Nintendo Entertainment System emulators

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Nintendo Entertainment System
Family Computer.png
The Family Computer (above) and Nintendo Entertainment System (below).
Developer Nintendo
Type Home video game console
Generation Third generation
Release date 1983 (Famicom)
1985 (NES)
Discontinued 1995 (NES)
2003 (Famicom)
Predecessor Color TV-Game
Successor Super Family Computer / Super Nintendo Entertainment System
For emulators that run on the Nintendo Entertainment System, see Emulators on NES.

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit, third-generation console originally released as the Family Computer or Famicom, in Japan, on July 15, 1983. The Famicom retailed for ¥14800. The console would be redesigned as the NES and released on October 18, 1985 in North America. The NES retailed for $179.99. It had a Ricoh 2A03 CPU at 1.79 MHz with 2 KBs of RAM.

The earliest games released on the Famicom suffered from significant hardware constraints due to the way the Famicom was designed: limited memory addressing (which meant games had a small maximum ROM size), how the graphics were loaded onscreen, just the native sound processing was available, no saving... To solve this problem, Nintendo came up with two solutions:

  • The Family Computer Disk System (FDS). A Japan-only add-on that played games from a semi-custom variant of Mitsumi's Quick Disk format. It offered slightly higher data storage and slightly enhanced sound processing. It also had a microphone never found anywhere else. There were plans to release it in the US; however, since the NES had its launch delayed to late 1985, and the mapper solution obsoleted it, the add-on was never exported, and some of its exclusives were ported as regular cartridge releases.
  • Memory Management Controllers (MMC), also known colloquially as mappers. They solved every aforementioned problem with bank switching for much more data, onboard FM audio chips, and much more. Most games released after 1986 that really pushed the system to its limits used mappers. A similar solution was used for the Game Boy.

Emulation for the Famicom/NES is robust, with many high-quality emulators for various systems and cycle-accurate emulation possible on even moderately powerful devices.


Like for Game Boy/Color, tons of NES emulators exist. For a list of open-source projects, see this GitHub query.

