The Neo Geo was a console that was massively out of reach for the average gamer with the console launching at $649.99 in the US. The real issue though was the price of games, typically costing $200 – $300 each! If only this list of best Neo Geo emulators existed back then!
Neo Geo emulation has always been quite tricky due to set-up due to the set-up process involving BIOS files and getting the correct ROM sets, but we can certainly recommend the best Neo Geo emulator for your system.
What Is The Best Neo Geo Emulator For PC, Mac & Linux?
Of all the best Neo Geo emulators for PC, Mac & Linux, FinalBurn Neo is the winner.
FinalBurn Neo is a development fork from FinalBurn Alpha, so FinalBurn Neo is the version you will want to make sure you get. It is focused to function best on desktop computers and is the best way to run Neo Geo games on Windows PC, Mac & Linux devices.
FinalBurn Neo is a multiple arcade emulator alternatives to MAME. It is performance focussed and emulates are range of dedicated arcade hardware/games (such as CPS1, CPS2, CPS3, Konami), other systems (including ColecoVision, NES, TurboGrafx-16) as well as of course, Neo Geo games.
it is important to note that you will need to use the ROM set build to match your version of Final Burn Neo. For example, if you are using FinalBurn Neo v1.0.0.02, you will need to obtain the correct ROM set build to match this version of the emulator.
Other Recommended Neo Geo Emulators
MAME – Available for PC, Mac & Linux
MAME has become the standard for emulating Arcade games and quite rightly so. However, it’s not for everybody as there can be a small learning curve with regards to setting up and accessing games. Just make download a good MAME frontend, then this will make life a lot easier for you.
RetroArch (FinalBurn Neo Core) – Available For PC, Mac & Linux
RetroArch utilises a few Neo Geo cores, but the recommended choice for RetroArch Neo Geo emulation would be the FinalBurn Neo core. This is the most up-to-date and maintained Neo Geo core.
OpenEmu – Available For Mac
The experimental version of OpenEmu currently offers Arcade/Neo Geo emulation, so is definitely one of the better options for playing Neo Geo games on a Mac.
What Is The Best Neo Geo Emulator For Android?
The best Neo Geo emulator for Android is the MAME 3003 core using RetroArch.
RetroArch is the leading way to play multiple systems on your Android device, so when it comes to Android, RetroArch is the best way to play Neo Geo games.
In this case, I have chosen the MAME 2003 core, purely because it’s one of the easiest to get hold of compatible arcade ROMs for. The FinalBurn Neo core is great, probably better for lower-end Android devices, but getting hold of the latest compatible ROM set can be a bit tricky.
Of course with the MAME 2003 core on RetroArch, you can also download hundreds of classic arcade games too, which makes this an excellent all-around arcade emulator for Android.
The Neo Geo was such a powerful arcade beast that it crossed two console generations successfully. Whilst not really competing with the 3D consoles such as the PS1 and the Saturn, it did keep delivering top-notch 2D games.
As a Mega Drive / Genesis owner back when the Neo Geo launched, I was immediately envious of the quality of games, but just knew it was so far out of reach, even when I moved to the PlayStation, the Neo Geo CD was still more expensive and by that time, the writing was on the wall for SNK’s beast of a console.
Compare for yourself with the best Mega Drive / Genesis emulators and see how superior SNK’s hardware was.
Also, be sure to check out our guide to emulators for more best emulator guides and emulator information.
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).