The 12 Best N64 Emulators Right Now

The 12 Best N64 Emulators Right Now

If you’re itching for the old school dogfighting of Fox McCloud in Star Fox 64, or you miss the hectic split-screen action of Goldeneye, you’re going to either scrounge up a functioning one or find yourself the best n64 emulator.

best n64 emulator
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Even if you have managed to find the holy grail of a working N64, playing games playing games on an emulator is portable (either a laptop, phone, or tablet) and allows you save at any time.

But the world of emulation can be tricky. The search for emulators and ROMs sometimes feels like walking down a dark alley with your wallet in your hand a fifty sticking out. Viruses and malware abound.

N64 Emulators: A Quick Comparison


Product

Image

Platform

Our Rating

Price

 Project64 

best n64 emulator
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Windows and Android

Mupen64 Plus

best n64 emulator
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Windows, Linux, and Mac

Nemu64

best n64 emulator
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Windows

ClassicBoy

best n64 emulator
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Android

MegaN64

best n64 emulator
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Android

RetroArch  

best n64 emulator
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Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, PS3, Switch, and More

OpenEmu  

best n64 emulator
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Mac


SixtyForce  

best n64 emulator
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Mac

Supra HLE  

best n64 emulator
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Windows

DaedalusX64  

best n64 emulator
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PSP

BizHawk  

best n64 emulator
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Windows

1964  

best n64 emulator
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Windows

So how do you find the most reliable emulator without perusing those dark corners? Simple! Let us give you recommendations for some of the top emulators on the market.

The 12 Best N64 Emulators Reviews

Project64

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows and Android

Cost: Free

Probably one of the most famous and popular N64 emulators, Project64 has really earned its place. The interface is exceedingly simple to use, and the emulator itself installs quick and easy.

You don’t even have to install it, if, say, you’re playing on your work computer (not that we recommend that). Instead, you can use the portable version (say, on a flash drive) and run the emulator right from there without any fuss.

Project64 does allow some GameShark and built-in cheats, however, you’ll probably have to do some Googling to find all of the cheats that are available and test them yourself.

 It does offer settings for altering the game’s aspect ratio, making it one of the few emulators that can fit on multiple displays without big black bars.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • well tested by users
  • regular updates

Cons

  • bundled adware in newer version 

The Android version is newer, and while it works pretty well, there are some kinks that still need to be worked out. There are always going to be phones that won’t run it – Android is a wide platform with a diverse install base. But, it’s smoother than most Android emulators, and if your phone can run it, it’s a good choice.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Excellent

Free


Mupen64Plus

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows, Linux, and Mac

Cost: Free

Originally known as Mupen64, Mupen64 Plus brings even more features and a cleaner code base to the table. It’s also moved into the cross-platform space, meaning you’ll be able to run it on almost any computer operating system without too much trouble.

It’s didn’t used to be as user-friendly as Project64, but it wasn’t too much a problem for savvy computer users or people with good Google-Fu. It runs off command line and uses its own plug-ins, but it’s not too unmanageable – the instructions can be found right on their website.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • supports a wide variety of OS
  • issues are address by developers

Cons

  • more complicated to set up

However, with their newest update, everything comes packaged together and can run much more easily. It’s also designed to run on either 32 or 64-bit systems, so your operating system of choice will provide even less trouble.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Excellent

Free


Nemu64

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows

Nemu64 is another easy recommendation for Windows Nintendo 64 emulation. It runs well, and it supports offline, local multiplayer, which is a rarity in the world of emulators.

Playing a game that’s a bit grindy? Nemu64 can speed up gameplay at any time, allowing you to fly through random encounters or any other boring or tedious sections.

Pros

  • supports offline
  • local multiplayer feature
  • speed up gameplay at anytime

Cons

  • only support windows OS 

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free


ClassicBoy

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Android

If you want to play Rogue Squadron or Mario 64 while you’re on the go, you’re going to need a mobile emulator.

Whether you have an Android smartphone or a tablet, there are a few emulators that should work for your needs. For instance, ClassicBoy is one of the first Android emulators and benefits from its experience handling bugs and other hiccups.

