Mednafen is a multi-system emulator, driven from the command-line. Many of its cores are ports of other emulators, but many of them are also original. Its PC Engine, PlayStation and Sega Saturn original cores are notable for their high quality, compatibility and accuracy.
Mednafen only has a command line interface, so its interface might be slightly challenging to people that have never used an emulator with a command line interface.
Other cores are less useful, as there are better options in stand-alone emulators (NES, Genesis, Master System and SNES). These cores might even be based on out-dated versions. For instance, the SNES core is based on an old outdated version of bSNES. This is before the performance/accuracy/balanced cores - 0.50x territory - with a couple of changes by Ryphecha.
It is unknown at this time whether Mednafen's GBA core is better than VBA-M (but it's likely not true).
RetroArch uses the Atari Lynx, PS1, PCE, Neo-Geo Pocket, Sega Saturn, Virtual Boy, and WonderSwan cores of Mednafen, so it might make sense to use that instead.
Most cores do not require any BIOS except for the PS1, PCE-CD and PC-FX cores. BIOS files need to be placed into a folder called "firmware" in your Mednafen directory. Mednafen is very picky about which BIOS to use. The ones that you might need are:
For most systems, Mednafen only needs the rom file; but to load, Mednafen requires CUE sheets to know where the music data is. Ensure that the CUE sheet is properly set up in order for the game to run. See the Cue sheet (.cue) page for more info.
Loading a game
To load a game in Mednafen, simply drag and drop your rom or CUE file onto mednafen.exe, or if you prefer, you can use the command line. Mednafen requires no special commands, such as the desired system. For example, in Windows, the command would look like C:/Emulators/Mednafen/mednafen.exe C:/Roms/Nintendo/battletoads.nes
Dual Analog Controllers with PS1
To enable analog sticks and rumble on, open the mednafen-09x.cfg file, search for "psx.input.port1" and change gamepad to DualShock. Do this for port2 if you wish to play multiplayer games with the features of Dualshock controllers.
Once in-game, to configure your controller at any time, press Alt+Shift+1 and it will guide you through the setup. Press Alt+Shift+2 and so on for each additional controller for multiplayer.
This is a feature on older systems, due to hardware limitations, that makes it only display so many sprites could be on screen at the same time. Most systems got around this limitation by alternating which sprites were on screen each refresh, causing the sprite to flicker. Mednafen's default settings are true to the original system limits, but this can be disabled in the cfg file. Here is the list of options from the cfg file to change from 0 to 1 if you don't wish to have the limit.
Mednafen supports the usual cheats such as GameShark, Code Breaker, and Action Replay. The cheats menu can be accessed with ALT+C.
RAW cheat codes can also be entered via the console menu:
- choose "2) Cheat Search..."
- choose "1) Add Cheat"
- enter the cheat name
- enter the cheat type (usually the default "R"=replace is correct)
- enter the RAW address with a preceding dollar sign (eg. "$0071")
- enter the byte length (usually the default "1" is correct)
- enter the RAW value with a trailing "h" (eg. "63h")
- confirm cheat insertion
Cores that work with Netplay:
- TG-16/PC Engine/PC-CD/SuperGrafx (option for both accuracy and fast cores)
- Genesis (experimental but mostly functional; 2 Players only)
- Master System
- Playstation 1
- Sega Saturn
It's recommended that you download a frontend
If you're Connecting:
You can chat in-game by pressing T. Also, remember that you can drop in and out of the game at any time, so you don't need to reset the game if someone accidentally disconnects. There are way too many settings, commands and features to list, so take a look at the emulator's documentation.