SNES9x, Super Nintendo Emulator Review

asdf4Welcome to the second emulator review on casualemulationfan by a casual emulation fan! As always, this review combines tutorial and troubleshooting tips for SNES9x with a review and summary towards the end. And remember the support and review opinions on this site are completely subjective! ūüėÄ

Today we will be taking a look at SNES9x, one of several available SNES emulators for PC. SNES9x is one of the most popular SNES emulators available. This review will look at the latest released version SNES9x 1.53. For the SNES9x Quick Start Guide please click here. To view other Emulator Reviews or Quick Start Guides, please take a look at the Atlas of Judgment!

Emulator VersionDownloadMirror
SNES9x 1.53

Test Machine
AMD 8320
Nvidia GTX 760

Games Tested for this review
Adventures of Batman & Robin
Battletoads: Battlemaniacs
Chrono Trigger
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
Earthworm Jim 2
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy VI
Legend of Zelda, The: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X3
NHL ’98
SimCity 2000
Star Ocean
Stunt Race FX
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Metroid
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Urban Strike
Zombies Ate My Neighbours

Files you will need
SNES9x 1.53 – DownloadMirror

Files you may need
DirectX Web Installer – Download
Visual C++ 2010 x86 – Download
Visual C++ 2010 x64 – Download
Visual C++ 2013 x86 & x64 – Download
.NET Framework 4 Web Installer – Download
Intel Video Drivers – Download
Nvidia Video Drivers – Download
AMD Video Drivers – Download

Files to open .rar, .zip, and .7z archives
Winrar – Download
7-Zip – Download

About SNES9x

This guide and review is designed to help you to learn about and use SNES9x to play emulated Super Nintendo games. SNES9x is one of the most popular SNES emulators available for windows, combining great performance on even low-end hardware with strong compatibility and emulation accuracy.

SNES9x for Windows is available in two flavours: one for older 32-bit machines and another version for 64-bit machines. You can find both versions in the download links above.

The format for Super Nintendo games roms used by SNES9x follows the same format as other Super Nintendo emulators. The most common file extensions Super Nintendo roms use are .smc and .sfc, though SNES9x can also read formats such as .swc and .fig.

SNES9x offers a number of graphics options providing many graphics shaders and filters to manipulate the appearance of the emulated image such as with high-quality filtering to de-pixelate graphics or colour shaders and scanlines to mimic the output of an interlaced CRT TV. There are also some basic options available for customizing audio and input.

SNES9x creates game saves and game configuration files using formats such as .srm, .dat, .oops, .zst, and .zs#. Some of these save and configuration files, such as .srm files, may be used interchangeably with other Super Nintendo emulators to transfer save game data.

SNES9x is capable of using ‘save states’ as well, though these save states are only compatible with SNES9x and not other SNES emulators.

SNES9x 1.53 Setup – DownloadMirror

The following will be a basic and easy-to-follow guide on using SNES9x. SNES9x is a very easy-to-use program. SNES9x does not use plugins and the program is able to run and even launch games out-of-the-box after extracting the base files, though personalized controls will have to be set up manually.

Extract the SNES9x Archive
SNES9x is contained in an archive you can find at the links above. After downloading, use Winrar or 7zip to extract the contents to a new and empty¬†folder of your choice (…\[your-SNES9x-folder]\…).

In your newly made SNES9x folder, a folder named ‘Roms’ will appear (…\{your-SNES9x-folder]\Roms\…). You may put your Super Nintendo rom files in this folder. SNES9x can read the rom files directly or through .zip archives.

Another folder in the same master emulator folder will be created named ‘Saves’¬†(…\{your-SNES9x-folder]\Saves\…). By default, your Super Nintendo rom save and configuration files will be stored here.

Launch SNES9x
After extracting the contents, explore the folder in which your SNES9x base files are located, and launch the program by running ‘snes9x.exe.’

You will be able to launch games immediately by clicking File in the top menu bar –> Load Game and use Windows Explorer to locate games roms stored on your hard drive, but you may want to configure the controls, video and audio settings before you start a game.

SNES9x Video Setup
Click on Video in the top menu bar to see a drop down of immediately accessible video options.

From here you can hide the menu bar (press Esc to hide or reveal the menu bar), switch to full-screen (press Alt-Enter to swap between windowed and full-screen modes), and change the windowed size to a multiple of the original SNES game resolution.

