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Play Your Classic Console ROMs in Style with OpenEmu for OS X

After being announced [1] earlier this year, OpenEmu [2], a high profile game console emulator for OS X, has finally launched version 1.0 to the public. While not the first console emulator for OS X, OpenEmu stands out as being one of the only projects designed from the “ground up” for the Mac platform, taking advantage of unique OS X capabilities and featuring a familiar OS X interface.

OpenEmu can emulate a variety of classic consoles thanks to its “core” plugin architecture. Instead of building in code for each console, the software takes advantage of “other great open source projects,” allowing users to selectively choose which consoles they’d like to emulate. Options currently include the Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo DS, NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Atari Lynx, TurboGrafx–16, Neo Geo, and more.

On top of the core emulation, OpenEmu provides an extensive game database, which automatically adds box covers and metadata to compatible games when imported. For games not in the app’s database, users can assign their own cover art and metadata. These features make games easy to browse, launch, and play, and help differentiate the software from other emulators on the market.

For the first time, the ‘It just works’ philosophy now extends to open source video game emulation on the Mac. With OpenEmu, it is extremely easy to add, browse, organize and with a compatible gamepad, play those favorite games (ROMs) you already own.

For all of its features, OpenEmu does not include games, although a “starter pack” of homebrew titles is available from the emulator’s website. These game files, stored as ROMs, and commercial games beyond the homebrew pack will need to be obtained manually by users. Note that various laws and copyright issues exist when it comes to commercial game ROMs, so users will need to assess the applicability of their local laws when choosing to download or import them. For the willing, however, a quick search for “NES ROMs,” for example, will likely yield the desired results.

OpenEmu is available to download [2] now. It requires OS X 10.7 or later.