Name Platform(s) Latest version Hardware
Enhancements Hardware features
and accessories
Mappers Support
Accuracy FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
Mesen Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Dev builds
libretro core
2023-09-11 (Mesen X)
0.9.9 (Mesen 1)
~ Unlicensed Cycle
puNES Windows Linux FreeBSD WIP builds
~ Unlicensed Cycle
Nestopia UE Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Web libretro core
Nestopia JG git
~ ~ Unlicensed Cycle
FCEUX Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Solaris Web 2.6.6
libretro (FCEUmm)
~ ~ Unlicensed High
ares Windows Linux macOS git Artifacts
~ ~ ? High ~
Windows Linux Dev Builds
~ ~ ? ?
(Core dependent)
Nintendulator/NRS Windows 2023-12-23
0.985 Beta
~ ~ Unlicensed Cycle ~
3dSen Windows Linux macOS 0.9.8 ~ Only for selected titles Game dependent ~
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD git artifacts[N 1]
libretro core
~ ~ Unlicensed ?
QuickNES Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Web libretro core
0.7.0b1 (legacy)
~ ~ ~ ? ? ~[N 2]
BeesNES Windows git ~ ? Subcycle ✗ (WIP)
breakNES Windows 2.2 ? ? Gate-level ✗ (WIP)
MetalNES macOS git ? Transistor-level ✗ (WIP)
jgenesis Windows Linux 0.7.2
jgnes Windows Linux Web git Licensed Cycle-based
ANESE Windows Linux macOS 0.9.1 ? ~* ~ ? ? ~
iNES Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Solaris 6.1 ~ ~ ? ? ?
HDNes Windows git ? ~* ? ? ?
FinalBurn Neo Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD libretro core
WIP builds
~ ? ? NC
higan (火眼)
byuu (謬/view)
Windows Linux macOS v110 ? ~ ? Cycle
VirtuaNES Windows 0.97 ? ? ? ? Low
nemulator Windows 4.4 ? ? ? ? Medium
Nesemu macOS 0.0.5 ? ? ? ? ?
HalfNES Windows Linux 062 ? ? ? ? ?
Jnes Windows 1.2.1 ? ? ? ? ?
NESticle MS-DOS Windows 9x x.xx (DOS)
0.42 (Win9x)
? ? ? Low
RockNES Windows 5.80 ? ? ? ? High
RetroCopy Windows Linux 0.960
1.00 Beta 5
? ?
Mobile / ARM
Nestopia_libretro Android iOS libretro core ~ ~ ~ Unlicensed Cycle
FCEUmm_libretro Android iOS libretro core ~ ~ ~ Unlicensed High
NES.emu Android Dragonbox Pyra 1.5.77git (Android) (Pyra)
? ? ? Unlicensed ?
(Android only)
FreeiNES Android Maemo
6.1.4 (Android)
3.6.5 (Maemo)
3.6 (Symbian)
? ~* ? ? ? ~
VGBANext Android 6.6.6 ? ? ? ? ? ~
GPFCE Linux Pandora GP2X
GP2X Wiz
0.81.0.r2 (Pandora)
0.4 r313 (GP2X)
0.4+ (Wiz)
? ? ? ? ? ~
vNES Java Symbian 1.7 (S60v3)git
? ? ? ? ? ~
Nostalgia.NES Android 2.0.9 ? ? ? ? ? ~
John NESS Android 1.09 ? ? ? ? ?
Jnes Android ? ? ? ? ? ~
nesemu Pandora GP2X Wiz Dingoo 0.2.3 Beta Preview
(Pandora)V1 (Wiz)
0.2 (Dingoo)
? ? ? ? ?
Nestopia Pandora V2 ? ? ? ? Cycle
Nesemu iOS AppleTV git ? ? ? ? ?
Pocket Nester+ Windows Mobile 0.9 ? ? ? ? ?
nintaco Java 2020-05-01 ~ ? Unlicensed Cycle
8-Bit Wonders Android 0.8 (F-Droid)
0.8 (Play)
0.8 (Amazon)
? ? ? ? ? roadmap
Nestopia PlayStation 4 PlayStation 3
PSP GameCube
Wii Wii U Nintendo 3DS
Xbox 360 Xbox
libretro core ~ ~ ~ Unlicensed Cycle
QuickNES PlayStation 2 PSP
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4 Vita GameCube
Switch Wii U Nintendo 3DS
libretro core ~ ~ ~ ? ? ~[N 2]
FCEUmm PlayStation 2 PSP
PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
Vita GameCube Wii Wii U
Nintendo 3DS Switch Xbox 360
libretro core ~ ~ ~ Unlicensed High
FCE Ultra GX GameCube Wii Wii U 3.5.3 ? ? ~ Unlicensed High
pNES Switch Vita git ? ? ~ ? ? ~
FCEUltra for PS2 PlayStation 2 0.9.3
0.90i Mod
? ? ? ? High ~ ~
Neon64 Nintendo 64 git ? ? ? ? ? ~
nesDS Nintendo DS 1.3a ? ? ? ? ? ~ ~
PocketNES GameBoy Advance 7-1-2013 ? ? ? ? ? ~
Nintendo Switch Online (L-CLASSICS) Switch 2.3.0 ? ~ ? ? ? ~
Virtual Console Wii Nintendo 3DS Wii U N/A ? ? ? Official ? ~
NES Remix
Wii U Nintendo 3DS HeriC ? ? ? ~
VirtuaNES for 3DS Nintendo 3DS git ? ? ? ? Low
NESBox Xbox One v4 ? ? ? ? ?
Mega Everdrive Pro Genesis N/A ? ? ? ? ? ~
NesterJ[N 3] PSP 1.13 beta 2
? ? ? ? ?
imbNES PlayStation 1.3.2 ? ? ? ? ?
Project Nested Super Nintendo git ? ? ? ? ?
NeMul Genesis 1.0 ? ? ? ? ?
numworks-nofrendo Numworks git ? ? ? ? ?
NESpire TI-Nspire 0.30
git (tangrs-mod)
? ? ? ? ~
NESizm Prizm 1.00 ? ? ? ? ? ~
  1. CI-Windows CI-Linux CI-Macos
  2. 2.0 2.1 Libretro core is still active.
  3. AoEX is based on NesterJ 1.12 Plus 0.61 RM, which includes features like rewind, cheat code support, rotated/mirrored screen, sepia palette, support for rare mappers (the pirate bootleg FF7 works on it), etc. Its compatibility is inferior to 1.13 beta 2.


