Super Nintendo emulators

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Revision as of 00:48, 26 September 2013 by (talk) (Changed basicly to basically)
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The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16-bit, 4th generation console released on 1990 in North America. In Japan, it was known as the Super Famicom.

Emulation for the SNES is robust, with several high quality emulators for various systems, with some even being cycle accurate.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Accuracy Rating Recommended
bsnes (higan) Windows, Linux 0.93 High
Snes9x Windows, Linux, OS X 1.53 Mid
RetroArch (Snes9x, bsnes) Multi-platform 1.53 (Snes9x), 0.92 (bsnes)

Mid (Snes9x)

High (bsnes)

BizHawk Windows 1.4.1 High



Multi-platform 0.9.32-WIP


ZSNES Windows, Linux 1.51 Low


1. bsnes (higan)

  • The most accurate of the bunch. Should play any and all commercially released games without trouble, assuming you have the power.
  • A Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz is the weakest I've seen run the balanced version full speed for most games.
  • Balanced works. You do NOT need the accuracy build for anything but one game. And I believe it is a minor issue even for that.
  • ROM hacks designed around emulator quirks will most likely not work. Same as with real hardware.
  • LLE audio sounds amazing.

2. Snes9x

  • Compatible with most games, even many romhacks that make use of emulator quirks.
  • Fast enough for pretty much any toaster (think pentium 1 or 2, yes i tested!)
  • LLE audio, same as bsnes's.
  • Often buggy graphical output and shader support in standalone
    • Driver/GPU dependent.
    • Remember those diagonal lines of offset across older 3D games on certain graphics cards? Yeah. Finding a picture.
  • Hit and miss controller support, especially when it comes to XInput devices.

3. RetroArch, which has bsnes, and Snes9x cores.

  • The same points as the emulators themselves
  • Amazing graphical output
    • At any resolution
    • At any fullscreen resolution and refresh rate
    • Vast shader support
  • Dynamic rate control kills off most any and all audio distortion, such as crackling.
  • Does not require Game Folders or anything like higan standalone.

5. BizHawk

  • Useful for TAS (Tool Assisted Speedruns)
  • Written in C#, requires .NET 4.0
  • Windows-only

5. Mednafen

  • The SNES core is based on bSNES 058 which is rather old. It pre-dates the performance/balanced/accuracy builds. This version is much faster than the current version, but it is unknown what game compatibility issues exist.


  • Will run full speed on ANY toaster, supposedly back to the weakest of Pentium 1s (yes I tested!)
    • Assuming it's an x86 toaster, since it's written in ASM.
  • Romhacks were often designed around it's speedhacks
    • Many romhacks won't work properly on anything else.
  • Though fans have modded this, it is basically a dead emulator with no future.
  • Many bugs and lacked functions for many games, see ZSNES review
  • Questionable user interface.