The Pokémon video games will forever remain iconic for immersing us into the world of Pokémon and becoming trainers ourselves. They never fail to become commercial successes and leave their marks on several players’ hearts worldwide. However, you might have trouble playing some of these titles due to their age, and you may even lose track of where you left your physical copies. But don’t worry because this is where emulators come in.
Emulation allows you to play games from legacy consoles in today’s modern platforms by imitating the old console. This means you can play previous-gen Pokémon games without scouring your collection for the physical version. Though emulators (and the legalities surrounding ROMs) may seem complex at first, nowadays, they’re user-friendly and accessible to all.
If you’re interested, we’ve gathered a list of the most user friendly emulators that provide an enjoyable Pokémon experience. To play the games you know and love without much fuss, here are the best Pokémon emulators for PC, Android, and more.
The Best Pokémon Emulators
Emulates: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch
For Pokémon games on the Game Boy consoles, you should check out mGBA, a free and open-source Game Boy/Color and Game Boy Advance emulator developed by endrift. It’s the most complete GBA emulator, surpassing older projects like Visual Boy Advance. mGBA was also integrated into another emulator called Dolphin, which we’ll discuss later.
mGBA is perfect if you want to play Pokémon games such as Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and Pokémon Emerald. Playable Pokémon Game Boy spin-off games include Pokémon Pinball, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, Pokémon Trading Card Game, and Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire.
Emulates: Nintendo 64 Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, Android
Only a few Pokémon games were released for the Nintendo 64, and they were also spin-offs nonetheless. Still, if you want to try them out, Project64 is the go-to emulator. It’s another free, open-source, plugin-based emulator written in C++. Although it’s highly reliable in running N64 games, Project64 isn’t available on macOS and Linux.
Still, if you have a Windows or Android system, you can play Pokémon spin-off games like Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Puzzle League, Hey You Pikachu!, and Pokémon Stadium 2.
Emulates: Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Game Boy Advance Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
Dolphin is an open-source GameCube and Wii emulator available for PC and Android. Although the consoles it emulates are filled with Pokémon spin-offs, they’re still worth checking out for nostalgia. As mentioned earlier, Dolphin can also emulate Game Boy Advance games to an extent since it has a built-in version of mGBA.
With Dolphin, you can revisit Pokémon Nintendo GameCube games such as Pokémon Channel, Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon Box, and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Dolphin can also emulate Wii games like Pokémon Battle Revolution, Pokémon Rumble, PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure, and PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond.
Emulates: Wii U Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Linux
For the few Pokémon spin-offs released on Wii U, Cemu is the way to go. Cemu is the emulator that pioneered Wii U emulation since it was the first to launch Wii U games on PC. However, it has limited support for Intel graphics cards, so if you own one, the developers recommend installing Vulkan.
Cemu allows you to play the two Pokémon spin-off games released on Wii U, Pokémon Rumble U and Pokkén Tournament.
Emulates: Nintendo DS Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Linux
melonDS is a solid choice for reliable and accurate Nintendo DS emulation. Its fast performance and well-written codebase allow it to run Pokémon Nintendo DS games on modern systems. Unlike other emulators, melonDS continuously improves with regular updates and has several work-in-progress features like DSi emulation and GBA slot add-ons. Furthermore, its previous update provided users with improved local multiplayer and DSi camera support.
Using melonDS, you can play several beloved Pokémon games that are only available on Nintendo DS. These include the critically-acclaimed Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon Platinum, and Pokémon Black and White. You can also play some Pokémon spin-off games released on Nintendo DS, such as Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness.
Emulates: Nintendo 3DS Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
Moving on to Pokémon Nintendo 3DS games, Citra is your best bet. Citra is an under development Nintendo 3DS emulator, but it’s already capable of running several Nintendo 3DS games in its current state. Not only is it available on PC, but Citra is also available on Android in the Google Play Store. Another unique feature of Citra is Separate Windows, which allows users to split the two screens of the 3DS shown in Citra into two separate windows.
Citra is the recommended choice if you want to play Pokémon Nintendo 3DS games, such as Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon Sun and Moon, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. You can also play Pokémon spin-off games such as Pokémon Rumble Blast and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.
Emulates: Nintendo Switch Type: Open Source Available for: Windows, macOS, Linux
Surprisingly, you can also emulate the Pokémon Nintendo Switch games using Ryujinx. Ryujinx is a free and open-source Nintendo Switch emulator that can run the latest Pokémon games. However, Ryujinx needs a computer with decent specs to run Nintendo Switch games smoothly. If Ryujinx isn’t working, try its sibling emulator, Yuzu, another popular go-to Nintendo Switch emulator.
With Ryujinx installed on your PC, you can run Nintendo Switch games like Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Ryujinx can also run spin-off titles like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX and New Pokémon Snap.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.