Mednafen – Powerful but unfriendly multi-system game emulator

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Mednafen (short for My Emulator Doesn’t Need A Frickin’ Excellent Name, formerly known as Nintencer) is a free, open-source and multi-system video game console emulator for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. It already emulates nearly 20 home and handheld game consoles from Atari to PS1 era, such as FC, MD, GB, GBA, PS, SS, PC-FX, etc.

Mednafen is driven by command-line, utilizes OpenGL and SDL, has the ability to remap hotkey functions and virtual system inputs to a keyboard, a joystick, or both simultaneously, supports saving states and real-time game rewinding, allows to take screen snapshots with one key, and can record audiovisual movies in the QuickTime file format, with several different lossless codecs supported.

Mednafen is essentially a software wrapper that bundles various original and third-party emulation cores into a single package, and driven by command-line input. Although many of its cores are ports from other emulators, some of them are also original. Its Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo Virtual Boy, and NEC PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) original cores are notable for their high quality, compatibility and accuracy. In fact, some emulation cores of Mednafen have been ported to RetroArch/Libretro.

Mednafen is also one of the most powerful game emulators for Linux, with excellent emulation and performance (very low CPU usage) that far outperforms other emulators on Linux platform. Except the absence of a graphical front end, it is the most perfect solution for GBA, FC and many other emulators under Linux. It takes very few system resources, supports both OpenGL and SDL acceleration methods, and allows user to set buttons in the game at will, unlike many emulators that have to set them in the configuration beforehand.

// Key Features //

  • Double-buffered video, enabled by default
  • Multi-threaded video blitting, allowing for a kind of software triple-buffering, and improving performance on SMP systems
  • Joystick support
  • Extremely versatile input configuration system; assign multiple physical buttons to a virtual button or action
  • Full-screen modes
  • Save states
  • Real-time game rewinding, up to 10 seconds
  • Remap hotkey functions and virtual system inputs to a keyboard, a joystick, or both simultaneously
  • Screen snapshots, saved in PNG format
  • Loading games from gzip and (pk)zip compressed archives

// Supported Consoles //

System Based on code from
Apple II/Apple II Plus Original
Atari Lynx Handy
Game Boy / Color VisualBoyAdvance
Game Boy Advance VisualBoyAdvance
Game Gear SMS Plus by Charles MacDonald
Master System SMS Plus by Charles MacDonald
Neo Geo Pocket / Color NeoPop
Nintendo Entertainment System FCE Ultra
PC Engine SuperGrafx Unknown
PC-FX Original. NEC V810 CPU core based on Reality Boy
PlayStation Original
Sega Genesis Genesis Plus by Charles MacDonald
Sega Saturn Original
Super Nintendo Entertainment System bsnes
TurboGrafx-16 / TurboGrafx-CD Original. CD-ROM interface based on PC2e
Virtual Boy Original. NEC V810 CPU core based on Reality Boy
WonderSwan Cygne

// Prompts //

  • Due to the threaded model of emulation used in Mednafen, and limitations of SDL, a joystick is preferred over a keyboard to play games, as the joystick will have slightly less latency, although the latency differences may not be perceptible to most people.
  • Most cores do not require any BIOS except for the Sony PlayStation, NEC PC Engine CD, PC-FX, and Sega Saturn cores. BIOS files need to be placed into a folder called “firmware” in your Mednafen directory.

// Related Links //

// Download URLs //

License Version Download Size
Freeware Latest n/a


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