The Neo Geo AES was once one of the most expensive home consoles of all time, but thanks to the best Neo Geo emulators, anyone can now play these classic games!
These consoles still cost a pretty penny on eBay too. We’re talking anywhere between $400 and $800!
That’s more than the PS5, for crying out loud!
So, the best Neo Geo emulators are doing much more than keeping retro games alive; they’re also keeping our bank balances healthy and us out of the dog house with parents or partners… ‘You spent how much on what?!?’
We all know that playing retro games on the go via a laptop or smartphone is way better than replaying Candy Crush for the millionth time. That’s why the best retro handhelds exist, after all.
But the question remains; which are the best Neo Geo emulators for recreating classic titles such as Turf Masters and Crossed Swords?
Fear not, for we have the answers right here!
- Open Source
- Multiple Platforms
MAME is the best Neo Geo emulator on the web. It’s simple to use, loads smoothly, and works on a whole variety of systems with great results.
I know that the word MAME might make people think about being mauled by a wild animal, but hear us out.
MAME is an acronym for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Like RetroArch, it’s a bit of a Jack of all trades in the sense that it can emulate multiple consoles and machines.
Nicola Salmoria (yes, a fellow Italian) came up with the concept of MAME back in 1997. Its main use was as a research tool, one that users could equip to study how arcade machines tick.
The fact that it plays all the best arcade games is just a happy coincidence, honestly!
MAME is a bona fide encyclopaedia for video games, and it plays all of the best Neo Geo games and Neo Geo CD games too! It’s the perfect program for keeping old games alive and a reliable emulator for all your Neo Geo needs!
2. FinalBurn Neo
- Source Available
- Windows, Mac OSX, RetroPie
Next up in our list of the best Neo Geo emulators is FinalBurn Neo.
Now, some of you might well have come across FinalBurn Alpha in the past or during your travels across the internet. Well, Neo is the newer active fork of Alpha, a program that is no longer being supported.
With current updates and articles posted regularly on the FinalBurn Neo website by members of the retro gaming community, there’s plenty of information to be gleaned by prospective users.
You all know I love a good emulator website, and FBN ticks all the boxes!
One thing I dislike, however, is the lack of a games compatibility section. It would be nice to see how many games work for this emulator before downloading.
Still, FBN’s reputation precedes it, and it’s a solid second choice that won’t let you down.
Nebula is known for being one of the best Neo Geo emulators on Windows. It’s one of the most powerful emulators in the retro gaming world and a dab-hand at recreating all your favourite games from Metal Slug to King of Fighters.
Another thing that Nebula is well known for having is a sleek-looking interface. Loading up and sorting your existing Neo Geo ROMs is simple, and the program works well on most Windows machines, not just newer models.
In terms of updates, however, it falls a little by the wayside. The last build was uploaded in 2014, so it’s not the most up-to-date emulator on the web.
Still, if you have a Windows machine and want a program that only Microsoft users can run, then go wild!
- Open Source
- Multiple Platforms
If you’ve read any of my articles on the best emulators before, then you’ll know all about RetroArch. It’s like a magic box filled with exciting tricks, capable of emulating everything from the best N64 games to the best Commodore 64 games!
Ok, so it’s not really a magic box, but it is a very clever program.
By using cores, it can emulate multiple emulators, saving you from having to download different programs for all your favourite consoles.
Essentially, cores are like digital versions of the wires and chips inside your classic machines. Users can run FinalBurn Alpha or MAME cores inside RetroArch to make their ROMs work.
The best bit about RetroArch is that it works on pretty much any machine and any operating system too. We’re talking everything from a brand new MacBook to a decrepit old ThinkPad.
- Android App
Mame4Droid takes the final spot in this list of the best Neo Geo emulators of the year. Specifically for Android, this is one of the best go-to emulators for portable gaming fans.
As the name might suggest, this is a portable version of the MAME emulator and works like a charm on Android devices. Users need to upload their own ROMs, but the program supports up to 8,000 titles on a variety of different consoles.
Playing Neo Geo classics like The Super Spy and Top Hunter on the bus or in the office has never been easier. And, with image smoothing, overlay filters, and a whole host of other customisable features, it’s also one of the most malleable emulators around too!
The touch screen controls are a joy to use, and Make4Droid offers WiFi play for multiplayer action. What a package!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.