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The 10 Best Neo Geo Emulators

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The Best Neo Geo Emulators

What are the best Neo Geo emulators?

When it was released in 1990, the Neo Geo home console was a commercial success and the most powerful system of its time.

Despite the console being discontinued in 1997, fans of the console were reluctant to let it go, and many homebrew games were created commercially and by hobbyists to help keep the Neo Geo alive.

However, not everyone could get their hands on a console, especially since it came with a price tag of $650. This meant that many people relied on arcades to get their fix of Neo Geo games.

Fortunately, emulators have made it possible to play these classic games on computers and Android, even as physical arcades fade away.

 

The Best Neo Geo Emulators

There are a lot of Neo Geo emulators that claim to be the best, but not all of them can deliver the quality gaming experience that they claim.

If you want to replay some of the best Neo Geo games, don’t worry, we’ve got you.

Instead of wasting valuable gaming time looking for the most reliable emulators, we’ve ranked only the best so that you can spend more time gaming and less time scouring the internet, hoping to find an emulator that works for you.

Here’s our list of the 10 best Neo Geo emulators:

 

10. Raine

 

This Neo Geo emulator is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It was designed to emulate M68000 and M68020 arcade games, focusing on Jaleco and Taito game hardware.

The Raine Neo Geo emulator is a very stable emulator that gets the job done and lets you play some incredible games without a lot of hassle. This emulator is also being regularly maintained, and it has a robust fan base.

The most recent update was early 2022, and it is expected that regular updates will continue to be released. 

Although the Raine Neo Geo emulator may not be the most well-known, it is worth checking out if you want an emulator that is being continuously maintained today.

 

9. Megnafen

 

The Megnafen is a multi-platform emulator that is still being maintained today, and it has a lot of great features to offer users.

Not only can it play Neo Geo games, but it can emulate loads of other systems, like the GameBoy Color, Gameboy Advance, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Sony PlayStation.

This allows users to switch between playing some of the most classic games and some of the best GTA games of all time with ease, which really adds to the longevity of this emulator.

This emulator also supports custom hotkeys for keyboard use, joystick configuration, or both simultaneously, along with real-time rewinding and snapshot capabilities.

Like Raine, the Megnafen website offers tons of up-to-date information about all of the updates, as well as helpful guides for users who need extra help getting this Neo Geo emulator to work perfectly.

If you want to be able to play some of your favorite retro games, as well as some newer favorites, the Megnafen emulator is a solid, reliable option that you don’t want to write off.

 

8. NeoRage (X)

 

NeoRage was one of the very first Neo Geo emulators for Windows, and while other Neo Geo emulators have since caught up to it, it remains one of the best for gaming on less powerful computers.

Although you can invest in some of the best gaming laptops for under $800, which you can use to run more powerful emulators, if you’re using a weaker PC, it will be hard to find a better option than this, especially in terms of optimization.

The biggest downside that this game emulator has is that it hasn’t been updated in a while, unlike Raine or Megnafen, and some stability issues haven’t been addressed.

That said, if you are using an older computer or operating system, this can be one of the best Neo Geo emulators to get started with.

 

7. Calice32

 

Calice32 is one of the best Neo Geo emulators with a simple and easy-to-use interface. It emulates games precisely for the Neo Geo, Capcom CPS-1 and 2, and the Sega system 16 and 18.

The Calice32 emulator also boasts powerful sound and graphics emulation, along with joystick and keyboard support. For its age, it holds up remarkably well, even against more recent emulators and those that are regularly updated.

That being said, this emulator is 20 years old, and it hasn’t been updated since 2002. This means that you’re not going to get as many of the benefits that newer, updated emulators can provide that allow them to make use of advancements in technology.

However, if you just want an easy-to-use emulator that will allow you to take on some of the toughest video game bosses that classic titles have to offer, then Calice32 is something to keep in mind.

 

6. Kawaks

 

Kawaks has been the emulator of choice for Neo Geo fans for many years, and it supports both Neo Geo and Capcom 1 and 2 games.

One of the features that make this Neo Geo emulator so popular is its netplay capabilities, which allow users to challenge friends or join servers to play online.

This is something that only a few Neo Geo emulators offer, so if online gaming is something you’re interested in, Kawaks is worth checking out.

The only real downside is that this Neo Geo emulator hasn’t been updated since 2016, meaning it still lags behind some more recently maintained emulators. However, it still delivers an enjoyable experience and retains a loyal fan base.

 

5. Mame4Droid

 

Mame4Droid is the first emulator on our list that can be downloaded on an Android device, and its most recent update came in 2020.

It was developed as a port of the MAME emulator, and it is capable of emulating a vast number of games, including over 8000 distinct ROMs.

Mame4Droid works best on dual-core Android devices and won’t function as well on older phones because the version of MAME it is based on requires high specifications to function optimally.

However, the features it provides make it a worthy choice if you want to get the most out of your gaming experience.

This emulator comes with a touch controller that can be toggled on and off, scaling that helps provide a faithful recreation of games at a higher resolution, customizable button layouts, wi-fi netplay, external controller support, and much more.

