Best Pokemon Emulators For PC Gamers (Complete List)

Pokemon emulators allow you to play Pokemon games on your computer.

You can enjoy classic Pokemon titles without needing the original gaming consoles with emulators.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about Pokemon emulators for PC.

What is a Pokemon Emulator?

A Pokemon emulator is a software program that mimics the functionality of original Pokemon gaming devices like Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, etc. It allows you to play Pokemon games on your PC by emulating the required hardware and system bios.

Emulators act as a bridge between the game ROM files and your computer’s operating system. They translate the code and allow Pokemon games to run smoothly on your PC.

Benefits of Using a Pokemon Emulator

Here are some of the benefits of using a Pokemon emulator on PC:

  • Play Pokemon games for free – Once you have the emulator, you just need to find and download the game ROM files. This allows you to play classic Pokemon titles without having to buy the actual game cartridges or consoles.
  • Improved graphics and visuals – Emulators often let you upscale the native graphics resolution of the games and apply filters or shaders. This can enhance the visuals compared to the original hardware.
  • Save states – Emulators allow you to save your progress at any point. You can also load the save state back in case you mess up later.
  • Cheats and hacks – Many emulators come with built-in cheat codes you can use to make the games easier or customize your gameplay experience.
  • Speed up gameplay – If you find the original games too slow, you can increase the emulation speed to zip through monotonous sections.
  • Hardware controller support – Emulators allow you to map keyboard keys or connect external controllers to play Pokemon games more naturally.
  • Play on multiple platforms – Once you have the emulator and ROMs, you can play Pokemon on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and more. No need for platform-exclusive gaming devices.

Popular Pokemon Emulators

There are many Pokemon emulators available for PC. Here are some of the most popular and stable emulators:

1. DeSmuME

DeSmuME is one of the most accurate Nintendo DS emulators compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It can smoothly emulate most Pokemon DS titles like Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Black, and White.

2. Citra

Citra is an open-source emulator for the Nintendo 3DS. It can run 3DS exclusives like Pokemon X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire, Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon. Citra is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

3. OpenEmu

OpenEmu is an emulator frontend for Mac OS. It makes emulating Pokemon games easier by organizing all your games in a single application. OpenEmu supports core emulators like DeSmuME, VisualBoy Advance, mGBA, and more.

4. MelonDS

MelonDS is a fast Nintendo DS emulator for Windows and Linux. It can run Pokemon DS games at high resolutions with rendering and display enhancements.

5. mGBA

mGBA is a Game Boy Advance emulator that can run Pokemon FireRed, LeafGreen, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald on Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. It focuses on performance, accuracy, and preserving game compatibility.

6. Visual Boy Advance

Visual Boy Advance is an emulator for Game Boy and Game Boy Advance systems. It can run older Pokemon games like Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal.

How to Download and Install a Pokemon Emulator

Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a Pokemon emulator on your Windows PC:

  1. Choose an emulator – Pick an emulator like DeSmuME, Citra, mGBA or others as per the game you want to play.
  2. Download the emulator – Go to the official website for your chosen emulator. Download the Windows installer or executable file.
  3. Install the emulator – Run the downloaded installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the emulator software on your computer.
  4. Download BIOS (optional) – For some emulators like DeSmuME, you may need to download the Nintendo DS BIOS files for best compatibility.
  5. Download the Pokemon ROM – ROM files contain the actual game data. Search for sites distributing the Pokemon game ROM you want and download it.
  6. Load the ROM – Open your emulator, go to File > Open ROM and select the Pokemon ROM file. The game should now start up!
  7. Configure controls – Map keyboard keys or connect a gamepad for controlling the emulator.

That’s it! You can now enjoy playing Pokemon on your PC with full speed and enhanced graphics.

How to Find and Download Pokemon ROMs Legally

ROMs are software files containing the data of actual cartridge-based games. Downloading ROMs for games you don’t already own may constitute copyright infringement in certain countries.

Here are some legal ways to obtain Pokemon ROM files:

  • Dump your own game cartridges – You can use a ROM dumping device to extract game data from physical cartridges you own to get legal ROMs.
  • Find free homebrew games – Various Pokemon fan games are distributed online legally for free as ROM files. These homebrew games can often be played on emulators.
  • Buy from authorized distributors – Some emulators like OpenEmu have built-in stores to buy game ROMs digitally within the app legally.

While it may be tempting to find pirated ROMs, it’s best to avoid illegal sites for your own safety and respect game copyrights by only using dumped or legally purchased ROMs.

Best Pokemon Games to Play on Emulator

Here are some of the most popular and recommended Pokemon games you must try out on emulators:

  • Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen (GBA) – Remakes of the original Red/Blue games.
  • Pokemon Emerald (GBA) – The improved Hoenn region adventure.
  • Pokemon Platinum (DS) – Enhanced Sinnoh region game with expanded Pokedex.
  • Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver (DS) – Johto remakes packed with content.
  • Pokemon Black 2/White 2 (DS) – Sequels with new areas and Pokemon World Tournament.
  • Pokemon X/Y (3DS) – First mainline Pokemon games on 3DS with 3D graphics.
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS) – Hoenn remakes with tons of new features.

Tips for Using Pokemon Emulators

Here are some handy tips to improve your Pokemon emulation experience:

  • Adjust the video settings like resolution and filters for the best graphics.
  • For older games, enable “Link Cable Emulation” to trade Pokemon between emulator instances.
  • Speed up boring sections by fast-forwarding the emulator or using cheat codes.
  • Save game states frequently in different slots as backup.
  • Use the emulator cheat search tool to find useful cheats that make playing easier.
  • Connect a gamepad instead of keyboard for more natural and responsive controls.
  • When stuck, consult game guides and walkthroughs available online to progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it legal to use Pokemon ROMs?

Dumping and downloading game ROMs you already own is generally considered legal for personal use in many regions. However, downloading or distributing copyrighted ROM files online without permission is usually illegal.

2. Where can I find Pokemon emulator ROMs?

You can dump your own game cartridges or seek free homebrew games. Avoid piracy sites and only get ROMs from legal sources you trust.

3. Can I play newer Pokemon games on PC?

Emulators for Nintendo 3DS like Citra can run newer Pokemon titles. However, Switch games haven’t been emulated properly yet.

4. How can I trade Pokemon between emulators?

Most emulators offer a Link Cable option to trade between instances. You can also use connecting scripts or tools like pknx to facilitate trading online.

5. Is there any emulator for mobile devices?

Yes, emulators like MyBoy and DraStic let you emulate Pokemon games on Android and iOS. There are also apps that package emulators with ROMs.


Pokemon emulators allow you to relive classic Pokemon adventures on your PC. They open up a world of nostalgia and convenience to play these games anytime without original hardware constraints. With the detailed information in this guide, you can now start your Pokemon emulation journey the right way. Just be sure to use emulator features responsibly and legally source your games to avoid potential issues.

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Manvendra Singh
Manvendra Singh

Hi, I am John Williams. Editor-in-chief of the website Here I write about PC technology & Guides.