From this drop-down you may also tick or untick options for Image Stretching (the image will stretch to the full screen size), Maintain Aspect Ratio (to avoid disproportional stretching of the image), Bilinear filtering (a soft filter to soften hard pixelated edges, recommended ticked), and Show Frame Rate.

For¬†these same¬†and more advanced¬†options, click on ‘Display Configuration’ (or alternatively press Alt-F5 to access the same menu).

Under the ‘General’ section most of the basic options already seen are present, with additional options for Vsync (to prevent screen-tearing, recommended ticked) and an option for ‘Emulate Fullscreen’ (fullscreen mode covers the full screen without going exclusively fullscreen, recommended for relatively modern computers).

You may also manually select the aspect ratio between 8:7 (closer to original SNES aspect ratio) or 4:3 and  change the video backend between Direct3D, OpenGL, or DirectDraw (recommended and default is to use Direct3D).

Under the heading ‘Frame Skipping’ you can set a maximum or fixed number of frames to be skipped during emulation slowdowns. Most users will not see slowdowns with even weaker computers and this should be set to ‘Automatic’ and ‘0’ max skipped frames (these are¬†default settings).

Under the heading ‘Fullscreen Display Settings’ select your monitor’s native desktop resolution. If you don’t know your native desktop resolution, right click on an empty space on your desktop, and then click ‘Screen Resolution’ and look for the recommended screen resolution in the dropdown next to ‘Resolution.’

There is also an option for ‘Triple Buffering’ that can reduce tearing, but may cause significant input lag. Recommended setting is unticked.

SNES9x Output Image Processing
One of the most popular functions in emulators of older systems is output image processing or image post-processing. You can find these options in the same section as the other video settings at ‘Video’ in the top menu bar and clicking ‘Display Configuration.’

In the ‘Output Image Processing’ section there are two drop-downs from which you can select two post-processing image filters.¬†In the first drop-down the following options are listed, and next to them are descriptions of their functions:

None: use no filtering
Forced 1X: same as ‘none’, rendering is at 1x SNES native resolution at 256×244, and no filtering is applied
Simple 2X: enlarges the whole output by 2x in both dimensions (2x scaling)
Scanlines: adds dark lines to make an interlaced appearance to the image
TV Mode: similar to the ‘Scanlines’ shader, but much softer
Blargg’s NTSC (Composite): emulates the colour blending seen on a CRT TV through composite connection
Blargg’s NTSC (S-Video): emulates the colour blending seen on a CRT through a S-Video connection
Blargg’s NTSC (RGB): emulates the colour blending seen on a CRT through a RGB connection
SuperEagle: combines 2x scaling with interpolation, but with more blending than 2xSal
Super2xSal: combines 2x scaling with interpolation, but with more blending than SuperEagle
2xSal: combines 2x scaling with interpolation
hq2x, hq2xS, hq2xBold: a more dramatic scaling and smoothing effect compared to 2xSal and similar shaders, and unlike 2xSal will anti-alias the output image and smooth tight curves on images, uses 2x scaling
EPX A, EPX B, EPX C: rounds pixel edges with defined edges to avoid blurring
Simple 3X: enlarges the whole output by 3x in both dimensions (3x scaling)
TV Mode 3X: combines ‘TV Mode’ shader scanlines with Simple 3X scaling
Dot Matrix 3X: emulates a dot matrix output combined with Simple 3X scaling
hq3x, hq3xS, hq3xBol, lq3xBold: variants of the hq2x series using 3x scaling
EPX3: rounds pixel edges without any blurring, combined with Simple 3X scaling
Simple 4X: enlarges the whole output by 4x in both dimensions (4x scaling)
hq4x: variant of the hq2x and hq3x series using 4x scaling

You can also use a custom version (found here) to use new 4xBRZ scaling. xBRZ scaling is an enhancement of xBR scaling, itself an improvement over HQx scaling. xBR and xBRZ not only improve the image scaling, smoothing, and detail preservation of pixel art over HQx series, but also has strong performance benefits. This shader is optimized for 64-bit and multi-core architecture, but also shows performance benefits over HQx series on older 32-bit single-core machines as well.

In the second drop-down next to Hi Res similar options are available which you can combine with the first post-processing setting, though you may also leave this drop-down or both drop-downs set to ‘None’ to use no image post-processing. The post-processing shaders in this second drop-down will apply only to ‘high resolution’ renders like certain fonts and¬†objects¬†in select SNES games such as Romancing SaGa 3.

For more information on scaling and post-processing image filters and their authors click here.

