Saturn might be uninhabitable and millions of miles away, but the best Sega Saturn emulators are right at our fingertips.
Sega’s last two home consoles, the Saturn and the Dreamcast, didn’t get the respect that they deserved. They were ahead of their time and, due to Sega spending most of its time arguing with the different factions of the company, they didn’t get the support they needed either.
Still, the Sega Saturn had some great games and remains a console that boasts a loyal following of fans, fans that want to play their favourite games on the go or on their PCs.
That’s where the best Sega Saturn emulators come in. We’ve listed 5 of the best emulators on the internet and saved you hours of searching for the best programs.
Leave the boring bits to us and get playing. What are you waiting for; load up Panzer Dragoon already and get gaming!
**PLEASE READ – Like making a Horcrux, Sharing ROMs is very illegal.**
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- Open Source
- Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi, FreeBSD
RetroArch is the best Sega Saturn emulator because of it’s incredible compatibility. It is the shapeshifter of console emulators and a solid choice for someone who just wants to turn on and play the best Sega Saturn games.
Like Toys ‘R’ Us, RetroArch holds tonnes of different exciting surprises under one virtual roof. Instead of just emulating one console, RetroArch uses cores to emulate multiple consoles and is as reliable as the speaking clock.
From the NES to the Nintendo 3DS, RetroArch covers around 80 consoles. It’s even found on many of the the greatest Retropie handhelds in our collection too.
In this case, RetoArch uses a core called ‘Beetle-Saturn’, which is based on the Mednafen emulator. That goes a long way to explaining why it’s such a good program, as Mednafen has long been a top player in the Saturn emulation game.
As well as great game compatibility, RetroArch works on multiple systems and uses cool overlays for maximum retro vibes.
- Windows, Android
SSF takes the second spot in this list of the best Sega Saturn emulators. It has replaced other Saturn emulator veterans such as Satourne over the years and is a reliable program that does exactly what it sets out to achieve with no bells and whistles attached.
As far as compatibility goes, SSF boasts an impressive number of games that work on the system. There’s a little bit of lag every now and again, though settings can be modified to prove smoother results while gaming.
One of the plus points of SSF is the fact that it works with games from all regions. You don’t even need BIOS files to make them run, though if you know what you’re doing, then having them to hand might help with the playback of certain games in some instances.
SSF holds save states too, which means you don’t have to worry about completing games in one go. It does require a virtual drive to load ROM files, however, making it less of a simple option for first time uses.
3. Yabause/Yaba Sanshiro 2
- Open Source
- Windows, Linux, MacOSX, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Next up is a two for the price of one entry. Yabause is another solid entry in this list of the best Sega Saturn emulators of all time. It works on multiple systems included modified Nintendo Switch consoles, but that’s a-whole-nother ballpark entirely and one that our lawyers tell us to steer clear of.
Yaba Sanshiro 2 is an Android port of Yabause and is available on the Google Play store. Both emulators are crisp and clean with a nicely presented website giving users all the key information they need to get started.
The Yabause website shows a neat compatibility list with a star rating for each game too. It’s easy to spot how well your favourite game currently works and which versions provide the best results.
The Android emulator Yaba Sanshiro 2 has great button placement and neatly emulates the Saturn’s six buttons without feeling too cramped or covering too much of the screen. Both versions of this emulator run smoothly and are constantly being monitored and improved upon, so keep up to date with the literature to find out about new updates.
- Open Source
- Windows, MacOSX Linux, FreeBSD
Out of all the emulators in this list of the best Sega Saturn Emulators, Mednafen has the greatest name. It stands for My Emulator Doesn’t Need A Frickin’ Excellent Name’, which is genius, I think you’ll agree.
RetroArch and Mednafen are very similar, so much so that RetroArch uses a Mednafen inspired core to power its Saturn games. It also holds cores and can emulate multiple consoles rather than focusing on one system.
The great news for Saturn fans is that Mednafen uses the original Sega Saturn core to run its games. It provides a super-swish and flawless experience most of the time and mimics the original console perfectly,.
I say ‘most of the time’ because the current build is currently a little unstable. It does work, but there are some unexpected hiccups that occur form time to time with workarounds needed to sort them out.
Mednafen also needs BIOS files to run, making it a little more fiddly to use compared to RetroArch.
Still, if you speak the language of the Matrix and only buy Spaghetti Letters in 1s and 0s to work out code at dinner time, then you shouldn’t have a problem getting to grips with Mednafen,
- Open Source
Like RetroArch and Mednafen, BizHawk also offers emulation for multiple consoles in one neat hub. It’s a great choice for both new users and speed runners, gamers who compete to finish games in the quickest possible time.
For the newbies, BizHawk is simple to get up and running and a doddle to use. For the speed runners who want to delve into the finer details, it offers slow motion, advanced controller settings and frame-by-frame advance.
As it’s an Open Source program, the source code is available for users to update or manipulate into their own emulators should they wish. It’s a neat little emulator if you’ve have trouble with the other ones in this list or just fancy a change.
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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.