If you spend a lot of time on your laptop or smartphone in the office or searching for the latest gadgets at home, then this list of the 10 best N64 emulators should be right up your street.
Think about it; why would you want to work on organising the department’s finances or planning a birthday surprise for Steve in maintenance when you could be playing Mario Kart or Donkey Kong 64 without anyone knowing!
The arrival of Super Mario 64 on the Switch has people all over the globe rummaging around their attics in search of their N64. And with the best N64 emulators, you can relive all of the best N64 games from yesteryear no matter where you are.
Fancy playing Ocarina of Time on your iPhone or kicking back with Glover on the train? You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t!
We’ve already given you some great advice on how to buy an N64 controller in today’s market, but what if you want to game on the go? Scroll forth and check out this informative article!
**PLEASE NOTE – This article is purely for educational, scientific, and knowledge-enhancing**
purposes only and should be treated in the same way as a highly exciting thesis, dissertation, or legendary scroll. Retro Dodo does not condone illegal downloading or any other shady activities that might get anyone (namely us) into trouble. Please check the legality of ROM downloading in your area and always follow government guidelines on internet safety and copyright laws.
Table of Contents
1. Project 64
- Windows, Android
Project 64 is widely renowned as being the best of the best N64 emulators on the internet. This program works brilliantly on both Windows and Android operating systems and has tonnes of features that make reliving your favourite games a breeze.
It’s not a complicated program to grasp either. Gamers don’t have to mess around incessantly with settings, and the majority of the plugins are configured by default.
If you are looking for an emulator that simply recreates the joy of using an N64 without any extra bells and whistles, then this is the one for you. It has support for multiplayer modes and cheat entry too, so big heads Goldeneye multiplayer is back on the menu!
Project 64 gives users the option to scale their screen size too, so you can fill a smaller laptop screen or go for a smaller window when playing on a bigger monitor.
The one thing that lets Project 64 down is the website. There isn’t much information on there and it isn’t as inviting as some of the other programs in the list below. Still, it does what it says on the tin and it does it brilliantly!
As a Mac user, I would go with OpenEmu as my N64 emulator of choice every time (if I did such things, that is).
This emulator has one of the nicest interfaces I have seen and organises everything neatly for you in alphabetical order. Simply drop ROM files in and let OpenEmu do the rest.
It’s one of the easiest programs to map your own USB controllers too. Just plug in any HID compliant USB or generic Bluetooth game controller and follow the easy instructions to map your gamepad buttons to the emulator. It couldn’t be simpler!
OpenEmu covers all consoles from the Atari 2600 to the WonderSwan and uses other emulator cores as a base model. It uses Mupen64 for its core N64 emulation and also gives the user the ability save their games as and when they please.
This is definitely one for any Mac lovers out there and a great program to get to grips with the science of emulation.
3. Retro Arch
- Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi
Retro Arch is one of the best N64 emulators for multi-platform use. It works on all of the major operating softwares including Android and jailbroken iOS devices.
Like OpenEmu, Retro Arch provides users with a one-stop-shop for all of their retro gaming needs. It’s a front-end for games consoles and media devices, meaning that you can play multiple consoles from one program.
The program’s interface is super slick and boasts a wide variety of consoles. The settings are already nailed down for each device, so all you need to do is find your download files and begin playing.
Ok, it is a little trickier than that. Users need to download kernels to control the various systems, but there is plenty of guidance from enthusiasts in the field that can be found online explaining how to do this.
Retro Arch also provides gamers with blind accessibility features, making retro games accessible for all. And to top it all off, you can actually run original game discs through it too if you don’t want to be bothered using ROMs.
How cool is that!
- Linux, Mac OSX, FreeBSD, Android, Windows
You will read the phrase ‘Mupen64’ quite a lot through this article, and that’s because this program serves as a base core for many of the other best N64 emulators out there.
Because it’s open-source, other users can take the code and add to it or mess around with it in whatever way they see fit. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving, providing a means for more retro gaming enthusiasts to keep our favourite N64 games alive.
Mupen64Plus works on most of the major operating systems including FreeBSD. It’s a great choice for Android users and works with a large number of ROM files.
