Emulators aren’t new; here’s the great ones on the Mac

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read
Emulators aren’t new; here’s the great ones on the Mac

The first few emulators hit the App Store this week and while two of them were promptly removed (for different reasons, neither of which were because emulation is wrong), Delta seems to be quite good (I’m still using it for the first time so too early to say for certain, but my early impressions are positive). I think this is a great new category of app to have on iOS devices, but I’ve also seen a non-insignificant number of people who think every one of these emulators will be taken down after Nintendo, Sega, or Sony complain. Maybe I’ll eat my words on this, but I think this is a very App Store-centric view of the world.

The core issue here is that game and the software is not even remotely new (the very popular mGBA turned 10 this year). It’s also not some sort of skeezy software category that you need to venture to the dark web to find. In fact, I would argue that some of the most impressive software I’ve ever run on my Mac and PC have been emulation apps.

For those new to the scene, you are likely to underestimate what it takes to make a great emulator, but it’s more than just displaying a rectangle on screen with a game running in it. There’s an art to displaying games built for CRT monitors on modern high-definition displays, for example. And don’t get me started on mods, which have helped create some of the most wonderful retro gaming experiences of my life.

If you’re looking to go deeper, here are the best Mac apps (some of which have been around for well over a decade) I’d recommend checking out.