  • puNES is another cycle-accurate NES/FDS emulator. It is deemed as the second most compatible NES emulator of the cycle-accurate variety.
  • Nestopia also is a cycle-accurate NES/FDS emulator. Nestopia has issues with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and doesn't display the status bar in Mickey's Safari in Letterland correctly (among other problems). Nestopia Undead Edition is a fork of Nestopia meant to keep it alive and fix the aforementioned bugs. This version is generally recommended over vanilla. Even the libretro core for Nestopia is the Undead Edition.
  • Nintendulator also is a cycle-accurate NES/FDS emulator. NintendulatorNRS is a fork of Nintendulator that supports the Famicom Disk System, rare mappers, VRT chipsets, and many unlicensed and bootleg carts and systems.
  • For official emulation, there is Nintendo's own Virtual Console or Nintendo Switch Online. The Wii has a significantly larger library of NES games to choose from than the 3DS or Wii U, especially from third-party publishers.

There are many other NES emulators not listed here, as the NES has more emulators than any other system (new ones are started all the time). Only those that are well-known or stand out in some ways are covered here.


A key difference between many emulators nowadays is how many mappers they support.

  • No mapper: Supported on every emulator, even official Nintendo emulators.
  • Official mappers (UNROM, AOROM, MMC1-6): Most emulators, as well as Nintendo's Virtual Console (but not their GBA emulators), will cover these.
  • Third-party mappers (Various: e.g., Konami's VRC6/VRC7) While officially licensed by Nintendo, they were not allowed outside Japan. As a result, for their Western releases, many games that took advantage of their features (advanced ROM mapping, extra sound channels) were reprogrammed significantly and shipped on the official mappers, often with simplified soundtracks. A lot of fan emulators worth their salt will cover these. With those, you cover the entire officially licensed library.
  • Unlicensed mappers: Mostly used by pirate cartridges, often long past the console's official commercial lifespan. Only the most active and recommended emulators will even bother covering them in a whack-a-mole quest for every new one discovered to this very day. If you're not interested in unlicensed Chinese or Russian bootlegs or newer unofficial NES demakes, it isn't a problem.

The NES ROM information isn't sufficient to describe the cartridge and emulate it, so emulators have to include the layout and behavior of these mappers in their code. At the same time, the ROM header tells the emulator which mapper to choose. So unlike with other consoles, no matter how accurate a given NES emulator will get, it will still never be able to run newly discovered ROM dumps from cartridges that used a so-far unknown mapper. Thus, Unlicensed NES support will be inevitably incomplete and a constant work-in-progress, hence claims some emulators are "inaccurate".

Related to this issue: This is why most emulators won't run unheadered NES ROMs. Newer versions of Nestopia can open those, but they're handled in a slightly different way: the information that would have been included in the iNES header is instead provided in emulator configuration files that get summoned as long as the ROM's hash matches exactly the No-Intro dump of that given game (which is inconvenient for ROM hacks).


Name Mesen FCEUX puNES Nestopia UE ares QuickNES MAME BeesNES breakNES MetalNES Nintendo Switch Online
Graphics Resizable Internal Resolution For emulation of 2D systems, the resolution can only be upscaled, making the pixels more apparent.
Widescreen hack
Using wideNES technique (similar to wideGB); it can automatically “map-out” levels and worlds in NES games.
Exclusive to ANESE emulator at the moment.
Sprite Replacement *
Performance Overclock *
TAS features Macros/Scripts/Lua * *
Rewind *
Fast-Forward/Turbo Speed *
Movie recording/playback *
Post-Processing Filters ? ?
AI-powered filter compatible
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Shader Chain ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
Inverse tone mapping compatible ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Quality of life Per-Game Profiles * ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Command Line Options * ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Built-in Cheat Manager * ? ? * ? ? ? ?
Built-in Custom resolution/CRTSwitchRes
For using this on Windows OS you need CRT Emudriver.
Another option is using EDID editor tool such as "Custom Resolution Utility".
Exclusive to libretro cores and GroovyMAME at the moment.
Also there is a project for achieving software emulators like libretro cores and GroovyMAME send the raw RGB data over a network to a core running on MiSTer, it basically turns the MiSTer into a GPU for the emulator allowing for easy setup and use with CRT TVs/Arcade monitors.
Streamable compression format * ? ? ?
Big Picture Mode ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
Controls Input lag-mitigating technique * ? ? ?
Misc Netplay * ? ? ?
EmuVR support Exclusive to libretro cores at the moment.
RetroAchievements ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
Debug features * ? ? * ? ? ?
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Exclusive to FCEUmm, Mesen, Nestopia libretro cores. Also there is a modified version of fceux that supports RetroAchievements.

