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 and Saints Row 2 to name a few). 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 The game may also only have very outdated options, such as only a few resolutions.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 versions of games superior to PC counterparts
While we live in a time where the PC versions are automatically regarded as the "definitive" ones because of the benefits the platform has over consoles, it was not always the case. This section will cover games that either received poor ports (where emulation is preferable), or got completely different versions compared to console titles of the same name.
|Game||PS2||Xbox||Gamecube||Dreamcast||PlayStation||PC version issues|
|Grand Theft Auto San Andreas||✓||✓||Many missing effects, worse textures and different map geometry, compared to the PS2 version. Some problems can be fixed by using mods.|
|Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow||✓||✓||✓||Shadows, water and torchlight may not render correctly on modern PCs. It is recommended to play it on the original Xbox.|
|Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent||✓||✓||✓||The PC version is the 7th gen version, not the (superior) 6th gen version.|
|Metal Gear Solid||✓||FMV's don't work on modern PCs, and misses blur effects.|
|Sonic Adventure||✓||✓||Too many to list here. The Gamecube version is also affected by many of the downgrades. Mod the PC version, or just play the Dreamcast one.|
|Silent Hill 2||✓||✓||Missing some effects, fogs are lower quality. Many problems from the PC version can be patched using mods such as Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition.|
|007 Nightfire||✓||✓||✓||Completely different game, developed by Gearbox. Some weapons appear in the console version but not the PC version, has fewer levels than the console versions and does not implement driving mode. Had a mixed reception compared to the console's counterpart.|
|Spider-Man 2||✓||✓||✓||Completely different game, developed by a different studio. It was "dumbed down" for a young audience and thus featured more simplistic and less challenging gameplay.|
|SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom||✓||✓||✓||Different game, developed by a different studio. A remake based on the original console versions, titled "SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated" is also coming to PC.|
|Toy Story 3||The Windows version is a port of the Wii version instead of the X360/PS3 versions, have fewer Toy Box options for gameplay and town customization, and lack a multiplayer option.|
|Rayman 2||✓||✓||The Windows version is a port of the N64 version, and is known to have issues running on modern Windows. The Dreamcast version has various changes from the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows versions, including several 2D sprites being replaced by 3D models, improved texture quality and minor level design changes. The Dreamcast version also has exclusive mini-games, six hidden Glob Crystal collectables and replaces The Hall of Doors with The Isle of Doors for the world map. Michel Ancel (the Director) himself has previously stated that he believes that this version is the best version of the game.
Rayman Revolution (the PS2 version) features many enhancements including new minigames and bonus challenges, upgrades to Rayman's abilities, level revisions, new music tracks, the option to switch between the gibberish from other versions and newly recorded real language voices, three new bosses, and Yellow Lum redistribution. The Hall of Doors was replaced with three central hubs, called The Minisaurus Plain, Globox's House and The Rainbow Creek, in which to walk to each level freely, play Ly's bonus challenges unlocked by freeing Revolution-exclusive prisoners called Familiar Spirits, and purchase ability upgrades or the new minigames from the Teensies with the Yellow Lums the player has collected. To date, Revolution is the only edition of Rayman 2 that lets players save when a level has been only partially completed, but like all versions of the game, it still uses manual saves. This is also the only version in which the 1,000th Yellow Lum can be obtained normally. However, despite the numerous improvements and enhancements to the gameplay, the frame rate is not as smooth as the near-constant 60fps of the Sega Dreamcast version, and certain graphical effects from that version, such as the blue ring trails that accompany a fully charged gold fist orb, are also gone. But it can reach 60fps through a hack on PCSX2.
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.
|Grandia||✓||* Saturn: Original. Japan-exclusive, but has an ongoing PS1 translation port project with public betas. Best graphical effects out of all versions. Save compatibility with Grandia Digital Museum, a Saturn-exclusive bonus disc. Overall best version.
|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||✓||
|Breath of Fire IV||✓||
|Castlevania: Symphony of the Night||✓||✓||
|Dino Crisis 2||✓|
|Final Fantasy VII||✓||
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||✓||
|Mega Man 8||✓||✓||
|Mega Man Legends||✓||✓||✓||
|Mega Man Legends 2||✓||✓||
|Mega Man X4||✓||✓||
|Mega Man X5||✓||✓||
|Mega Man X6||✓||✓||
|Metal Gear Solid||✓||✓ (R)||
|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||✓||
|Persona 2: Innocent Sin||✓||
|Resident Evil 2||✓||✓||✓||✓||
|Resident Evil 3||✓||✓||✓||
|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.
There's also an unoffical native PC port made by fans using the SM64 decompilation project.
|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 which were previously missing from the original release due to developers missing on deadlines and inability to fit everything planned into the game in time (though some of this initially-missing content could be later added to the game via free DLC option done via now-defunct official website connection performed from game's main menu). Sound samples (music for the entire game and all other sounds alike) has been heavily compressed to fit on one mini-DVD disc, drastically diminishing game's overall experience as Dreamcast's original release used uncompressed Redbook/CD-DA tier quality sound samples (actually one of the main reasons why Dreamcast's version had to be cut into two separate GD-ROM discs: the size of sound files in the original is truly huge due to it being absolutely raw samples for each and every sound in the game). Due to lack of VMU functionality an entire separate mini-game ("Pinta's Quest") was completely removed, which, considering that Pinta was a fully developed separate 3D character model in the original game, essentially means Gamecube's port completely lacks the said character (however, to somewhat balance this out Gamecube's port added several completely new characters that were never in the Dreamcast's release or planned to be in it even DLC content-wise, such as Piastol and fake pirate trio for example). Gamecube's port also improves quite a bit on most characters', vehicles', ships', and locations' models sheer polygon count-wise, adding more details and rounding up previously clearly rough edges on world's 3D models, but these improvements are hardly noticeable by the untrained eye so you have to know exactly where to look to spot a significant difference from the original Dreamcast release. Gamecube's port also fixed previously bugged "Zivilyn Bane's quest" line and this can be done fully from start to finish now (Dreamcast's original Japanese release's "Zivilyn Bane" quest can be fully completed too, but US' and EU's later localization broke some flags during development which produces bug that renders the said quest completely uncompletable, pun not intended, in any versions of this game other than the said very first original Japanese release on the Dreamcast and later Gamecube ports of it).|
|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
|Name||Windows||PlayStation 4||Xbox 360||Xbox One||Notes|
|Red Dead Redemption||✓||✓||The PS3 version of Red Dead Redemption runs at a significantly lower resolution than the Xbox 360 version, uses simpler visual post-processing effects, have missing objects throughout the game, areas of grass are more patchy, shadows are simpler (and sometimes missing), and textures appear more basic and low resolution.|
|Name||Windows||PlayStation 4||Xbox 360||Xbox One||Notes|
|Persona 4 Golden||✓||The exclusive enhanced port of a popular PS2 game, which many considered to be the reason to own a Vita for, is now available on PC. It may be worth getting if you're computer can't handle running a PS2 emulator (if you wanted to play the original instead) and especially considering the current state of Vita emulation. The official Steam version comes with the controversial Denuvo Anti-tamper, but there is a cracked version that doesn't use Denuvo floating around. One problem some users have been noticing is the cutscenes are laggy even on higher end machines (this is apparently due to the way the video files were encoded).|
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.|