How to Run a Game Emulator





Introduction: How to Run a Game Emulator

According to Wikipedia, an emulator in computer sciences duplicates (provides an emulation of) the functions of one system using a different system, so that the second system behaves like (and appears to be) the first system. This focus on exact reproduction of external behavior is in contrast to some other forms of computer simulation, which can concern an abstract model of the system being simulated.

In Layman's terms "I play N64 on my PC"

This instructable is dedicated to the use of game emulators (PSone, NES, Gameboy, ect); by that i mean how to install them, inserting roms into their correct folders, and playing them. 

Step 1: What Console Do You Want to Emulate / Getting an Emulator

This step really depends what you want to play, but whatever it is, go to They have a large selection of emulators, the ones that work the best are rated the highest and are near the top of the list.

I will be using the Gameboy Advance emulator, Visual Boy Advance as an example

Emulators ARE legal. Opposition to this fact will be smacked

Step 2: Installing the Emulator

Depending on which emulator you decide to download, you will have to do one of two things. either unzip the file using a program called winrar, which is INCREDIBLY EASY to use. You can download a trial here The trial lasts indefinetly, so there is no need to buy an actual copy. Make sure you get the one labeled WinRAR x86 (32 bit) 3.90

Or if your lucky, You will get a .exe file, which will self extract (install itself once it is double clicked). All you need to do is select the folder where you want the emulator to be installed to.

Step 3: How to Use Winrar

If your following my example and downloaded Visual Boy Advanced, you will have to extract the files from the winrar archive on to your desktop, folder on your desktop, ect. Here are some basic instructions on how to do that.

1. install Winrar if you havent already
2. Create a folder on your desktop for the emulator to be extracted in to (it can be called anything you want, but for this example, ill call it VBA)
3. double click the .rar file.
4. select the first file by clicking it once (the first file is the one below the folder with the two dots next to it, dont click the folder)
5. find the last file, press AND hold shift on your keyboard, and click the mouce while holding shift. This will select all the files in the achive
6. click the extract to icon located at the top of the program
7. choose where you want the file to be extracted to

Depending on the size of the file, extraction will be extremly short, or "take a nap" long

Step 4: Getting Roms

There is a funny law concerning roms. You have to own the game physically to have a rom legally. If you dont have the game, but have the rom, that is illegal.

but listen to this

Nobody cares

I have thousands upon thousands of roms in my computer. Its like downloading music on the internet, no one cares anymore

A quick google search for "roms" will bring up results

I am NOT liable for if you get caught downloading roms (seriously, you will never get caught, unless you run to nintendo, sony, or microsoft and show them your downloaded roms)

Step 5: Organizing Your Roms

There are two ways of doing this; the sloppy method, and the neat method

The sloppy method consists of dumping all of your roms into one folder. This makes it easy to find the folder, but harder to find the rom (depending if you have thousands upon thousands).

The neat method is to put all the roms you download in order, by that i mean by system. GBA roms in the GBA roms folder, N64 roms in the N64 roms folder, ect.

If your super neat, you could but the GBA roms in a folder abeled "roms" in the files of the emulator itself. Doing so wont effect preformance.

Step 6: Loading and Playing the Rom

this step, like almost all of the steps before it, requires almost no thought.
1. Start the emulator. If you havent installed the emulator (idk why your at this step), go to step 2
2. Go to "file", then when the file munu expands, go to "open". This step is the same for almost all emulators
3. Go to the file where you store your roms and select the one you want to play

Step 7: Your Done

If you were able to secuessfully load and play something, Congratulations

If you were not able to load a rom, you obviously did something wrong and should look over the past couple of steps. If you still cant figure out what the problem is, leave a comment, and i will *try* to get back to you

as this is my first instructable, constructive critisizim would be appreciated



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55 Discussions

hi, instead of winrar i downloaded 7-zip 64-bit x64 should i have chosen the

32-bit x86 instead.

hi ,with both emulators and roms should i select open with internet explorer default or select file save. Also when it says view and track your downloads it asks do you wish to open or save the file, and also x86 exe file should i press run?Then i get a message saying windows cannot open the file. can you please help?

it says there are no file to be xtracted ;;^;;

I think there is alot of free software can do that

I think if you had to pick an emulation example, it was better to choose one of the problematic ones.. like PlayStation/PlayStation2 with their confusing ISOs, or the GameCube.

In such cases other steps are needed (like "converting" the ISO), and even I met difficulty early in my emulation experience.

1 reply

how did you install the ps2 emulator and the isos, if you dont mind me asking

Great instructable I think! You could include using emulators such as Drastic Ds Emulator for Android and NDS4IOS for iPhone and how to use those too! (which is what I do, lot less hassle I think)


2 years ago

i can install all the emulators i want but opening the fille is my problem cuz they are all ZIP FILES! and i cant open those that sucks :( but atleast i can play every non-zip file game! :D

1 reply


some emulators use zip files directly.

For other situations, there are many free programs that unzip files (turn zip files into normal files). You put them in the same folder, and they will work.

Thank you so much. This really helped, and I love how this guide was written.

I have Freedo and I cannot seem to get the roms to work. I have downloaded the roms and unzipped them. Do I open the ISO or rom and then do I start the CPU?

ok, so i heard about getting N64 emulators on an android, so i tried to use emulator-zone, and it keeps saying that safari cant download it

please help

I'm trying to run a psx2 emulator on my windows. I download the the things i needed. Yet, i dont know what i'm doing wrong. I think it had something to do with the compress/decompressing part. Sometimes it extracts on its own or i do it to the game on its own. I try to just do it to another file, instead of one on the desktop because icons wont show up there for some reason. And at times, it says that a piece of the emulator is missing when i download it. Any help would be appriciated.

Whenever I try to open a rom through the emulator it says "Unsupported File Type". Any help?

Uhh, i have this problem with one game... with Ocarina of Time... uhh, can you play it using keyboard? Because, i am still stuck in menu screen just because i can't name my save-file.. help?

Hope all this tough talk does not Jinx me and i get monitored for having roms now Lol oh well prison does come with free room and board and free meals

Hope all this tough talk does not Jinx me and i get monitored for having roms now Lol oh well prison does come with free room and board and free meals

 How do you get a rom from the game? Is there a program for that or what?

2 replies

*cough* a quick google search for "roms" should help *cough*

To get the roms in the first place, there is special hardware you can get that copies the rom from a cartridge (N64, GBA, ect) to a PC