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Ares Screenshot.PNG
Developer(s) Near (formerly known as byuu (謬/view)), LukeUsher
Latest version v139 [+]
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows
Architecture(s) x64
Emulates 2600
Famicom / NES
Super Famicom / SNES
Nintendo 64
Game Boy (Color)
Game Boy Advance
WonderSwan (Color), Pocket Challenge V2
Mark III / Master System, Game Gear
Mega Drive / Genesis
PC Engine (SuperGrafx) / TurboGrafx-16
Neo Geo
Neo Geo Pocket (Color)
ZX Spectrum
My Vision
License Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) license
Source code GitHub

ares is a free and open-source, multi-system emulator. It is a descendent of higan and bsnes, and focuses on accuracy and preservation.


Windows macOS Official releases
Windows macOS Official Nightly builds

Linux Flatpak
ArchLinux AUR


ares began development as bsnes on October 14th, 2004. It is available under the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) license, which is a permissive license that is functionally similar to the BSD and MIT licenses. It used to be under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC) BY-NC-ND 4.0 license, which it made the ares emulator a non-commercial software that does not permit publishing modifications (forks) online. The reason for this was to prevent splintering development between higan and ares.

Most cores in ares are original and were started when the project was run by Near, although its Nintendo 64 core's graphics emulation is based on Themaister's ParaLLEl-RDP Vulkan renderer as well as MAME's software renderer, and an original Atari 2600 core was added later. Its most useful cores are the ones that have been in development the longest or that have few competing options. Its SNES emulation is derived from that of the original bsnes project and is the most accurate one around. Its WonderSwan and Neo Geo Pocket emulation are also the most complete and accurate, with the highest compatibility available (100% in the case of the WonderSwan). The Genesis emulation is highly accurate as well and supports <100% compatibility across the console and its add-ons. 32x and CD emulation both have >95% compatibility with commercial games and is by far the best option for 32x across emulators.

Other cores are less useful, with known incompatibilities and other emulators available that are both faster and more accurate. The GBA emulation was derived from work done in bsnes for the ST018 coprocessor, but is slower and less accurate than mGBA. Its Atari 2600 emulation is well behind Stella and MAME, and its PlayStation emulation has some noticeable compatibility gaps that you won't find in DuckStation or Mednafen.

In terms of features, ares is one of the first emulators to make use of librashader, a project designed to provide a portable implementation of RetroArch's Slang shader language. See Shader Presets for more information.


  • Native multi-platform UI
  • Adaptive sync
  • Dynamic rate control
  • Save states
  • Run-ahead
  • Rewind and fast-forward
  • Pixel shaders
  • Color correction
  • 6th-order IIR audio filtering
  • Input multi-mapping
  • Built-in games database
  • Debugger
Nintendo Game Boy Advance Emulators