I still remember the exact day that I unboxed my Nintendo 64. I’ve always been a huge gamer and a bit of a nerd, and that console was a big step for me. Playing my NES, SNES, and Genesis every day became a thing of the past once I got my hands on Wave Race 64, Super Mario 64, and Diddy Kong Racing. I never picked those consoles up again.
With others titles like Super Smash Bros., GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and the amazing games in the Mario Party and Legend of Zelda series, it’s no secret why this console is so beloved amongst gamers my age. The Nintendo 64 is definitely one of the best gaming consoles of all time, and it’s great news that you can experience it again on the PC using an emulator like Project64.
Despite having been around forever, the Project64 Nintendo 64 emulator gets updated quite regularly. The latest version, 2.1, works on all 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows. You can download the binaries here, which is linked directly from the main page of the website. The installer is just a little over four megabytes in size.
Project64 does include some bloat in the installer that you’ll need to opt out of. To make sure that all MakeUseOf readers do this correctly, I’ll help walk you through it.
To opt out of the Delta Toolbar, make sure you select the Advanced option and untick all of the checkboxes before proceeding to the next screen.
The Iminient Minibar is also something you definitely don’t want. Simply untick this checkbox and you can proceed with the rest of the installation as normal.
I definitely look down on installers that include optional toolbars and other garbage of that nature, but if you’re careful through the Project64 installation then it’s easily avoidable. Developers pack their installers with these in an effort to make money. Always remember that Project64 is completely free software, and you shouldn’t particularly hate them for it.
After successfully installing Project64, you should be prompted to select your preferred language. Afterwards, you’ll be taken to the main interface for Project64. Before we get into loading and playing ROMs, let’s check out some settings and features.
The Graphics Configuration is just as it sounds. On this screen, you can set your windowed resolution, full screen resolution, and syncing and filtering options.
The Configure Input window allows you to change your key settings. You can play Project64 using either a keyboard or USB controller. Project64 supports the Nintendo 64 joystick and even the Memory Pak. I find it incredibly difficult to play most Nintendo 64 games without using a USB controller, so I’d really recommend it. The joystick is extremely difficult to mimic through keyboard keys, and it’s just very uncomfortable to do so.
As I’ve suggested in other articles regarding video game emulation, CoolROM is flat-out the best place online to get Nintendo 64 ROMs (or ROMs for any other console). Use it! Don’t rely on shady alternatives.
Remember, you are only legally allowed to download ROMs if you own a license for them and you will not distribute or attempt to profit from the ROMs. Use discretion and read the disclaimers!
Download the games you want from CoolROM and put them all in the same folder, anywhere you want.
The next thing you’re going to want to do, after getting your ROMs, is select the directory that holds all of them. You can do that under the Options menu.
Here’s what the main interface of your Project64 may look like afterwards:
Playing a ROM is then as simple as double-clicking it in the list. Be advised that not all ROMs you download are going to work perfectly, and under the Notes columns you can see any reported issues that your ROM may have.
Shown above, you can see that I’ve loaded arguably one of the worst games ever known to the Nintendo 64 – Superman!
Saving your game state on Project64 is as easy as selecting to do so from the System menu, where you can also restore your saved states.
Project64 just does Nintendo 64 emulation correctly. There are Nintendo 64 emulator alternatives, but none as simple, smooth, and responsive as what Project64 offers. I’ve been using it for years and can’t find a single issue to complain about, and I hope my fellow Nintendo64 fans are able to find the same experience with it.
What’s your favorite Nintendo 64 game? What do you think of this emulator? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!