Posted by: duskfire | April 3, 2011

Emulators on Linux, part 1

Nintendo emulation

In addition to the many games available on Linux, there are also emulators. These are programs whose purpose is to recreate (i.e. emulate) certain console gaming platforms. Nearly every console from the Atari to the PS2 has been emulated, including arcade games you haven’t seen since you were in a mall.

Emulators also have come out for handheld platforms, from the original GameBoy to the Sony PSP. These programs are perfectly legal, so many of them are available on Windows and of course in the repositories of most Linux distributions. But you will either need the game file (often called a “ROM” because it’s a read-only module) or the CD/DVD (for recent consoles like the PSP, Playstation One and Two, and the Nintendo Gamecube) in order to make use of the emulator and play a game.

GBA (Gameboy Advance) – You have a choice of either VBA or VBA-M. VBA has sound issues on 32 bit, but not on 64 bit. Hasn’t been updated in a long time (since 2006). VBA-M is a new fork started in 2007, obtainable from Getdeb, and it seems to work fine. This emulator runs Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance games.

VBA-M running a classic game







VBA-M running a Gameboy Color game, Dragon Warrior 3

VisualBoy Advance is version 1.8.0-6 in repos, comes with a gtk front-end so you don’t need to run from the terminal. VBA-M is version 1.8.0-svn.

There is a GameBoy Color emulator but I can’t recommend it. It doesn’t seem to have a good front-end GUI, and VBA emulates GBC and GB games well enough.

For playing older Super Nintendo games, you also have 2 choices:  ZSNES or Snes9x-x. Snes9x-x is on 64 bit and 32 bit, but Zsnes is on 32 bit only currently. (Both emulators have Windows versions as well).  Zsnes is version 1.510.2.2. Snes-9x is also available, version 1.52.


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