Classic Computer Emulators

Figure 1: Sometimes the authentic hardware takes up too much damn space!

I love emulators and am in awe of the people who can write them. I've even been involved in beta testing one or two. Emulators give you a vintage machine in your own computer! While it's not quite the same as the real thing, they do have their uses. For example, you might want to:

Some can also be handy in converting software from disk/cassette images to a form where the programs can be loaded into your modern machines. Whatever you want to use them for, they can be a lot of fun and most are free.

The machines I used to own are mirrored with corresponding emulators. I use them mostly for conversion purposes along with the other reasons cited above. Once a year or so, I scour the web and update all my emulators. Having just undertaken this task I figured the results might be useful to others. Consequently, the emulators I use are listed below. Before you jump into this list and download an emulator for your favourite machine though, note these caveats:

Here they are...


Name Notes
Acorn Arculator Good. ROMS not included.
Amstrad CPC Retro Virtual Machine Excellent multi-machine emulator.
Apple II series AppleWin Apple II+ and IIe also. Very good. Also supports the virtual Z80 card.
Apple IIGS GSPlus MultiPlatform. Get the ROMS and software from this site.
Apple Lisa LisaEM Sets the emulator within a Lisa image. Good. Lisa Office install disks required.
Apple Mac (1980s and 90s) Basilisk II Good. Interfaces nicely with the host computer to allow file sharing.
Atari 8-bits Altirra All the Atari 8-bit range including the 400, 800XL and 130XE. Very good.
Atari 16-bits Steem SSE All the Atari 16-bit range including the 520 and 1040ST.
BBC BeebEM For the BBC class of Acorn computers. Comprehensive.
Commodore 8-bits VICE For the PET, VIC 20, C-64 and other Commodore computers. A superb emulator .
Amiga 16-bits WinUAE For the Amiga machines. Good - Somewhat confusing to configure.
General CP/M 8-bits iz-cpm 1.2 or myZ80 1.24 myz80 is ok in a DOS Box on a Windows platform that can run 16-bit ptograms.
Kaypro 2x or 84/4 Virtual Kaypro Java based emulator which works well in Windows 10.
EACA Colour Genie Genieous Very good. I helped test this one.
Epson HX-20 and QX-10 eHC-20 and eQC-10 Emulator from Japan. Find eHC-20 and qQC-10 on the menu.
Exidy Sorcerer JSorcerer Java-based emulator which can be downloaded or played on the web.
Intel "PC-type" Computers Oracle VM VirtualBox General emulation Win 10 platform that still supports floppy disk images.
86Box 8088 to 486 box emulation. 86Bix is a fork of an earlier emulator, PCem.
VMware Workstation Player A modern general emulation platform for intel operating systems.
PCjs Machines PC emulation in a web browser.
Mattel Aquarius Virtual Aquarius Simple but good.
MSX Computers BlueMSX Live For MSX units. Runs in the browser.
OSI Challenger WinOSI For the Ohio Scientific Challenger range of machines . Good.
Polycorp Poly 1 Poly and Proteus Emulator An emulator for the New Zealand Pol.y
Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81 EightyOne Also does the ZX Spectrum. Not the most modern emulator but free.
Sinclair Spectrum Retro Virtual Machine Excellent multi-machine emulator
Sinclair QL QemuLator Shareware. Great program. Easy to set up and run.
System 80/Video Genie HT-1080Z Also good for the TRS-80 Model 1
Tandy Colour Computer Xroar Actually a Dragon emulator but with a CoCo ROM it becomes a CoCo!
Texas Instruments TI-99/4a Win994a-TI-99/4A Easy to use. Good
TRS-80 Model 100 Virtual T Very good. Also emulates the NEC 8201a
TRS-80 Model 1,III and Model 4 TRS32 or trs80gp Good emulators for the Model 1/III/4 and 4-P. Disk image tools avaialble too

10th May, 2024

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