Best RetroArch Emulators Checked (MAME, N64, Sega, NeoGeo)

MAME is a free and open-source emulator designed to emulate arcade game systems in gaming PCs and other gaming devices. Nicola Salmoria developed it in 2009, since then, there are several MAME cores you can download and install on RetroArch. If you are interested in playing vintage arcade games on your gaming PC, you might be wondering which is the best MAME emulator for RetroArch.

So, what is the best MAME emulator for RetroArch? The Best MAME core for RetroArch is the MAME 2003, which is derived from xmame 0.78. MAME 2003 supports many vintage arcade games, especially the 2D-era arcade games. It also supports game saves, netplay, native cheats, console controllers, keyboard, and multi-mouse. However, it does not support rumble, sensors, camera, and location.

You can download MAME 2003 from within the RetroArch or other external sources. You can try other MAME cores if the MAME 2003 does not support the games you want to play. These cores include MAME 2000, MAME 2003-Plus, MAME 2010, MAME 2014, MAME 2016, and MAME. Before you download the MAME 2003 core, you should also read its description on RetroArch’s official website to help you set it up correctly.

Most gamers grew up playing video games in an arcade; however, currently, most developers no longer release arcade games after introducing home video game consoles and gaming PCs. Therefore, if you want to play a vintage arcade video game, you have to download an emulator and install it on your gaming system.

Read on to find out which is the best MAME emulator for RetroArch, the best N64 emulator for RetroArch, where to put the NeoGeo BIOS in RetroArch, where to put the NeoGeo BIOS and the Sega CD BIOS in RetroArch, and how to use Game Genie on RetroArch.

RetroArch is a unique video game emulator that uses cores to emulate video games developed for different gaming systems. If you want to use the MAME emulator on RetroArch, you have to download and install any cores available for the developer. There are several MAME cores that you can use on RetroArch, and you might be wondering which one is the best.

MAME 2003 is the best MAME emulator for RetroArch because it has support for many vintage arcade games. It also does not have any controller or input issues, something that many gamers have complained about the newer MAME cores like MAME 2014 and MAME 2016. Mame 2003 also supports Netplay, Native cheats, Controllers, and Multi-mouse. However, it does not support recent video game features like Rumble, sensors, camera, and location.

You can install multiple MAME cores on RetroArch to maximize the number of arcade video games you can play. MAME 2003 does not support all vintage arcade video games; therefore, if you want to play a video game that’s not available on MAME 2003, you can install a different MAME core.

Currently, there are seven MAME cores you can install in your gaming system. They include MAME 2000, MAME 2003, MAME 2003-Plus, MAME 2010, MAME 2014, MAME 2016, and MAME. Check the other cores and see if they support the video game you want to play. After downloading multiple MAME cores, ensure you load the correct core before launching the game.

Before you install any ROM or BIOS, it’s important to understand that there maybe licensing laws in effect, which make it illegal to install and use BIOS and ROMs like MAME. By downloading the Zip file, extracting the files, copying them into the RetroArch folder, or downloading them directly from RetroArch is the common way most gamers seem to use. Downloading it using RetroArch is the easiest; first, launch RetroArch on your PC and click on the main menu, scroll down and select “Online Updater”.

Select “Core Updater”, and you will see many cores that you can download. Scroll down the list until you see “MAME 2003” and click on it to download and install it. Ensure that you also download ROMs that match MAME 2003 because it will not work correctly if you use ROMs meant for MAME 2000 or other cores.

What Is the Best n64 Emulator for RetroArch?

The N64 console is among the greatest consoles developed by Nintendo, which helped video game franchises like Legend of Zelda and Super Mario. Nintendo released it in 1996 and discontinued it in 2002; therefore, if you want to play N64 video games, you have to use an emulator. If you are using RetroArch, you might be wondering which N64 emulator is the best.

The best N64 emulator or core for RetroArch is ParaLLel 64, known for being more accurate. It has great graphics compared to other cores and also has the option of upscaling the rendering. Unlike other cores, ParaLLel 64 fully emulates the RCP’s VI interface; hence, it’s the best core for gamers who want the most accurate N64 emulation possible.

It automatically applies an approximation of 8x MSAA to any image; therefore, if the internal resolution is 1024×896, the AA postprocessing step will smooth it out. If the game you want to play is not compatible with the ParaLLel 64 core, you can download and install the Mupen64Plus core and check if it is compatible with the game.

Before you start using the ParaLLel 64 core on RetroArch, you first have to download and install N64 games on your gaming PC. In addition to having the original N64 video games, you also need to have the correct N64 ROMs. To add games to your RetroArch, launch RetroArch on your PC, click on “Menu”, and go to “Import Content”.

Select “Scan Directory and navigate to where you have stored the N64 ROMs on your PC. The games will be added to your library, and you will find them on the RetroArch menu under the N64 controller icon. Ensure that your driver is set to “gl” before you load the ParaLLel 64 core. The core will not open if you are using a different driver.

Where Do I Put the NeoGeo BIOS in RetroArch?

SNK, a Japanese game company, developed and released NeoGeo in 1990 as a cartridge-based home video game console. Popular video games that are available on NeoGeo include Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug, and The King of Fighters. If you are interested in playing these games using RetroArch, you might be wondering where you store the NeoGeo BIOS.

