Top Emulators for PC in 2023

Discover the world of emulators for PC and find the perfect solution to play your favorite classic games.

Emulators for PC have become increasingly popular among gaming enthusiasts, providing a way to enjoy classic games from various consoles and platforms on your computer. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the best emulators available, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable gaming experience for tech newcomers.

For every step and solution, we have provided the exact keyword to be typed in the Google Image search, enclosed in quotes and wrapped in a big bold callout, to help you find the perfect image for each solution. This guide covers everything you need to know about emulators for PC, so let’s dive in.

Top Emulators for PC in 2023

MS-DOS Emulators

MS-DOS is a crucial part of gaming history, with many classic games being developed for this operating system. Here are the best MS-DOS emulators for PC:

DOSBox-staging: An open-source emulator that focuses on providing an accurate MS-DOS experience. It supports a wide range of games and has excellent compatibility.

DOSBox-staging emulator

DOSBox-X: A more feature-rich fork of DOSBox that aims to improve accuracy and add new features. It is particularly useful for running old software and games on modern systems.

DOSBox-X emulator

86Box: A versatile emulator that can emulate a wide range of IBM-compatible PCs, including those running MS-DOS.

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86Box emulator

PCem: Another excellent option for emulating MS-DOS and early Windows systems, PCem focuses on providing accurate hardware emulation.

PCem emulator

Windows 95/98 Emulators

Windows 95 and 98 introduced many popular games, and these emulators will help you relive those memories:

86Box: As mentioned earlier, 86Box can emulate a variety of IBM-compatible PCs, including those running Windows 95/98.

86Box Windows 9598 emulator

PCem: PCem also supports Windows 95/98, allowing you to enjoy the games and software of this era.

PCem Windows 9598 emulator

Nintendo Emulators

Nintendo has a rich history of gaming consoles, and these emulators cover a wide range of their platforms:

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES): Some popular NES emulators include Mesen, puNES, Nestopia UE, and FCEUX.

NES emulators for PC

Virtual Boy: For Virtual Boy emulation, you can try Mednafen (GUI) or VBjin.

Virtual Boy emulators for PC

Super Nintendo (SNES): bsnes or ares (same core), Mesen, and Snes9x are great options for SNES emulation.

SNES emulators for PC

Nintendo 64: For Nintendo 64 emulation, consider using ares, simple64 (mupen64plus + paraLLEl-RDP + a GUI), ParaLLEI N64 with Multithreaded Angrylion (libretro core), or Project64.

Nintendo 64 emulators for PC

Nintendo GameCube/Wii: Dolphin is the go-to emulator for both GameCube and Wii games.

Dolphin emulator

Wii U: Cemu is a popular choice for Wii U emulation on PC.

Cemu emulator

Nintendo Switch: Yuzu and Ryujinx are the top emulators for Nintendo Switch games.

Nintendo Switch emulators for PC

Game Boy/Game Boy Color: Sameboy, BGB, Gambatte, Mesen, and mGBA are excellent options for Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulation.

Game Boy color emulators for PC

Game Boy Advance: mGBA, ares, and VBA-M are the top choices for Game Boy Advance emulation.

Game Boy emulators for PC


Nintendo DS: melonDS and DeSmuME are the leading emulators for Nintendo DS games.

Nintendo DS emulators for PC

Nintendo 3DS: Citra is the most popular emulator for Nintendo 3DS games.

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Citra emulator

PlayStation Emulators

From the original PlayStation to the PlayStation 3, these emulators will bring back the nostalgia:

PlayStation: DuckStation, Mednafen (GUI), XEBRA, and ares are great options for PlayStation emulation.

PlayStation emulators for PC

PlayStation 2: PCSX2 and Play! are the top emulators for PlayStation 2 games.

PlayStation 2 emulators for PC

PlayStation 3: RPCS3 is the go-to emulator for PlayStation 3 games.

RPCS3 emulator

PlayStation Portable: PPSSPP is the leading emulator for PlayStation Portable games.

PPSSPP emulator

Xbox Emulators

Experience classic Xbox and Xbox 360 games on your PC with these emulators:

Xbox: Cxbx-Reloaded and xemu are the best choices for Xbox emulation.

Xbox emulators for PC

Xbox 360: Xenia is the top emulator for Xbox 360 games.

Xenia emulator

Other Emulators

In addition to the popular console emulators, there are emulators for other platforms:

Android: Memu, NoxPlayer, BlueStacks, and LDPlayer are some of the best Android emulators for PC.

Android emulators for PC

Arcade: MAME is the best emulator for arcade games.

MAME emulator


In conclusion, emulators for PC provide a legal way to enjoy games or applications from different platforms on your computer. It’s important to ensure that you own the original game or software being emulated and to comply with local copyright laws.

When choosing an emulator, consider factors such as compatibility, performance, ease of use, and community support.

Some emulators offer online multiplayer features, but it’s essential to check if the specific emulator you’re interested in supports this. The system requirements for emulators vary, so make sure your PC meets the necessary specifications for smooth gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are emulators for PC?

Emulators for PC are software programs that allow you to run games or applications from different platforms or operating systems on your computer. They replicate the functionality of the original hardware and software, enabling you to play games from consoles like Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox on your PC.

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Is it legal to use emulators for PC?

Using emulators for PC is legal as long as you own the original game or software that you are emulating. However, downloading copyrighted material such as ROMs (game files) without owning the original game is illegal in most countries. It’s essential to check your local laws and follow them accordingly.

How do I choose the best emulators for PC?

When choosing an emulator for PC, consider factors such as compatibility, performance, ease of use, and community support. Research the best options available for the specific platform or system you want to emulate and read user reviews to find the one that suits your needs.

Can I use emulators for PC to play online with others?

Some emulators for PC, like RetroArch and Dolphin, offer built-in netplay features that allow you to play online with others. However, not all emulators support online multiplayer, so it’s essential to research the specific emulator you’re interested in to determine if it offers this feature.

Do I need a powerful PC to use emulators?

The system requirements for emulators vary depending on the platform you are emulating and the specific emulator you are using. Some emulators, like Dolphin and RPCS3, may require more powerful hardware to run smoothly, while others like SNES9x or VBA-M have lower system requirements.