8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (2024)

So you’re looking for the best Pokemon emulators for PC and lucky for you, you’ve found the right article! We’ll be covering all of the best emulation choices and breaking down each section by Pokemon generation and specific game systems.

For example, in Generation 3, the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games will get their own section of recommended emulators for PC, in generation 7, the 3DS will get its own, the Switch, etc.

This article will be somewhat in-depth to make sure we cover just about every possible Pokemon game and the systems that they were on. We’ll be covering all the bases here so that you can walk away knowing the absolute best Pokémon emulators you should use.

Without further ado, let’s jump in and get to it!

Contents hide

1. What Are The Best Pokemon Emulators for PC?

1.1. Generation 1 – Game Boy

1.1.1. Pokemon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow

1.2. Generation 2 – Game Boy Color

1.2.1. Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal

1.3. Generation 3 – Game Boy Advance

1.3.1. Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald

1.5.1. Pokemon X, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire

1.6.1. Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!, Sword, Shield, Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, Legends: Arceus, Scarlet, and Violet

1.7. Emulating Pokemon Spin-off Games

1.7.1. Nintendo 64

1.7.3. Wii U

2. Final Thoughts

What Are The Best Pokemon Emulators for PC?

Like we mentioned above, we’ll be breaking down each section by the generation it was released in along with the specific game systems that the Pokemon games debuted on. This way you can quickly jump around to find any game’s recommended emulator.

Generation 1 – Game Boy

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (1)

Pokemon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow

The best GameBoy emulator to play Pokémon games from Generation 1 on your PC is one that isn’t very well known here in the U.S. Originally released back in Japan, the TGB Dual emulator is a Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulator that allows players to load up and play two separate Pokemon ROMs at the same time.

These loaded ROMs are then automatically linked just like they would be with an actual link cable, linking the physical Game Boy handhelds in real life. What this means is that players can easily trade Pokemon between two completely separate games, allowing them to trade their Pokemon from Pokemon Red over to their Pokemon Green game.

What’s also very cool about the TGB Dual emulator is that it allows two separate players to play each Game Boy game simultaneously on one PC all at the exact same time. If you and your friend want to get down on an old school Pokemon journey together, you can even both connect TGB Dual on two completely separate PCs if they’re on the same internet connection or online using a VPN.

TGB Dual is a bit on the older side, but it works fantastic and is the perfect emulator for playing classic Pokemon games, but also the best Pokémon ROM hacks on PC from Gen 1. You won’t find all of these cool features anywhere else, it’s truly the best Pokémon emulator for Generation 1 games.

Generation 2 – Game Boy Color

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (2)

Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal

Just like with Generation 1, Generation 2 Pokemon games can be emulated on the TGB Dual emulator. TGB Dual can emulate both the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.

While other options do exist, the vast amount of features that TGB Dual offers players is just unmatched by other emulators. It is essentially the best Pokemon emulator and was clearly developed with Pokemon emulation in mind. We can’t recommend it enough for playing Gen 1 and 2 games on PC.

Generation 3 – Game Boy Advance

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (3)

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald

For Generation 3, you’re going to need a Game Boy Advance emulator. You have two main options:

  • RetroArch is an emulation frontend that allows you to play games from multiple different systems all within one app. In RetroArch, different emulators can be used by downloading their “cores”. It’s just a fancy way of saying you’re downloading an enabling a specific emulator. We also mentioned RetroArch in our list of the best Pokemon emulator iPhone apps as well.

    In order to play GameBoy Advance games with RetroArch, you’re going to need to download the mGBA GBA emulator core. Be sure to check out this article for a complete tutorial on how to setup the RetroArch GBA mGBA core.

  • Your other option would be to download and install the standalone version of the Game Boy Advance emulator mGBA. mGBA can be downloaded from the official website. One major benefit with the standalone version of mGBA is the ability to enable and use cheat codes.

RetroArch is nice because it allows you to emulate multiple consoles from one app without having to download tons of different emulators to play games from different systems. Do keep in mind though that the mGBA core available on RetroArch is usually a bit outdated and might not be the most recent version available if you were to instead download and install the standalone version of mGBA.

For a more in depth guide, be sure to check out our article on the best Pokemon Fire Red emulator.

Generation 4 & 5 – Nintendo DS

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (4)

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black, White, Back 2, and White 2

When it comes to emulating Pokemon Nintendo DS games, the best DS emulator is without a doubt the DeSmuME emulator.

DeSmuME has tons of features including save states, ability to rewind gameplay (super helpful if you make the wrong move during a battle), supports the microphone functionality, and can even upscale 3D graphics to improve gameplay visuals.

