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Original author(s)Josh Weinberg
Developer(s)OpenEmu Team
Stable release
2.0.8 / December 3, 2018; 2 months ago (2018-12-03)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inObjective-C
Operating systemmacOS
Size74.0 MB
Available inEnglish
TypeVideo Game Emulator

OpenEmu is an open-source multi-system game emulator designed for macOS. 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 macOS 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 Nintendo GameCube and Wii.


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 macOS, 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.

As confirmed by the developers of OpenEmu on their official Reddit thread, Sega 32X-CD hybrid games (versions of games that could use a 32X cartridge and Sega CD at once, such as Night Trap, Corpse Killer, and Fahrenheit) are not supported. Users are prompted with a "This game requires the Sega 32X attachment" error if attempted.[4]


OpenEmu features a backend that uses multiple game engines while maintaining the familiar, native macOS frontend UI. It also uses modern macOS 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, 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


System Core Emulator macOS compatibility
10.7–10.10 10.11–10.14
Atari 2600 Stella 1.0.4 Yes Yes
Atari 5200 Atari800 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Atari 7800 ProSystem 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Atari Lynx Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes
ColecoVision CrabEmu 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Famicom Disk System Nestopia 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Game Boy / Color Gambatte 1.0 Yes Yes
Game Boy Advance mGBA 1.0 Yes Yes
Game Gear Genesis Plus GX 1.0 Yes Yes
Intellivision Bliss 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Neo Geo Pocket / Color Mednafen 1.0 Yes Yes
Nintendo 64 Mupen64Plus 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Nintendo Entertainment System FCEUX or Nestopia* 1.0 Yes Yes
Nintendo DS DeSmuME 1.0 Yes Yes
Odyssey² / Videopac+ O2EM 2.0 Does not appear Yes
PC-FX Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Sega 32X PicoDrive 1.0 Yes Yes
Sega CD / Mega-CD Genesis Plus GX 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Genesis Plus GX 1.0 Yes Yes
Sega Master System / Mark III Genesis Plus GX 1.0 Yes Yes
Sega Saturn Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Sega SG-1000 Genesis Plus GX 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Sony PlayStation Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Sony PlayStation Portable PPSSPP 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Super Nintendo Entertainment System higan or Snes9x* 1.0 Yes Yes
TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine / SuperGrafx Mednafen 1.0 Yes Yes
TurboGrafx-CD / PC Engine CD Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Vectrex VecXGL 2.0 Does not appear Yes
Virtual Boy Mednafen 1.0 Yes Yes
WonderSwan / Color Mednafen 2.0 Does not appear Yes

* Default core plugin.[7]


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.[8][9][10][11] In particular, it was praised by the gaming community for "[bringing] the idea of an emulator for a mainstream, general audience to reality".[12]

As of August 16, 2018, OpenEmu has been downloaded over 10,000,000 times since its version 1.0 release, making it one of the most popular multi-system emulators on macOS.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "OpenNestopia".
  3. ^ "The Archive - An Emulator for the Rest of Us—How OpenEmu Changes Everything".
  4. ^
  5. ^ "MacScene Listing".
  6. ^ "Create Digital Motion".
  7. ^ "OpenEmu Wiki - Home". GitHub. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  8. ^ Thorin Klosowski (2013-12-24). "OpenEmu Emulates Nearly Every Classic Console on Mac". Life Hacker. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  9. ^ Alex Heath (2013-12-26). "OpenEmu Is The Ultimate Old School Game Emulator For OS X". Cult of Mac. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  10. ^ Andrew Cunningham (2013-12-28). "ArsTechnica OpenEmu Hands On". Ars Technica.
  11. ^ Sean Hollister (2013-12-28). "Play classic video games in style with OpenEmu for Mac". The Verge.
  12. ^ "OpenEmu feature on The Archive".
  13. ^ "Github OpenEmu Release Download Stats".

External links[edit]