One of the most popular targets for emulation developers has been the original NES, or “Nintendo Entertainment System”. Throughout the years, I’ve used most of these, beginning with Nesticle over 10 years ago. There have been some good, some alright, and then some that put a new spin on things. nemulator is an example of the latter, as it aims to deliver a media center-like experience for your NES library.
nemulator is an odd beast because it looks robust, but is actually quite simple. There’s no configuration GUI, so all tweaking must be done in a file – and even then, the flexibility is minimal (users of Xbox 360 controllers are in luck, as the configuration for that gamepad is available in this file). This might change in the future, but as it stands, nemulator is without question the coolest-looking NES emulator out there, and perhaps the coolest-looking one in general.
You must specify your rom location inside of the configuration file, and then once loaded, nemulator will scan it and load up live previews of them all (not all roms are supported for this, but all of the non-hack non-fanmade roms I used worked fine). Surprisingly, even with a couple hundred games, the lag here was minimal. I guess it helps when each game weighs just about 1MB. To improve speed however, nemulator does seem to do a bit of caching (these caching files go into the same roms folder, however, which is the biggest complaint I have about this emulator).
When surfing through the main interface, each game runs in a title screen loop, just as it would in a real NES. If you enter a game and then back out of it, the preview will continue from where you left off (for that reason it’s best to pause the game before heading back to the menu, as it will continue to run otherwise).
As odd as it might seem, this about sums up all of nemulator. You are unable to change the text color of the game listed at the bottom, but you are able to change the number of rows you want to see at once. This would be useful if you had a huge collection and would rather see 50 games on the screen at once instead of just 20 or so.
In all of my testing, nemulator ran without a hiccup, though certain games I ran did experience some graphics glitches. In Krusty’s Fun House, for example, there was a small portion that would flicker throughout all gameplay, while Jnes ran the exact same rom without any sort of issue. As nemulator is a rather new emulator, bugs like those could be ironed out in time.
One of the nicest features of nemulator is that it makes each game look quite close to how it’d look on an actual NES. It’s not perfect, but to date I don’t think I’ve ever come across an emulator that could deliver a perfect representation of an NES game.
Overall, nemulator is well worth giving a shot, especially if you’re an NES fan or are building your own arcade box. If you want to see the emulator in action without actually giving it a go yourself, check out this video I uploaded to our YouTube page last week: