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There are a number of ways to enjoy the old games you grew up playing—including building your own console —but the most accessible is the emulator, a program that lets you play any game in any operating system.

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The vintage emulator scene is also evolving: The web is littered with dozens of programs promising different results, and not all ROMs are compatible with current operating systems. What's worse—all the focus seems centered on emulating games with your Windows PC , but what if you have a Mac?


Dont despair, though, because OpenEmu is the perfect solution for vintage gamers who just so happen to prefer a macOS environment. Released in , OpenEmu is not actually an emulator. Instead, it's a robust front end for other console emulators. On its own, that's nothing new; front ends have existed for a long time.

OpenEmu differentiates itself by working a lot like a streamlined iTunes—that is, if iTunes were smooth and fast, not sluggish, confusing, and on its way out.

For example, OpenEmu shows you box art for each of your games, and automatically sorts them by platform. It lets you make playlists with your favorite games by category across platforms, and universalizes controller schemes for each emulated system—all with an easy-to-understand and attractive interface. OpenEmu doesn't work for computer platforms—you'll still need separate emulators for, say, the Atari or ST. But for game consoles, it's outstanding.

How to Play Retro Games on Your Modern Mac With OpenEmu |

And for once, it's a Mac exclusive. The best part: OpenEmu takes care of the core emulation engines behind each platform. When I think of a front end, normally I think of a program I'll have to install alongside a base emulator. But OpenEmu does all that work for you and comes packaged with integrated cores for popular systems you can download with the click of a button. If you plan to play with OpenEmu, you want the Experimental version.

That sounds dangerous, but in this case, it just means you'll have vastly extended platform compatibility. Head to OpenEmu. OpenEmu will be able to play games, but you'll have to download them separately.

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Before we go any further here, we must issue a standard disclaimer: It's generally illegal to own ROMs of a given arcade machine, cartridge, or CD-ROM unless you own the actual item in question. In reality, though, it's a gray area—especially for titles that aren't available by any other means. We can't link directly to any ROM sites here, but they're pretty easy to find. OpenEmu will search the web for box art, but if it can't find any, use Google Image Search to locate your own. Download it to your desktop, then drag the art over to the multicolor-banded image above the ROM, and the new image will replace it.

Don't feel like messing with ROMs? OpenEmu actually includes a decent number of custom-built games, each made to look and feel like a classic console installment. Open the program's main menu and select the Homebrew tab to view the list of games available. This is all well and good, but why play these great games using your Mac's keyboard, when you can do it the right way with the proper controllers?

Xbox One controllers are compatible through a downloadable driver. From there, you'll see a wood background image with a drop-down menu for choosing systems. Choose a system, and you'll see the console's controls with a matching stock controller image on the left. Now click in each field and match the action with the corresponding button on your controller.

This will ensure your controller is properly mapped to the controls of the game, no matter what system the game is for. If you don't have a compatible first-party controller, there are plenty of third-party, USB-compatible models you can get online for a small price. We were able to test a few, and reccommend the controllers below. These options worked with my MacBook Pro on the first try in each case, with no extra drivers needed; all I had to do is set each one up within OpenEmu.

It looks and feels great—maybe lighter than the original, but otherwise identical, and button feel is fine.

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SWF file, simply drag it into the iSwiff icon or use the file menu in the top left of your menu bar. In the "Window" menu, you can switch to full-screen mode or simply drag the window to the size you require. You can use Cmd-F to exit full screen mode or just move your mouse to the top of the screen where the menu will appear. To exit "full screen" move the mouse to the top of your screen and the menu will reappear. Or hit cmd-F.

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You can also just hit cmd-Q to quit iSwiff. Perhaps the only downside of iSwiff is that the developers warn it may not work very well with. SWF files that use newer Flash innovations. It would have been nice to have had a few auto-links to Flash games built into iSwiff but apart from that, there's no faulting it in a great offline Flash gaming environment. Dreaming of an ad-free web? Browse with Brave. Learn more.

Not so with iSwiff however View full description. PROS Enables Flash gaming without a browser or internet connection No ads or toolbars to interrupt you Works in full screen and single screen mode. CONS May not work very well with. Softonic review Flash games are not always the best in terms of graphics but they're fun, fast and importantly, usually completely free. Paintbrush A simple and basic image editing tool.

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