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App of the Week: OpenEmu Lets You Play Classic Consoles On Your Mac

by Brandon Russell | December 26, 2013December 26, 2013 5:00 pm PDT

Emulators are most definitely not new, but it’s never a bad time to revisit some old classics, especially for those that grew up with a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. With a new generation quickly overtaking consumer living rooms, why not end the year with a bit of nostalgia, and leave the next generation of console gaming for 2014? Use the downtime of the holidays to your advantage by jumping back in time to the early days of video games.

Called OpenEmu, this free Mac app is a beautiful solution that takes minimal effort; you don’t have to be familiar with the underbelly of emulation just to run a game. The best part is the app supports twelve old consoles, including the NES, Virtual Boy, Game Gear and Game Boy Advance. Not only is its feature set robust, but the program itself it designed like it’s a stock app in the Apple ecosystem. It’s easy to use, too, and simply requires users to drag and drop a ROM into the software, which then organizes your library like it’s some sort of iTunes for gaming.

The really neat trick about OpenEmu is that it supports existing game controllers—chances are you have a Wiimote or DualShock 3 handy; you can even use a DualShock 4 by plugging it in through the microUSB cable. Even Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller works once you download third-party drivers. Take your pick.

If you have a long flight ahead, OpenEmu might save you from the tedium of holiday travel. Of course, where you find and download the supported ROMs is up to you. But once you do start filling up your library, OpenEmu will populate all your box art, and organize everything by console—there’s even a familiar iTunes-like section of Recently Added, Top 25 Most Played, and more. The company also says support for PlayStation, PSP, Nintendo 64 and even CelecoVision is coming, so busy yourself with some early NES titles until those are ready.

OpenEmu LifeHacker

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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