What are the emulators of modern consoles of the 7th and 8th generations

Emulation of games for consoles and older computers has always been in the gray zone from a legal point of view. Nevertheless, Sony at one time lost in court against the creators of commercial PS1 emulators (Bleem! And Virtual Game Station), and Nintendo has not bothered the authors of Dolphin for a decade and a half. In this article, we will talk about emulators PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Switch and touch on portable devices in passing.


Fifth and sixth generation consoles emulated for a long time (minus Xbox). The seventh generation platforms remained impregnable for a long time. PS3 – due to the complex architecture.

Like most of the programs in our collection, RPCS3 is a free and open source emulator. It targets Windows and Linux. The development started back in 2011. Programmers attracted attention to themselves in the spring of 2017, when, before the release of Persona 5 in the West, they launched it through RPCS3 at a speed of 10-30 fps. Atlus was outraged, and the developers removed references to the game from the Patreon page. By the way, the leading developer of RPCS3, hiding under the nickname Nekotekina, is from Russia.

Now RPCS3 plays almost 1900 games without serious technical errors and with a good frame rate. Red Dead Redemption, Metal Gear Solid 4 and The Last of Us will not be complete, Dante’s Inferno will. Online so far presented in two projects – Demon’s Souls and Bomberman Ultra.

Demon’s Souls and Bomberman Ultra (RPCS3)

Xenia (Xbox 360)

Hundreds of games are available on Xbox One through backward compatibility from the Xbox 360 and the first Xbox. You can find a complete list here. The emulator Microsoft prepared itself, it’s called Fission.

Outside the Xbox One, the situation is sad. There is only one promising Xbox 360 emulator – Xenia. It is constrained by the Windows 10 framework and the DirectX 12 API. Under Windows 7, almost nothing will work for you. Xbox backward compatibility and Kinect support are a dream come true. You will be able to run around a modest number of virtual worlds (Lost Odyssey, Perfect Dark Zero, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Halo 3, Blue Dragon), and get ready for the dominance of bugs. Some projects can be appreciated thanks to Xenia Canary, a fork (fork) of Xenia.

Perfect Dark Zero (Xenia)

Dolphin (Wii)

Dolphin’s story began in 2003. The team opened the source code in 2008. Dolphin is an exemplary GameCube and Wii emulator (they have similar hardware) for Windows, Linux, Mac and even Android. Dolphin is “friendly” only with 64-bit operating systems and is tailored for dual-core processors.

Dolphin’s authors have achieved success by reverse engineering. The programmers did not have access to Nintendo’s technical documentation and did not address the “leaks”. There are no borrowings in the code. That is why Nintendo and other large companies do not sue the authors of such software. The court will side with the latter if the code is open, and the goal of the project is strictly research.

Dolphin has very low system requirements, any controllers are easy to configure, and multiplayer functions are implemented. The daily audience of the emulator in 2017 was approximately 50,000 users. A trifle against the background of the total sales of GameCube and Wii (21.74 and 101.63 million, respectively). It is difficult to call it a hotbed of piracy.

By the way, one of the founders of Dolphin, Henrik Rydgård, later wrote PPSSPP – the most famous pocket PSP emulator.

Cemu (Wii U)

Cemu is the only popular closed source emulator. In previous years, I collected $ 24,000 / month on Patreon, now donations have dropped to $ 4,000. The patches are released approximately twice a month.

Cemu requires a PC with Windows 7 (x64), OpenGL and at least 4GB of RAM. Performance per processor core is important for the program. It is possible to open a second window (simulates a gamepad screen) and quickly switch between it and the main screen, resolutions above Full HD are supported. 20% of games from the Cemu catalog are emulated perfectly, 30% do not start at all or give an error at the menu stage. Pikmin 3, Splatoon, Super Mario 3D World, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild all deal with rough edges in terms of graphics and audio.

Pikmin 3 (Cemu)

Yuzu (Switch)

The PS4 and Xbox One emulation won’t get off the ground in the coming years. On the contrary, the Switch has a positive situation, take at least Yuzu (Windows).

Yuzu is being improved by the authors of Citra, the 3DS emulator. The successes are evident – on the day of the premiere, it is possible to launch large projects like Paper Mario: The Origami King and Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on PC. Naturally, top-end components are needed (recently, the load on RAM is not so big), but the fact itself is impressive. It’s no surprise that Patreon has 4,000 sponsors.

Yuzu lets you go from start to credits for Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Maker 2, Pokemon Sword / Shield. Alas, with a lot of graphical “bugs”.

If you decide to familiarize yourself with emulators, keep in mind that these programs are not prohibited in any country in the world. Another thing is that downloading images of games from the Internet is prohibited.

Emulators now have plenty of alternatives. Avalanche PC ports, backward compatibility, HD re-releases. And yet they are unlikely to “die out”. The obvious advantages of emulators are hotkeys (screenshots, quick saves, and so on), support for any gamepads, advanced graphics options such as anti-aliasing, arbitrary resolution and high frame rates. Their historical value is also undoubted – before you is a kind of virtual museum of games that have long disappeared from sale.


by Abdullah Sam
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