Mupen64Plus has tonnes of changeable settings that you can play around with, adjusting everything from screen hue to sound; basically anything with a parameter.
If you’ve struggled to make C-buttons work on some of the best Retropie handhelds, then this could be the option for you!
5. Mega N64
Mega N64 could possibly be the best Android N64 emulator out there. It uses Mupen64Plus as its core and has a few enhancements that make playing on the go feel as intuitive as hooking up your N64.
Essentially, this is a version of Mupen64Plus that has been optimised for Android smartphones. It’s free to download too, so you don’t have to worry about any ‘in app purchases’.
The downside is that there are adverts in the loading areas, but that’s a small price to pay for a system that works super smoothly and plays games such as Ocarina of Time flawlessly.
The graphics look nice too, and I.. I mean, my illegal ROM-loving friends, have never experienced any lag with this app.
- Propriety Software
Sixtyforce is another Mac-only program that provides OSX users with a great gaming experience.
This program translates the game code of your N64 ROMs in real time, providing seamless gameplay that won’t let you down in those crucial boss-battle moments.
Sixtyforce has one of the nicest websites out of all the emulators in this last bar OpenEmu. (Maybe it’s a Mac thing). It has lots of information for users to check out as well as FAQs and videos for you to take a look at.
This emulator has both a free and a paid version. The downside is that the free version doesn’t have an option to store game save states, so you’ll need to fork out $15 for the privilege of picking up your game from where you left off.
Finally, an option to play N64 games on your iPhone without having to jailbreak it.
I first came across this method a few months ago while trawling through the internet. It requires a Mac or PC, an iPhone, and your own method of finding those tasty N64 roms.
You’ll need to search for a program called ‘AltStore’ on your iOS device. It’s essentially another type of App Store that has been built by an independent developer who has been making software for years.
Apple doesn’t produce their own emulators, but the AltStore is an app you can download with your own Apple ID, so it’s perfectly legit and doesn’t undermine any Apple policies.
Once you’ve downloaded the AltStore, you can use the Delta emulator to play all of the best Gameboy games and all of your favourite N64 games…
… or so we’ve heard. You’d have to Google the rest to find out more.
- Windows, Android
1964 isn’t the prequel to George Orwell’s famous novel. It is, however, another popular emulator loved by Windows and Android users alike.
One of the most exciting things about 1964 is that it allows users to customise ROMs once they have been uploaded. For those not in the know, that means you can make your own cheat codes and alter levels with your own adjustments!
Now you can finish all of the levels that proved too hard back in the day by making your own rules!
There are a few glitches with this emulator and sometimes games do crash at the most annoying places. Still, you can usually rectify any problems by ‘turning it on and off again’ via clicking the pause button and restarting play.
We really should have named this list ‘the best N64 emulators for Android’ as there have been so many! Still, that’s a good thing and great news for Google Play Store users across the world.
ClassicBoy is another program that emulates multiple machines, providing you with all of your favourite systems under one virtual roof. It can emulate the NES, Neo Geo, the Gameboy DMG, Color, and Advance systems, as well as the PS1 and N64.
That’s quite an impressive list, though as I touched upon in the begining of this ariticle, the performance quality varies from system to system.
The N64 emulation is a little hit and miss. Some games work brilliantly while others are a little jumpy and need a little bit of tinkering with. Some systems allow game save states, while others don’t, which can be annoying if you only discover this fact at a crucial point in your level.
Fortunately, you can download a free version to test out your console emulator of choice before paying the $3.99 to purchase the app.
- Windows, Linux, MacOS
Our final entry on our list of the best N64 emulators is Cen64, an open-source emulator that works with Windows, Linux, and MacOS devices.
I don’t want you to think that this is a bad emulator just because I’ve put it last. Most people want quick results when it comes to their emulation, and Cen64 is simply one of the trickier ones to work with.
Cen64 is a cycle-accurate open-source emulator, and despite still being in the development stages, it’s one of the best out there.
Because of this programs pinpoint focus on accuracy, this emulator requires a heck of a lot of processing power to run. You’ll need something along the lines of an Intel i5 4670K or higher to get the best results from it.
