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Original author(s) Josh Weinberg
Developer(s) OpenEmu Team
Stable release
Written in Objective-C
Operating system OS X
Size 61.8 MB
Available in English
Type Video Game Emulator
License BSD

OpenEmu is an open source multi-system game emulator designed for OS X. It provides a plugin interface to emulate numerous consoles' hardware, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Genesis, Game Boy, and many more. The architecture allows for other developers to add new cores to the base system without the need to account for specific OS X APIs.

Version 1.0 was released on December 23, 2013, after a lengthy beta testing period.[1] Numerous incremental updates have been released since then, with plans to incorporate support for more consoles in future releases. Some of these in-development cores are available to download in an optional "experimental" cores build (released alongside the regular, "standard" version), containing support for such consoles as the MAME and Sega Saturn.


OpenEmu first started in 2007 as OpenNestopia, a port of the NES/Famicom emulator Nestopia done by Josh Weinberg.[2] Weinberg and his friend, Ben Devacel, began searching for more developers to port other emulators to OS X, which led to the name change to OpenEmu, to better describe the multi-system emulator.[3]

As of version 2.0 OpenEmu requires OS X 10.11 and higher as minimum requirement to run, this has been the biggest release since 1.0 that included 16 new emulators along with hundreds of bug fixes and features.


OpenEmu features a backend that uses multiple game engines while maintaining the familiar, native OS X frontend UI. It also uses modern OS X technologies such as Cocoa and Quartz.[4] A unique feature of OpenEmu is its ROM library, which allows one to import ROM files and view them in a gallery type setting, similar to iTunes. Game info and cover art can be automatically added from OpenEmu's databases.

OpenEmu includes the following features:

  • High-quality OpenGL scaling, multithreaded playback, and other optimizations[5]
  • Real-time 3D effects and image processing
  • Graphic filters to enhance display
  • Full-screen support
  • Ability to play multiple ROMs at once
  • Ability to scan attached disks for ROMs
  • Automatic downloading of game info and cover art
  • A fully featured library, supporting multiple views, collections (categories), and game ratings
  • Optional automatic organization of ROM files within the library folder
  • Full save state support, including automatic save states
  • Enhanced gamepad support

Supported systems[edit]

System Core Included since
Atari 2600 Stella 1.0.4
Atari 5200 Atari800 2.0
Atari 7800 ProSystem 2.0
Atari Lynx Mednafen 2.0
ColecoVision CrabEmu 2.0
Famicom Disk System Nestopia 2.0
Game Boy / Color Gambatte 1.0
Game Boy Advance VisualBoyAdvance


Game Gear CrabEmu


Intellivision Bliss 2.0
Neo Geo Pocket / Color Neopop 1.0
Nintendo 64 Mupen64Plus 2.0
Nintendo Entertainment System FCEUX


Nintendo DS DeSmuME 1.0
Odyssey² O2EM 2.0
PC-FX Mednafen 2.0
32X Picodrive 1.0
Mega CD/Sega CD Genesis Plus GX 2.0
Mega Drive/Genesis Genesis Plus GX 1.0
Master System CrabEmu


SG-1000 CrabEmu 2.0
PlayStation Portable PPSSPP 2.0
PlayStation Mednafen 2.0
Super NES Higan


TurboGrafx-16 / SuperGrafx Mednafen 1.0
TurboGrafx-CD Mednafen 2.0
Vectrex VecXGL 2.0
Virtual Boy Mednafen 1.0
WonderSwan Mednafen 2.0

* Default core plugin.


Upon its 1.0 release, OpenEmu was positively received, and subject to much online press coverage, praising the software's UI, features, and ease of use.[6][7][8][9] In particular, it was praised by the gaming community for "[bringing] the idea of an emulator for a mainstream, general audience to reality".[10]

As of May 5, 2014, OpenEmu has been downloaded over 5,000,000 times since its version 1.0 release, making it one of the most popular multi-system emulators on OS X.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]