There are many PC Engine emulators available, but many are not that accessible in terms of having to pair them up with a frontend to make them user-friendly (such as Mednafen and MAME), so we recommend using RetroArch if you are looking for an easy to use PC Engine emulator.
This does not mean however that you should disregard the other emulators as they all have their pros and cons, this guide will highlight the best PC Engine emulators for both casual users and more experienced.
What Is The Best PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 Emulator For PC, Mac & Linux
The best PC Engine / TuboGrafx-16 emulator for PC is RetroArch using the ‘Beetle PCE’ core. You essentially get all the benefits of Mednafens ‘pce’ module with this port to RetroArch.
There are two variants of the ‘Beetle PCE’ core in RetroArch. The standard version and ‘Beetle PCE FAST’, the main difference between the two is that ‘Beetle PCE’ is accurate.
‘Beetle PCE’ keeps its SuperGrafx support, whilst ‘Beetle PCE FAST’ is focused on emulator speed. So if you are a more casual user just seeking a good quality PC Engine emulator, go for the ‘Beetle PCE FAST’ core.
You can also play PC Engine CD games with this core, but to do this you will also need to obtain a CD BIOS file for the system. These must be placed in the RetroArch ‘system’ folder for the core to identify them.
Beetle PCE Core Features Include:-
- RGB Color Palette for crisp colour separation, or composite to recreate the original console
- Frameskip – Can help fix audio/lag issues
- Overscan settings
- Adjustable PSG sound channel volumes
- Mouse sensitivity settings
- Turbo fire settings
- PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 CD compatibility
- Sprite limit hack – Removes 16 sprite hardware limitation
- CPU overclock settings
What Is The Best PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 Emulator For Android
The best PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 Emulator for Android is PCE.emu.
PCE.emu is a well-reviewed open-source PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 emulator for Android. The emulator is based on Mednafen emulation which provides excellent PC Engine emulation, so this app is built on great foundations.
Not only does PCE.emu emulate the PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16, but is also plays Supergrafx CD games too, just ensure you grab a Supergrafx BIOS, and then you will be able to boot Supergrafx CD games.
PCE.Emu Features Include:-
- Accurate PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 emulation
- High compatibility rate
- Save state (10 slots) & backup memory support
- Supports ROM files in .pce & .sgx format, also in .zip files
- CD emulation
- Support for CUE files containing audio soundtracks
Other PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 Emulators
Mednafen – Available On PC, Mac, Linux
Mednafen is a well-established, portable multi-system emulator. It’s included in this list because it not only obviously can emulate the PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16, but is also notable for it’s excellence in doing so.
Mednafen by itself is a command line operated emulator, but there are plenty of frontends available to use alongside Mednafen to make things more user-friendly. Mednaffe is a recommended frontend for Mednafen, so be sure to download this if you are keen to try Mednafen.
BizHawk– Available On PC
BizHawk is another well-known multi-system emulator for PC, renown for giving good PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 performance.
Bizhawk offers a wealth of features including controller mapping, full-screen mode, auto fire, and display settings.
ares – Available On PC, Mac, Linux
Another multi-system emulator, ares began life in 2020 as a development fork of an older version of the project called ‘higan’, with the aim of building on the success of the revived popularity of ‘bsnes’ to create an easy and accessible multi-system emulator.
Ares declares on their site that over 95% of PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 games are fully completable, which is an excellent rate of full compatibility. Ares is a more recent player in the multi-system emulator scene, but one which is building a good reputation.
The PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 were more popular in Japan & the US than in Europe, but its main competitors at the time were the Mega Drive (Genesis) & SNES. It really held its own against these powerhouse consoles though, check out the differences for yourself with the best Mega Drive / Genesis emulator and best SNES emulator guides.
Check out our comprehensive emulator guide for loads more retro emulator recommendations.
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!).