Oh, the NES. As an ’89 baby, there wasn’t a larger part of my childhood than this gaming console. Before school, after school, and on weekends you would find me attached to this thing. With Crystalis, Metroid, Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, Mega Man 1-6, Castlevania, Dragon Warrior, River City Ransom, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Contra, The Legend of Zelda, and the entire Mario Bros. series, what is there not to love as a kid? The NES wasn’t the first console, but it was the one that really cracked open the world of gaming and brought it to the forefront of home entertainment.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to re-live and enjoy those amazing classic games on your computer using Nestopia.
There are versions of the software available for the Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms. Here are direct links to the latest version (1.40):
here. Nestopia is portable, so it can be thrown onto a service like Dropbox or a flash drive and go with you.
Configuring Nestopia“Out of the box,” Nestopia doesn’t require too much advanced configuration. It’ll work just fine after unzipping the archive. However, I do recommend going into the Preferences… beneath the Options menu.
Here, just go ahead and check the boxes beside each file association. It’ll make loading ROMs a lot easier for you in the future.
Other than that, you can familiarize yourself with the controls at the Input… screen, also under Options.
The controls are pretty simple by default: directional keys for the directional pad, comma and period for A and B, and then Enter for the Start button.
Getting ROMsCoolROM is the only website I’ll recommend that you download your NES ROMs from.
Please be advised that you are only legally allowed to download ROMs if you own a license for any and all that you download and you will not distribute or attempt to profit from the ROMs. I’m not going to spew any more legal mumbo-jumbo because the emulation sites themselves should have their own disclaimer. You should know what not to do.
Download and extract the ROMs into the same folder. It’ll get messy and confusing otherwise. NES ROM files have the “.nes” extension.
Loading ROMsLoading your games is as easy as can be. Simply go to File and then Open… and navigate to the location where your ROMs are stored.
If you made the file associations that I recommended before, you can alternatively just browse to the folder in Windows Explorer and double-click the file. It’ll automatically load and start in Nestopia.
Saving StatesThis sure does beat having to remember a 16-digit password or having to play through 10 minutes of gameplay just to reach a stopping point. Nestopia supports the saving of your states, which is basically instantly saving your game progress.
All you’ve got to do is go to File and then Save State…. Load State… will allow you to restore your progress.
Go now. You’ve got time to waste and an entire childhood to catch up on. Or if you’re one of our younger readers, how about you go enrich yourself in some real gaming with Nestopia!
If you’re a Super Nintendo fan, I did a very similar article on how to emulate SNES games using ZSNES. Go check it out and let’s talk some NES in the comments here!