What Are Emulators?
Emulators are programs that you can download and install onto your home computer, laptop, or smartphone. They turn your computer into a ‘pretend’ games console, creating an illusion of an N64 or a Sega Mega Drive by virtually recreating original console hardware.
With me so far?
The games, or ROMs, are downloadable versions of the games you’ve played on your own N64 over the years.
As you may have picked up, the legality of uploading and downloading ROMs is a bit of a grey area for most companies, specifically over the file ripping, sharing, and distribution of games that can no longer be bought in a physical copy.
While Sega, and to some extent Sony, don’t seem to mind too much about ROMs, Nintendo has waged all-out war on emulator sites over the years. A lot of the classic N64 titles are available for the Wii-U via their Virtual Console catalogue, though classics such as Banjo-Tooie remain off the list.
And then there’s the sheer processing power behind making an emulator that can handle the big games on the N64. It’s why most of the best retro handhelds can’t cope with it, and it’s also why we haven’t seen an N64 mini dropping yet, though that could change very soon!
What Are The Benefits Of Using The Best N64 Emulators?
In the same way that the best Nintendo Switch emulator programs allow you to play your favourite games on your work computer, the best N64 emulators give you unlimited access to the games you love no matter where you are.
If, like many gamers, you never got the chance to play 40 Winks or just want to relive the opening levels of Goldeneye while sitting on the toilet (you all do it), then emulators provide you with the high-definition-means to scratch that gaming itch.
They help to keep this console alive for younger generations and stop the titles that we love from falling into obscurity.
I guess you could say that they are providing a public service, like a video game library!
Are There Downsides To Emulating Games?
There are a number of downsides to emulating games, not least having Ninty breathing down your neck.
When they work, they work perfectly, but their performance rates fluctuate wildly between machines. A lot of the battle comes down to how well the games have been uploaded in the first place, but there’s also the age of your computer, how well it has been specced out, and other factors.
As aforementioned, your Macbook or smartphone works in a totally different way to a SNES or a Dreamcast, so the processing power required to pull off this trickery can be pretty high.
Some emulators have earth shattering amounts of lag while others can be tricky to set up, requiring lots of messing around behind the scenes,
Don’t panic though; we’ve searched through the internet and used our own ‘theoretical’ knowledge of emulators to come up with ten of the best for you to try out!
How Do I Download The Best N64 Emulators?
We’ve listed 10 of the best N64 emulators available on the internet below for you to peruse over.
Obviously, we can’t link you to these sites or tell you where to get your ROMs. Still, if you’ve made it this far, then I’m sure that you’ll be able to figure the rest out for yourself!
With great power comes great responsibility, however, and you’ll be responsible for staying calm and messing around with settings to overcome some of the performance issues. This emulator has some amazing potential and will soon become the best of the best once some of the issues are ironed out.
How To Play N64 Games Legally?
If you’re not a fan of playing around with ROMs or Emulators but you want to find a way to play N64 games the official way then their are in fact some ways to that, but they come at a price.
Firstly, there’s nothing stopping you from buying an official N64 console and then buying second hand games from eBay. This is the most authentic way possible to play N64 games, all you need is a decent N64 HDMI cable teamed up with a Brawler64 Wireless controller and you’re ready to go.
There’s also ports and re-makes on the Nintendo Switch which give you the change to play old N64 games on a new modern platform.
Now we’ll admit, this all comes down to Nintendo being incredibly tight, and wanting to squeeze as much money out of its customers as possible. Nintendo don’t want you to download ROM’s because instead they want you to spend $50 on a game, that you only play for a few years, and then expect you to buy another remake when the next new console comes out, increasing their profits even more.
As of now, an original console is your best bet, until we see a N64 Mini released that is, then you may have a handful of games to play with if you’re not wanting to use emulators.
Thanks for checking out our list of the best N64 emulator! We hope you’ve learnt a thing or two along the way and can pass on more ‘educational’ knowledge to other gamers around the globe. We have more emulator articles, for example best ps1 emulators, best ps2 emulators and even a look at the best Dreamcast emulators, take a look.
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.
