Playing NES games on your Mac might be considered nerdy or retro, but it’s also just plain fun. I finally found a decent NES emulator for Mac that’s free, and more importantly, it’s stable.
It’s called Nestopia, (get it, NEStopia?), and it has all the features you’ve come to expect from a good emulator: stability, freeze states, customizable keyboard controls, adjustable frame rates, and various display tweaks that can even emulate the funky NTSC connection.
Playing games is easy, either select them from the file browser in Nestopia, or you can drag them into the app, or once the filetype is associated (.nes ROM), just double click on a ROM file to play it.
Nestopia is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later, and I’m running it perfectly in Mac OS X 10.6.6. You can download Nestopia directly from the developer.
What about NES Games and ROM files?
NES game files are known as ROM’s, and despite being old titles some of the copyrights are still maintained which can put ROM’s into a legal grey area. If you already own the games for a physical NES, there’s an argument that you’re entitled to have the ROM because they function as a backup. The legality of game ROM’s are often blurry at best, so you’ll have to find these ROM files on your own. Nearly any game is just a Google search away, and they’re all relatively tiny file sizes (Super Mario World is 45kb!).