Hardware features and accessories

Name Mesen Emulator 2 Emulator 3 Emulator 4 Emulator 5
Zapper Lightgun
Power Pad Side A B
Family Trainer Side A B
Arkanoid Paddle
SNES Controller
SNES Mouse
Virtual Boy Controller
old Famicom P2 Controller Microphone
Hypershot Lightgun
Hypershot Pad
Turbo File
Battle Box
Barcode Battler
Exciting Boxing
Top Rider
Game Genie
Action Replay
Oeka Kids Tablet
Disk System
Disk 1 2
Datach Card
Family BASIC
Data Recorder
3D Glasses
Miracle Piano
Network System
Soft Reset and Hard Reset
Copy, Cut & Paste for Family BASIC
Cartridge Hot Swapping for new NES and old and new FC (an example: Super Mario Bros. + Tennis) higan support it, so ares may also support
Cartridge Tilting*

There were many accessories released for the Famicom and NES but Emulation in General only covers accessories that are truly differentiated data streams from the basic controller. For example, the Power Glove is, in actuality, just a really complicated NES controller designed to convert motion into D-PAD, SELECT, START, A, and B button commands. The same goes for R.O.B. and his Stack-up and Gyromite games because he was really just the second player. Strangely, the Famicom has a lot more peripheral hardware to emulate than the NES.[1][2]

