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Original author(s) Josh Weinberg
Developer(s) OpenEmu Team
Stable release 1.0.4
Written in Objective-C
Operating system Mac OS X
Size 16.6 MB
Available in English
Type Video Game Emulator
License BSD

OpenEmu is an open source multi-system game emulator designed for Mac OS X. It provides a plugin interface to emulate numerous consoles' hardware, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega 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" build (released alongside the regular, "stable" version), containing support for such consoles as the PlayStation, Sega CD & Saturn.[2]


OpenEmu first started in 2007 as OpenNestopia, a port of the NES/Famicom emulator Nestopia done by Josh Weinberg.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5] 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[6]
  • 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 (including Cover Flow), 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 License Included from Remark
Atari 2600 Stella GPL 1.0.4
Game Boy / Color Gambatte GPLv2 1.0
Game Boy Advance VisualBoyAdvance GPLv2+ 1.0
Game Gear CrabEmu
GPLv2 1.0 CrabEmu is the default core.
Neo Geo Pocket / Color Neopop GPLv2+ 1.0
Nintendo (NES) FCE Ultra
1.0 Nestopia is the default core
Nintendo DS DeSmuME GPL 1.0
Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Genesis Plus GPL 1.0
Sega 32X Picodrive MAME[7] 1.0
Sega Master System CrabEmu
GPLv2 1.0 CrabEmu is the default core.
Super Nintendo (SNES) snes9x
MIT with Non-commercial clause, LGPLv2.1, GPLv2+
1.0 SNES9x is the default core
Turbografx-16 Mednafen GPLv2[8] 1.0
Virtual Boy Mednafen GPLv2[9] 1.0


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.[10][11][12][13] In particular, it was praised by the gaming community for "[bringing] the idea of an emulator for a mainstream, general audience to reality".[14]

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.[15]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]