Emulating & Playing Classic SNES Games On The PC With ZSNES
In my opinion, the Super Nintendo was the greatest gaming console that ever existed. Boasting titles like Chrono Trigger, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, EarthBound, Final Fantasy III, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Super Punch-Out, F-Zero, Star Fox, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Castlevania IV, Secret of Mana, NBA Jam, Mega Man X, Harvest Moon, and more, is it really hard to see why?
ZSNES has not been updated (and doesn’t need to be) in over five years. I’d recommend the link above anyway, which will take you to the latest news post in the event that there is a random update.
Otherwise, here are hotlinks directly to the latest version (1.51) for each platform:
After you’ve downloaded and unzipped the archive, launch the application.
My immediate suggestion then is that you go to Misc and then GUI Opts and you set BG Effects to None. It just looks better (in my opinion) and lags a little less without snow.
Afterwards, I’d recommend going to Config then Video and setting up a better resolution. Pay attention to the legend scale, on the right hand side. Most of us, in 2012, use widescreen monitors, so I’d suggest you choose a windowed resolution that works well in widescreen. Widescreen didn’t even exist back then though, so you also want a resolution that preserves the 8:7 ratio.
Keep in mind, the higher your resolution, the more pixelated your games will be. Some mind that, some don’t.
Lastly, to Config then Input. I highly recommend customizing the controls here and beginning to memorize the keyboard-to-SNES controller comparisons. If you’re using a keyboard, I wouldn’t even worry about turbo and diagonal keys.
While ROMs are freely available online, MakeUseOf can’t help you find them. Downloading ROMs for games that you don’t own is piracy, and doing so is your decision to make.
Extract ROMs into a folder so you can easily keep track of them. It’ll get messy and confusing otherwise. SNES ROM files have the “.smc” extension.
After downloading the ROMs you’re interested in, go to Game then Load. Here, you’ll want to navigate to the folder where you’ve saved your ROMs.
After you’ve highlighted the game you want, you simply click Load. Your game should immediately come up, and you’re ready to play!
Unlike you could on the SNES, the ZSNES emulator supports state saves, which basically means you’ve got a built-in memory card. To save your state, you simply press the ESC key while in game (which takes you to the start screen menu overlay) and select Game then Save State. To load your saved game, you’d simply load your game again and go to Game then Open State.
That’s it. Isn’t technology great? No more turning the TV off and leaving the console on while you go to school just so you don’t lose your progress. After this article, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. I think it’s time to go play some Suikoden.
We’ve done a lot of other articles on emulation, too. Here’s 3 of them :
- 10 Retro Emulators To Play Early 80s Home Consoles On Your PC (1981-1986)
- 10+ Emulators To Play Old-School 16- And 32-bit Consoles On Your PC (1987-1993)
- 8 Great Emulators To Play Modern Home Consoles On Your PC (1994-2001)
If you guys need any help with getting your ZSNES and/or ROMs to work as I’ve described, let me know in the comments.