What are the best N64 emulators?
The N64 is an absolute classic, and it gave us amazing games like Golden Eye and Ocarina of Time.
However, this console was unfortunately discontinued in 2002, and finding a working one today can be hard, to say the least.
Fortunately, emulators have been created so that fans can still experience their favorite games even without the original console!
The 10 Best N64 Emulators
To create this list, we tested all current emulators that have N64 compatibility to see how they stack up.
We then selected the best based on their performance, interface, and overall compatibility with N64 games.
So, if you’re ready for some retro gaming, here’s our list of the 10 best N64 emulators:
Kicking off our list, we have Bizhawk, which can be used to emulate multiple platforms, including many other retro game consoles.
Along with being great for N64 fans, Bizhawk is also one of the best Sega Saturn emulators, and it comes with a number of great features.
We love that this emulator has full-screen support and joypad support that covers both controllers and hotkeys. It really makes playing classic games feel true to form!
Bizhawk is also one of the best emulators to use if you’re planning on doing a tool-assisted speedrun of classic N64 games.
This is because Bizhawk has specific tools such as rewind, auto fire, and auto hold, as well as support for custom plugins, that make speedrunning easier.
Unlike some other emulators, Bizhawk is also extremely lightweight, and it is capable of playing many n64 games while also reducing lag.
If you’re interested in speedrunning or just want a very accurate emulation experience, Bizhawk is definitely worth considering!
Sixtyforce is an N64 emulator that is specifically designed for Mac OSX users, and it provides smooth gameplay by translating game codes in real time.
Nearly every aspect of the N64 has been recreated for this emulator so that games perform as well as they did on the original console, if not better!
It also boasts a great library of compatible games, and you can see on its website which games run the best and the issues some have.
While there is a free version of this emulator, it does lack save states, meaning you won’t be able to jump back into a game where you left off.
However, if you just want to try out this emulator, the free version is great to download, so you can get a feel for whether or not it’s right for you.
If you do end up enjoying Sixtyforce, the cost of the paid version is $15, which we think is extremely reasonable for all of the great games it offers!
Also known as m64p, Simple64 is a plugin-based, open-source emulator that was designed for both Windows and Linux.
It is also one of the most accurate emulators for the N64 that you can currently use, though it does have a few downsides.
In June 2022, Simple64 had its core timing code overhauled, which has helped boost its accuracy, though this change resulted in some compatibility issues.
This means that some games that previously worked can no longer be booted, and performance can be a bit slower on older computers.
However, this can be solved for most users by installing an older version of Simple64 from before this overhaul was put in place.
Of course, the developers of this emulator are working on fixing these issues, and we expect that these regressions will be rectified in the future.
Simple64 is updated often, and it is entirely free, so even with these known problems, we think it’s worth checking out if you’re after high accuracy.
Along with being one of the best GameCube emulators, ClassicBoy is great for replaying N64 games on Android devices!
While ClassicBoy can emulate multiple platforms, its N64 emulation is smooth, and it supports a lot of the best games on the console.
Like Sixtyforce, there is a free and paid version of ClassicBoy, and both are a little bit different from one another.
In the free version, users can play games, use save states, adjust game speed, edit graphics, switch controls, and import or export game data.
Meanwhile, the paid version provides all of the free features plus autosaves, gesture and sensor control, and more downloadable plugins and games.
What we really love about this emulator is that it’s easy to find on the Google Play Store, and it’s incredibly straightforward to use.
It is a great option for users who may not be very familiar with emulation, and it does a great job of walking you through everything you need to know!
6. Mega N64
Mega N64 is another Android emulator, and it uses Mupen64Plus, which we’ll talk about later, as its core.
Essentially, Mega N64 is a bit like Mupen64Plus, only optimized for mobile devices, and it works so well it feels like playing the original console.
The graphics, in particular, look extremely nice, and there is hardly any lag, even in action-heavy games where you would expect it.
Even Ocarina of Time plays beautifully on Mega N64, and it’s really nice to be able to load it up and play no matter where you are.
Best of all, this emulator is entirely free, so you will never have to fork over any money to unlock extra features.
While there are ads that show up when you’re in loading screens, we didn’t find this to be terribly intrusive, and it doesn’t take away from the gameplay at all!
If you want a reliable way to play N64 games on your Android devices, Mega N64 is one of the best N64 emulators you can download!
Nemu64 is a very simple emulator, and it has an interface that sort of looks like it came straight from Windows XP.
However, what it lacks in visuals, it makes up for by being extremely easy to use, even if you have no prior experience using an emulator.
What we love about Nemu64 is that it works on all Windows PCs without needing to have additional drivers or software installed or set up.