In addition to all of these features, the setup is also effortless, and even beginners can get it running fairly quickly, enabling them to jump into some of their favorite arcade games.

Mame4Droid is arguably a strong contender for the title of best Neo Geo emulator for Android devices, and it maintains a solid four-star rating on the Google Play store.

If you feel like tackling some of the hardest video game levels in arcade history on the go, this emulator is definitely one to strongly consider.

 

4. FinalBurn Neo

 

Available for Windows and Mac devices, FinalBurn Neo supports an extensive base of platforms, including Capcom 1 through 3, Sega systems 1, 16, and 18, as well as the Neo Geo and many more.

This is also one of the most documented Neo Geo emulators with a thriving website and forum where users and fans can talk about their experiences and help new users who may need assistance.

There are also a lot of updates and articles posted to the forum on the FinalBurn Neo website, which helps potential users understand the areas where this emulator truly shines.

While this is one of the most reliable Neo Geo emulators available today, one aspect that it does lack is a game compatibility page, which would be helpful when trying to glean all of the games it can play before downloading it and testing it for yourself.

That said, this emulator has a good reputation for a reason, and it is definitely worth considering if you want a way to take a break from the best PS4 games right now and enjoy something a lot more retro.

 

3. RetroArch

 

RetroArch is one of the most well-known and popular emulators in the community, and it is available on several devices, including Windows OS, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, and many more.

Along with all the devices, it is available on, it is also capable of emulating a slew of consoles, including the Atari, Gameboy, N64, Wii, SNES, PlayStation, and more. There isn’t a lot that this emulator can’t do!

If all of that wasn’t enough, the RetroArch emulator also automatically configures controllers, netplay, game achievements, custom shaders, and next-frame response time.

Many settings can also be customized manually to further enhance your gaming experience to meet your needs.

If you ever need help with anything, RetroArch’s Document page is filled with everything you need to understand everything that this emulator offers.

There are even regular articles that explain all of the changes and improvements that have come out in recent updates.

Speaking of updates, this is one Neo Geo emulator that receives regular updates that help it take advantage of new technology, ensuring that it isn’t in danger of falling behind or becoming outdated.

You can even help the developers by becoming a Patreon, some tiers of which give early access to new features.

If you want one of the best Neo Geo emulators that will also allow you to play a variety of other games, such as the best GameCube games of all time, RetroArch is one that you are absolutely going to want to check out.

 

2. Nebula

 

Nebula is one of the most popular emulators on the internet and one of the best Neo Geo emulators, hands down.

Not only is it incredibly powerful, but it has a sleek user interface that makes it incredibly easy to navigate.

Able to run almost all Neo Geo ROMs, it also enables players to engage with netplay, multiplayer, and cheats to make playing your favorite retro games even more enjoyable.

Along with running Neo Geo ROMs, it is also compatible with Capcom 1 and 2 ROMs, as well as some Konami titles.

While it is one of the best running Neo Geo emulators, it isn’t the most well maintained, and the last update was in 2014.

Despite this, it works well on Windows operating systems, even 10 and 11, so users looking to play retro games on these devices can definitely still benefit from this emulator.

 

1. MAME

 

Taking the number one spot and the title of best Neo Geo emulator is the MAME emulator, a multi-platform, open-source emulator that works on various devices with remarkable results.

The MAME emulator is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it is still being maintained and updated today to ensure that it doesn’t fall behind other Neo Geo emulators on the market.

While the original concept for MAME was created way back in 1997, because of the dedicated developers, it is still running as well as more recent emulators designed within the last decade.

Capable of playing all of the best Neo Geo games, including Neo Geo Cd games, this emulator is the perfect way to replay the old favorites as quickly as possible.

If that wasn’t enough, this emulator also boasts an impressive array of features that includes netplay and the ability to use other frontend Neo Geo emulators if you don’t like the MAME interface.

This emulator is incredibly well documented, and there is no shortage of helpful advice on how to make the most out of it. Its thriving community is constantly growing, and it isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.

If you are looking for an emulator that will give you the most playability and compatibility, MAME is a name that you’ll want to remember.

Although you may want to invest in one of the best gaming chairs for under $100 because, once you start playing Neo Geo classics on this emulator, you’re going to be glued to your screen for a while!

 

Summary

Gaming has come a long way since the days of the Neo Geo arcade cabinets, but not everyone is ready to leave the classics behind.

Fortunately, these 10 emulators allow you to replay your favorite retro games with incredible efficiency and quality.

While each of these emulators has its unique pros and cons, they all share the ability to let you relive some of your fondest gaming memories on your modern devices.

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best Neo Geo emulators:

  1. MAME
  2. Nebula
  3. RetroArch
  4. FinalBurn Neo
  5. Mame4Droid
  6. Kawaks
  7. Calice32
  8. NeoRage (X)
  9. Megnafen
  10. Raine

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other emulator lists:

What’s the best Neo Geo emulator, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Shawna Schofield is a professional freelance writer and part-time YouTuber. When not writing or recording she spends her time playing Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Dragon Age.

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