Microsoft recently banned game emulators from the Windows Store, presumably to avoid any possible legal trouble.
While this development makes it harder for some to play retro games on the PC, it doesn't mean it's impossible. That goes without saying, though.
On that note, here are some of the best emulators available:
When it comes to NES emulators, you can't go wrong with FCEUX. That's because it's simple to install and easy to use, and it comes with a ton of nifty features to boot.
To set it up, you just have to download the emulator and run it. To play a game, you only have to load up a ROM via the Open option. That's it. You don't even have to extract ROMs from .zip, .rar, or any other compressed formats.
It's also packed with tools to create speedruns, debug, capture video recordings, and even hack ROMs.
If you're looking for a reliable Nintendo 64 emulator, then Project 64 is one good way to go at it.
While it doesn't have that many features, it does a great job of delivering an authentic N64 experience in terms of video and audio quality. That said, it offers support for cheats and multiplayer, though.
The emulator that takes the cake is RetroArch, acting like a mothership of sorts for emulators.
It's got almost everything you need — a wide range of compatibility, a slew of customizations, and many more — but that means it's not the exactly easiest to use. Nonetheless, it provides access to numerous emulated platforms, including but not limited to DS, N64, NES, SNES, and Sega.
Put simply, you have to set up RetroArch first. After that, you have to install "cores" before you can start playing, which are kind of like installable consoles, so to speak. You can do this using the app's Online Updater and Core Updater.
From that point, all you have to do is find some ROMs that'll work with the core you picked. For instance, if you selected the Genesis X Plus core, you need Sega ROMs. If you installed the Nestopia UE core, you need NES ROMs, and so on.
Just to be clear, the other emulators in the list are standalone, which means they can work on their own. In contrast, RetroArch uses cores, such as the ones mentioned above, to run console emulations.
Before wrapping things up, it's also worth mentioning that the website Emuparadise has a huge selection for all your emulating needs, seemingly living up to its claim as "the biggest retro gaming website on Earth."
To boil things down, Microsoft banning emulators from the Windows Store is not the end of the world of retro gaming on the PC. That's mainly addressed to less tech-savvy folks, though. At any rate, the age of emulation is far from over as long as emulators such as FCEUX, Project 64, and RetroArch are alive and well.
Are you one of the users who are largely affected by Microsoft's decision? If so, feel free to let us know in the comments section below, especially if you found an alternative to your go-to emulator in the list above.