A Look Into The Innovation of Emulation

Over the past couple of days, I’ve had the pleasure of using a new open source app which aims to make a very needlessly complex problem very simple. On top of that simplicity comes pure elegance and a wonderful design. Here is OpenEmu, a new app that combines all of your favorite emulators through cores, and organizes them perfectly for you.

The app is currently in its development stages, so as far as knowing how well the app runs and any problems it may have, you won’t hear about them here. An app should be judged on how well it runs and how little bugs it has once it is fully finished. However, I want to go over how well this app is and how immense my love is for it.


OpenEmu launches and shows you a few set up pages. This ranges from installing cores to setting up gamepads and locating ROMs. After that screen, you’re immediately presented with its library view. Here you see any ROMs you may have installed and their respective artwork. Aside from an astonishingly beautiful look, it works exactly how you would want it to. Same as with Finder, double click something to open it. The process doesn’t get anymore complex or difficult for the user — it just works.

Even within the settings for the app you’re presented with impeccable design. From changing which buttons do you want via a keyboard or gamepad, to adjust how games will look and if you want to scale them up or not. This furthers the idea that design is not just something you tack onto your creation, but rather something that is well thought out and when executed perfectly, makes the app better than it once was.

Not only does the app present you with these beautiful displays of design, they manage to pull artwork from our friends at Archive.vg and have it displayed just how you would imagine. It’s not gaudy and horrid looking, mashing different sizes against different sizes; its all very pleasant and heavenly looking.

As far as emulation goes, I have never seen another app utilize this same feature. The app itself has a bar similar to what you would see in Quicktime X. The bar allows you to stop emulation, pause it, resume, switch cores, save the game, and adjust the volume. It’s a very simple add-on, but it’s very welcomed as far as usability goes.


The app itself is crafted very well, but as I mentioned earlier, I won’t talk about bugs. I can however talk about the app as if it runs the way I imagine the final build will. The app is simple; you add your ROMs, you pick one, you play it. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the product works or the way it seems to just make a huge hassle very simple for me. You go from having all your ROMs scattered throughout your hard drive to having them organized in an app and copied into a folder so your favorites are never misplaced or lost. Games run just as they would in their respective core emulators and most games just feel fluid while running. It’s hard to find an experience that relates to this in any way aside from plugging in your old SNES and playing Kirby Super Star all over again.

Final Thoughts

While OpenEmu may not be out for a few more months, this preview shows that the developers and designers behind it have poured their heart and soul into this. It’s something close to all of our hearts – gaming. As much as we try to hide it by going through life as an adult, that child in you always yearns for the moment where they can fully immerse themselves into games that they love. Getting the chance to see something like this evolve not only into our generation, but into a generation where a need for beauty is needed has not only been an honor, but a privlege. OpenEmu takes a concept that has been getting very little attention and maximizes off of it. Makes it great, makes it work, and makes it lovely. It’s a combined effort between people who love games, and people who grew up to develop and design, and it shows. It shows how well things mesh together and how well ideas and become creations that turn into innovation. Be sure to check out OpenEmu when it comes out and definitely make sure you have an eye on Archive.vg over the coming weeks.

About Shawn Wilkins

An enthusiastic writer who values quality over quantity. The abundance of posts shouldn't make the site, but rather, the quality of them. Aiming for perfection is the goal and anything less isn't acceptable. Long walks on the beach are accepted, however.
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This app is beyond exciting, I can finally revisit my childhood without fumbling with bad emulators all day.


There is some additional screenshots of the app over at the projects new website page over at http://www.openemu.org


Or shameless self-promotion you can always follow me (Mucx) on Dribbble to see some newer shots as they go up :).

JakeMoore moderator

I've been waiting for this so hard