Project 64 is widely renowned as being the best of the best N64 emulators on the internet. This program works brilliantly on both Windows and Android operating systems and has tonnes of features that make reliving your favourite games a breeze.What is the best N64 emulator for ROM hacks? ›
One of the most popular emulators for playing Super Mario 64 hacks, as well as other Nintendo 64 games. Used by most hack gamers, and is perfect if you're new to this.
The Nintendo 64 service on Nintendo Switch Online has been updated, adding a number of fixes to its emulation.Is it hard to emulate N64? ›
But now you can run games as they originally appeared—and then upscale them to 8x their original resolution. The other takeaway, I guess, is that N64 emulation is hard. All emulation is hard!How accurate is N64 emulation? ›
As of August 2017, both emulators have roughly equal compatibility and accuracy when running with the same recommended N64 plugins setup, though both default to Glide64, a now relatively lackluster plugin.Is RetroArch good for N64? ›
The emulation frontend Retroarch is arguably the best N64 emulator out there, letting you run several different N64 emulators as “cores” (as well as letting you play PS1, SNES, Sega Genesis, and various other retro console games on your PC).What can BizHawk emulate? ›
Currently, BizHawk supports the following platforms: NES/Famicom, Nintendo 64, Virtual Boy, Game Boy Advance, Color and Classic, Sony PlayStation, SEGA Master System, Game Gear, SG-1000, Sega-CD, Sega Saturn, PC Engine, Atari 2600 and 7800, Atari Lynx, ColecoVision, the TI-83 calculator, Neo Geo Pocket, WonderSwan, ...How do I set up m64p? ›
The Best Nintendo 64 (N64) Emulator on PC: Mupen64Plus (Install ...What is Pokemon Stadium kaizo? ›
Pokémon Stadium Kaizo is a Nintendo 64 ROM hack of Pokémon Stadium, one of the very first Pokémon Stadium mods in fact. The Stadium Tournaments and Gym Leader Castle are revamped significantly; all enemies have improved AI, teams, moves, and stats, but you are also provided vastly improved rentals to fight back.Is N64 better on Switch? ›
Nintendo 64 emulation on the Switch is getting better.... | MVG - YouTube
The Wii era of N64 emulation is still considered to be "the best" because each game ran its own version of the existing emulator designed for GC. For the Wii U generation though, Nintendo decided to introduce an "overarching emulator" it had built to power all 21 N64 games available on the platform.Can I play Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time on Switch? ›
Nintendo has updated several N64 games in its Nintendo Switch Expansion Pack offering - most notably including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.What's the hardest console to emulate? ›
The Sega Saturn is one of the most difficult consoles to emulate, but a new product seeks make doing so as easy as owning the original hardware. The Polymega retro console is a multi-system emulator box that enables you to play your old games for a number of classic platforms.Is there a N64 emulator for iphone? ›
The first thing to get out of the way is that there is no N64 emulator available on the Apple App Store, and there never will be. Emulators are against App Store policy, and any attempt to list one wouldn't pass the review.Does Nintendo use emulators? ›
Nintendo video game emulators.
Nintendo ROMs then work with the Nintendo emulator to enable game play on unauthorized hardware such as a personal computer, a modified console, or another video game device.
Mupen64Plus-Next is a N64 emulation library for the libretro API, based on Mupen64Plus (see below). It is also the successor of the old Mupen64Plus libretro core. You can always rely on it to give you an excellent Majora's Mask experience.How do I make my Mupen64 faster? ›
1: Select a game, then settings, then advanced, uncheck "use default count per operation", then below it change count per operation to 1. This gives you a much higher frame rate on any game whose frame rate is uncapped.What emulates N64? ›
Project64 is a completely free and open-source emulator for the Nintendo 64 and 64DD written in C++. Capable of playing your favorite N64 games on your PC with high definition graphics, excellent compatibility, save states, built-in cheat codes, and more.Does n64 need BIOS? ›
Nintendo 64 cartridges are self-sufficient; they don't need any services provided by a common “BIOS”. In fact they even contain the code used to drive the audio and graphics co-processors!Can Retropie run n64? ›
Here is a summary of the stuff I recommend, to enjoy playing N64 games on Retropie even more: Retropie SD card: Save time and play directly to any game you want with this giant SD card preloaded with over 100k games.
