The Nintendo 64 came out 25 years ago, and during that time, entertainment technology has never stopped advancing. Unfortunately, manufacturers have abandoned the technology needed to use systems like the Nintendo 64 with this advancement properly. Not only that, but many gamers have now adjusted to the control schemes and setups usually found in modern gaming, making it hard to reuse older controllers and control schemes. When this is the case, you may start looking online in places like Reddit for potential emulators that allow you to run these games on your computer or phone.

Now, emulators are rarely perfect. Many of them have to go through constant changes to keep functioning correctly. Along with this, the chances are that even with the most stable version possible, you’ll still be likely to encounter glitches, frame rate drops, messed-up sounds and textures, and more issues. So, unfortunately, if you’re looking for a perfect recreation of plugging your Nintendo 64 into a TV to play Super Mario 64, you will be greatly disappointed. However, if you value the convenience of playing on your computer or on the go, then an emulator might be what you need. If this interests you, this list is what you want.

One other thing to note about these emulators is that each has its strengths and weaknesses. As such, any one of these emulators can ultimately serve you well if it fits what you’re looking for. It may be best to have an idea of what you want to get out of an emulator before you go through the whole process of installing and figuring out how to use it. With that, let’s get into Reddit’s three most recommended Nintendo 64 emulators.

3. Project64

Project64 is an emulator with a bit of history within the emulator community, and it offers its fair share of upsides and downsides. Starting with the upsides, it’s simple. Maybe simple isn’t the right word to use for an emulator; however, compared to other emulators, Project64 doesn’t have as much of a learning curve, allowing those new to emulators to more easily learn the program and get to playing. On top of that, it’s one of the few emulators considered to be “portable.” It doesn’t seem to lose functionality in exchange for this portability, so if you find yourself on the move often or don’t want to be tied down to your computer, then this emulator could be a good choice for you.

Now for the downsides. As said before, Project64 has a history within its community, and it’s not a good one. There was a point where malware was mixed in with the files, causing viruses to infect people’s computers. It’s since been brought under control, with many people saying you should be safe with the latest versions. But for some, that history makes it hard to trust. Another downside is that Project64 can only be used on Windows. So, unfortunately, if you are using anything else, you might stand a better chance by purchasing a different emulator.

2. ParaLLEl

If you have a more powerful computer to handle an emulator, ParaLLEl also offers numerous benefits. For starters, it’s available to more people with different kinds of computers. That way, you won’t be locked out of using it if you decide to purchase an Apple computer instead of Windows. It also takes advantage of your CPU to emulate games faster to try and avoid the choppy frame rate. So, if you are looking to play the more demanding games from the Nintendo 64 without it looking like a slideshow, you may want to go with this one.

However, it won’t all be good. For one, as mentioned earlier, ParaLLEI does take advantage of your CPU. If your computer isn’t the most powerful, this can cause ParaLLEl to perform worse than other emulators. Think of getting a more powerful computer if you, for some reason, absolutely have to use this emulator. Also, even though it uses your CPU to avoid lousy frame rates, the picture quality might be too grainy for some. If that’s not a problem for you and you already have a powerful enough computer, this will treat you well.

1. Mupen 64 Plus

The Mupen 64 Plus emulator is one of the most popular Nintendo 64 emulators on Reddit. It offers just enough to get it to the top of this list. Mupen 64 Plus’ most significant benefit is that it’s updated pretty frequently. As of the writing of this piece, the most recent update to Mupen 64 Plus was September 10, 2021. Not only that, but Mupen 64 Plus is also on GitHub, making it easy to find the latest version for purchase. It’s also pretty adaptable in terms of what you can use it on and can be pretty easy to get working right off the bat, assuming you purchase it from someone that’s already set it up.

Unfortunately, it isn’t free of flaws. While it’s pretty easy to set up when you purchase it from someone, if you have not, it can be one of the most complicated emulators, especially if you haven’t played around with emulators before. Also, if you are interested in using cheats, Mupen 64 Plus doesn’t support that. If that’s something you were looking forward to living (or re-living) through, then you may want to look at another emulator. However, if that isn’t something you were interested in or something you can live without, then this emulator will treat you as well as you treat it.

And that’s it for the emulators. Remember, no emulator is perfect, and no emulator will ever run as well as the actual system. So go in with lowered expectations, and any of these emulators will give you a good time.