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The 10 Best Sega Saturn Emulators

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The Best Sega Saturn Emulators

What are the best Sega Saturn emulators?

The Sega Saturn game console was released in 1995 as the successor to the incredibly successful Sega Genesis. While it did very well initially, its popularity waned pretty quickly, and it ended up being discontinued in 1998.

Although it may not have been a mind-blowing success for Sega, the console did gain a large number of dedicated fans who, even today, want to be able to enjoy the classic games that this console hosted.

Fortunately, even though the consoles are a thing of the past, Sega Saturn console emulators can pick up where they left off and give fans a chance to replay some of the best classic titles.

 

The Best Sega Saturn Emulators

If you’re a fan of the Sega Saturn and you want to replay some of the best games from your childhood or adolescence, you’re in luck! There are quite a few great emulators that you can download today for your computer or Android device.

However, to save you from having to test out a bunch on your own, we’ve done the heavy lifting and found the most reliable emulators so that you can spend more time gaming!

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

 

10. MasterEmu

Best Sega Saturn Emulators - MasterEmu

If you want to play Sega Saturn games on your phone, the MasterEmu emulator is something to keep in mind.

The product of a C-based PC emulator port, this Sega Saturn emulator has many great features that make it worth considering.

MasterEmu has solid controller support, Android TV support, import/export management of save states, auto-rotation, ROM directory support, and more.

All of this is entirely free, with no in-app purchases or ads, which is remarkable considering everything this emulator offers.

Although its last update was also in 2020, it will most likely get additional updates in the future should they be required.

If you’re looking to take a break from some of the most popular video games right now and jump into something more nostalgic, MasterEmu is certainly downloading.

 

9. MD.emu

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - MD.emu

Sticking with emulators that can be downloaded onto your Android devices, we have MD.emu, an advanced Sega emulator based on parts of Genesis Plus, Mednafen, and Picodrive.

This emulator comes with a very minimalistic user interface, and its main focus is on low video and audio latency.

The Sega Saturn emulator has superior configurable controls, cheat code support, save states, auto-save, and manual save capabilities, as well as support for Bluetooth controllers.

The creators of this emulator are also notable for their creation of various other emulators that support different systems, such as the Atari, GameBoy Advance, and Commodore 64.

They definitely have experience, and this emulator app demonstrates their expertise perfectly.

While this is a paid app, costing $4.99 on the Google Play store, it is also one that is frequently updated and maintained, meaning that users can expect it to continue getting even better in the future.

 

8. Nova

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Nova

If you want to play some of your favorite Sega Saturn games on your computer, the Nova emulator is an excellent option for those using a Windows operating system.

The goal of Nova is to be the fastest, most compatible, and most user-friendly emulator on the market, without sacrificing accuracy and functionality.

As such, it supports a large number of features such as cheats, saving and loading, debugging, recording, and upscaling.

The developer of this Sega Saturn emulator is incredibly dedicated, and thanks to his diligence, Nova now enjoys a 50% compatibility rate with some of the best Sega Saturn games.

This gives users the perfect excuse to put down some of the best open-world PS4 games — no matter how addicting Skyrim remains — and dive back into some retro classics.

 

7. Saturnin

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Saturnin

Saturnin is one of the simplest Sega Saturn emulators for the PC, and it does what it sets out to do without bogging down users with frills. If you just want to jump into your favorite classic games and nothing else, this is an emulator for you.

Although the initial menu is in French, since a French developer created it, this can be easily changed in the language menu.

In any event, there isn’t a lot of in-depth navigation to do with this emulator, as the main screen only consists of four buttons: start, stop, pause, and next.

Although it hasn’t been updated since it was released in 2005, it is still capable of getting the job done, and it is one of the nest Sega Saturn emulators for gamers who just want to play without the frustration of having to learn a lot of controls and settings.

 

6. Satourne

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Satourne

Although Satourne looks and sounds a lot like Saturnin, they are completely different emulators that offer a distinct gaming experience from one another.

While Satourne is a simplistic emulator, it also has a lot more features that Saturnin lacks, such as CDROM, VDP, and SCSP plugins, as well as controller support.

It also delivers quality graphics and audio so that when you start up some of the best fighting games of all time, they both look and sound as good as you remember.

Satourne has been around for a long time, and it is one of the veteran Sega Saturn emulators that many fans have at least heard of.

Despite being surpassed by more modern, updated creations, it can still hold its own in many respects, earning it a solid place at number six on our list.

 

5. Yabause

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Yabause

Originally developed for Linux, this Sega Saturn emulator was later ported to Windows OS and Mac OS so more people could take advantage of its impressive emulation experience.

Yabause is one of the best-known Sega Saturn emulators, and for a good reason.

Its smooth, high-resolution video emulation is achieved using OpenGL, and, when paired with DirectX or SDL audio, it allows fans to replay some of their favorite games with incredible quality.

