Introduction: How to Install, Run and Connect a Controller to an Emulator

About: I am an Engineering student at Alfred State College.

Have you ever been sitting around and remember your childhood as a young gamer and sometimes wish that you could revisit those old gems of the past? Well, there's an app for that.... more specifically there is a community of gamers that make programs called emulators that can run those old games on computers completely free and legally.

Here I will show the steps in downloading unzipping and running an emulator. As well as connecting a controller to your computer and configuring the emulator to read the controller inputs. I will be downloading an SNES Emulator, and Connecting a Bluetooth capable Xbox controller.

Step 1: Accessing the Download

To start we will need to gain access to an emulation software. There are many different locations to find this software with a simple google search but I will be using the Emulator Zone as it has proven safe and reliable.

Here is the link to the website,

Step 2: Finding the Right Emulator

There are many emulators on this page, some for Windows computers and some for Mac Linux and Android. I will be focusing on a Windows system

The Emulator I generally prefer is the one titled. ZSNES. This download and the downloads to many others can be found at the bottom of the page

Once you have found the Emulator click on it and save the file to your computer.

Step 3: Finding and Extracting the File

To begin, select the downloads folder and locate the Emulator (left picture) and open the folder. it will bring you to the contents (right picture) and then extract the files to your desired location on your computer. I will be extracting to my documents folder.

Step 4: Starting the Emulator

To start the emulator navigate to the location that you extracted the file and locate the file aptly named zsnesw. Once located, double click or right click and open the program. Now you have successfully downloaded an SNES emulator for your computer.

Step 5: Getting the Controller

Obviously, you cannot play your games without having a controller. So we are going to set up the controller. I will be using a Bluetooth Xbox 360 controller and will show you how to connect it to your computer

(if your computer does not have Bluetooth or you do not have a Bluetooth controller fear not as you can plug in any USB controller to your computer and use that, you can also just use a keyboard but I don't recommend it)

Step 6: Connecting the Controller

For the Bluetooth capable controller hold the Xbox Button until it flashes and press and hold the small button on top of your controller and it should start flashing faster.

Once the controller is flashing faster you are ready to start pairing it with your computer.

go to the windows search bar and type in Bluetooth and go to the Bluetooth menu and click the add Bluetooth device, then click on the Bluetooth option. ***IMPORTANT*** After a previous windows feature update the "Everything Else" option which includes Xbox controllers no longer works with the current Generation of controller firmware.

Once clicked you should see the controller paired with the computer, go ahead and select the Xbox Wireless Controller and wait for it to connect. Connection time can vary from 5 Seconds to 30 Seconds.

***whenever you connect a controller you need to restart the emulator***

Step 7: Configuring the Controller

Now that you have the controller connected re-open the emulator and navigate to the CONFIG tab at the top and select INPUT once here you are going to want to select the SET KEYS option, now you can follow the on-screen prompts and press the buttons on your controller respectively.

Congratulations you now have a controller hooked up and configured and are ready to start playing games

***DISCLAIMER*** In these steps I show only how to download a free and legal emulator and set up a controller and do not set up any roms. Most roms are free but some are still under copyright from companies are only accessible by downloading them illegally or obtaining the roms from the game you yourself have purchased. Again I did not show anything that was not legal in this instructable.