I’ve been using console emulators for several years. The first emulator I used was a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator that ran in DOS on a 486 Packard Bell, which was barely capable of running the games near their original speed.
Over the years home computers and emulators have advanced together. With 586 systems it was possible to play SNES and eventually even N64 games. Now days it’s possible to play Gamecube, Xbox, Wii, and PS2 games, though they often don’t run at full speed and require significant tweaking to be playable.
I’ve never been certain about all legal aspects of console emulation. For example, some claimed that the emulators and the possession of ROMs (copies of games) are illegal. I’m not 100% certain, but it seems that it’s legal to posses ROMs if one owns the original game such as an NES cartridge. The legality of developing emulators may depend on the patent/copyright of the console being emulated. Again, I’m not certain but it is apparent that emulators for popular consoles are still being developed.
In general, you’re more likely to find a specific emulator that will work on a version of Windows than for other platforms. However, many of the popular consoles have been emulated on the Mac and other platforms.
Included are links to various emulators that work on Mac OS X. Please note, I will not add information about making or acquiring ROM images of games.
- The Emulator Zone | Emulators for Mac
- Dolphine (Gamecube & Wii)
- Genesis Plus (Sega Genesis)
- Nestopia (NES)
- Sixtyforce (N64 Emualtor)
- SNES9X (SNES)
- Emulator Enhancer (required for joystick support in Genesis Plus & Nestopia -shareware)
- PS3Controller (PS3 Joystick Support – works via Bluetooth in Snow Leopard and Lion)