Windows 11: Native Android App Support and Improved Functionality
Last Update: Sep 12, 2023
Last update: Oct 2, 2020
It is written in C++. Compared to the more popular emulators in the scene, Nestopia strives for accuracy in emulating clock cycles. Compared to FCEUX, another NES emulator popular among users, Nestopia offers customisation of colours, sounds and graphics of the emulated software. It also supports the emulation of custom controllers such as Power Glove.
Nestopia began development in June 2003, and the final open sourced version was published in June 2008. However, it is still a great emulator for users to get into nowadays, due to its strong port and ability to run on a large variety of systems.
FCEUX, Nesticle, Nestopia, Higan, etc. Which one among these is the best? Simply put, there is no one answer. Each emulator has their own benefits and drawbacks, and it is up to the user to decide which one fits their usage. For instance, Higan is a great emulator which is cycle accurate. This means that the emulation of games is done with 100% accuracy. This is great for modders and speedrunners who want as close to an original experience as possible. However, emulators like Nestopia and FCEUX provide some useful features that can help solve some issues with older hardware emulation. RetroArch is a great all in one emulation system which might be complex for new users.
Nestopia supports almost all major computer operating systems out there, and the installation process is very simple. After downloading the .zip file from the official website, one has to extract the .zip file into a folder. To open Nestopia, click on the nestopia.exe icon and you are done!
Nestopia supports a variety of control options such as keyboard, controller, joystick, touchpad, etc. To get started, go to Options > Input...
Next, you will arrive at the screen shown below. The highlighted “Pad 1” refers to player 1 on the emulation software. The red arrows under the key tab point to the buttons on the keyboard that are bound to the NES controller. You can change any of these bindings to your liking by double clicking on them in the “Mapping” tab, and pressing the new binding. Set All allows the user to reconfigure each button using a step-by-step process.
After obtaining some NES Roms (which will be discussed further ahead), one should load the ROM into the emulator to initiate the software. To do that, go to File > Open.... This will open up a file explorer. Click on the folder where the ROMs reside and then click Open to launch the game immediately!
Screen filters are scalers that upscale the emulation graphics. In other words, filters help increase the quality of the game graphics and this can be done through a variety of methods, some of which are looked into here. To access filters, go to Options > Video. The screen shown below will appear, and the desired filter can be selected and saved from here.
Well, each filter has their own algorithm and method to upscale the image and improve quality. Let’s look through some of the available screen scalers:
Save states are an important feature in modern emulators. They save the exact state of the game and allow the user to load to it instantaneously. This is a big boon in NES emulation, especially since a majority of games from that era did not support saving. A user can utilise save states by a keyboard shortcut or simply going to File and clicking the appropriate option.
Users have two options for save states: quick saving and regular save states. The difference between the two types is that quick saves cannot be named and have their own keybind whereas regular save states can have unique names for posterity and keeping track of it.
The features mentioned above are standard among emulators. However, there are some additional features that Nestopia provides that are listed below. Taking a deeper look into them will provide a new light into why Nestopia is quite popular.
Nestopia has a feature where the user can fast forward the game. This is particularly useful in games with long unskippable cutscenes. By default, Tab is the button assigned, however this can be reassigned in the Input menu.
Well, NES games have a notoriety for being hard to beat, employing the old school arcade mentality of game over/repeat. Game Genies and Pro Action Replays were tools invented in the 80s to give the user the ability to modify the game and cheat. Nestopia has the capability to support such modifications to the game. Firstly, go to Options > Cheats >Add. In this screen, the user can add the necessary code under the Game Genie/Action Replay tab and save it. The code will be applied on a restart of the ROM, and Nestopia also provides the ability to swap between different codes and disable them at the comfort of the user. No longer should you suffer in The Legend of Zelda without hearts!
Where does one find Game Genie codes?Well, Google is a great start. There are tons of websites such as GameGenie.com which provide codes that the user can input to modify their game state.
Screenshots are an integral part of emulation. Whether you are capturing the high score in Frogger, or lamenting about how close you were finishing Contra, getting a photo of that screen is essential. By default, Alt + E should capture a screenshot and save it in the Nestopia sub-directory. However, this can be reassigned in the settings like other keybinds. You can find the screenshots in a folder called “screenshots”.
Did you know that the NES had a sprite limit on screen? This means that a game with tons of action on the screen tends to cause flickering artifacts on the screen. The main culprit of this issue was the weak computing power of NES devices. Well, guess what? Our computers nowadays are exponentially stronger than NES consoles, and Nestopia has an option in the settings to disable sprite flickering. Or you could disable it, to fully immerse in the nostalgia! Just go to Machine > Options > No Sprite Limit to enable or disable it.
Legally, a user is supposed to source ROMs from cartridges in their possession. In reality, this is an almost impossible task for most users, so there are some repositories where the users can obtain ROMs from. As always, the easiest way to find these websites is by Googling for them. Any websites mentioned can get taken out by DMCA, although popular sites like EmuParadise are a good place to start.
ROM hacks are ROMs with modifications to the game state. While this does not always mean cheats, a lot of them tend to make the game easier and more accessible for the general audience. ROM hacking is a more advanced topic we cover in another article, and finding pre-hacked ROMs is possible in certain websites. Again, Googling for ROM hacks will provide you with a wealth of information.
Well, a lot of ground was covered in this article about Nestopia. Emulation is a large community growing by the daily, so don’t be afraid of getting into it late. There is a place and time for everyone, whether the NES, SNES or the Genesis is your favourite console!
Last Update: Sep 12, 2023
Last Update: Sep 11, 2023
Last Update: Sep 8, 2023