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Friday Fun: Play Your Favorite Super Nintendo Games On Your Computer Free

It's a me, Mario!

Remember back when Mario used to have a cape and fly around every level.  Back then Yoshi came in a huge variety of colors, graphics were in 32-bit, and Goombas were the least of your worries.  Gaming has come a long way since the 1990’s but it can be fun every once in a while to go retro and replay past favorites.

How-to Play Super Nintendo On Your Computer For Free

Step 1 – Get an Emulator

In order to play any of the games we need to first get a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator.  An emulator is a program that will mimic the software environment created by the original console, except on your computer. 

The best SNES emulator out there, bar none, is the open source project ZSNES.  According to the most recent version of the emulator is 1.51, and you can pick it up from Sourceforge at this link:

The download shouldn’t take long, it’s a really small file considering it’s an entire video game operating system.  Remember, back in 1993 1MB was considered huge!

download snes emulator from sourceforge

Step 2 – Install/Extract the Emulator

The emulator will be in a compressed .zip file and it doesn’t have an installer.  Therefore wherever you extract the file to will also be considered where the emulator is installed.  To extract the emulator, Right-Click the zsnesw151 file and Select Extract All…

install the snes emulator via extraction

Pick a spot on your computer where you would like to install ZSNES, as for myself I installed it at C:Program FilesZSNES.  Check the box for Show extracted files when complete and then Click Extract.

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install the snes eumlator to your program files folder

Once the file finishes extracting the new folder it is in should automatically appear since we checked to Show extracted files…  Right-Click zsnesw and Select Pin to Start Menu, this is so we can easily find it later on.

pin the zsnes application to your start menu as a shortcut

Step 3 – Create a Games Folder

In the same folder that you extracted ZSNES to, Create a New folder.  Name the new folder Games.

For me the file path of the new folder is now C:Program FilesZSNESGames.  You can close this folder now.

create a games folder in zsnes

Step 4 – Download some games

Now you need to get some games, in the emulator world these are known as Roms.  You can always do a Google search for “SNES Roms” but I’ve listed two sites below that should have every Rom you’ll ever need.

Check these sites for the Roms (Games) you want:

download zsnes roms

Step 5 – Extract the zipped roms to your Games folder

With most roms, they will come compressed in a .zip file to save on file size and bandwidth from the download server.  Right-Click the downloaded zipped rom file and Select Extract All…
extract snes roms to your games folder

Browse to, or Paste in your ZSNESGames folder that you created in Step 3 and Click Extract. extract it to your zsnesgames folder

Step 6 – Launch ZSNES

Since we pinned it to the Start Menu earlier you can easily launch Zsnes.  Click the Start Menu and then Click the zsnesw shortcut.
launch zsnes snes emulator

Step 7 – Load the Rom in ZSNES to Start the game!

In ZSNES Click the Game menu and Select Load.

load in zsnes

Double-Click the Games directory

load the games directory

Select the game you want to play from the Filename pane and then Click Load.

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load the rom filename of the game you want


The game will load up and now you can start playing right away!  DK smash!

Hold on a sec though, you probably are wondering what the controls are. 
play donkey kong country on your computer for free


Hit ESC anytime during gameplay to Pause the game and open the menu.  Click the Config menu and Select INPUT

config > input menu

In the Input window you will see that you can assign up to 5 different controllers here, so multiplayer is a definite option.  Anyhow, if you are playing alone just Click the Keyboard or Gamepad and you’ll see all of the keys for each button that is on a normal Super Nintendo controller.  If you want to change the keys, Click Set Keys and you can assign a button by pressing each key.  You can also plug-in a joystick and assign keys to that.

set up contollers for zsnes

Enjoy the weekend and have a groovy time with some good ole fashioned retro gaming.

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5 Responses to Friday Fun: Play Your Favorite Super Nintendo Games On Your Computer Free

  1. Jack August 8, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Best part of zsnes–you can play it online. Bomberman, Final Fight, Mario Kart = totally awesome.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I think downloading roms is still illegal. For upstanding citizens with a bit of pocketchange, try gametap

  2. Seolyk September 6, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    You know that these games aren’t abandonware or public domain and thus downloading those ROMS is stiill illegal unless you own a copy of the game, right?

    • Foreman September 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

      Huge super nintendo fan here.

      I think at some point or another I bought nearly every single SNES game that was in existence. Although I’m not sure where all of them are, do they really expect people to keep track of their game cartridges from 15 years ago? I doubt most of them even still work. Illegal? Bullox, they stopped supporting the operating system and they don’t even manufacture the cartridges or the snes anymore. It’s abandonware and it should be legally labeled as such.

  3. vetpan February 5, 2012 at 7:26 am # is much easier, there you can play games just in your browser

  4. Seolyk February 5, 2012 at 8:14 am #


    they still sell most of those games on the Wii, they are FAR from abandonware.

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