|Developer(s)||zsKnight, _Demo_, pagefault, Nach|
|Platform(s)||Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, DOS|
ZSNES is a free and open-source Super Famicom (SNES) emulator written in x86 assembly. It was originally made in 1997 and was one of the most popular Super Nintendo emulators from late nineties to mid-2000s, but now is obsolete and has not been updated since 2007. Currently the only reason to use ZSNES is for the netplay or if you're on a toaster.
The ZSNES developers focused on speed over accuracy, so a hefty amount of games have bugs (and some just crash outright). The current version (v1.51) created more problems than it fixed and many problems still remain:
- Compatibility is lower than modern emulators due to low accuracy to real SNES system.
- Games crashing: Der Langrisser (freezes after 2–3 hours), Super Mario RPG (freezes in many different points of the game), Star Ocean and many other games have freezing and crashing issues.
- Bad sound emulation: Many games sound inaccurate on ZSNES. ZSNES's audio timer isn't floating point so there are timing artifacts in the music. ZSNES doesn't emulate release values of ADSR so held notes will sound poor.
- Many of the co-processors, which are actually on the game cartridges, are emulated in strange ways. For example, Super FX is not clocked correctly; Star Fox runs twice as fast as it should.
- Transparency: Kirby Dreamland 3, Mecarobot Golf, Jurassic Park and other games that use pseudo-hi-res translucency won't display correctly in the default graphics engine in v1.51. To get them to display properly in v1.51, one must press 8 to switch to the old graphics engine.
- x86 code exploits: With specially made hacks and homebrew ROMs, it is possible for them to break out of ZSNES itself and execute native code on the host computer.
- While older versions of ZSNES still have one of the better netplay systems among emulators, netplay was removed in v1.50.
- SA-1 isn't emulated correctly, so Kirby Super Star can sometimes spawn different sprites than the supposed one.
Many ROM hacks and ROM hacking tools were made using ZSNES as a testing platform because of its popularity. However, because of the inaccuracies of the emulator, these tools and hacks are broken on other, more accurate emulators and real hardware.
In 2011, Near (then known as byuu) released bZSNES - a modification of his bsnes that includes the optional inaccuracies of ZSNES and a similar GUI - as an April Fool's Day joke. It however only has moderate compatibility with ROM hacks made specifically for ZSNES.
ZMZ isn't an emulator in its own right, rather it takes the interface that ZSNES uses and applies it to a libretro frontend for running SNES cores such as Snes9x and bsnes. Apart from the replicated ZSNES interface, it can also record ZMV files.
- An active fork of ZSNES on GitHub. It is primarily focused on allowing ZSNES to be compiled on x64 versions of modern Linux distros.