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The 10 Best Sega Genesis Emulators

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The Best Sega Genesis Emulators

What are the best Sega Genesis emulators of all time?

The Sega Genesis is a nostalgia-inducing classic console that was discontinued in 1997. As the fourth-generation console to be released by Sega, many fans miss playing their favorite 16-bit games.

Thankfully, Sega Genesis emulators make it possible to play Sega Genesis games on both your phone and computer, bringing these classic titles into the 21st century.

 

The Best Sega Genesis Emulators

There are a lot of emulators that have been designed to play Sega Genesis games, but not all of them are created equal.

To ensure that you’re able to spend more time gaming and less time searching for the perfect emulator, we’ve done our homework so that you don’t have to. 

Here’s our list of the 10 best Sega Genesis emulators:

 

10. DGen

 

DGen isn’t a Sega Genesis emulator for casual users who just want to jump into their favorite Sega games without a lot of effort.

However, if you’re knowledgeable about computers, codes, and commands, the DGen Sega emulator is something to try out.

This emulator uses a command-line tool to run Sega games instead of a user interface. It also features OpenGL texture support and the Z80 Debugger, and an option for taking screenshots.

Despite not being the optimal choice for those who want a full emulator with a navigatable interface, this emulator runs many Sega Genesis games very well, so long as you’re comfortable using command lines.

While this Sega Genesis emulator was largely abandoned in 2005, its community of fans has kept it running, and they remain loyal to this emulator due to its portability.

If you want to give this emulator a try, there are helpful command guides that help explain what different inputs can do.

While to most people, these commands will mean as much to them as Latin, if you’re familiar with the C programming language, it will be pretty straightforward.

 

9. Gen Plus!

 

Gen Plus! is one of the Sega Genesis emulators for Windows, and it adds additional features that the original Gen emulator lacked.

These features include the ability to change the colors and fonts of the user interface to better personalize your experience.

There are also save state thumbnail preview images that allow users to see where they left off so they can quickly jump back in without worrying about which save is which.

One of the best features is its low-pass filter, which allows for clearer sound than many other emulators.

While that may not sound like much up front, it really does enhance gameplay, especially if you use a great quality gaming headset.

If you’re planning on playing Sega Genesis games primarily on your PC, this Sega Genesis emulator is one that you should certainly keep in mind.

 

8. Megasis

 

Megasis is another emulator for Windows and, despite not being updated in 20 years, it has no trouble running on Windows 10, and it most likely won’t on Windows 11 either.

This Sega Genesis emulator supports all of the standard features that you would expect from a quality emulator, including save state and gamepad support, as well as overclocking and underclocking support.

As one of the few Sega Genesis emulators to support overclocking, it can effectively remove lag from many games or underclock faster games to slow them down.

This can make playing old games almost as smooth as playing some of the best PS4 games of all time!

For gamers looking for a simple but effective emulator for Sega games, Megasis is worth considering, even though it hasn’t seen an update in two decades.

 

7. Genesis Plus

 

The Genesis Plus is another Sega Mega Drive emulator that hasn’t been updated in a while. However, despite that, it still boasts an impressive array of features that make it a favorite with fans looking to play Sega games and get the most out of them.

The Genesis Plus can emulate all sound channels, and it has gamepad support for up to six buttons.

It is one of the most accurate Mega Drive emulators and the only Sega Dreamcast port to achieve nearly full-speed emulation without compromising sound.

This Sega console emulator also supports cheats and saving and loading at the cost of having no full-screen gameplay options.

The main downside of this emulator is that, due to it being a 16-bit program, it won’t run on Windows 7 operating systems or later versions without downloading additional files.

That said, this emulator has a very loyal fan base, and there is no shortage of helpful resources to get it up and running if you want to try it for yourself.

 

6. BizHawk

 

BizHawk may have no support for mac users, but users of Windows and Linux can take full advantage of this emulator.

It is also regularly updated by the developers, with the most recent update having been released on the BizHawk host site in April 2021.

The biggest draw this emulator has is for speedrunners, as it has a Tool-Assisted-Speedruns (TAS) feature that helps players complete games in a smaller amount of time.

This means you can focus more on beating the hardest video game levels of all time instead of wasting too much time grinding.

Along with this nice benefit, it also provides dynamic key-mapping, auto-saves, and a slow-motion mode.

Despite all these features, BizHawk is one of the best emulators for casual users, and it is easy to use even if you have no prior experience using an emulator.

If you’re looking for one of the best Sega emulators for Windows or Linux, BizHawk definitely ranks as one that you shouldn’t overlook.

 

5. ClassicBoyGold

 

The ClassicBoyGold is one of the most popular Sega emulators for retro games available for Android phones.

Not only does it allow you to play Sega games, but also games from the Gameboy, NES, and N64, as well as other various Sega consoles.

