How to play SNES games

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How to play SNES and Super Famicom games

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) boasts some 700+ games, not including the 1400+(JP), 500+EU game nor the Super Famicon and SNES PAL, which makes SNES one of the most (arguably) popular gaming systems ever, today. In 1994 came the emu's with snes9x and zsnes being the most popular since they could run commercial games with full sound and hoards of other features not found in earlier emulators. While there were a few others, they were not able to fully emulate most game at all, and even few were able to do it with sound.

This tutorial will cover the Zsnes and the Snes9x. Both are very powerful and easy to use.

SNES emulators

Listed below are the various emulators and a brief information on them.

For Windows

Below a list emulators for Windows, from the earliest one to the most recent.

  • VSMC was released in 1994 and could run select few Homebrew roms. Apparently, it was updated a few times after its initial release, and later versions could run some commercial games including Final Fantasy 2
  • Super Pasofami or SPW (Super Pasofami for Windows?), developed by the author of Pasofami, was released sometime in 1996. Very little information is available about this emulator aside of the reports that version 1.4a deleted some people's Windows directories.
  • ESNES was one of the first SNES emulators that could emulate sound. It later merged with NLKSNES to become NLKE.
  • NLKSNES was one of the fastest SNES emulators, though it lacked sound emulation. It later merged with ESNES to become NLKE.
  • NLKE is the successor of ESNES and NLKSNES and contained both speed and sound.
  • Snes9x was a merged effort of Snes96 and Snes97, both released sometime in 1996-1997.
  • ZSNES was first released on October 14, 1997.
  • SNEM It is open source and runs more games now in the WIP and the graphics engine is better. One to watch for progress. The WIP version includes the source code. Last activity on this one is 2007
  • SNEeSe is an emulator for the Nintendo SNES console for x86 PCs. SNEeSe is written in 32-bit C, C++, and NASM x86 assembly. Project goal is to make as accurate, functional, and usable an emulation core as is reasonably possible.

For Mac

Mac users can use Richard Bannister's excellent BSNES :

  • BSNES this is the most accurate SNES emulation available on the Macintosh platform.

Running games on SNES9X or ZSNES

Below is a quick tutorial for running games on Windows, with SNES9X or ZSNES.

SNES9X

DOWNLOAD the emulator from above. To play a game (ROM), just click FILE, OPEN or (ctrl-O) then select your rom folder where all your games are at and play. Once you realized that you are having issues with the controls - come back here.

This is a very easy emulator to work with, however I will go over a few things you might want to

  • If you have a SNES USB you're pretty much set. You can get one here, which I highly recommend. If not, continue..
  • Open the INPUT and select the first option - INPUT CONFIGURATION:
    • It will say "JOYPAD #1" which will be your keyboard. Simply map your keyboard and you are set. There is an optional check box for angle control, but not needed
    • You can also use this to map any controller you have.
    • That's it. Now you can play a game with your keyboard. Or any controller you have mapped out.
  • The sound should work fine by default
  • The video also should work fine by default. Keep in mind that these are old 8bit and 16bit games and going full screen is not recommended as it will look bad. Again, it is a personal preference
  • All other options are tweaks and should only be changed if you are comfortable with the configurations. A quick search on the net will yeild some nice settings
  • You're set.

The only thing that seems to be amis with this emulator, is that it does not seem to support command line parameters as it once used to. However that is why we have the ZSNES emu. For a full length tutorial, go to EmuHelp.

ZSNES

ZSNES is one of the all time favorites as it plays the most, easiest to use, and many options for the adept. The setup follows the same setup and configuration as listed above for SNES9X. Except this time your input is in the config menu. Map your keyboard and you are set. For a full length tutorial, go to EmuHelp.

Tips & Tricks

If there are a few games you play a lot, you can make a quick launch batch file that all you do is just click and play.

  • Copy the listing below to a file called 7thsaga.bat (use this for an example - name it after the game you like "yourFavGame.bat" for example).
  • Now copy your favorite game to the rom folder (just make it under the root folder under ZSNES)

       @echo off
        start /w /b zsnesw.exe -v 8 roms/7thsaga.smc
        Exit
        
  • Turns off onscreen DOS code
  • Start app
    • /w = start app and wait til user exits the app
    • /b = make the zsnesw open in the same batchfile window
    • -v 8 = which fullscreen video mode to use - This one seems to work the best. Go there for more options http://zsnes-docs.sourceforge.net/html/advanced.htm
    • Path to game. If there are spaces in the path, include quotes at the beginning and the end.
  • Exit batch file

Now when you double click the 7thsaga.bat file the game will launch in fullscreen :-)

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