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|Developer(s)||Near et al.|
|Initial release||October 14, 2004|
115 / August 15, 2020
|Written in||C++14, C99|
|Operating system||Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD|
|Platform||Independent: IA-32, x86-64, ARM32/64, MIPS, etc.|
|Type||Video game console emulator|
higan is a free emulator for multiple video game consoles, including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Originally called bsnes (which was later reused for a new emulator by the same developer), the emulator is notable for attempting to emulate the original hardware as accurately as possible through low-level, cycle-accurate emulation and for the associated historical preservation efforts of the SNES platform.
higan products family
higan has been forked and renamed over the years, and consists of three sub-projects.
The current sub-projects are:
- bsnes: A Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator with Super Game Boy support.
- higan: A multi-system emulator that focuses on accuracy. Supported systems include the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy (Color), Game Boy Advance, SG-1000 and SC-3000, Sega Master System, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, TurboGrafx-16 and SuperGrafx, MSX and MSX2, ColecoVision, WonderSwan (Color), and Neo Geo Pocket (Color).
- ares: A multi-system emulator that is a fork of higan, focusing on performance and adding experimental PlayStation and Nintendo 64 support in addition to the systems supported in higan.
Development of the emulator began with the name bsnes on October 14, 2004. The first version was released in May 2005 for Microsoft Windows. Since then, it has been ported to Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD. Initially developed under a custom license, later releases were licensed under various versions of the GNU General Public License. On August 9, 2012, the project was renamed to higan, to better reflect its new nature as a multi-system emulator.
The higan project has contributed significantly to the field of SNES emulation, with a number of original achievements in its emulation, and in reverse engineering developments such as the organization of funds, hardware, and expertise for decapping the SNES's enhancement chips.
higan is able to run every commercial SNES title ever released. It is the first emulator to have featured SPC7110 emulation, cycle-accurate SPC 700 emulation, cycle-accurate Super FX emulation, Super Game Boy emulation, and a dot-based instead of scanline-based renderer for the Game Boy Advance. It is the first multi-emulator of this breadth to achieve cycle-based emulation for every single component of every system.
In 2008, British Internet magazine Webuser recommended bsnes for "some fun old-school gaming". In 2009, Japanese game magazine GameLabo recommended it for "those seeking a realistic playing experience".
In 2017, components of higan's source code were used to emulate the vintage text-to-speech computer used by physicist Stephen Hawking, after the original hardware began showing signs of wear. Hawking would continue using this emulator to converse with others until his death in 2018.
- Higan release on GitHub
- "About – bsnes". Retrieved February 3, 2021.
- Near (August 9, 2011). "Accuracy takes power: one man's 3GHz quest to build a perfect SNES emulator". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Fenlon, Wesley. "16-bit Time Capsule: SNES Emulator Makes a Case for Software Preservation". Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- About ares
- Bannister, Richard (February 2006). "Emulation Nation: Interview – Richard Bannister". Retro Gamer (Interview) (21). Interviewed by Craig Grannell. p. 97.
- "The State of Emulation, Part III". near.sh. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
- "tasvideos.org Preferred Emulators". tasvideos.org. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- "Downloaded". Webuser (191): 39. 2008.
- "SFC". GameLabo (September): ?. 2009.
- Jason Fagone (March 18, 2018). "The quest to save Stephen Hawking's voice". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 19, 2018.