Best N64 emulators for Android and PC

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While the video game industry is always moving forward to bigger and “better” things, it cannot be denied to the audience to revisit or experience the classics for the first time. Nintendo capitalized on nostalgia and created a new audience for classic games with the excellent NES Classic and SNES Classic. What about Nintendo 64 games? Nintendo currently has no plans to make an N64 Classic, so unless you own a working N64, it’s hard to play games from the dawn of Nintendo’s 3D days. Sure, the Wii U has a selection of N64 games, but the Wii U has been dead for years.

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The best N64 emulators

Getting a working N64 isn’t hard, but finding cartridges at a reasonable price? It’s not always that easy. Often the easiest way to play N64 games is through an emulator. Here are the best N64 emulators for PC and Android.

Project64 (Windows)

One of the most popular and easiest N64 emulators, Project 64 also has the advantage of being open source. Project64’s dedicated community of enthusiasts consistently merge changes to GitHub, fixing bugs big and small. Newer versions of Project64 have removed the need to install additional video or audio plugins for certain games. For example, you no longer need to download the Glide64 video plugin separately when games don’t run smoothly with the legacy Project64 Jabo Direct3D plugin. Project 64 lets you play with USB controllers, has the ability to save states, and even play with high-resolution textures. The main drawback of Project 64 comes with the sound, which can be inconsistent at times.

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Development for non-Windows-based versions of Project64 has accelerated over the years. Project64 was even available on Google Play at one point, but has since been removed. For now, if you’re using Windows and looking for an emulator with a clean interface that plays a large percentage of N64 games without problems, Project64 is a good option.

Download Project64

Mupen64Plus (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android)

Mupen64Plus is not as easy to use as Project64, but it provides a better audio experience. If you have problems with certain games on Project64, we suggest you try Mupen64Plus. By default, Mupen64Plus has no user interface. Instead, you run ROMs via the command line. However, you can add a front-end user interface by downloading an additional plugin such as M64Py, which is specifically designed for Mupen64Plus.

Mupen64Plus has the added benefit of compatibility with Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. This makes it the best option for Mac and Linux users and an alternative option for PC users if Project64 doesn’t work as expected.

Download Mupen64Plus

Mupen64Plus FZ (Android)

Although Mupen64Plus is available on Android, we also wanted to call Mupen64Plus FZ. This version of the emulator is specially designed for mobile devices. It’s still a bit of a hassle to set up, but once it’s up and running, it offers the best N64 emulation on Android, no doubt about it. All the plugins you might want to install are included, and the front-end GUI comes with the download.

Download Mupen64Plus FZ

MegaN64 (Android)

MegaN64, a custom version of Mupen64+, is by far the most popular emulator on Android, with over 900,000 user reviews and an average user rating of 4.6. That is very impressive. What you get with MegaN64 is a good, sometimes great, N64 emulator without the hassle. Games must be installed on a microSD card to play them. Games load almost instantly and most run smoothly.

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It’s not as heavy as the Mupen64Plus, but it will get the job done for those who just want to pick up and play some old classics. The main annoyance with MegaN64 is the ads that appear very often in the menu. It’s hard to say for sure, but it seems that development stopped a few years ago. Without support, the MegaN64 could become a mess over time. However, for now it’s still a solid, simple option for N64 emulation on Android.

Download MegaN64

RetroArch (multi-platform)

RetroArch is a front-end GUI, not technically an emulator. However, you can download emulator cores to play games on a wide range of platforms (PC, mobile, consoles). For N64 emulation, RetroArch uses a libretro core modeled after Mupen64Plus. However, RetroArch has a number of distinct differences such as overclocking and more customization features. In some respects, RetroArch’s N64 cores are like Project64 and Mupen64Plus having a baby. RetroArch also has a really nice “paraLLEl” core that enhances the visuals whether they are displayed in high definition or as they were on the N64. If you’re using a bunch of different emulators for multiple classic platforms, you might want to simplify things and give RetroArch a try. If you need help setting it up (it’s not that easy), there are plenty of YouTube videos and written guides available with a quick Google search.

Download RetroArch

Disclaimer: While downloading and sharing emulators is perfectly legal, downloading BIOS ROM files is illegal, even if you own a physical copy of the game. This list is for reference. We do not advocate illegal downloading of games.

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