Nintendo Entertainment System emulators

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The Nintendo Entertainment System (known shorthand as NES) is an 8-bit, 3rd generation console released in 1983 in Japan. In Japan, it was known as the Famicom.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Active Recommended?
Nestopia Windows, Linux 1.44
puNES Windows, Linux SVN
RetroArch (Nestopia) Multi-platform 1.44
Nesticle Windows, MS-DOS x.xx


Jnes Windows, Android 1.1.1 Windows Android

FCEUX Windows, Linux 2.2.1

Color Palette

Unlike consoles like the SNES, which natively generate the image in pure RGB, the NES/Famicom normally generates and outputs an encoded NTSC video signal, which must then be decoded by the TV's built-in NTSC decoder. This means the resulting color palette often varies depending on the display's decoder. This is why NES games appear to have different colors on different TV sets.

NES emulators are similarly afflicted by this issue, as they each have their own algorithms for generating the NES color palette, meaning they all have slightly to wildly varying palettes. As such, there isn't really a "true" NES color palette, and which emulator has the "best" palette often comes down to preference, or whichever looks closest to how the real console looks on a user's own particular TV. Luckily, a few emulators such as Nestopia have the ability for the user to edit the color palette to their liking.

That said, some arcade machines based on the NES hardware, such as the PlayChoice-10 and the Versus series of cabinets, did generate a native RGB signal. The colors on these cabinets tend to be very vibrant and saturated, giving games a very distinct look compared to how they would look on the real console. Nestopia gives the user the choice to use the RGB palette featured in these cabinets, though it is not usually considered to be the definitive or "real" NES palette.


NES emulator accuracy