While the free version of this app doesn’t come with all the features most gamers will need, the full version is only $5.99, which can be well worth paying to access all the features and support the developers so they can continue updating this emulator.

The full version of this app comes with loading save states, gesture and sensor controllers, Bluetooth controller support, and custom mapping.

All classic games are compatible and work as well as they did on the original console so that you can worry about defeating the toughest video game bosses without getting held back by lag.

If you have a newer android phone, this app is likely to work best, but it is by no means incompatible with older phones.

For those who want to game on the go, the ClassicBoyGold is a popular Sega emulator that you should definitely try for yourself.

 

4. Gens

 

Gens takes the fourth spot on our list of the best Sega emulators, available on both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Similar in many ways to Kega Fusion, this Sega Mega Drive emulator allows users to input a variety of cheats, and it has a slow-down function for players interested in speedrunning.

Compatible with around 92% of the best Sega Genesis games, this emulator isn’t designed for pros and can instead be used by anyone who just wants to jump into a game.

One main downside is that it doesn’t allow you to play Sega games online. Still, you can connect additional controllers for local multiplayer gameplay if you feel like trading in the best split-screen PS4 games for something more nostalgic.

Gens is a reliable emulator that does everything it says it will, without any hassle.

If you’re not sold on any of the other emulators on this list and want one of the best Sega Genesis emulators for your computer, you really can’t go wrong with Gens.

 

3. RetroArch

 

Choosing between RetroArch and OpenEmu is tough, but someone had to do it. RetroArch is, without a doubt, a strong contender for the title of best Sega Genesis emulator, and it has a lot of features that users can enjoy.

Not only can it play the best Sega Drive games, but it can also play Nintendo 3DS, SNES, N64, and Dreamcast games, along with many others.

It uses various cores to emulate dozens of different consoles instead of focusing on just one, and because of this, it is incredibly versatile.

RetroArch also isn’t confined to just one device and works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, FreeBSD, and RasberryBSD. This makes it one of the most accessible emulators on this list by far.

If that wasn’t enough, you could also use the online emulator version of RetroArch without needing to download anything, which is an excellent option for those who want to try it out before downloading and installing it.

While the interface can be confusing for new users, the RetroArch website has excellent resources to help you get started.

 

2. OpenEMU

 

The reason OpenEmu ranks higher than RetroArch is that it offers a few unique features that the latter doesn’t.

While it isn’t available on as many platforms, only Mac, Windows, and Android, this emulator is easier to use, and the organization features are incredibly helpful.

When adding games to this Sega emulator, they will automatically be sorted alphabetically, and the original box art will be provided.

It will also list games by console type in the sidebar, allowing you to easily find any game you’ve added by clicking on the console it was released on.

OpenEmu supports a lot of consoles, reaching all the way back to the Atari 2600 and up to the PlayStation. You can even play some of the best GameCube games, though there are some limitations on save states.

The interface that OpenEmu uses is also very sleek and free of clutter.

It’s a great emulator for both beginners and veterans who want to get the most out of their games without any frills or frustration, and the OpenEmu website also features everything that you need to get started, including an easy-to-navigate user guide.

Because of its unique organizational features, ease-of-use, and reliability, OpenEmu comes in ahead of RetroArch, although the margin is close.

 

1. Kega Fusion

 

The last two Sega emulators are incredible, but the Kega Fusion takes the number one spot as the Best Sega Genesis emulator that you can download today.

Despite not being updated since 2010, it can hold its own against other emulators that are still being maintained today, and it boasts an outstanding level of accuracy.

Because it prioritizes accuracy, it isn’t the fastest emulator on the market, but that doesn’t mean that it is slow by any stretch of the imagination.

It can handle a lot of classic titles running at 60fps, even some of the best fighting games of all time, as well as some of the best 32X games.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, this emulator delivers a straightforward gaming experience that is easy to use and friendly for beginners.

If you want to get the best gaming experience possible on your computer, the Kega Fusion Sega Genesis emulator is by far your best option.

 

Summary

The Sega Genesis is one of the most beloved classic consoles, and fans enjoy being able to replay their favorite games, even though the console was discontinued over 20 years ago.

Thanks to emulators, many of the best Sega games can be played on both your computer and android phone without losing quality.

While not all of these Sega Genesis emulators will suit every gamer’s needs, these 10 are by, and large the most popular, and each provides a unique user experience.

The one you choose will depend on your specific needs, and in some cases, you may even find that having a few of these emulators downloaded can be the best way to cover all of your bases.

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best Sega Genesis emulators:

  1. Kega Fusion
  2. OpenEMU
  3. RetroArch
  4. Gens
  5. ClassicBoyGold
  6. BizHawk
  7. Genesis Plus
  8. Megasis
  9. Gen Plus!
  10. DGen

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

What’s the best Sega Genesis 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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