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.

My real collection of machines is mirrored with corresponding emulators. I use them mostly for conversion purposes along with the last two 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 Virtual Acorn Untested (and not free)
Amstrad CPC WinApe 2.0 beta 2 Excellent easy-to-run emulator
Apple II series AppleWin Apple II+ and IIe also. Very good. Also supports the virtual Z80 card.
Apple IIGS KEGS32 0.91 Very good. Get the ROMS and software from this site.
Apple Lisa LisaEM 1.2.6 Sets the emulator within a Lisa image. Good. Lisa Office install disks required.
Apple Mac (1980s and 90s) Softmac XP 8.2 Good but 32-bit only. May need to run in a virtual XP environment if 64-bit. Can be tricky to set up.
Atari 8-bits Altirra 3.20 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 4.14 For the BBC class of Acorn computers. Comprehensive
Commodore 8-bits VICE 3.4 For the PET, VIC 20, C-64 and other Commodore computers. A superb emulator
Amiga 16-bits WinUAE 4.3.0 For the Amiga machines. Good - Somewhat confusing to configure.
General CP/M 8-bits myZ80 1.24 For machines like the Osborne 1 and Kaypro II. May not work in Vista or above.
Kaypro 2x or 84/4 Virtual Kaypro Java based emulator which works well in Windows 10
EACA Colour Genie Genieous 1.0.4 Very good. I helped test this one.
Epson HX-20 eHC-20 An HX-20 emulator from Japan
Exidy Sorcerer JSorcerer 1.3 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
PCem v15 8088 to 486 box emulation
VMware Workstation Player A modern general emulation platform for intel operating systems
PCjs Machines PC emulation in a web browser
Mattel Aquarius Virtual Aquarius 0.72a Simple but good
OSI Challenger WinOSI 1.5 For the Ohio Scientific Challenger range of machines . Good
Polycorp Poly 1 Poly and Proteus Emulator 1.2 An emulator for the New Zealand Poly
Sinclair 8-bit EightyOne 1.0a For ZX80, ZX81 and all the ZX Spectrums
Sinclair QL QemuLator 3.2.2 Shareware. Great program. Easy to set up and run.
Spectravideo BlueMSX 2.8.2 For the Spectravideo machines and MSX units. Beautifully designed
System 80/Video Genie HT-1080Z 1.6.6 Also good for the TRS-80 Model 1
Tandy Colour Computer Xroar 0.35.4 Actually a Dragon emulator but with a CoCo ROM it becomes a CoCo!
Texas Instruments TI-99/4a Win994a-TI-99/4A 3.010 Easy to use. Good
TRS-80 Model 100 Virtual T 1.6 Very good. Also emulates the NEC 8201a
TRS-80 Model 1 and Model 4 TRS32 1.28 An good emulator for the Model 1/III/4 and 4-P. Disk image tools avaialble too.

16th May, 2020

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