Best Graphics Settings RetroArch Beetle PSX HW - YouTubeCan Bizhawk run 3ds? ›
Original and ported
|System||Based on code from:|
|Nintendo 64||Mupen64Plus, ares|
Tutorial - How to Create a TAS with Bizhawk (Game Boy Advance)How do I add cores to Bizhawk? ›
Here's the process: down down down to Online Updater; press X key on keyboard; press X again to select Core Updater. scroll to desired core; press X to download.Does Project64 have viruses? ›
However, up to version 2.2, there were major safety concerns of installing Project64 through its official installer after numerous reports on social media websites of the installers containing malware. Fortunately, in July 2016, this malware code was removed from both the source code and its installers.What resolution is N64? ›
The Nintendo 64 supports 16.8 million colors. The system can display resolutions from 320×240 up to 640×480 pixels.What is m64p? ›
m64p is an open-source, plugin-based Nintendo 64 emulator maintained by loganmc10. The project bundles Mupen64Plus with Parallel RDP, as well as its own frontend, input plugin, and netplay support.What is Pokemon fools gold? ›
Pokémon Fool's Gold is a ROM hack of Pokémon Crystal (not Pokémon Gold, despite what the title may suggest) that began as a for-fun project among friends, but quickly became much larger in scope. First released in April of 2020, the game has since released numerous updates expanding the content of the game.Is there a Pokemon Stadium 3? ›
Pokemon Stadium 3 is game for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS that was released in 2014. Unlike the other two Pokemon Stadium games that were released on Nintendo 64, this allows players to fully customize their trainer and Pokemon teams.Will more games be added to N64 online? ›
Nintendo isn't calling it quits with the N64 just yet. More retro titles are coming to Nintendo Switch Online's Expansion Pack tier. Nintendo of America confirmed that the Nintendo Switch is indeed getting more N64 games as part of its premium Expansion Pack tier.
|Donkey Kong 64 Switch|
A few minor fixes just came out
A new N64 on Switch patch was recently released alongside of Kirby 64, and some sneaky dataminers have managed to once again uncover some invisible patch notes.
Wii64 / Cube 64 are ports of the popular multi-OS N64 emulator, Mupen64, to the Nintendo Gamecube and Wii through the libOGC library.What is Wii64? ›
Wii64 is a Nintendo 64 emulator that was released only recently. This is because the Nintendo 64 console is very difficult to emulate (even PCs have problems with it). So maybe the emulator isn't perfect yet, but at least it gets the job done. Here is the compatibility list, it's amazing for being a beta 1.What is Wiibrew? ›
The Homebrew Channel is a self-updating homebrew application loader by Team Twiizers which allows users to load homebrew applications without having to run an exploit every time. Once installed, users can access the channel from the Wii System Menu just like any other Wii channel.What FPS is Ocarina of Time? ›
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time gets a full-fledged PC port, hitting 60 FPS for the first time - NotebookCheck.net News. Independent journalism is made possible by advertising.What is considered the best Zelda game? ›
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time tops our list of best Nintendo 64 games ever made, so it's testimony to the overall quality of Nintendo's Zelda games that it “only” came in at number 3 here.What button is C on Switch? ›
The Nintendo Switch's wireless Nintendo 64 controller has C buttons that act as digital inputs for the right control stick, allowing for smash attack buttons. They can be mapped to jump like the original controller in the Controls menu.What's better than RetroArch? ›
There are more than 100 alternatives to RetroArch for a variety of platforms, including Linux, Mac, Windows, Android and BSD. The best alternative is Lutris, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like RetroArch are PlayOnLinux - PlayOnMac, Snes9x, ePSXe and GameHub.Is perfect emulation possible? ›
While it may be theoretically possible to have a 100% perfect emulator, that feat is very rare (if not nearly impossible), even for some highly regarded emulators such as higan or kevtris's work on the various FPGA-based consoles by Analogue.