Picture Name(s) Description Game(s) Support emulator(s) Note
NES Zapper.png Zapper An electronic light gun accessory that allows players to aim at the display and shoot various objects that appear on the screen. The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Barker Bill's Trick Shooting
Day Dreamin' Davey
Duck Hunt
Freedom Force
Gotcha! The Sport!
The Hunt for Red October
Hogan's Alley
Laser Invasion
The Lone Ranger
Mechanized Attack
Operation Wolf
Shooting Range
To the Earth
Track & Field II
Wild Gunman
Various Emulated in the form of a mouse click (PC), tap (for mobile), remote (Wii ports of NES emulators), or faked pointers using a controller.
ArkanoidVausController.jpg Arkanoid/Vaus Controller A specific game controller with one button to "fire" and a dial to control back-and-forth movement. Arkanoid
Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh
Chase H.Q.
Various N/A
NES-power-pad.jpgFamily Trainer.jpgFamilyFunFitness A.pngFamilyFunFitness B.png Power Pad
Family Trainer
Family Fun Fitness
A game controller that allows players to step on a gray floor mat with 12 pressure-sensors embedded between flexible plastic to control gameplay. Stadium Events
Dance Aerobics
Athletic World
NES-Four-Score.jpgNES Satellite.png NES Four Score
NES Satellite
4-Player Adaptor
A multitap accessory that enables up to 4-player gameplay using infrared wireless communication. R.C. Pro-Am II
Bomberman II[N 1]
Gauntlet II
Nintendo World Cup
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Various Emulated by having the option to switch between 2-player and 4-player mode or just enabling/disabling Player 3 and Player 4's controller.
Family Computer Disk System.png Family Computer Disk System & FDS See above Super Mario Bros. 2
Legend of Zelda: The Hyrule Fantasy
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Light Mythology: Palutena's Mirror
Akumajō Dracula
Ice Hockey
Nestopia UE
Nintendulator NRS
The BIOS file (which can be found here) is required for FDS emulation. Note that there are two versions of the BIOS: one that comes with FDS and another that comes with Sharp's Twin Famicom. They function identically despite showing a different intro during the first boot.
Datach Joint ROM System
Bandai add-on that lets the Family Computer play a few suitable games. Swiping cards to obtain a character. Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budōkai
Crayon Shin-Chan: Ora to Poi Poi
Yu Yu Hakusho: Bakutou Ankoku Bujutsukai
Ultraman Club: Supokon Fight!
SD Gundam: Gundam Wars
Battle Rush: Build Up Robot Tournament
J. League Super Top Players
Mesen[N 2]
puNES[N 2]
Famicom Controller Microphone.png Microphone A Japan-exclusive, built-in feature in the original Player 2 Famicom controller that allows players to use an external sound source (e.g., the player's voice) as input. Atlantis no Nazo
Bakushou!! Jinsei Gekijou
Bakushou!! Jinsei Gekijou 2
Family BASIC V3
Kaiketsu Yanchamaru
Kamen Rider Club: Gekitotsu Shocker Land
Light Mythology: Palutena's Mirror
Star Luster
Star Soldier
Super Chinese 2
Takeshi's Challenge
The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda
Mesen[N 3]
puNES[N 3]
VirtuaNES[N 3]
Virtual Console[N 4]
Family BASIC.png Family BASIC A Japan-exclusive peripheral with an enhanced BASIC programming language dialect. It allows users to create programs in the Famicom. It has a specially designed cartridge, keyboard, and Data Recorder. Family BASIC
Family BASIC V3
Nestopia UE
Famicom Data Recorder.jpg Family Computer Data Recorder A Japan-exclusive compact cassette tape data interface as an addition to the Family BASIC to save data from BASIC programs created by users. The Data Recorder was also used in a select number of games as a method of saving data. Family BASIC
Family BASIC V3
Arkanoid II
Castle Excellent
Lode Runner
Mach Rider
Nuts & Milk
Wrecking Crew
Nestopia UE
Famicom 3D System.jpg Family Computer 3D System A Japan-exclusive active shutter glasses headset that allowed compatible games to display a stereoscopic image for a 3D experience. Attack Animal Gakuen
Cosmic Epsilon
Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally
Fuuun Shourin Ken: Ankoku no Maou
Highway Star
JJ: Tobidase Daisakusen Part II
GLSL shaders are needed for RetroArch to simulate the 3D experience with a VR headset, 3D TV, 3D projector or Android phone with cardboard.
Miracle Piano Teaching System.png Miracle Piano Teaching System An accessory that used an electronic MIDI keyboard as input. Miracle Piano Teaching System MAME
ASCII TurboFile I.pngASCII TurboFile II.png ASCII TurboFile
ASCII TurboFile II
A Japan-exclusive external storage device for saving game positions on Famicom. Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
Wizardry II: The Knight of Diamonds
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari
Haja no Fūin
VirtuaNES N/A
Oeka Kids Tablet.jpg Oeka Kids Tablet A Japan-exclusive drawing tablet for the Famicom Oeka Kids series.[3] Oeka Kids: Anpanman no Hiragana Daisuki
Oeka Kids: Anpanman to Oekaki Shiyou!!
Nestopia UE
RacerMate CompuTrainer Pro.png RacerMate CompuTrainer Pro A rare series of peripherals for the game RacerMate Challenge II. It has an interface box, a bike trainer, and a handlebar display.[4] RacerMate Challenge II N/A N/A
NES Game Genie.png Game Genie A pass-through device that is attached between a cartridge and the console that allows the player to manipulate various aspects of games and access unused assets and functions by temporarily modify game data. Various FCEUX[N 5]
puNES[N 5]
Most emulators have a GUI to manage cheats and don't rely on real hardware cheating devices.
Family Computer Network System.png Family Computer Network System A Japan-exclusive network peripheral that allowed users to connect to a Nintendo server that provided extra content such as jokes, news, game tips, weather forecasts, horse betting and downloadable content via dial-up modem. N/A N/A N/A
SNES Mouse.png SNES Mouse There have been quite a few NES romhacks coming out that add support for the SNES mouse to NES games. Maniac Mansion Mouse Hack Mesen There is a feature request for adding this to fceumm-libretro.
  1. Up to three players only.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Input box by entering the barcode number on the card.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cheated by pressing any specific key ("M" by default).
  4. Through an actual microphone.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cheat authentically by using a Game Genie ROM.

Hardware variants


MAME is the only emulator that properly emulating the PlayChoice-10 system at the moment, most of the NES emulators only play the PlayChoice-10 games as a normal NES game.

VS. System

An arcade system based on the NES released for the US. It was released in two different cabinet variations: Vs. UniSystem and Vs. DualSystem. The latter has double chipsets on the PCB and is capable of handling two different programs or simply two separate copies of a single program simultaneously.

Most emulators support games in Vs. UniSystem cabinet by setting up different DIP switches. But only the MAME, Mesen, NintendulatorNRS, puNES and nintaco are suitable for games in Vs. DualSystem cabinet. For commercial emulation, Hamster re-released several VS. System games from Nintendo and Konami as part of their Arcade Archives series (the former being exclusive to Nintendo Switch, the latter being also on PS4).

Since most VS. System games have palettes that differ from the standard RGB NES palette, ROMs made with VS. System, which are accidentally played in the emulator's NES mode (or vice-versa), will cause the colors to be totally garbled. This can occur when there is an issue with the emulator's configuration or the ROM's iNES header.