DeSmuME is hands down the best Nintendo DS emulator you can use. Most Pokemon games will run nearly flawlessly with DeSmuME. This DS emulator is the most popular choice for good reason. The compatible games list is extremely high and the development team has gotten the emulator to a great state.

Generation 6 & 7 – Nintendo 3DS

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (5)

Pokemon X, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire

In order to play Pokemon games from Generation 6, you’ll need to install a Nintendo 3DS emulator. Fortunately, the Citra 3DS emulator is absolutely fantastic and completely puts all of its competition to shame. None of the other options even come close to what Citra offers.

Here are your two options for using Citra:

  • Download the RetroArch Citra 3DS core. Be sure to check out our article for a full tutorial on how to setup the Citra 3DS RetroArch core.
  • Download and install the standalone version of Citra from the official website.

Citra’s compatibility with the 3DS library is insane. The vast majority of games are in a solidly playable state, with many receiving a “perfect’ score. In terms of Pokemon games, every single Gen 6 game that we tried ran flawlessly on Citra.

Citra is by far the absolute best 3DS emulator. It’s made by the same team that made the massively popular Nintendo Switch emulator Yuzu so clearly the folks over there know what they’re doing. Citra can upscale games to a stunning 4k resolution. Trust me when I say that you haven’t fully experienced Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire until you see it in 4k. It will absolutely blow you away.

Citra also has multiplayer support so you can get down on some battling and trade Pokemon with friends.

Generation 8 & 9 – Nintendo Switch

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (6)

Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!, Sword, Shield, Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl, Legends: Arceus, Scarlet, and Violet

Yes, technically Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! were at the tail end of Generation 7, but adding them here was just much simpler as they are Nintendo Switch games and not on the 3DS.

For emulating games from Generations 8 and 9, you’re going to need a Nintendo Switch emulator. The absolute best Switch emulator for PC is the Yuzu emulator. As mentioned in Gens 6 and 7, the Yuzu emulator was made by the same team that also made the Citra emulator. Both are absolutely fantastic and the wild success that the Yuzu emulator has seen is a direct correlation with just how awesome it is.

Yuzu can even upscale games to 4k 60FPS, making them absolutely stunningly beautiful. If you’re someone who experienced performance issues playing Scarlet or Violet on the Switch, you should definitely give emulating the games on Yuzu a shot. You might find that your experience is significantly better and with improved visuals, it sometimes feels like an entirely new game.

Emulating Pokemon Spin-off Games

All of the handheld and console emulators that we’ve covered so far will take care of the majority of mainline and spin-off Pokemon games, however there are a few additional games that were released on other consoles.

We’ll be covering those cases now and while we won’t be listing out every single spin-off game here for those systems, really the only consoles left to cover are the Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U.

Nintendo 64

For emulating Pokemon games on the N64, we recommend using the Project64 emulator. It’s been in development for a long time and has a very solid list of compatible games, with every Pokemon game we tested running fantastically. Pokémon Snap ran surprisingly well without a single hiccup or performance issue.

You can even use custom plugins to enhance your game’s graphics and audio quality. Project 64 also offers Netplay so you can get down online and play some Pokemon Stadium mini games or some rounds of Pokémon Puzzle League with friends.

GameCube & Wii

Luckily for us, there’s an emulator that can play games from both the Nintendo GameCube and Wii saving us the trouble of having to download and install two separate emulators.

The Dolphin emulator is absolutely fantastic and runs GameCube and Wii games at a very high level. Performance wise, it’s the best of the best and no other emulator even comes close. Over 200 people have worked on the Dolphin emulator over the years and that level of hard work and dedication really does show.

Get ready to play some Gale of Darkness and Pokémon Battle Revolution with your games looking better than you’ve ever seen before!

Wii U

Last but not least, we have the Wii U! Cemu is the Wii U emulator of choice and it runs the few Pokemon games on the console very well. The Wii U has 2 different Pokemon spin-off games released for it, Pokemon Rumble and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

Both are fun games and look great when emulated using Cemu.

Final Thoughts

Do keep in mind that some emulators on this list will require that your PC is powerful enough to run them. For example, GameCube and Wii emulation can knowingly require a lot of resources to function optimally. For games on the more retro end like Game Boy, Color, and GBA, you shouldn’t need too powerful of a device and should be able to get away with something lower end.

Be sure to also check out our list of the best emulators for PC.

8 Best Pokemon Emulators for PC of 2024 | Gen 1-9 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated:

Views: 5752

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.