- FCEUX (NES)
- ZSNES (Super Nintendo)
- VisualBoy Advance (Game Boy Color/Advance)
- Project64 (Nintendo 64)
- No$GBA (Nintendo DS)
- Dolphin (GameCube/Wii)
- Kega (Genesis/Mega Drive)
- MAME (Arcade)
On top of all that, RetroArch also runs on iOS and Android for tablets and phones, as well as on game consoles like PS2, PS3, PSP, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U, 2DS, 3DS, Switch, and more!Is there a GameCube emulator for iOS? ›
DolphiniOS is a GameCube and Wii emulator for iOS and iPadOS. All iOS versions starting with 12.0 are supported, and no jailbreak is required!How can I play N64 games on my phone? ›
- Step 1) Download an app called Mupen64+AE from the Google Play Store.
- Step 2) Let that app complete the installation process.
- Step 3) Download N64 custom ROMs from any ROMs site.
Video game piracy is illegal. Nintendo opposes those who benefit and trade off the creative work of game developers, artists, animators, musicians, motion capture artists and others.Are Nintendo ROMs illegal? ›
If you own a game physically, you are likely to emulate or own a ROM of the game. However, there's no legal precedent in the United States to say it's illegal. There is no trial on record of any company going to court over emulators or ROMs and their use.Can you legally buy ROMs? ›
Emulators are legal to download and use, however, sharing copyrighted ROMs online is illegal. There is no legal precedent for ripping and downloading ROMs for games you own, though an argument could be made for fair use.What emulates N64? ›
Project64 is a completely free and open-source emulator for the Nintendo 64 and 64DD written in C++. Capable of playing your favorite N64 games on your PC with high definition graphics, excellent compatibility, save states, built-in cheat codes, and more.Is Project64 free? ›
Project64 is a free and open-source software Nintendo 64 emulator written in the programming languages C and C++ for Microsoft Windows.How do I use Project64 emulator? ›
Project64 Full Setup Guide | N64 Nintendo 64 Emulator for PC | PJ64
- Step 1) Download an app called Mupen64+AE from the Google Play Store.
- Step 2) Let that app complete the installation process.
- Step 3) Download N64 custom ROMs from any ROMs site.
Emulators are 100% legal, as is the process of downloading them. They are no different to other programs you might download such as word processing or music player software. Downloading and uploading ROMs is illegal, however, so make sure you use your own game files.Can I play N64 games offline? ›
Games can be played while you are offline, but you must have an active membership and must regularly verify your membership by connecting to the internet.Can Android run N64 emulator? ›
Super64 Plus is another popular and well-rated Nintendo 64 emulator for Android. It comes with a selection of video plugins that you can use to fix graphical glitches. Its resizable virtual control buttons make gaming without a physical controller tolerable.Does Project64 contain malware? ›
Project64's installer is bundled with malware.Can you play multiplayer on n64 emulator? ›
Nintendo 64 MULTIPLAYER on Android Devices [ Full N64 Game ...Where can I download games for Project64? ›
Goto http://www.coolrom.com/roms/n64/all/ and choose any game you want! Download it and create a folder wherever you want. Then go onto Project64 and select "File".What is gliden64? ›
Glide64 is a graphics plugin for N64 emulators such as Project64, 1964 and Mupen64. The project was started on December 29th, 2001. It is built on the Glide3X API and is extremely compatible, emulating many game's graphics flawlessly and faithfully.How do I maximize Project64? ›
How to Get WIDESCREEN on Project 64 - YouTubeWhat is Vimms lair? ›
Vimm's Lair is a website that is dedicated to nostalgia for lots of the greatest game consoles ever made including PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo GameCube/Wii, Nintendo Game Boy, Genesis, Sega Saturn, and Sega ...
For both GameCube and Wii emulation, Dolphin is not only the best, but the only option. However, while stock Dolphin is the best Android GameCube Emulator, there are some offshoots such as Dolphin MMJ. Nevertheless, we still recfokend just going with the basic version for gaming on mobile.How do you use a Lemuroid? ›
Lemuroid: Easy all in one emulator app for Android (quick setup / tutorial)How do you play Mario 64 Retroarch? ›
Outdated [PC] Retroarch N64 Emulation Setup Guide - YouTube