Simply put MSX emulators can currently be divided into three groups: The good, the best and... the ugly. The good MSX emulators (paraMSX, fMSX-SDL, RedMSX and fMSX) will get the job done in most cases. They provide an understandable user-interface and enough features and accuracy to run the majority of the MSX software without any significant problems and, with exception of fMSX, have decent enough sound-quality to give a good impression of the atmosphere of the music from games and demos. The best (blueMSX, openMSX, NLMSX and MSXPLAYer) add a lot of extras to the MSX experience by being far more accurate, offering better sound quality and being more user-friendly. The ugly (RuMSX, NO$MSX, fMSXSO, MESS and Zodiac) can even have a hard time running perfectly normal MSX games and demos and can therefore not be recommended to be used as a default MSX emulator, unless you are really interested in one of the unique features these emulators have to offer, like the extensive MIDI configurability of fMSXSO or the debugger of NO$MSX. The rapid development of the current top 3 emulators clearly shows, however, that it's not unlikely that a few changes could turn any of the 'ugly' emulators into true winners.

Topping the charts in accuracy, features, usability and 'looks', there is little doubt on which is the best MSX emulator of the moment: blueMSX. It managed to impress on all fronts right from the start and only incidentally let us down a little bit. The well-crafted website and -especially- its active Japanese and English support forums top it off. If you're looking for an MSX emulator you can rely on blueMSX should be your first choice, whether you're a novice or an advanced MSX user. If you fall into the latter group, openMSX certainly is a must-have as well, being capable of supporting a wider range of MSX hardware and being about as accurate as blueMSX. openMSX, too, comes with an active support forum and regular updates. Besides, it's the first emulator to emulate the GFX9000 videochip. It would not surprise us at all if the next release of openMSX regains the lead in the MRC EmuRank Charts. Apart from that, the openMSX team are working on a debugging interface, which will make the emulator even more interesting to developers and active members of the MSX community. MSXPLAYer, NLMSX and RedMSX are running a little bit behind on both, MSXPLAYer being better when it comes to accuracy, NLMSX offering more features like Moonsound emulation, RedMSX being particularly interesting for people who would like to run MSX software on 'lower-end' computers. As MSXPLAYer is currently only available in Japan our conclusion to the MSX Emulator Comparison is: If you want the best in MSX Emulation, install blueMSX as your default MSX emulator and keep openMSX, NLMSX and RedMSX at hand to suit your more specific MSX emulation needs.

Comments (9)

By BiFi

Enlighted (4348)

BiFi's picture

14-09-2005, 20:03

Snout, any idea when you will update the comparison with blueMSX 2.3.1 and openMSX 0.5.2?

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

14-09-2005, 20:50

as soon as I have as much spare time as you have, Bifi Smile

By mars2000you

Enlighted (6557)

mars2000you's picture

17-09-2005, 15:39

It's really time for an update ... blueMSX 2.4 has been released !!! Cool

By andete

Expert (97)

andete's picture

31-12-2005, 08:20

Might was well wait for openMSX 0.6.0 which will be out now any time. LOL!

By iamweasel2

Paladin (722)

iamweasel2's picture

12-01-2012, 19:33

This was a nice emulator analysis. Smile Any chances of an update to this article or should we consider this dead and buried? 

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

12-01-2012, 20:15

got an update planned, but am taking my time... unfortunately I've got more important matters to attend to first. somewhere this year would be the best estimation Wink

By iamweasel2

Paladin (722)

iamweasel2's picture

03-11-2012, 14:12

The end of the year is coming... Wink

By Vampier

Prophet (2415)

Vampier's picture

05-11-2012, 07:10

wait for a new blueMSX release first

By hbarcellos

Hero (649)

hbarcellos's picture

05-11-2012, 13:36

Where's MEISEI?
BlueMSX should see a new release for intel osx soon!