Mesen

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Mesen
Mesen2logo.png
Developer(s) Sour (Mesen 1 and Mesen 2); mkwong98 & NovaSquirrel have a fork that has released numerous "beta" builds
Latest version 2.0.0 (preview) [+]
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows
Linux
macOS 11/12
Emulates NES / Famicom
Famicom Disk System
SNES / Super Famicom
Game Boy (Color)
Game Boy Advance
PC-Engine (TurboGrafx-16)
Master System
Game Gear
SG-1000
Accuracy Cycle-Accurate
Website Mesen.ca
Support ($) Patreon
Programmed in C++, C#, C
License GNU GPLv3
Source code GitHub

Mesen is a free and open-source multi-system emulator for Windows, Linux and macOS (though there are no pre-compiled builds for macOS yet). It can emulate the Famicom (NES), Famicom Disk System (FDS), Super Famicom (SNES), GB/GBC, GBA, PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16, SG-1000 and Master System/Game Gear.

The version currently under development is Mesen 2.x, first released as a preview build in 2023. The older Mesen 0.x branch could only emulate NES, and SNES/GB(C) emulation was found in a separate emulator named Mesen S. The current Mesen Libretro core for RetroArch is still based on the 0.x branch, but receiving backports from the newer branch. For the sake of disambiguation, we will refer to the 0.x branch as Mesen 1 and the 2.x branch as Mesen 2.

Download[edit]

Windows Linux Official release
Windows Linux macOS Dev builds
Mesen UI and Screens

Overview[edit]

According to test ROMs, it is ranked as the most compatible NES/FDS emulator, slightly above puNES with a score of 100%.[1]

It has cycle-accurate emulation and offers numerous features, including:

  • Support for over 290 mappers, (all licensed games supported.)
  • FDS (Famicom Disk System) support
  • Top loader NES variant support
  • VS. System support
  • Dendy support
  • HDNes HD packs
  • NTSC/PAL support
  • NSF/NSFe support
  • Video recording/playback
  • Video filters (xBRZ, NTSC, etc.)
  • Netplay
  • Debugging tools
  • Overclocking
  • Custom palettes
  • Sound effects (fake stereo, reverb, etc.)
  • Rewind

Mesen 2 can also run GBA and also SNES games, which features some of the enhancements and hardware features such as Super FX and Satellaview support. Game Boy (DMG) and Game Boy Color (CGB) games can also be played on Mesen 2, but only Game Boy Color can play CGB games. For DMG games, you can choose either Game Boy or Game Boy Color, or run the game in Super Game Boy mode by loading the Super Game Boy BIOS (1 or 2) into the SNES core.

An exclusive feature excluded from older versions is PC-Engine support, as well as the CD-ROM².

Screenshots[edit]

Hardware support[edit]

Mappers[edit]

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 28 29 30 31
32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
48 49 50 51 52 53 54 56 57 58 60 61 62 63
64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
80 82 83 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95
96 97 99 101 103 104 105 106 107 108 111
112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 123 125 126
132 133 134 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143
144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159
162 163 164 165 166 167 168 170 171 172 173 174 175
176 177 178 179 180 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191
192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207
208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222
224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 238
240 241 242 243 244 245 246 249 250 252 253 254 255

List of forks[edit]

Name Platform(s) Latest Version libretro Active Recommended
PC / x86
Mesen-X Windows Linux 2023-09-11
libretro core

Comparisons[edit]

Mesen-X
This fork was meant to centralise development efforts that were happening in multiple different forks of Mesen 1. No longer under active development, and now officially deprecated as of Mesen 2's release.

Trivia[edit]

Origins of the name essentially come from two things:

  • It's "NES EMulator", backwards -> Mesen.
  • It's the Japanese word used to talk about a person's gaze or point of view, (目線 - めせん - Mesen), which is the reason why the logo is an eye icon.[2]

References[edit]