The recommended post-processing options are to whichever suit your tastes. If you are unfamiliar with the different shaders, I suggest trying out Simple 2x, HQ2x, 4xBRZ, TV Mode, and Blargg’s NTSC (Composite) post-processing shaders and deciding which ones suit you best and then moving from there.

For a nice classic CRT look you can use one of Blargg’s NTSC post-processing shaders in the first drop-down.

SNES9x Audio Setup
To select options for SNES9x audio, click on ‘Sound’ in the top menu bar. In the drop-down you will see options for Playback Rate (default, 32 KHz SNES), Buffer Length (default, 64ms), Channels (default, all 8 channels ticked), 16-bit sound (default, ticked), Stereo (default, ticked), Reverse Stereo (default, unticked), and Sync Sound (default, ticked). You can leave these all at their default values.

To access the advanced audio settings click on ‘Sound’ in the top menu bar –> click on ‘Sound Settings’ (or alternatively press Alt-T).

From here you can change most of the previous settings and also choose the audio backend. By default, the audio backend is set to XAudio2. You can leave this option at default unless you are running into problems (see the Troubleshooting section if you are having issues).

SNES9x Controls Setup
The last and probably most important thing in the SNES9x setup you will need to do before playing games is setting up your controls.¬†SNES9x uses a basic input system and can detect SDL and Directinput inputs for detecting keyboard and gamepad control inputs. You can access the controls setup at ‘Input’ in the top menu bar –> select ‘Input Configuration.’

First select the gamepad you wish to configure from the ‘Controller’ dropdown (default, Joypad #1), and then click on the white space next to the ‘Up’ button to configure up direction on the emulated SNES joypad.

Press the button on your connected gamepad or keyboard you wish to assign to this input. After selecting an input for the first function, the focus will automatically move to the next input ‘Left.’ Continue pressing the buttons you wish to apply to the following buttons as they cycle through all the emulated SNES pad buttons.

If you need to clear an input, simply select that input and then press ‘Esc’ on your keyboard. If you wish to cycle through all the inputs again to reconfigure them, select the white space next to the first input ‘Up’ and start the process again.

This should work with most gamepads and keyboard inputs, but may have problems with detecting multiple inputs from certain sources of different gamepads (e.g. the directional pad of the Dualshock 4).

SNES9x may also natively detect the first joystick (usually the left joystick, if there is more than one) on your gamepad and automatically assign this to Up/Down/Left/Right for the emulated SNES gamepad. You may also assign analog stick movements to buttons in the controls menu.

You do not need to configure diagonal motions on the emulated SNES pad unless you are having problems with simultaneous inputs from your keyboard or gamepad with the emulator. If you are having problems with the HAT or directional pad buttons on your game controller, you can try assigned keyboard arrow functions to Up, Down, Left, and Right and use the program Joy2Key to emulate these keyboard inputs through your gamepad. See the Troubleshooting section for more options.

Launch a game with SNES9x!
After you have configured your desired SNES9x video, audio, and inputs settings, you are ready to start a game!

To start a game, press ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> select ‘Load Game.’ Use Windows Explorer to browse to the directory holding your SNES roms and then select one and the game will start!

The next time you load a game, the emulator will start seeking from the same directory of your last loaded SNES rom.

Alternatively, you can set the default location to look for SNES roms on your hard drive at ‘Emulation’ in the top file menu –> click ‘Emulation Settings’. Enter the folder location at ‘Directory’ for which you would like to start browsing for roms when you select ‘Load Game’ (default is …\your-SNES9x-folder\Roms\…).

You can also see your recently played games at ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> select ‘Recent Games.’

Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I make the emulator go full-screen?
Press Alt-Enter to go fullscreen (this is common to many emulators, PC games, and programs). Press Alt-Enter again to return to windowed mode.

Q: How do I load a game?
Click ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Load Game’ –> use Windows Explorer to browse to and select the SNES rom you wish to launch

Q: How do I pause the emulator?
You can click¬†on Emulation¬†in the top menu bar –> tick¬†Pause.¬†Alternatively you can make the emulator pause when you click off-screen/outside the emulator window by clicking on Config in the top menu.

You can change this unfocused behaviour of the emulator by going to Emulation in the top menu bar –> tick or untick ‘Pause When Inactive’.

Q: How do I use save states?
While playing a game, click ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Save Game Position’ –> then click a desired ‘save state slot’ from 0 to 9 (this will overwrite any data previously saved to any of these slots that is currently in the save state directory in use).

