The Acorn Archimedes is a range of classic personal & home computers, popular in particular in UK schools, succeeding the BBC Micro. The number of emulators is fairly limited when it comes to emulating the Acorn Archimedes, but the plus side is it’s easy to recommend the best Acorn Archimedes emulator to you!
Best Acorn Archimedes Emulator For PC – Arculator
For us, the best Acorn Archimedes Emulator for PC is Arculator.
Arculator has been around since 2005 and is still in active development with its version 2.1 being released in Sep 2021. Arculator allows emulation of Archimedes 305 through to the A5000, utilising the ARM2 & ARM3 processors.
There are plenty of settings to tweak so you can customise your machine including being able to change the CPU, FPU, Memory, MEMC, OS & Monitor Settings. As well as the base system settings, Arculator has 4 podule expansions so you can emulator the likes of Hard Disc & CD ROM ‘podules’.
You can set up templates for multiple emulated machines and easily revisit them with the configuration manager which allows you to save presets and recall them at any time.
You’ll just need to get hold of some RISC OS ROMs to be able to use RISC OS with Arculator. These are not hard to find online, but one place you can check is 4corn.co.uk, an Acorn enthusiast site.
Arculator certain is one of the best emulators for the PC.
The Best Emulator For Playing Acorn Archimedes Games
Arculator is the best choice for playing Archimedes games. Many games require different settings in Arculator, being able to configure each emulated system means Arculator is the best emulator for playing Archimedes games.
The key feature in Arculator to get games running well is being able to select the ARM2 & ARM3 processors at the desired clock speed, making those more demanding games easier to run nice and smooth.
Arculator Features Include:-
- Easy to use UI when you can create a system to your specification
- Preset systems, simply select your desired Archimedes system and it’s ready to go
- Disc Drive Noise
- Gamepad / Joystick Support
- Monitor Emulation – Including High Res Mono Monitors
- ‘Podule’ Emulation including Hard Disc & CD ROM
- Video Rendering & Scaling Options
Best Acorn Archimedes Emulator For Mac – ArcEm
One caveat up front, ArcEm does not appear to work on the more modern MacOS versions, due to it being a 32-bit application, so you’ll need to be running MacOS Mojave or earlier.
ArcEm is one of the most established Acorn Archimedes with it first appearing back in 2001, its last update was in 2015, which is the main reason you’ll struggle to run it on more modern versions of MacOS, but it’s the best choice on the Mac if you meet these criteria.
ArcEm is also available for PC & Linux, but this is really the only Archimedes emulator for the Mac you should consider.
ArcEm Features Include:-
- Emulate many Archimedes models with different system specifications
- Emulate up to 16MB RAM
- ARM2/ARM3 CPU Emulation
- Accurate Video & Clock Emulation
- Video Upscaling
- ADF Disk Image Support
Like with many home computer systems of the era, the Acorn Archimedes can be a tricky beast in terms of emulation.
Many did not experience the Acorn Archimedes first-hand other than in UK schools, most home computer users of the time opted for the Atari ST or the Amiga. Why not check out the emulators for these systems that are recommended with the best Amiga emulator guide and best Atari ST emulator guide.
Perhaps you want to dive even deeper down the emulation rabbit hole, we recommend reading our emulator guide to extend your emulation journey further!
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).