Pros

  • support classic games
  • can play Gameboy and original PlayStation games
  • one stop shop mobile emulator

Cons

  • only for android  

Plus, not only does it emulate games for the N64, it can also play Gameboy (Color, Advance, and Classic), NES, Sega Genesis, NeoGeo, and even original PlayStation games.


It’s hard to beat a one-stop mobile shop like ClassicBoy.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free


MegaN64

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Android

Are pop-ups irritating you while you’re trying to get the Biggoron Sword in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Try MegaN64. All of the free Android emulators on this list come with advertisements – that’s just the name of the game – but I’ve found MegaN64 to have less advertising than most, and it’s also less irritating overall.

It’s also relatively lightweight and runs off a variation of the tried-and-true architecture underneath the Mupen64Plus emulator.

Pros

  • less ad pop up
  • lightweight 
  • free to use

Cons

  • only for android  

Emulators are finicky by nature, and MegaN64 definitely has the occasional stability hiccup. However, a quick restart will usually fix the issue, and since you can save any time you shouldn’t be losing too much progress.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free


RetroArch

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, PS3, Switch, and More

Be warned: RetroArch is definitely for the pros. See that list of platforms? Look too good to be true? It isn’t! Retroarch is an extremely modular method for playing all of your old games on one platform.

In reality, RetroArch isn’t an emulator. It’s more of front-end management system for emulators. It uses emulators called “cores” that can be installed easily through its normal interface, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.

Pros

  • multi-platform 
  • front-end management system 
  • free to use

Cons

  • complicated for beginners  

So, you pick the cores you want – NES, Neo Geo, PlayStation – and install them. Then, after some configuring and ROM-finding, you can play whatever retro games you want on PS3, Wii, or any of the dozen platforms RetroArch is available on.

You can download RetroArch for free, and just follow some simple instructions to set it up.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free


OpenEmu

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Mac

If you think different but still have a craving for those long-gone games of yore, you’re in luck! OpenEmu is an easy-to-use and setup emulation software for the Mac. And the best part? It doesn’t just emulate N64 games, though it performs admirably there. It can play games from the Nintendo DS all the way back to Intellivision and ColecoVision.

OpenEmu’s developers were focused on creating a stable emulation platform that fits Apple’s design style statue of “it just works.” While everyone has wrestled with an emulator every once in a while, OpenEmu does a good job of turning an often-frustrating experience into a breeze.

Pros

  • easy to use and set up 
  • stable emulator for MAC OS
  • easy to download and install

Cons

  • MAC OS only

The software is easy to download and install, the ROMS can be found easily, and the games run smoothly.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free


SixtyForce

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Mac

Another option for the Apple set, SixtyForce is a solid – if low frills – option for playing Nintendo64 games. It supports joysticks and controllers but doesn’t have much in the way of other customization.

The only real down-side to SixtyForce is that you can’t perform an anytime save of the game state unless you have the paid version. You can still save the games in the traditional way, of course, but the free version doesn’t support save states.

Pros

  • support joystick and controllers
  • support is available
  • paid version is pack with features

Cons

  • no save state on free version

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free & Paid


Supra HLE 

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows

SupraHLE is a best n64 emulator that was actually a community-created, modified version of UltraHLE, an extremely popular N64 emulator. Unfortunately, UltraHLE ceases to support or update awhile back and was in need of some love. It happens – these emulators do not exactly create a big corporate team. It’s usually one guy in his garage coding for the love of the work, and they sometimes move on without warning to other projects.

Pros

  • advanced configuration if available
  • designed for pro users
  • run smoothly in windows 7

Cons

  • some games doesn't run in Windows 10 

SupraHLE picks up where Ultra left off, providing a powerful, easy-to-use emulator that is a true successor to one of the most legendary emulators out there.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free 


DaedalusX64

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: PSP

This is a fun one: DaedalusX64 allows you run N64 games on your PSP. If you’ve been looking to take your N64 games on the road but didn’t want to have to bring a separate control for your phone, this might be the best option. Because a PSP combines a screen and a controller it’s just a more elegant solution, plus it has its own battery – you haven’t to make the choice between gaming or the ability to call and text.