To load the same state, again click ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Load Game Position’ –> then click the corresponding ‘position’ in which you previously made a save state in from slots 0 to 9.

You can also use keyboard commands to operate the same save state functions. To save in a slot, press Shift + F1 to F9 to save state in a slot from 1 to 9. Then press F1 to F9 to load a state from slots 1 to 9.

These files will be placed by default into your SNES9x folder at¬†…\[your-SNES9x-emulator]\Saves\…. They will be named corresponding to the game you are running with extension names .000 to .009 (e.g. Aladdin.smc and Aladdin.000 to Aladdin.009).

It is important to note that using save states in SNES9x and other emulators can cause glitches or progression bugs which may prevent your progress in a game. Especially in longer games like RPGs, try not to depend on them entirely, and use the SNES in-game saving functions as well to avoid losing your progress entirely.

If these save states somehow become corrupted, they may be renamed with extensions such as .oops. You may try to recover these save states by renaming them with extensions from .000 to .009, but this is not guaranteed to work.

Q: How do I take screenshots?
You can click¬†on¬†‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Save Other’ –> click ‘Save Screenshot.’ Screenshots will be saved in the default folder at …\[your-SNES9x-folder\Screenshots\….¬†These screenshots will be taken in the native resolution of the SNES which is 256×244.

If you want larger screenshots, you can make the emulated window larger, or go fullscreen, and press ‘Print Screen’ on your keyboard and then copy the screen capture into your favourite drawing program such as Microsoft Paint or GIMP.¬†Alternatively, you can use capture software such as FRAPS or Greenshot to take larger screenshots.

Q: How do I take screenshots of specific characters or backgrounds on screen (disabling background or sprite layers)?
Most SNES games are made up of 5 layers. 4 layers make up backgrounds, and 1 layer is used for sprites (usually the game characters).

You can press keyboard buttons 1, 2, 3, and 4 to toggle background layers on and off, and press 5 to turn off sprites. This way you can independently take screen captures or videos of specific elements from the foreground or background.

Q: How do I make movies?
Click ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Start AVI Recording’ –> use Windows Explorer to browse to the desired directory to save the movie, or use the default directory, and enter a name for your file (e.g. SNES9xmovie.avi). It is a good idea to make the recording save to a hard disk drive and not a solid state drive, because making a long movie will require a lot of writing to the disk.

After clicking ‘save’ on the Windows Explorer window, a new dialog box will pop up called ‘Video Compression.’ Select ‘Full Frames, Uncompressed (also the default) and then click ‘OK.’

This will save a video of your current gameplay in an uncompressed video at SNES native resolution of 256×244. Be careful as since this video is uncompressed, it can get very large quite fast (e.g. 500 MB per minute of gameplay). This expansion in size can be significantly mitigated if the drive you are saving to is using Windows NTFS compression. Read more about NTFS compression on hard drives using¬†Windows here.

To end the recording, click ‘File’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Stop AVI Recording’. The final recording will be found by default at …\[your-SNES9x-folder\Movies\…. You can edit this video using free software such as Windows Movie Maker¬†or another program of your choice, and using the same or similar programs you can convert the uncompressed video into a compressed format to save on space on your hard drive or before uploading to video hosting websites like YouTube.

Q: How do I save music from my SNES games (extract SPC data)?
When you are in a game scenario which is playing a tune you like, you can click ‘File’ on the top menu bar –> click ‘Save Other’ –> click ‘Save SPC Data’. This will export the music in a .spc file. You can play or convert this media in VLC Media Player.

Q: How do I change the default directories for SNES roms, saves, configuration files, SPC data, movies, and screenshots?
You can set the default location¬†for searching for SNES roms or for game saves and other data by clicking¬†‘Emulation’ in the top file menu –> click ‘Emulation Settings’.

From the dropdown on the left you can select ‘Roms,’ ‘Screenshots,’ ‘Movies,’ ‘SPCs,’ and ‘Saves’ (and a few other options). Select the one for which you would like to modify the default or save directory.

Then enter the folder location in the white space next to ‘Directory’ you wish to have SNES roms searched for or new data saved, or use the ‘Browse’ function to select a directory using Windows Explorer.

Q: Can I transfer my game saves to another SNES emulator?
Yes, you can!¬†Saved RAM, or .srm files, are located by default in …\[your-SNES9x-emulator]\Saves\….

