How to Play Old School Console Games on Computer

Simon Slangen 07-09-2008

how to play console games on a computer Earlier in the series, we showed you how to play PlayStation How to Play PlayStation (PS1) Games on PC Here's how to play PlayStation (PS1) games on your PC. All you need is an emulator, a PS1 BIOS, and your old PS1 games! Read More and PlayStation 2 How to Play PlayStation (PS1) Games on PC Here's how to play PlayStation (PS1) games on your PC. All you need is an emulator, a PS1 BIOS, and your old PS1 games! Read More games on your PC. This time, we are taking on some old school consoles. That is, how to play console games on your computer.


Those who’ve been around long enough will be able to recall the days of the good old SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). Teenagers of the last generation might still remember the Nintendo 64 and (who can forget) the GameBoy Advance. These are the three systems we’re going to take a look at today.

If you’ve followed the previous guides, you’ll be relieved to see that emulation of these somewhat older systems is a whole lot simpler.

How to Play Super Nintendo Games on PC

Let’s start with How to Play Nintendo Games on PC. ZSNES is one of the most advanced SNES emulators on the block. Using some special rendering techniques, it can emulate commercial games that are still a lot buggier with the other emulators. At first, this was a DOS-only project, though it’s been ported to both Windows and Linux. Mac users should try out SNES9x.

Once installed, ZSNES delivers a pretty basic interface. It allows the user to select a ROM (an image of the game, read more about this further on in the article; use GAME-LOAD) and start playing right away.

More advanced users might be interested in some further adjustment of the emulator. The most significant might be the video resolution in the CONFIG-VIDEO menu and the key configuration in CONFIG-INPUT. Just be sure not to change anything if you don’t know what it is.


zsnes emulation

play mario on PC

Play Nintendo 64 Games on your Computer

Now let’s talk about, Nintendo 64 emulation using Project64. The Nintendo 64 was the successor of the Super Nintendo. Even though it had to compete with the Sony PlayStation, it managed to stay on its feet. I still remember going to play it at my friend’s, getting pawned at GoldenEye 007. Maybe it’s about time for a rematch”¦

Project64 has been developed for the Windows platform. Linux and Mac OS X users can try out Mupen64Plus.


The graphics of the Nintendo 64 are a little bit more up-to-date compared to those of the Super Nintendo. This means you might not want to try it on your old Windows 98 PC. If you have a computer with a Pentium III with 256 MB or more, you shouldn’t worry.

Project64 delivers a very easy to use, multilingual interface, which even less experienced users should be able to handle. You can select your ROMs using the File menu, but you can also set a ROM directory. This will enable your ROMs to be listed in the main window (read more about ROMs below). Before taking off, you might want to change your screen resolution (Options – Configure graphic plug-in), as well as enabling full-screen in the basic settings menu.

You can use either your keyboard or a gamepad and can up to four different inputs.

play nintendo 64 games on computer


How to Play Gameboy Advance Games on PC

When i comes to GameBoy Advance emulation there is a tool called VisualBoy Advance. The VisualBoy Advance is the most successful GameBoy Advance emulator up to date. It allows the emulation of almost all commercial games in a very smooth manner. The VisualBoy Advance should run on all PCs with Pentium III or up. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Except perhaps changing your key configuration (Options – Joypad – Configure) you can start playing right away.

VisualBoy Advance offers a wide variety of extra options, like screen capturing (image or video), importing GameShark files and a Cheat Search.

play gameboy games on computer



A ROM image is a computer back-up of your game cartridge. You can either make them yourself, using homebrew on your console, or download them. 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.



What are the best old school games in your opinion? Are you aware of any other ways to play console games on a computer? Please let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Emulation, Nintendo.

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  1. PJ
    July 7, 2009 at 3:24 am

    how can it have N64 and GBA, but not PS1?

  2. Goldenboy$
    January 15, 2009 at 11:52 am

    does anyone know where i can get free emulators that school computers don't block? let me know or give links if u can.



  3. free roms
    October 22, 2008 at 2:24 am

    Very cool and informative post about the best console emulations for pc.
    thanks !

  4. Simon
    September 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Looks like the Precision Gamepad. Logitech is a great company, but nearly any gamepad will serve. Personally, I use my Xbox360 controller.

  5. Mario fan
    September 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I second Jim, Mario ROCKS!
    Thank you Simon, you rock too! ;-)

  6. Mark O'Neill
    September 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I was totally addicted to the Nintendo 64's "Goldeneye" for years. I actually quit one of my jobs because I didn't want to start my shift, which would have meant stopping the game temporarily! Yeah, the things you do when you're younger!

    I never did manage to complete all the levels which bugged me intensely - I was always stuck on the last level. One of my ex-girlfriend's son completed the last level. He turned to me and said "it's sooooo easy!!!!!". Ha! Ha!

  7. Nick
    September 7, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Wow.. This is amazing! Great find!

  8. Simon
    September 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Don't we all? ^^