All players have to do is download it, and they can jump straight into the best N64 games of all time without having to waste time struggling with a complicated setup.
We would highly recommend this emulator to anyone who just wants to start playing games without a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles.
While Nemu64 doesn’t support multiple platforms, it does what it needs to as a great N64 emulator, and we definitely appreciate its low-tech approach!
Mupen64Plus, the core of Mega N64, has served as the basis for many emulators thanks to its open-source code and stability.
This cross-platform emulator features compatibility with most operating systems, including Android, and it boasts a huge number of ROM files.
What really makes this emulator shine is that it has a ton of customizable settings that players can mess around with.
Basically, anything that has a parameter can be changed, including the screen size, color hues, and sounds.
You can also customize your controls, resolution settings, and game speed, meaning you can really create the ultimate custom gaming experience.
While this emulator can be downloaded for free, there is also a pro version that costs $3.99, which includes a netplay function you can use to play games over WiFi.
Additionally, if you’re using Mupen64Plus on your Android device, this emulator allows you to either use touchscreen controls or an external controller.
However, we have to say that this emulator works exceptionally well on any device it’s available on, and we really love its simplicity and customizable controls!
RetroArch is one of the most popular and well-known emulators in the world, and it has a ton of compatibility.
Along with being one of the best emulators for PC, RetroArch can run on a ton of platforms, including iOS, Android, PlayStation, Wii, Nintendo Switch, and more.
Yeah, you can literally run this emulator using game consoles, which is not something you often see in the realm of emulation!
This emulator is also one of the most flexible around, and it owes this flexibility to its use of various cores.
When you have RetroArch installed, you can choose to download a huge number of different cores covering almost every console and device ever made.
Aside from the N64, these cores range from the Atari 5200 and DOS to the PSP and Nintendo DS.
This emulator also has an absolute ton of features, including configurable latency tools, automatic controller configuration, customizable shaders, and more.
You can even earn game achievements, set up netplay, and record or stream your gaming sessions to platforms like Youtube or Twitch.
Seriously, the configuration options are some of the most in-depth of any emulator, but it remains extremely easy to use.
RetroArch is, without a doubt, one of the best N64 emulators you can download right now, and we highly recommend giving it a try!
Up next, we have, in our opinion, one of the best N64 emulators for Mac OSX, and it comes with a ton of great features.
Easily rivaling RetroArch, this emulator supports numerous consoles alongside the N64, as well as automatic controller configuration.
What really makes OpenEmu stand out is that its organization is absolutely impeccable, and it requires little user intervention.
When you add ROMs to this emulator, the software will automatically sort out where it belongs in your library.
It even automatically downloads the original box art so that you can easily recognize it at a glance!
You can even take the games you’ve added and create your own collections, sort of like a playlist on iTunes.
Like RetroArch, OpenEmu is modular and operates using easily downloadable cores that allow users to emulate different platforms.
OpenEmu uses Mupen64Plus as its N64 core, and when coupled with its intuitive user interface, gaming is easier than ever.
This emulator is not only one of the easiest to use, but it has one of the best interfaces we’ve ever seen.
If you’re using a Mac and want to replay your favorite N64 games, OpenEmu is an emulator you shouldn’t pass up!
1. Project 64
Taking our number one spot is one of the best Pokémon emulators for PC, Project 64, which also stands out as one of the most versatile you can download.
Available for Windows and Android users, Project 64 is widely considered to be the best N64 emulator in the world.
Project 64 is completely free and open source, and it’s able to play all of the best N64 games seamlessly and without hassle.
What we really love about this emulator is that it’s powerful but comes with a simple user interface that won’t overload you with unnecessary options.
That’s not to say that it lacks customization, but rather, it’s designed to make tweaking settings easy for even those with no prior experience using emulators.
With Project 64, all you have to do is download the software and import your ROMs to start playing!
One thing we will say is that there is an unskippable message when you boot up the program that asks for donations.
Although this doesn’t impact gameplay, it can get tiring for some, though you can bypass it by using a script.
Alternatively, you can download Project 64 using Rosalie’s BetterMajorasMaskInstaller, which keeps the software up-to-date and removes this message.
That said, this emulator plays N64 games perfectly, and it definitely is our choice as the best N64 emulator currently available!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the 10 best N64 emulators and that you’ve found a new way to play these classic games!
The N64 holds a nostalgic place of reverence for many gamers, and thankfully, these emulators offer a great way to re-experience all of the best titles.
Project 64, especially, is amazing at replicating the N64 retro experience, and we highly recommend giving it a try for yourself!
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best N64 emulators:
- Project 64
- Mega N64
What’s your favorite N64 game? Leave a comment below.
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