higan (emulator)

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Higan icon july 2014.png
Higan screenshot july 2014.png
higan v094 running on Windows 8.1
Developer(s) byuu et al.
Initial release May 2005; 9 years ago (2005-05)
Stable release 094 / January 20, 2014; 6 months ago (2014-01-20)
Development status Active
Written in C++11, C99
Operating system Windows, OS X, Linux
Platform IA-32, x86-64
Type Video game console emulator
License GNU GPLv3
Website byuu.org/higan/

higan is an emulator for multiple Nintendo video game consoles, including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and NES. Originally called bsnes,[1] the emulator is available for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux, and aims to emulate the original hardware as accurately as possible through low-level emulation. higan claims to be able to run every commercial Super NES title ever released by virtue of cycle-accurate emulation[2] without any known bugs.


Development of higan began on October 14, 2004 as bsnes and the first version was released in May 2005 for Microsoft Windows. Since then, it has been ported to GNU/Linux and OS X. OpenEmu unofficially ported bsnes 057 to OS X, while byuu officially ported higan 093 to OS X.[3] Initially developed under a custom license, later releases were licensed under various versions of the GNU General Public License. It is still being actively developed.

higan was the first emulator to feature SPC7110 emulation, cycle-accurate SPC 700 emulation, cycle-accurate Super FX emulation, and Super Game Boy emulation.[4] Newer versions of higan can also experimentally emulate the NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance. An older version of higan, bsnes 091, had an experimental Nintendo DS emulation core called dasShiny, developed by Cydrak, but was removed in higan 092.


A fork of bsnes 082 (the last version with sole SNES support) was developed by LuigiBlood called bsnes-sx2. It adds peripherals such as the XBAND and Super Famicom Box, but mostly aims to correctly emulate certain aspects of the BS-X software - a feat which is not planned for main higan builds, as it goes against byuu's cycle-accurate programming philosophy.

As of March 23, 2012, a fork by the tasvideos.com community called lsnes is the preferred emulator for creating Tool-assisted speedruns by tasvideos.org, due to its superior accuracy over previous emulators used.[5] As of 2012-09-23, the fork has a sibling in the multi-system emulator BizHawk used by the same community.[5] Bsnes also has RetroArch/Libretro ports[6][7]


British Internet magazine WebUser recommended bsnes for "some fun old-school gaming" in 2008.[8]

Japanese game magazine GameLabo recommended bsnes for "those seeking a realistic playing experience" in 2009.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ new name - higan "byuu.org". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Grannell, Craig. "Emulation Nation: Interview - Richard Bannister." Retro Gamer. Issue 21. Pg.97. February 2006.
  3. ^ "OS X port". byuu's message board - View topic - higan for OS X - interest?. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The State of Emulation, Part III". byuu's homepage. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "tasvideos.org Preferred Emulators". tasvideos.org. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ https://github.com/libretro/bsnes-libretro-cplusplus98
  7. ^ https://github.com/libretro/bsnes-mercury
  8. ^ "Downloaded". WebUser (191): 39. 2008. 
  9. ^ "SFC". GameLabo (September): ?. 2009. 

External links[edit]