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:
- Get a nostalgia fix (one of the main uses)
- See what the interface of a classic machine looked like
- Run some classic programs
- Try out software before converting it for your real machine
- Develop software for a classic machine (Easier to do this in an emulator than in a real classic computer)
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:
- These are for Windows XP and above. They may or may not work on earlier platforms.
- They are not the only ones out there. They are just the ones I use.
- Some are still supported and some are not.
- Some come with ROMS and some do not. ROMS are not difficult to find on the Internet though.
- By the time you read this it will already be out of date. Make sure you get the latest version from the websites listed.
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 126.96.36.199||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