In RetroArch, you can put the NeoGeo BIOS in the “System” folder. “System” folder is the default location for your BIOS files, but you can also put your BIOS files in another location. Your gaming experience will not be affected if you place the NeoGeo BIOS in another folder as long as RetroArch has access to the files.

Placing the NeoGeo BIOS files in the “System “folder makes it easier to find and manage. If you keep different BIOS in numerous folders, it might make it hard to find the BIOS you need, so that you might delete a folder by mistake. If you decide to place the NeoGeo BIOS in a different location, ensure it is correctly named and in the internal storage.

To put a BIOS file in the “System” folder, you first need to extract the BIOS file from the Zip format. Copy the Zip file into the “System” folder and extract it in the correct format. You need to check the core and confirm which BIOS format is compatible with the core.

If you extract the BIOS file in an incorrect format, RetroArch will not read the files; hence, you cannot play the game. You can use third-party apps to extract the BIOS files in the correct format, and the “ZArchiver” most common app gamers prefer.

If you decide to put the NeoGeo BIOS file in a different folder, it is recommended that you place it in a folder within the internal storage of your gaming PC. Most people usually save their games on external storage devices like flash drives and SD cards.

Storing the BIOS files in internal storage helps prevent file corruption, accidental deletion, and misplacement. You cannot play any NeoGeo video game on RetroArch without the BIOS; hence, if you store the BIOS in a flash drive and forget it at work or school, you will have to wait till the next day to play the video games.

Where Do I Put Sega CD BIOS in RetroArch?

The Sega CD is a video game console developed by Sega and released in 1991. This console had some of the greatest video games in the 1990s, such as Sonic CD, Snatcher, Lunar: Eternal Blue, and Popful Mail, that are worth playing in the RetroArch emulator. After installing the Sega CD cores, you might be wondering where to put the Sega CD BIOS.

You can place the Sega CD BIOS files in the “System” folder or any other location you deem fit. The “System” folder is the default location for all the BIOS files for RetroArch. However, placing the Sega CD BIOS files in the “System” folder is not a requirement.

You can choose to put the BIOS files in a different location. If you choose to put the Sega CD BIOS in a different location, ensure that you put it in your internal storage. If you put the BIOS in external storage, ensure you back up all the files in the external storage device.

Sega CD BIOS is divided into three regions: US Sega CD BIOS, Euro Sega CD BIOS, and Jap Sega CD Bios. You need to download the BIOS that are meant for your games. For example, if you bought the Sega CD games in the United States, ensure that you download and install the BIOS meant for US games.

If you download Japan BIOS, your RetroArch will not read those BIOS and play the game. After downloading the correct Sega CD BIOS zip file, extract the BIOS and place them in the “System” folder or any other folder within the RetroArch folder.

The “System” folder usually contains the BIOS for all the games in RetroArch. The more vintage video games you install on your computer, the more BIOS you will put in the “System” folder. After some time, the “System” folder might appear cluttered with numerous BIOS.

Creating other folders can help you organize the BIOS. You can put it in folders according to their video game console; for example, you can place all Sega CD BIOS in one folder and N64 BIOS in another.

How Do You Use Game Genie on RetroArch?

Some gamers use cheat codes to improve their gaming experience by making their character immortal, unlocking new items, and skipping difficult levels. Game Genie is a line of video game cheat cartridges available for specific Nintendo consoles. If you are playing vintage Nintendo video games on RetroArch, you might be wondering how you will use game genie.

To use Game Genie on RetroArch, launch RetroArch on your gaming PC and open “Quick Menu”. Scroll down the list and click on “Cheats”, then select “Load Cheat File”. You will see a list of the gaming systems available on your RetroArch, and you should select “Super Nintendo”. With this action, wwo cheat files will appear, namely, “Game Genie” and “Pro Action Replay”, select “Game Genie”.

You will see all the games installed on your gaming PC and click on the game you are playing to load the cheat file. When you click on a page, a list of all the cheat codes will appear, go through the list and pick the cheat code you want. Click on the cheat to turn it on, scroll up and click on “Apply Cheat Changes” to confirm your selection. Go back and resume your game to see if the cheat code is in effect.

If you have turned on a cheat and it does not appear in your game, repeat the process, but after clicking on “Apply Cheat Changes” and going back, do not click on “Resume”. Select “Restart” to start playing the game again, then select “Resume” after the game has restarted. Most games have hundreds of cheat codes; therefore, you should be careful when selecting a cheat.

If you have turned on a cheat code and it is still not working in the game, go back to the cheat code list and check all the cheats that have been turned on. You might have turned on a different cheat code by mistake, and the intended cheat code remains off hence not experiencing the effects in the game.

Final Word

Gaming system developers no longer make arcade video games as more gamers prefer playing video games on their home video game consoles. However, if you miss playing arcade video games and would love to play them, you have to install an emulator on your gaming system.

MAME emulator is the best emulator for arcade games, and if you are using RetroArch, the best core is the MAME 2003. If you prefer accuracy over performance, the best N64 emulator for RetroArch is in ParaLLel 64.

Most games on RetroArch require BIOS files, which are usually stored in the “System” folder. However, you can save files in any location on your computer as long as RetroArch can access them. Finally, RetroArch has support for Game Genie, and you can find hundreds of cheat codes for the vintage video games installed in your gaming PC.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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