These emulators only supports UniSystem cabinet: nestopia UE, FCEumm and FCEUX, BizHawk, FinalBurn Neo

Famicom Box

Also re-released later as Sharp's FamicomStation. The hybrid NES/Famicom arcade box Nintendo Famicom Box is a bulky metal cube with a slot to insert money and secured with tons of locks. The hotel would set the amount of time you could play on one token and choose the available games. You can see it in action in season 18 of Game Center CX. It was distributed in select hotels and stores and can hold up to 15 select Famicom releases at once. It had many more hardware lockout chips and pins with different behavior than usual (it also only supported cartridges using memory mapper 0). Sports a unique boot screen for both models released.

Both the Famicombox and the Famicomstation are emulated by MAME and all of their games have been dumped


A pirate NES Famicom clone that was sold in Russia and Eastern Europe, with the blueprint later reused for other Famiclones. Here's a link to a CC-subtitled Kinaman video for more details. It's a very quirky NTSC NES optimized for 50 Hertz, with many other changes from the official PAL NES as well. Though these differences often break the compatibility of Dendy-specific releases on most emulators.

MAME/MESS supports this console, and some other emulators (such as Mesen, puNES, and FCEUX) have introduced support for it, as well as support for iNES 2.0 ROM headers (including the option to mark a ROM region as PAL Dendy). The cartridges themselves can still be played as long as the emulator supports broken carts.


VTxx is a series of NOAC (Nintendo-On-A-Chip, a kind of chip that contains all the components of a Famicom/NES) chips that implemented multiple changes and enhancements compared to regular NES, manufactured by V.R Technology.

Differences between VTxx series chips and regular NES could be checked on NesDev Wiki.

VTxx is often used in those low-quality, plug & play consoles or keyboard-shaped, so-called educational computers.

V.R Technology provides an emulator called EmuVT as official development & debugging tool, which supports the emulation of multiple kinds of VTxx series chips. It seems to be modded out of an old emulator called NNNesterJ.

NES Classic Edition

Main article: wikipedia:NES Classic Edition

The NES Classic Edition is a mini console that emulates the experience of the Nintendo Entertainment System. It includes 30 classic NES games and is compatible with the Wii Classic Controller and NES Classic Edition controller. Nintendo produced and sold about 2.3 million NES Classic Editions from November 2016 through April 2017, with shipments selling out nearly immediately. In April 2017, Nintendo announced they were discontinuing the product, leading to consumer confusion and incidents of greatly increased pricing among private sellers. Due to the demand for the NES Classic and the success of the Super NES Classic Edition console, Nintendo re-introduced the NES Classic on June 29, 2018. Production was discontinued again in December 2018.

Emulation issues

QD FDS support

Games dumped off the Famicom Disk System come into two major types:

  • .fds format: Most common format. Ubiquitous in ROM sets (GoodSets, No-Intro). Omits some checksum data.
  • .qd format (stands for QuickDisk): Only ever used in official Nintendo re-releases. Almost identical to FDS, except QD is a full dump with checksum data. May omit padding.

The checksum data in question would be checked at BIOS startup to verify the integrity of the image and whether it was tampered with, in which case it will throw an anti-piracy error. puNES added QD support in v0.111. As of now, no other NES emulators support the alternate, more complete dumps and fudging that check's result to always return a negative. To emulate a .qd image with those, stripping the checksum data with a custom script is needed.


Main article: Overscan
Example of faulty visuals that are exposed when no overscan is cropped. Note the blank blue area to the left and the green garbage on the right. On NTSC CRT TVs, these areas may or may not be visible

Several NES games need their overscan to be cropped to look proper. Unfortunately, there is no standard level of overcropping. Many games require different levels for the best results. For example, Super Mario Bros. 3 requires quite a bit of cropping. However, the same level of cropping will obscure the letters of the status bar in Castlevania games.

Color palette

Main article: Famicom color palette

Unlike consoles such as the SNES, which natively generate their image in pure RGB, the Famicom normally generates and outputs an encoded NTSC video signal. This must then be decoded by the TV's built-in NTSC decoder, which means the resulting color palette often varies depending on the display's decoder. For this reason, NES games will appear to have different colors on different TV sets. To properly emulate this part of the NES experience, many Famicom emulators have a variety of different palettes to choose from.

The Wii and Wii U versions of Virtual Console use extremely dark color palettes. This is apparently not an accuracy issue, but rather an anti-epilepsy measure. For the Nintendo Switch Online service, the games were directly edited to remove seizure-inducing patterns, allowing it to use a normal palette.