You can copy these files for use in other emulators by copying and pasting these files into the save folders for other emulators. The files will are named corresponding to the SNES game rom you are playing (e.g. Chrono Trigger.smc and Chrono Trigger.srm).

Q: Can I transfer my game save states to another SNES emulator?
Unfortunately, no, you can’t! In general, save states from individual emulators (and sometimes even between older and newer versions of the same emulators) are not cross-compatible.

Troubleshooting Guide

I can’t open the archives to extract the emulator!
Download and install Winrar or 7-Zip to open and extract archive files.

I can’t press Up/Right or other diagonal button combinations when playing games!
This is a problem with some controllers in SNES9x. Fortunately, there are many solutions.¬†For one, you may try configuring the diagonal functions in ‘Input Configuration’ for your controller.¬†Another option is to try to use an alternate controller or the keyboard to play using SNES9x.

One option is to use the analog stick for Up/Down/Left/Right controls in SNES9x. As mentioned earlier, SNES9x may automatically assign the first stick (usually the left one) on your gamepad as Up/Down/Left/Right input for the emulated SNES gamepad. You can also re-assign these analog or other button¬†functions in the controls menu at ‘Input’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Input Configuration’ –> then click the white spaces next to the buttons you would like to re-assign.

Alternatively, you may use a program called Joy2Key to simulate pressing of keyboard functions from your gamepad if you configure Up, Left, Down, and Right to corresponding inputs configured in SNES9x.

The Start (or any other button) is not working correctly!
This may be related to a configuration issue in your emulator. Sometimes the buttons you may configure for Joypad #1 in the controls settings may conflict with buttons configured for Joypad #2. If you are having this issue, be sure to check all the emulated gamepads from Joypad #1 to 4 and make sure there are no conflicting inputs.

For example, if the ‘Start’ button for Joypad #1 is assigned to Button 9 on your controller, the same Button 9 may be assigned to ‘Select’ or another button on Joypad #2 in the settings. This may lead the program to believe you are pressing different buttons on the same emulated gamepad, or even buttons from a different emulated gamepad.

The SNES9x¬†emulator won’t start (ddx9_38.dll is missing) and/or won’t play audio (unable to initialize XAudio2)!
Most emulators may require one or many of Windows libraries for DirectX, Visual C++, and .NET framework to be installed. Click the following to download DirectX Web Installer, Visual C++ 2010 x86, Visual C++ 2010 x64, Visual C++ 2013 x86 and x64, and .NET Framework 4 Web Installer.

Without the updated DirectX libraries, you may run into the specific errors listed above related to XAudio2 (Unable to initialize XAudio2. You will not be able to hear any sound effects or music while playing. It is usually caused by not having a recent DirectX release installed) and DirectX (The program can’t start because ddx9_38.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix the problem).

For both of the above issues, the solution is to install the latest DirectX libraries from Microsoft from here.

Alternatively, if you are only having the XAudio2 issue, you can simply change the audio backend from XAudio to DirectSound or Fmod in the settings at ‘Sound’ in the top menu bar –> click ‘Settings’ –> use the drop-down next to ‘Sound Driver’ to use a different audio backend.

It is also a good idea to update your video card drivers as well. Click the following to download drivers for graphics cards from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD.

The SNES9x emulator gives me an error on startup (error 0x000007b)!
With the 64-bit version of SNES9x, even on 64-bit systems, some users might run into an error ‘The application was unable to start correctly (0x000007b). Click OK to close the application.’¬†The only solution I have come across so far is to simply use the 32-bit version of SNES9x.

When I load a game I get a ‘bad¬†checksum’ error!¬†
This is most likely because you are playing a modified or hacked SNES rom. This means it is not 100% identical to the original SNES rom.¬†Patches to game mechanics and systems or fan translation patches will usually increase the size of the SNES rom, and this causes the ‘checksum’ to be different than what is expected and a ‘bad checksum’ to be reported.¬†This will help you identify whether or not you are playing original SNES roms.

My game always freezes at the same spot/I’m stuck from a non-progression bug!
This is most likely caused by one of two things.¬†First, this may be a rare circumstance in SNES9x emulation in which conditions have been met where emulation ‘goes bad’ and the game emulation freezes or experiences some kind of non-progression bug. If this happens, try loading your game again and re-creating the issue, preferably from an in-game SNES save, and not a save state slot.

