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Download & Setup

Last update: Oct 2, 2020

Download & Setup

Download and Setup

Currently, there are guides on setting up emulators on Android and iOS devices on this website. However, here's what you need to know about setting emulators up on your system.


Lots of times, we hear the ’video game emulation’. What it implies is the process of playing video games on mobile devices you choose, including computers. Video game emulators work on practically all devices and computers regardless of operating systems because they’re created by fans of the real thing. They’re created for other fans who can't access the real thing for whatever reason.


Some popular video game emulators on a Windows 10 desktop.

The emulators are so fine-tuned you’re barely able to spot the difference from the original. This fine-tuning might take years, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s quite amazing everything, as far as video game emulation is concerned, is free.

Before going into the complete process, here are some terms you should know about:


This refers to the game that can be played via the emulator. It’s a file containing all the data from the cartridge of one game. The proper video game emulator has to be used on a ROM, else, it won't play. For instance, a Genesis ROM must be played with a Genesis emulator, SNES ROM with SNES emulators, and so on. They’re often very small and easy to find on the internet.


Single ROM or normal ROM archive.

Even though it's available as a zip file, you don't need to extract it. The emulator can play ROMs from their zip file, which saves space.


This applies to video game CDs such as Xbox, PS2, PSX, and the like. ISO is the file or file archive that makes up a CD-based video game. ISO can be played as ROM or recorded on CD-R to boot from your CD-ROM. The process depends on your emulator. ISO can be offered in one of two formats, single ISO files or BIN / CUE files, which are best recorded on a CD-R using software that supports CD image burning.


An ISO in BIN/CUE format.

Unlike ROMs, ISOs are great, and finding ISOs for newer systems like the PlayStation 2 can be a pretty tough task. However, ISOs for older systems aren't that hard to find.

Studies show that imitating video games doesn't bother anyone and helps sell the original game. Despite its somewhat gray legitimacy, research has led to realigning the legality of video game emulators.



Computer folders for emulators.

Newbies often make the error of transferring a downloaded emulator to a C computing device. The latest Windows operating systems have been designed with restrictions that protect your system from viruses. Therefore, folders created on drive C are read-only. Meanwhile, the emulator needs write access to save the formatting and progress of your game.

While this may seem like a big problem, the solution is simple. Move your video game emulator to a different common location on your computer, including downloaded "Documents" or other media folders. The emulator can also be placed on the desktop. If you’re a good organizer, you can create folders and name them "Emulation". You can then create other folders in that folder and name them according to the emulator.

Installation and access

The emulator is basically an independent program. Unlike normal programs, they don't come with an installation wizard. To install the emulator, you need to extract it from its zip file and then install it.


Opening the emulator involves an additional step. Since Windows automatically hides file extensions, you must enable the extensions before you can start opening them. The file you open is an .exe file. And you should be able to find it after successfully enabling your computer to show file extensions. Double click on this exe file to open your emulator.


Shortcuts, as the name implies, is everyone’s way of shortening the process of finding programs on their computer. Creating a shortcut simply involves placing the emulator on your desktop. Right-click the EXE file and click ’create shortcut’ then drag the created shortcut file to your desktop.


ROMs for very popular games are usually very easy to find. All it takes is one google search, and you’ll most likely find what you're looking for on the first page. Reddit is also recommended as a great place to search for ROMs, especially if you're looking for large ISOs like PlayStation 2 and 3. On Reddit, you’ll find links to Google cloud storage. If you don't know where to start looking on Reddit, Google can still come in handy. Include ’reddit’ in your search phrases.

ROM extraction

Once you've downloaded the ROM, you don't need to extract it. You can leave it in the Zip file and move the entire file to the same folder as your emulator or any other folder. The organization is up to you. Just remember accessibility when arranging.

Naming patterns

On emulation websites, you’ll see certain symbols beside or after the names of the game emulators. These symbols come with special meanings. They include:

  • (U): United States release
  • (E): Europe release
  • (J): Japan release
  • [a]: Alternate
  • [b]: Bad dump
  • [f]: Fixed
  • [h]: Hack
  • [o]: Overdump
  • [p]: Pirate
  • [t]: Trained
  • [T]: Transition
  • [x]: Bad Checksum
  • ZZZ_: Unclassified
  • (###): Checksum
  • (##k): ROM Size
  • (M#): Multi-Language where # is number of languages
  • (V#.#): Version
  • [!]: Verified Good Dump


Usually, once you've completed the processes above, you can start playing. However, there are instances where you want to implement a few changes to the game experience. Some of these changes include:

  • Changing game difficulty
  • Translating language exclusive games to other languages
  • Fixing bugs, correcting typos
  • Removing uncensored graphic
  • Rearranging the game as a completely different game

The process that helps make these things happen is called patching. They’re ROM hacks and fan translations that help players achieve a whole new experience. It involves the attachment of an IPS file to a ROM.

Patches can be found all over the internet, but RomHacking.net is recommended as the largest patch repository on the internet.


Whether you choose the traditional version of the game or choose to step it up a notch, you can now easily do both on your windows computer thanks to this guide. Enjoy your games!

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