With the ever-growing gaming industry, some games are making the old-timers go back to the old days. Nintendo is one such game. However, playing Nintendo 64 can be tricky since its cartridges aren’t easy to acquire and that too at reasonable prices. Nonetheless, for the Nintendo 64 lovers, developers have discovered a way to play the games, i.e., with the help of emulators.
In this article, we will be reviewing a compilation of the top 7 emulators that can be applied to play the Nintendo 64 games on your PC.
The first one up is a very popular N64 emulator, Project64. With a simple user-interface, Project64 has several benefits. It is one of the few emulators that are open-source programs. The latest versions of Project64 have eliminated the need to install additional plugins for graphics or sound for some of the games. Below are some of the features that make Project64 a reliable option for Nintendo lovers.
- Project64 supports external USB controllers for gameplay.
- An important feature of this emulator is that it allows saving the gameplay midway, and you can restart from the same place, later on.
- It offers high-resolution textures and graphics.
However, Project64 also has a drawback. Its audio quality can be inconsistent with the visuals at times. The emulator can be easily used on Windows PC, although developers are still working to create an alternate version of this program for non-Windows based platforms. Project64 is a good option for those looking for an emulator that operates most of the N64 games.
Unlike the previous emulator, Mupen64Plus is a program with a somewhat complex functioning. However, compared to Project64, it offers a better gaming experience concerning its audio quality. Mupen64Plus emulator performs exceptionally for games that, contrarily, encounter struggle with Project64. The Mupen64Plus emulator does not have a user interface. Instead, using the command line itself, you can boot up ROMs. To add to these, here are some advantages of the Mupen64Plus:
- This emulator is compatible with Windows as well as Mac, Linux, and Android.
- It is considered as the best alternative for PCs, against the Project64 emulator.
RetroArch is technically a front-end graphic user-interface and not an emulator. Though, the emulator files for RetroArch can be downloaded, access and run games on a variety of platforms. To be able to emulate the N64 console, RetroArch requires a libreto core. It is different from the other emulators because of the below characteristics:
- RetroArch has a unique overclocking feature.
- It allows customization within the emulator.
- RetroArch’s libretro core is a blend of features from Project64 and Mupen64Plus emulator.
- It also carries a reliable parallel core that improves the visuals, irrespective of whether it was enhanced by high-resolution graphics, or as on the real console.
- This GUI program is a more simplistic form, a genuine alternative for multiple emulators combined.
However, the only setback with RetroArch is that setting it up is not an easy task. The same can be overcome by watching tutorials or through online guidebooks.
4. Nemu 64
Here is an N64 emulator that is regarded as one of the best for Windows-based platforms available today. With some negative feedback from users, it is still the most comprehensive emulator for N64 consoles. With an overall good rating, Nemu 64 has some amazing features:
- Nemu 64 has great emulation capabilities and does not need to have to go through the installation.
- This emulator is one of the rare programs that offer offline multi-player support.
- It also provides internet-based multiplayer support.
- Nemu 64 supports the external gamepad as well as the joystick. Also, you save the gameplay midway.
One of the most popular Nintendo 64 emulators is 1964, and it is designed for Windows as well as Android platforms. Although, 1964 emulator comes equipped with all the standard features, below are few significant characteristics:
- This emulator allows customizations for add-on ROMs, other than the custom ROM support.
- It also lets you develop new cheat codes and allow customization in all the games.
Given that, 1964 also has a major setback. Its user-interface has bugs, and hence it stops a game midway and then crashes, at times.
6. Supra HLE
Unlike most of the emulators that mostly serve beginner-level users, the Supra HLE emulator is a pro-level program. The HLE is Super HLE is short for High-Level Emulators, that provides advanced-level options for configuration. Supra HLE is known to have a lot of features. Below are some crucial points about the emulator:
- Supra HLE lets you control all the plugins for video, audio, RAM, and the buffer size.
- The emulator works perfectly well on the Windows 7 PC. However, Supra HLE is known to freeze on the Windows 10 platform.
- Before configuring and running the emulator, the Supra Configurator 2.0 must be configured.
7. Ultra HLE
Last on the list is the Ultra HLE emulator. One of the oldest programs that could run all the Nintendo 64 games, this emulator is distinct from the others. The most valuable benefit of having this emulator is that it can efficiently run all of the commercial games, and at full speed using the available hardware. Also, you must note that Ultra HLE is mostly relying on the Glide API (Application Program Interface), and is known to have low compatibility.
With the help of these amazing emulators, playing Nintendo 64 games has become easy. Although some amazing potential additions to the list like CEN64 emulator and GlideN64 plugin are under-development, these are predicted to make things better for N64 emulation.