NEC PC-9800 series

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NEC PC-9800 series
Developer NEC Home Electronics
Type Home computer
Release date 1982
Discontinued 2000
Predecessor PC-8800

The NEC PC-9800, also known as the PC-98, were a family of computers made by NEC throughout 1982 to 2000. They were not released or marketed outside of Japan, but still useful for playing early visual novels and Touhou games.


Name Platform(s) Latest Version Libretro Core Accuracy FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
Neko Project 21/W Windows Linux 0.86 rev82β6 High
Neko Project II kai Windows Linux macOS [N 1] git High ~
Neko Project II Windows Linux macOS (PPC/Intel) 0.86 Mid ?
Anex86 Windows e1 Low-Mid ?
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.238 Low ~
SL9821 Windows High ? TBD
DOSBox-X Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.83.19 Low ~
Mobile / ARM
Neko Project II kai Android iOS [N 1] git High ~
Neko Project II Android 20120217 Low
J98 Android J98-b Low ?
  1. 1.0 1.1 Only available as a libretro core outside of Windows and Linux.


Neko Project II
The best PC-98 emulator out there but went inactive since March 2016. Its major drawback is the non-remappable controls.
Neko Project 21/W
Based on Neko Project II but with a focus on PC-9821 series with enhanced options (CPUs, memory sizes, sound sources) as well as support for LAN board, PCI bus, CD-DA, windows accelerators, fmgen and so on.
Neko Project II kai
A more libretro-focused fork, which has also merged several improvements from 21/W.
Another decent PC-98 emulator, but is older and less powerful. It allows key rebinding.
A very active fork of DOSBox that, among other things, adds support for the PC-98 as a target system. While it's very easy to set up, its PC-98 system is not yet complete.
It has drivers for various revisions but as of version 0.189, all of them are reported as Not Working. Support for the first batch or so of PC-98 games have started to be added to MAME in 0.201 (Aug 2018).


Note: This tutorial was adapted from this resource.

The PC-9800 series of personal computers had floppy disk drives (FDD) and hard drives (HDD) which contained the actual games and software to be loaded. Besides the emulator, you'll need a set of floppy disk images (FDI, FDM, NFD, D88...) or a hard disk image (HDI, HDM, NHD...).

You'll need a font if you want text characters to display properly in most cases. It can be downloaded here. Put it in the same directory as the emulator executable, and select it (Emulate/Font for Neko Project II, or Config/Font for Anex86).

You'll need to configure the emulator as well. In NP2's case, you want to go with the recommended configuration here:

  • Emulate/Configure/CPU: Number of cores to something like 32.
  • Emulate/Configure/Sound: Rate to 44k or 88k for better sound quality.
  • Device/Memory: 13.6MB
  • Screen/Screen Option: Check "Use skipline revisions", and change Ratio to 255. This gets rid of the existing scan line implementation, in case you want a better one with shaders from external programs. Keep in mind PC-98 games, more than any other system, are often graphically designed with scanlines in mind.

To play the games:

  • If using a floppy disk based game: Plug the first disk (FDI) into FDD1, and the second disk (FDI) into FDD2.
  • If using a hard drive based game: Plug the hard drive (HDI) into Harddisk/IDE #0 (if using Anex86, use the HDD1 and HDD2 fields and check the box HDD>FDD).

Then restart the machine (not emulator), and most games automatically launch from there.

Neko Project II's controls are not remappable. They're 2, 4, 6, and 8 on the numpad, arrow keys, enter, space, ctrl, z, and x. For games using the mouse, hit F12 to enable or disable mouse input. Use programs like Joy2Key to rebind other keys.