Pros

  • run games on PSP
  • no need for controllers
  • run smoothly in PSP devices

Cons

  • first time set up is a little bit tricky

It is a little tricky to get set up the first time, which is why you’ll want to find some easy directions to get started.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Good

Free 


BizHawk

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows

BizHawk is a little different from most of the emulators on this list. While it can play N64 games and will serve admirably as just an emulator if that’s all you need, it does come with a bit more under the hood.

Bizhawk is most frequently used for tool-assisted speed runs of classic video games, and it supports ROMs for a whole host of systems. These include the original PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, multiple Gameboy models, Atari, and PSP, just to name a few.

Tool-assisted speed runs aren’t meant to “cheat” speed runs and provide an entirely different function. They’re to trigger a macro-like series of prepared button inputs in order to achieve a playthrough that is largely impossible for a human to pull off. It’s for exhibitions and demonstrations of gameplay more than anything.

Pros

  • support and updates is available
  • supports ROMs for a whole host of systems
  • easy install and set up

Cons

  • multi-platform OS not supported

However, because of these popular features, BizHawk sees quite a bit of use, meaning it gets support and updates. So even if you’re just using it to play Banjo Kazooie you’ll know that the software isn’t a dead platform.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Fair

Free 


1964

best n64 emulator
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Available Platform: Windows

BizHawk is a little different from most of the best n64 emulator on this list. While it can play N64 games and will serve admirably as just an emulator if that’s all you need, it does come with a bit more under the hood.

Bizhawk is most frequently used for tool-assisted speed runs of classic video games, and it supports ROMs for a whole host of systems. These include the original PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, multiple Gameboy models, Atari, and PSP, just to name a few.

Tool-assisted speed runs aren’t meant to “cheat” speed runs and provide an entirely different function. They’re to trigger a macro-like series of prepared button inputs in order to achieve a playthrough that is largely impossible for a human to pull off. It’s for exhibitions and demonstrations of gameplay more than anything.

Pros

  • optimized to run with modern processor architecture.
  • video plug-ins allow to swap from low to high resolution
  • compatible with any N64 ROM 

Cons

  • does not run smoothly in new hardware

However, because of these popular features, BizHawk sees quite a bit of use, meaning it gets support and updates. So even if you’re just using it to play Banjo Kazooie you’ll know that the software isn’t a dead platform.

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Fair

Free 

Choosing the Right Nintendo64 Emulator

Now, your choice on the best n64 emulator is going to depend greatly on your particular needs – platform, reliability, flexibility, and price. However, there are a few things you need to watch out for, no matter your reason for needing an emulator.

1. Make sure you’re downloading your emulator from a reputable source.

Because the world of emulation is a bit seat-of-the-pants, wild-west in nature, it’s easy to grab the wrong file from the wrong website and end up knee-deep in a virus or other malware.

Before you download from a site, just do a quick Google search with the site’s name, and “review” or “safe.” Make sure you use a third-party site and check a few websites to make sure you’re not getting bamboozled. Then, when you’re absolutely sure it’s safe, download the file and use your local anti-virus software to scan the file before you run it.

Then, and only then, should you extract and run the executable file. The nice thing about many of the emulators on this list, though, is that they have portable versions that don’t even require you install the program in order to play games.

2. Check for compatibility.

Not just with your device, but with the games you want to play. Not all emulators support all ROMs, and not all Nintendo64 games are equal. Dig around forums, do some searching. If you really want to play Majora’s Mask, check that the emulator you’re about to download supports it. Read around, confirm that the emulator you’re thinking of plays the game.

Some emulators are known for their wonky sound. We need to check for incidentals. If you’re an audiophile who loves the music of your favorite game, make sure you’re not getting some compressed or watered-down version.

3. Obligatory legal warning:

Depending on where you are, emulation and ROMs may be illegal. In most places, emulators are perfectly legal. It’s where ROMs of games come in that the legality gets foggy.

Most of the time, ROMs are legal to own if you have a copy of the physical game, or if you’ve ripped your own ROM from a game for personal use. But, again, laws are subject to change depending on where you live.

Check your local laws and remember to play safe!

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