ZSNES is an SNES emulator written in x86 assembly. It was originally made in 1997, and has not been updated since 2007. It is currently one of the most popular SNES emulators.



The ZSNES developers focused on speed over accuracy, so a hefty amount of games have bugs (and some just plain crash). In the current 1.51 version many problems still remain:


SNES Pseudo Hi-Res translucency

  • Compatibility is lower than any modern emulator due to low accuracy to real SNES system.
  • Games crashing - Der Langrisser (freezes after 2-3 hours), Super Mario RPG (freezes in many different points of the game), Star Ocean and many other games have freezing and crashing issues.
  • Bad sound emulation - A ton of games sound terrible on ZSNES; Earthworm Jim 2 has no sound effects.
  • Many of the co-processors, which are actually on the cartridges, are emulated in extremely strange ways. It's often quoted as making no damn sense in ZSNES and being impressive that they work at all.
    • Super FX for example is not clocked correctly - Star Fox runs twice as fast as it should.
  • Transparency - Kirby Dreamland 3, Mecarobot Golf, Jurassic Park and any game that uses pseudo hi-res translucency won't display correctly.

These are just a few problems, there are a few more listed here, and here.

It is recommended to use Snes9x or RetroArch with the bsnes core(s) instead.

ROM Hacks

Many ROM hacks and ROM hacking tools were made using ZSNES as a testing platform because of its popularity. However, because of the inaccuracies of the emulator, these tools and hacks are broken on other, more accurate emulators and real hardware.



In 2011, byuu released bZSNES - a modification of his bsnes that includes the optional inaccuracies of ZSNES and a similar GUI. This version of bsnes can accurately emulate the ROM hacks made specifically for ZSNES[citation needed], which means the only thing ZSNES had going for it can now be played on a much more accurate emulator.


ZMZ  is a program that utilises libretro versions of Snes9x and the Next variant, as well as the Bsnes cores, much like RetroArch. It uses the exact same interface that ZSNES uses.


  • Excellent connectivity between 2 players (ONLY)
  • In-game chat that doesn't require switching focus between 2 windows
  • Can pause emulation at any time
  • The host's save file is immediately shared with the client, so you don't need to upload it elsewhere first
  • In case of desynch, host can make savestates and load them for both players to resynch
  • You can swap controllers at any time
  • You can change emulator latency on the fly to compensate for choppiness at the expense of slight input lag
  • It works just as well with between a dialup user and someone on DSL
  • You can switch between Windowed mode and Fullscreen with ease.
  • It's 2P ONLY, with no multiplayer version foreseeable in the near future.
  • Sometimes it outright refuses to connect 2 people via netplay through UDP for unknown reasons
  • Most Konami games tend to desynch unless you specifically use ZSNES 1.36 or 1.337
  • Interface might be unappealing to some people

External links

BZSNES source code

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