The Amstrad CPC was a very popular 8-Bit home computer back in the 1980s, particularly in Europe, where much of the micro scene was booming. Since this time, the Amstrad CPC has perhaps continued to play second fiddle to the more popular ZX Spectrum, but there is still a good-sized community continuing to enthuse this classic micro.
So, here we present to you the best Amstrad CPC emulators.
Best Amstrad CPC Emulator For PC, Mac & Linux – Retro Virtual Machine
Retro Virtual Machine is a relatively new, but excellent Amstrad CPC emulator. It not only provides accurate emulation of all CPC models but has a range of tools including a debugger/assembler, compatibility for a variety of media (tape and disk images) and a really user-friendly interface full of fun additions.
You may not yet of heard of Retro Virtual Machine, but for us, it’s certainly the best choice when it comes to accessible and fun emulation. Also, not only will it emulate the Amstrad CPC, but also the ZX Spectrum, so you’ve got a nice little package if these two classic 8-bit micros are your favourites.
It’s really easy to use and has a really fun feel to it with lots of configurable options, simulating old CRT and even green screen CPC monitors.
To get up and running, it is as simple as launching Retro Virtual Machine and then creating a system you wish to emulate, then selecting from either the CPC 464, 664 or 6128. Boot up the machine by clicking the power button and you’re launched into the BASIC prompt ready to get started.
If you do require more comprehensive instructions, the makers of Retro Virtual Machine have provided a user manual to help you tweak your virtual Amstrad CPC to your heart’s content!
A really fun feature of Retro Virtual Machine is the virtual cassette player which is modelled on whichever machine you have chosen to emulate, complete with tape controls and sound effects!
The Amstrad CPC is really overlooked as a games system, it had so much untapped potential as can be seen in this Amstrad CPC Pinball Dreams remake. So make this one of the first games your try on Retro Virtual Machine!
Retro Virtual Machine is not just a boring standard emulator, it brings some fun and nostalgia for the Amstrad CPC which is exactly what is missing from many established emulators.
Retro Virtual Machine Features Include:
- Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum Emulation
- Emulates the Amstrad 464, 664 & 6128
- Multiplatform – Works on Windows, MacOS & Linux
- Virtual Cassette Player – Loads Games ‘Virtually’ At Normal Or Warp Speeds
- Low-Level Disc Emulation
- External Device Emulation (Such as X-Mem RAM expansions)
- Virtual SD Cards
- Monitor Emulation – Cool Green Screen & CRT Effects
- Image Post Processing Options
- Automatic Set Up Of Game Controllers
- Built In Debugger & Assembler
Other Recommended Amstrad CPC Emulators For PC – WinAPE
WinAPE still remains a favourite PC Amstrad CPC emulator for many. It has been around since the 90s which makes the emulator retro in itself now!
Jokes aside, WinAPE is a very strong package for Amstrad CPC fans and provides fast and highly accurate emulation of all the Amstrad CPC models, built-in debugging and assembler tools, disk image support, CRTC, ASIC and DMA sound emulation.
Best Amstrad CPC Emulator For Android – RetroArch
Having tested a range of Android apps, we are confident the best Amstrad CPC emulator for Android is to use the Caprice32 core in RetroArch. Whilst there are a few dedicated Amstrad CPC emulators available on Android, many experience issues across devices, especially when it comes to using an on-screen keyboard, etc as you frequently have to with the CPC.
The Caprice32 core in RetroArch is very easy to use upon first use. As with pretty much everything on RetroArch, things a pre-configured in a sensible state on the first installation. For example, if I want to access the on-screen keyboard to navigate an in-game menu, simply press the on-screen select & start buttons together, this brings up the on-screen keyboard.
Of course, by using RetroArch you automatically benefit from many of the built-in features that RetroArch offers such as its comprehensive array of shaders, so you can get enhance that nostalgic buzz!
The Amstrad CPC is a very European-centric system and its main competitor during the 80s was the ZX Spectrum & Commodore 64. Amstrad were the underdogs in the battle but had a really decent machine at the core.
Did you own any of these other systems? If so, you might be interested in checking out our recommendations for the best ZX Spectrum emulator and best C64 emulator, just to finally put to rest which 8-bit micro was king!
Our comprehensive emulator guide also has many more best emulator guides.
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!).