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RetroArch multi-system and multiplatform emulator

Today I am forced to talk about a great multi-system emulator known as RetroArch . I have always been in favor of using an emulator for each system, but RetroArch has broken this idea a bit because it supports several game consoles and classic game systems flawlessly.

What is RetroArch?

RetroArch is a multiplatform emulator that supports different systems . RetroArch has support for the following devices and operating systems: Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, Playstation 3, Xbox, Xbox360, Gamecube, Wii, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, OpenPandora and the safe list that will grow in the future.

RetroArch makes use of the libretto library API that is specifically designed for the creation of video game emulators. What is achieved is to create a library (in the emulator they are identified as Core) for each system that you want to emulate. At the moment, support for systems such as: Super Nintendo (SNES / Super Famicon) , NES (Famicon), Megadrive (SEGA Genesis), GameBoy, PC Engine and more systems will be discussed in more detail in a special section.

Download RetroArch (official page):

What systems does RetroArch emulate?

The ecosystem of systems emulated by RetroArch is very broad and constantly evolving. This list may vary somewhat from one operating system to another, but it will be very similar, in this case we show the list for the PC version.

Classic video game emulators:

  • Atari 2600:
    • Stella
  • Game Boy / Game Boy Color:
    • Gambatte
  • Game Boy Advance:
    • Mednafen VBA
    • Meteor
    • VBA Next
    • VBA-M
  • Lynx:
    • Handy
  • Arcadian:
    • Final Burn Alpha (Capcom CPS-1, Capcom CPS-2, Capcom CPS-3, Neo-Geo, Cave, Toaplan, Taito, SEGA System 16)
  • Neo Geo Pocket / Color:
    • Mednafen (Neopop)
  • NES / Famicom:
    • bNES
    • FCE Ultra Mappers Mod (FCEUmm)
    • NEStopia
    • QuickNES
  • Nintendo 64:
    • Mupen64Plus
  • PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16:
    • Mednafen PCE Fast
  • Play Station:
    • Medanfen PSX
  • Super Nintendo (SNES / Super Famicon):
    • bSNES / Higan (in its three versions Accuracy, Balanced and Performance).
    • Snes9x Next
    • Snes9x
  • SEGA Game Gear / Master System / Megadrive / MegaCD:
    • Genesis Plus GX
  • Virtual Boy:
    • Mednafen VB
  • WonderSwan / Color:
    • Mednafen Cygne

Game engines:

  • Quake:
    • TyrQuake
  • Cave History:
    • NxEngine
  • Dinothawr
  • Doom:
    • PrBoom

Let’s give 3D techniques:

  • 3D models:
    • ModelViewer
    • SceneWalker

Other emulators:

  • Two:
    • DosBox
  • PNG images:
    • Instancing Viewer

We can see in the previous list that Mednafen is often used, which is an open source multisystem emulator. Use the code of this emulator to support various systems (Neo Geo Pocket / Color, Game Boy Advance, WonderSwan, PlayStation, PC Engine). It also makes use of another variety of emulators available.

Advantages of RetroArch

  • Centralized emulation system. It is an all-in-one emulation.
  • Rewind support. It allows to rewind during the game and continue playing at a certain time.
  • Being a multi-system emulator gives us the possibility to continue games saved on another device due to compatibility. For example we can play Super Mario World on our PC and then continue the game saved on our Android tablet.
  • It is constantly evolving and developing. It is a live project and its developers update it quite frequently.
  • It is completely free and open source.

Technical characteristics of RetroArch

  • The already commented possibility of rewinding the game to continue at a precise moment.
  • Shader support The program itself includes a fairly wide collection of shaders.
  • Multi-step shaders It allows to pass a shader up to 8 times.
  • It allows to play online.
  • Integrated GUI known as RGUI (previously there was a GUI known as Phoenix GUI, but it has become obsolete).
  • It allows recording videos of games and streaming while we play thanks to the use of ffmpeg.

RetroArch personal opinion

If you can read this article, it is because I was surprised by this emulator, without a doubt, it is highly recommended (I have only tested it on a PC under Windows, I don’t know how it will work on other operating systems or devices).

The reason that led me to test this emulator has been to play Pier Solar for SEGA Megadrive, a 2010 RPG that went on sale explicitly for Megadrive, but we will talk more about it in an article. The point is that Pier Solar cannot be emulated in any SEGA Megadrive emulator that I knew so far but in RetroArch it works like silk.

In short, RetroArch is an all-in-one emulator that brings together great qualities: multi-system, free and cross-platform .

The only negative point is that it is not available to install directly from Google Play for Android, you have to install the apk manually. For the previous reason, I have not been able to try RetroArch on Android at the moment but I will surely decide to do it soon and I will tell you.

Remind yourself that you can comment that you think the emulator or if you have problems or doubts do not hesitate to contact me.

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