Mac OS X Console Emulation: ZSNES for Mac OS X

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I know. I know. Console emulation is kind of morally gray, but emulators aren’t actually illegal in most cases. The thing that is illegal are game ROMs. If the copyright of a game has not expired it is illegal to have it on your computer. Therefore, you can download ZSNES, but you can only play ROMs of games you own a hard copy of already or whose copyright has expired. DO NOT ask this writer or Bright Hub for links to ROMs. You will have to find them yourself and live with any consequences that arise from using them. Have you got that? Good!

Features (5 out of 5)

Unlike the only other Super Nintendo emulator for the Mac (SNES 9x) ZSNES is very simple to use. Your games save in the file of your choosing, and every command takes place within the ZSNES window itself. The layout is very Windows-like, and it is a little confusing at first to open a file. They are tucked away by their long file extension a la Windows, like this: RS/John/Desktop/Hard Drive/Games/. If you are familiar with Windows it will be easy to figure out. If not, it may take some trial and error.

The only problem with ZSNES is that it is only compatible with Intel based Macs. Sorry all of you Power PC people, but you’re out of luck.

Like most console emulators, ZSNES has several ways to save a game file. You can do an in game save or a save state (of which there are 10). In order to save as a save state you must first pause your game and go into the ZSNES main menu under ‘Game.’

Also, ZSNES supports USB controllers, which is very handy. You do have to configure the controller, but this is easily done by going to ‘Input’ under the ‘Configure’ menu.

Usefulness (4 out of 5)

Since I am lazy, I find ZSNES very useful. I don’t have to dig out my SNES or buy copies of games I already own for my Wii from Virtual Console. Also, there are a number of games that were never released in the US whose copyrights have expired so anyone can download them and play. It’s nice to be able to do it all on my laptop, whenever I feel like it.


As a fan of video games and console emulation, I am in love with ZSNES. I would suggest it for any Mac-using Super Nintendo fan. Come on, you know you want to play!

Download ZSNES.

This post is part of the series: Console Emulation for Mac OS X

Console emulation has mostly been geared toward Windows and Linux in the past, but Mac console emulation is slowly catching up. I will give an overview of the available console emulators for Mac OS X so you will know which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t.

  1. Console Emulation for Mac OS X: ZSNES A Super Nintendo Emulator