Gaming Internet

The Best Nintendo 64 Emulators for Phones, PCs, and Browsers

Mihir Patkar 25-10-2016

The new Nintendo Switch has the gaming world buzzing. A company known for pushing the envelope with video game consoles, the Switch is a completely different type of gadget. The internet seems split on loving it and hating it.


The last time a Nintendo console caused so many opinions to fly around was the Nintendo 64. Unfortunately, Sony’s first PlayStation crushed it. Still, old school gamers reckon it was among the finest consoles made. It launched series like the beloved Super Smash Bros From N64 To Wii U: The Story Of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. An enormous community has grown around these games, and they faced both good times and bad since the original Smash was released. Let's take a look at the story behind this beautiful game. Read More , and rendered Mario’s first 3D adventure.

While you wait for the Switch to come to your living room, why not go revisit an old friend? Whether in your browser, on your computer, on a phone, or a tablet, Nintendo 64 emulators will make you fall in love all over again.

1. Project64 (Windows): The Simplest Emulator for Windows

Windows users have quite a few choices for Nintendo 64 emulators. But the easiest of the lot is Project64. And that’s what you want mostly, right? A simple way to start a program, load a game, and begin playing.

Project64 does all the basics right. You can customize the controls, tweak the graphics settings, and even add a USB gamepad if you have one. Get something simple and reliable like the Retrolink Nintendo 64 Controller.

Retrolink Nintendo 64 Classic USB Enabled Wired Controller for PC and MAC, Black Retrolink Nintendo 64 Classic USB Enabled Wired Controller for PC and MAC, Black Buy Now On Amazon


You can also save the state of your game at any point, which the original console wouldn’t let you. There’s a community to share saved points of games.

We have a full guide to set up Project64 on Windows Project64 - The Best Way To Emulate Nintendo 64 Games 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... Read More to get you started. It’s dead simple, but just watch out for the bloatware toolbar suggestions during installation. Make sure you uncheck those.

Download — Project64 for Windows (Free) [No Longer Available]

2. OpenEmu (Mac): The Best Emulation App Ever Made

I’ll have to echo Justin’s words here. OpenEmu for Mac is Earth’s best emulation software OpenEmu For Mac Is Earth's Best Piece of Emulation Software Organize your favorite retro games in style – then play them. OpenEmu is a long-awaited Mac exclusive that combines emulation for a dozen systems into a single, slick program. It makes browsing your ROMs a... Read More . If you’re using macOS, do yourself a favor and download this right now. Not just for Nintendo 64, but for any old console you loved.

OpenEmu is gorgeous and filled with every feature you’d want, like saving games, customizing settings, and so on. Its most impressive aspect is the video game library. Drag-and-drop your ROMs to the app and it will create a virtual shelf of your games, with lovely box covers. Visually browsing your ROMs feels fantastic, like going through cartridge boxes back in the day.

Impressively, OpenEmu supports N64 Adaptoids out of the box. The N64 Adaptoid is an adapter to connect a Nintendo 64 controller to a USB port. So if you have one, you won’t need to map the buttons, it just works.

DownloadOpenEmu for Mac (Free)

3. Mupen64Plus FZ (Android): Super Smashing Android Emulator

Perhaps the most well-known name in emulation software is RetroArch, the all-in-one emulator. And sure, you can get RetroArch on Android to play any old game RetroArch Emulates NES, Playstation, Gameboy Color/Advance And A Whole Lot More [Android] Stop messing around with various emulators for your Android and get RetroArch. This single app – a front end for multiple emulators – can run games designed for anything from the NES to the Sega... Read More . But Nintendo 64 fans might want to stick to Mupen64Plus FZ.

The good news is that Mupen64Plus FZ works on the same base code that RetroArch does, so there’s no real difference in performance. What sets it apart is that it’s all about Nintendo 64. Then it’s just the basics of playing N64 games on an Android emulator How To Play N64 And GBA Games On Your Android Device For many of us, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance games were our childhood. Unfortunately for the fans of Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon, Nintendo has been reluctant to create Android games, unlike Sega, which has... Read More .

Developer Francisco Zurita regularly updates the app to keep it compliant with new advances in Nintendo 64 emulation. For example, he has included GLideN64, a new plugin that dramatically improves visual quality of games.

If you search Mupen64Plus on the Play Store, you’ll find multiple apps with that title. You need to download the version with the “FZ” suffix. It makes all the difference.

Download — Mupen64Plus FZ for Android (Free)

4. NewGamepad (iOS): No Jailbreaking Required

Apple’s walled garden approach has led to some ridiculous App Store guidelines. One of those is that Apple bans emulators. It’s a stupid rule, but there’s a workaround. And no, you don’t need to jailbreak your iPad or iPhone for it.

NewGamepad is one of the tools from App Store rebels iEmulators. The site lets you install emulators and homebrew to iPhones and iPads How to Install Emulators for iPhone Using 4 Easy Methods Here's how to get emulators on iOS using several methods, plus the best emulators for iPhone. Read More by downloading apps directly from the web. You won’t be relying on the App Store here. Once downloaded, you’ll need to “Trust” the app through a simple process. The details are available on the NewGamepad site.

Once you’re all set up, NewGamepad works just like the other emulators mentioned above. Choose a ROM, start playing. Like always, touchscreen controls are useless for retro gaming Why Touchscreen Controls Are Useless For Retro Gaming & How To Fix It For far too long have forgotten classics been reduced to curios because touchscreen controls just don't give you the genuine experience of playing them. Rise up and take back your retro gaming experience! Read More , so buy a good Bluetooth gamepad to enjoy your “Nintenstalgia”.

DownloadNewGamepad for iPhone or iPad (Free)

Note: This is not a standard App Store installation, so read the instructions carefully before you download.

5. mupen64plus Online (Web): The No-Installation App

If you worked here at MakeUseOf, your boss would never yell at you for playing games in the office. It’s part of the job! But that’s not how things are in most workplaces. In fact, you might need an administrator password just to install any software. Want to play hidden gems from the Nintendo 64 4 Hidden Gems From The Nintendo 64 That You Should Play We are going to give these hidden gems their moment in the sun, and hopefully, you will go back and play them, because you will still have a great time! Read More but don’t want to (or can’t) install an emulator? Try this.

One enterprising developer ported the entire mupen64plus emulator into a JavaScript program that can run from your browser. Mozilla Firefox is the preferred browser, the developer says.

Nintendo 64 Online Browser Emulator Mupel64Plus

You will still need to download the ROMs yourself, but that can be done easily. Start mupen64plus Online, choose the ROM from your hard drive, and get your game on!

Where Do You Download ROMs?

All of the above solutions require you to get ROMs. Now, there’s an ethical (and legal) issue here. Ethically, if you want to play any of these games, you need to have purchased it originally for your Nintendo 64.

Nintendo is cracking down on several sites that host ROMs, so you might not find N64 ROMs easily. So we want to ask you, where do you download ROMs of retro games from?

Related topics: Cool Web Apps, Emulation, Game Mods, Nintendo.

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  1. Donald Brown
    October 25, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    No mention of any Linux emulators? No love for RetroARCH? Lame article.

  2. Mario Deignan
    October 25, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I download my roms from various sites, depending on the Roms they have because onetime, for example, I wanted to get Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga, and so I went to Emuparidise. The rom glitched up a lot, so I went to Loveroms, tried the rom, and it works perfectly fine. See what I mean? I also use the My Boy! Gameboy advance emulator, so that could've changed the outcome as well.

  3. Youdonegoofed
    October 25, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    You're not tricking me Nintendo. I know you want me to tell you where I get my ROMs from so you can shut it down.