If the issue is re-occurring from an in-game SNES save, you can try to load the same save data in another emulator and see if the game freeze or non-progression bug re-occurs. To do this, copy the .srm file corresponding to your game (the name will be similar to the file name of the SNES rom you are playing e.g. Chrono Trigger.smc and Chrono Trigger.srm) and put it in a saves folder for another emulator like ZSNES or bsnes/higan.

If the bug does not re-occur, try continuing using this emulator and passing the point in which you experience a bug, and then make an in-game SNES save game again. You can continue playing using this different emulator, or re-transfer the save data back to SNES9x to continue your game.

Another, probably more common, way for this to happen is when using save states. Sometimes save states may not keep the correct data in certain game circumstances that lead to a game freeze or non-progression bug in the game. Sometimes when you try to load this save state again, this game freeze or bug will keep re-occurring. Unfortunately, there may be no way out of this unless you have an older save state before these conditions, or an in-game SNES save to continue from!

For this reason it is important to not only depend on SNES9x save states, to make multiple save states, and to also use the SNES in-game save functions, especially in longer games where losing progress can be devastating! Also remember that save states are not cross-compatible with other SNES emulators.

SNES9x 1.53 Review, Summary & Grading

The following is a rough review and¬†guide on my experience with SNES9x 1.53 intended for novice emulator end-users. Please consult the Atlas of Judgment¬†for more information on the mostly subjective emulator review grading system and also to see more casualemulationfan emulator guides and reviews in the future! ūüėÄ

‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†‚ėÖ¬†¬†‚ėÖ ¬†–¬† ‚ėÖ

Ease of Use: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Works out of the Box!
SNES9x does not require any significant settings adjustment and allows users to immediately launch games after first extraction. The only thing most users will need to do is adjust the controls before playing games optimally.

Stability: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Works without a Hitch!
I have never personally experienced any program or emulation ending crash in SNES9x nor have noticed any other users complaining of experiencing crashes even rarely with SNES9x.

Games Compatibility: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Critical Hit!
Virtually all SNES games work with SNES9x without any noticeable problems, small or large, or with game-breaking bugs, and I’ve not noticed any games to have any major or even minor compatibility problems with SNES9x in my experience with the emulator.

Performance: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Easy Breezy!
SNES9x should give no headaches to any modern or even relatively old PC hardware. Performance should be great on even the weakest machines with maybe only the exception of using more intense post-processing shaders.

Emulation Accuracy: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Acceptable!
As with the last review, this is again almost exclusively a subjective interpretation on my part as I do not have access to (or even the ability to understand) the technical aspects of SNES9x emulation of SNES games and hardware.

However, if a rough comparison is drawn against other emulators such as ZSNES, SNES9x is on the relatively better end of the spectrum of accuracy in SNES emulation, being able to emulate some particular SNES hardware behaviours accurately such as slow-downs in certain games. Unfortunately, beyond that surface aspect, I cannot comment on emulation accuracy any further!

Video Options: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Extensive!
SNES9x offers many options to customize rendering resolution through image filters and output resolution, as well as natively supports an extensive list of post-processing filters to customize the appearance of emulated SNES games, and even offers the ability to use external Direct3D and OpenGL shaders. Additionally, SNES9x offers all the expected options of adjusting video features such as aspect ratio and image stretching to suit your needs!

Audio Options: ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†‚ėÖ ¬†– ¬†Acceptable!
SNES9x has some basic options for adjusting factors such as latency, playback rate, and buffer length and swapping stereo orientation, and additionally offers options to switch the audio backend from a small selection including XAudio, DirectSound, and Fmod.

Input Support, Customization & Accessibility Features: ¬†‚ėÖ¬† – ¬†Limited!
SNES9x only offers one method of adjusting the inputs natively through the GUI. It is functional, but some or many users may have problems using certain controllers with only the single input option available. It appears only SDL and DirectInput are supported directly, though some controllers may still have problems with more modern controllers which may handle some items differently such as with the directional pad on the Dualshock 4 (which is detected, but unable to register multiple input directions at once for diagonal input well).

These options may also feel restrictive to some or many users. I am also not aware of any accommodations made specifically for accessibility by less-abled and disabled persons, and neither native features to accommodate colour-blind players.

Final Verdict!

SNES9x is a great choice overall for playing SNES roms on your computer. While the input options available are disappointing, it does combine great performance, emulation accuracy, and games compatibility into a neat package which should be easy for most users to configure, launch, and play games with almost right out of the box.

Resources & Extras

SNES9x Home Page
SNES9x Forum
SNES9x DownloadMirror


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