Video Game Emulation Wiki
Nintendo SNES 02

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16-bit, 4th generation console released on 1990 in North America. In Japan, it was known as the Super Famicom.

Emulation for the SNES is robust, with several high quality emulators for various systems, with some even being cycle accurate.

Main Features of the Super Nintendo Emulator:

Good compatibility with almost all known SNES ROMs;

Supports Gamepad;

Supports saving;


Name OS Version Accuracy Recommended
bsnes (higan)

Windows, Linux, OS X

106 Cycle
Snes9x Multi-platform 1.55 High
RetroArch (Snes9x-Next, bsnes) Multi-platform 1.53 (Snes9x-Next), 0.92 (bsnes)

Mid (Snes9x-Next)

Cycle (bsnes)

BizHawk Windows 1.11.8 Cycle






ZSNES Windows, Linux, OS X, DOS 1.51 Low


1. bsnes (higan)

  • The most accurate of the bunch. Should play any and all commercially released games without trouble, assuming you have the power.
  • A Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz is the weakest I've seen run the balanced version full speed for most games.
  • Balanced works. You do NOT need the accuracy build for anything but one game. And it's just a missing shadow even for that.
  • ROM hacks designed around emulator quirks will most likely not work. Same as with real hardware.
  • LLE audio sounds amazing.

2. Snes9x

  • Compatible with most games, even many romhacks that make use of emulator quirks.
  • Fast enough for pretty much any toaster (think pentium 1 or 2, yes i tested!)
  • LLE audio, same as bsnes's.
  • Often buggy graphical output and shader support in standalone
    • Driver/GPU dependent.
    • Remember those diagonal lines of offset across older 3D games on certain graphics cards? Yeah. Finding a picture.
  • Hit and miss controller support, especially when it comes to XInput devices.

3. RetroArch, which has bsnes, and Snes9x cores.

  • The same points as the emulators themselves
  • Amazing graphical output
    • At any resolution
    • At any fullscreen resolution and refresh rate
    • Vast shader support
  • Dynamic rate control
    • Replaces conventional audio synchronization. Dynamically adjusts audio input rate to match monitor refresh rate.
    • Allows the use of video synchronization without audio crackling issues. This will fix problems like screen tearing and frame pacing issues.
  • Does not require Game Folders or anything like higan standalone.

4. BizHawk

  • Useful for TAS (Tool Assisted Speedruns)
  • Written in C#, requires .NET 4.0
  • Windows-only

5. Mednafen

  • The SNES core is based on bSNES 059 which is rather old from 2010. It pre-dates the performance/balanced/accuracy builds. This version is much faster than the current version.
  • Missing many of the LLE audio improvements that newer versions of Snes9x and Higan use currently.
  • The version of bsnes that Mednafen is using is missing out on many accuracy updates that particularlly impacts a few edge case games such as Air Strike Patrole. The signifigance of this game is it was one of two games known to manipulate the PPU mid-scanline and is notoriously difficult to emulate. Some of the problems Mednafen has versus newer cores is poorly rendered text, flickering lines near the bottom of the screen, and missing shadow durring flight.
  • While acceptable for many games its recommended to use Snes9x, Higan, or Retroarch instead.


  • Will run full speed on ANY toaster, supposedly back to the weakest of Pentium 1s (yes I tested!)
    • Assuming it's an x86 toaster, since it's written in ASM.
  • Romhacks were often designed around it's speedhacks
    • Many romhacks won't work properly on anything else.
  • Though fans have modded this, it is basically a dead emulator with no future.
  • Many bugs and lacked functions for many games, see ZSNES review
  • Polarizing Graphical user interface (loved by some, hated by others)