I was having an interesting conversation the other day about the state of emulation right now. How many are there? Has every games system been emulated? Do they work perfectly or just so-so? And is there a PlayStation (PS ) Vita emulator yet? I thought it might be a good subject for a TechJunkie post, so here we are.
Emulation builds a sandbox-type environment using software or hardware that enables one computer to act like another computer, running software that it wouldn’t normally be able to run. For example, there’s software that you can install on your PC that simulates a PlayStation 3 (PS3) gaming environment so that you can play PS3 games that you’d normally only be able to play on Sony hardware.
While simple in theory, it can be incredibly difficult to create a working game emulator that allows a game that was once exclusive to one system available to play on a completely different system.
As emulators are not official in any capacity and usually depend on volunteer contributors to develop and maintain. That is quite a commitment from those volunteer developers. Despite that, there are emulators for most games systems available these days. There are even multiple emulators available to you for some of the more popular gaming consoles out there.
PS Vita emulator
The PS Vita emulator situation is an unusual one in the world of video game emulation. There are no current PS Vita emulators and there is not likely to be one in the near future.
As good as it was, the Vita did not sell in anywhere near the numbers to make an emulator viable in the market. It also didn’t have the stable of popular games that’s needed to create the appetite for an emulator. Without that demand for an emulator, developers have better things to do with their time, such as developing emulators for consoles for high there’s a strong demand.
So what are some good video game emulators that are available? Here are just a few.
PCSX2  is a PS2 emulator for PC. The PlayStation 2 was amazingly successful and sold in the dozens of millions. The PS2 also had hundreds of very good games developed for it that were also very popular. The combination of a lot of good games and incredible popularity means the demand for PS2 emulators is very strong, creating a thriving emulation scene for the PS2.
According to the guys behind PCSX2, it is compatible with 95% of PS2 games and works credibly well up to 60FPS on a powerful PC. If that kind of power and reach isn’t good game emulation, then I don’t know what is!
RetroArch  is like a Kodi media center for emulation. It provides a platform for multiple emulators and games that makes managing them all simple. Usually, you install an emulator for each platform and run games in each individually. RetroArch is a single application that can manage multiple emulators for multiple systems and the games you play on them. Individual emulators are called Cores and once installed, RetroArch has a library of Cores you can download and manage with the system. It makes playing games across systems very simple indeed. You will still need access to the ROMs though.
PPSSPP  is the PlayStation Portable emulator of choice for many fans. It is very well supported and has been around for a long time. It can play PSP games in full HD on PC. The PPSSPP works on mobile devices as well.
The full suite of games are playable using this emulator and the games work well.
As the PSP was one of the best-received handhelds ever, there is a real appetite to enjoy some of those games even now. The fact that PPSSPP works on mobile devices, enabling you to play PlayStation Portable games on a modern portable device is just too good an opportunity for fun to miss out on.
ZMZ  is an Super Nintendo emulator that works very well. It took over where ZSNES left off and is still updated as far as I can tell. The UI is basic but workable and the games are rendered in all their 32-bit glory.
The ZMZ platform apparently works very well even though I haven’t tried it myself.
No$GBA  (No-cash GBA) began as a Gameboy Advanced emulator but quickly graduated to Nintendo DS. It is compatible with multiplayer for the GBA but not on DS. That aside, as a Nintendo DS emulator it is top notch, running fast, offering stutter-free play, and seeming very stable. I only spent an hour or so playing on the No$GBA but I experienced no crashes or issues with this emulator at all.
No list of video game emulators would be complete without mentioning MAME . The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator simulates arcade games of old right on your modern PC. The UI is very basic and you will need ROMs but many of these are legally obtainable through the Internet Archive. The emulator works well and plays credibly well on just about any PC. If you liked feeding quarters into machines during your formative years, you should check out MAME!
Video game emulation seems in very good health right now. There seems to be a great quality emulator available for almost every video console every produced except the PS Vita and perhaps a couple of others. Those issues aside, if you like retro gaming or would like to get into it, you have lots of options. The emulators listed here are just six of many out there waiting to be played. What are you waiting for?
If you had fun reading this article, you might also enjoy How To Install PSP ISO and CSO Game Files on the Vita. 
Do you have any other suggestions for video game emulators? Do you know of anyone developing a PS Vita emulator? Tell us about it below in the comments if you do!