizing a single screen as opposed to the dual screen set-up of the 3DS version.|
|The Legend of Dark Witch 2||✓||Same as the above.|