Along with the impressive quality, this emulator also boasts a couple of great features, such as 12 different controller inputs, customizable shortcuts, and a solid 70% game compatibility.

There is also an Android port of this emulator, called Yaba Sanshiro 2, which brings this emulator to gamers on the go.

Both versions of this Sega Saturn emulator are capable of running games with impressive smoothness, and they are regularly being updated to further improve its quality and the number of games it can support.

 

4. Mednafen

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Mednafen

Mednafen is often considered the jack-of-all-trades in the emulator world, following closely behind Bizhawk and RetroArch.

Although they share many similarities, such as being able to manage different cores, Mednafen uses the original Sega Saturn core to emulate its Saturn games, which results in a superior gaming experience.

While this is a huge boon for this emulator, the reason that it isn’t at number one is because its current build isn’t as stable as other platforms.

Along with these stability issues, it also requires BIOS files to run, making it more complicated for beginners to figure out.

Still, if you’re knowledgeable about using and setting up emulators with a complex design, Mednafen does have a lot of desirable features, including custom hotkey mapping, keyboard and joystick inputs, game rewinding, screenshots, and recording.

This emulator is also still being frequently updated, meaning that any stability and compatibility issues are sure to be ironed out in the future so you can replay some of the most popular video games of all time without worrying about crashes or lag.

It may even work its way up to being the best Sega Saturn emulator on this list!

 

3. Bizhawk

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - Bizhawk

Like Mednafen, Bizhawk is a Sega Saturn emulator that utilizes cores to emulate various consoles. However, unlike Mednafen, Bizhawk is much more user-friendly, and it features more tools that make it more appealing to a broader audience.

Fans of tool-assisted speed runs, for instance, can appreciate its advanced keyboard mapping capabilities and slow motion tool that lets them be able to fly through some of the hardest video game levels of all time as quickly as possible.

Similarly, all players can benefit from its ability to save at any time and automate gameplay functions.

That said, even if you’re just looking to replay your favorite classic titles casually, this emulator can provide, without causing any extra headaches during the setup process.

Although it is only available for Windows, Bizhawk is one of the best Sega Saturn emulators for both veteran users and beginners who just want to replay some of their favorite Sega games.

 

2. SSF

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - SSF

SSF earns the number two spot on our list of best Sega Saturn emulators, and it is available on both Windows PC and Android devices.

The great thing about this emulator is that it can play Saturn games as ROMs, but it can also run the physical Sega Saturn games if you still have the original disks.

This is something that not a lot of emulators provide, which makes it really unique.

Unlike other emulators, the SSF emulator doesn’t need a BIOS file to run, though they can be used if you understand how to install them. However, they aren’t necessary as many intensive games can run without lag on the SSF.

This emulator also supports save states automatically, so new users won’t have to worry about accidentally losing any game progress when taking on some of the toughest video game bosses of all time.

If you’re new to using emulators and just want to play your favorite games with the same quality as the original console, this powerful emulator is one of the best you can download today.

 

1. RetroArch

Best Sega Saturn Emulator - RetroArch

Taking our number one spot as the best Sega Saturn emulator is RetroArch, and it may not come as a surprise for those familiar with using it.

RetroArch is one of the most developed emulators that you can download, and it works across numerous devices, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and many more.

Because it uses separate emulation cores, it is a single emulator that can support several different consoles, including the Sega Genesis, GameBoy, Nintendo 64, Playstation, Wii, and more.

It can even play some of the best GameCube games of all time on a web browser using the Emscripten compiler.

RetroArch is an incredibly well-designed emulator with everything veteran users need to customize their gaming experience while still simple enough for new users to jump into.

The features it comes with are also some of the best on the market. They include automatic controller configuration or manual mapping, next-frame responsiveness optimized with various settings, customizable shaders, unlockable achievements, and online netplay.

RetroArch really is an all-in-one type emulator, and it is by far one of the best maintained and developed emulators on the market today.

You can even follow each update on RetroArch’s official website, where you can see what each new release contains, as well as any new cores that are being added.

If you’re looking for a reliable, customizable, and flexible emulator to play all of the best classic games on, RetroArch is, by far, the best Sega Saturn emulator available across almost every platform.

 

Summary

The Sega Saturn was a fantastic console, and fans lament that it was discontinued so soon.

However, despite the original console being gone for over 20 years, dedicated fans can still get their gaming fix by using the best emulators.

Although each of these emulators has its pros and cons, they also have dedicated users and fans for a reason, and the gaming experience they provide is some of the best on the market today.

While RetroArch stands out as our top choice, don’t hesitate to check out the other options on this list. You may be surprised by which one becomes your go-to.

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

  1. RetroArch
  2. SSF
  3. Bizhawk
  4. Mednafen
  5. Yabause
  6. Satourne
  7. Saturnin
  8. Nova
  9. MD.emu
  10. MasterEmu

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

What’s the best Sega Saturn 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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