NES Emulator for Mac: Nestopia

Feb 12, 2011 - 16 Comments


Playing NES games on your Mac might be considered nerdy or retro, but it’s also just plain fun. I finally found a decent NES emulator for Mac that’s free, and more importantly, it’s stable.

It’s called Nestopia, (get it, NEStopia?), and it has all the features you’ve come to expect from a good emulator: stability, freeze states, customizable keyboard controls, adjustable frame rates, and various display tweaks that can even emulate the funky NTSC connection.

Playing games is easy, either select them from the file browser in Nestopia, or you can drag them into the app, or once the filetype is associated (.nes ROM), just double click on a ROM file to play it.

nes emulator mac 2

Download Nestopia
Nestopia is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later, and I’m running it perfectly in Mac OS X 10.6.6. You can download Nestopia directly from the developer.

What about NES Games and ROM files?
NES game files are known as ROM’s, and despite being old titles some of the copyrights are still maintained which can put ROM’s into a legal grey area. If you already own the games for a physical NES, there’s an argument that you’re entitled to have the ROM because they function as a backup. The legality of game ROM’s are often blurry at best, so you’ll have to find these ROM files on your own. Nearly any game is just a Google search away, and they’re all relatively tiny file sizes (Super Mario World is 45kb!).

More emulators!
Want some more emulators for your Mac? We’ve covered SNES, Wii & Gamecube, N64, Nintendo DS, and PS2 before, so check them out.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Games, Mac OS


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  1. Tzodiak says:

    Hey, this works otherwise great, but I cannot get the sound to play while emulating a game. I’m on Mac OSX 10.8.5. I have already checked the preferences menu, and the sound should be turned on.

  2. ajydfgjydsf says:

    How do you change the controls? I’m playing Zelda 1, but I can’t equip my bow because I can’t select the bow in my inventory. Help!

  3. crazy says:

    is it bug free and dont frezze

  4. Dizzy says:

    downloaded it, but can’t seem to get it to work :[
    Demo looks sweet though just wanna play old school nintendo .. any suggestions??

  5. Fullmetal says:

    How do i change the controls as i just got this emulator to play castlevania and i can’t change the controls from the arrows to WASD set up?

  6. lmendez says:

    How can i add a controller to play with Nestopia! It tells me to acquire and enhanced emulator or something like that. Where do i go find this so i can play with a controller instead of the keyboard.

  7. Marcel says:

    Sucks…can’t get the left arrow to map correctly on my SNES controller

  8. […] if the game doesnt work at first on your pc or mac then download the emulator here mac emulator NES Emulator for Mac: Nestopia pc emulator The Emulator Zone – ZSNES Hope you guys enjoy this gem from the past, as i know i […]

  9. Fishcake21 says:

    Does anybody know if this can emulate special mappers? Such as the VC7 Konami chip for games like Akumajo Dracula Densetsu to take advantage of the extra sound channels? Or possibly other custom mappers that some games uses. Plus how is the emulation itself on the regular mappers?

    Or does anybody have any idea what I am talking about? :/

    UltraFCE source for the win.

  10. Steampunk Jammer says:

    Never mind you have to pay for an enhancement to be able to utilize a controller. How lame.

  11. Steampunk Jammer says:

    @Benjamin:I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, but I do not have the required mini-DVI to RGB cable in order to do so. Another case of lack of funds preventing me from utilizing my Mac for it’s potential, the other being unable to play Angry Birds (or even purchase it) due to the fact that I am running Leopard and cannot afford to upgrade to Snow Leopard.

  12. Steampunk Jammer says:

    Thanks for this. I was looking for something like this after a desire to play Batman (that I never got to play as a child) was sparked by playing Batman:Arkham Asylum.

  13. Benjamin says:

    Install an emulator on a Mac Mini, connect it to your TV in the living room, then use Darwiin Remote with a Wii controller or use a wired Xbox 360 controller with the OS X drivers from You can have a nice little classic gaming setup.

  14. Dorkus Amongus says:

    Holy cow I had no idea you could do this. There goes my weekend!

  15. Phil says:

    Here you can get Great Roms Legally thats legal because the rights are already gone.

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