sega genesis mini 4

Sega had several hit consoles in the 1980s and 1990s. It lost a bit of steam in the 2000s, but plenty of people still want to play games from Sega consoles. The purpose of this list is obvious. We’re going to talk about the best Sega emulators for PC and Mac. We’ll cover most of the Sega platforms as well. We have a list of the best Sega emulators for Android if you’re interested.

This list covers Sega Genesis mainly. However, RetroArch and OpenEmu can do most of the other Sega consoles as well.

BlastEm

BlastEm screenshot

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

A quick and accurate Sega Genesis and Master Drive emulator

  • Pricing: Free
  • Platforms: PC, OSX, and Linux (Downloads)

What we like:

  • Reasonably good and accurate emulation.
  • Still in active development.
  • Works on multiple platforms.
  • A decent set of features, including high compatibility, turbo mode, slow mode, and XBAND and Saturn keyboard emulation.

What we don’t like:

  • No support for Apple M1 or M2 devices, or the latest macOS versions.
  • Only works for Genesis and Master Drive.

BlastEm is a reasonably good Sega Genesis and Master Drive emulator. It boasts a high compatibility rate, a decently easy UI, and good performance. It works on high-end systems without an issue, but some low or old systems may struggle a bit. In day-to-day use, it’s pretty seamless. You open the emulator, tell it to load a ROM, and you’re off to the races. There are some customization settings, but nothing you won’t find in other emulators as well. We like this one because it’s still in active development, unlike most standalone Genesis emulators these days, and it should get even better with time. Our only real complaint is that it doesn’t support newer macOS versions or Apple’s M1 or M2 chips.


Exodus

Exodus screenshots

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

A standalone Genesis and Master Drive emulator with excellent accuracy.

  • Pricing: Free
  • Platforms: Windows (Downloads)

What we like:

  • Clean emulation with good compatibility.
  • Simple settings with easily configurable controls.
  • It has excellent performance with low input lag.
  • The long-term goal is to support other consoles as well, which we hope will happen someday.

What we don’t like:

  • PC only.
  • Not currently in active development as of 2020.

Exodus is a lesser-known but highly optimized Sega Genesis and Master Drive emulator. You get the usual stuff here, like the ability to map your buttons to a controller or keyboard along with savestates, debugging, and some other things. It adds in some niches, but wonderful niceties like being cycle accurate, which is good for speedrunning. The emulator ran everything we threw at it without much issue. It should be good enough for personal use. The developer says they are inactive at this time, so don’t expect any bug fixes for a while. Otherwise, this emulator should get you there.


Kega Fusion

Kega Fusion screenshots

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

An old, but still good emulator that works with Sega Genesis, Master Drive, Sega CD, 32x games, and Game Gear.

  • Pricing: Free
  • Platforms: PC, OSX, and Linux (Downloads)

What we like:

  • Very accurate, runs well, and works on older or lower-spec systems.
  • Supports multiple Sega systems, including Sega CD, 32x Sega games, and Game Gear.
  • High compatibility.
  • Commonly used by speedrunners because it’s that good.

What we don’t like:

  • Hasn’t been in active development for a very long time.
  • Doesn’t support Apple M1 or M2 devices or the latest macOS versions.

Kega Fusion is one of the big names in Sega emulation on PC and Mac. It’s been around for a long time, has been used by speedrunners for a while, and is highly accurate with good compatibility. The UI works well, and we didn’t have any problems running our test games. However, there is documentation that some games may not work properly, so your mileage may vary. In any case, this is an accessible emulator with plenty going for it. The only real downside is Apple’s lack of support for modern devices and chips. However, that’s also a consequence of the emulator not being in development for about a decade. It works fine, but if it starts messing up, you may want to try a different one.


OpenEmu

OpenEmu screenshot

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

A multi-system emulator that lets you play dozens of consoles, including most Sega consoles.

  • Pricing: Free
  • Platforms: macOS 10 or higher (Downloads)

What we like:

  • Supports multiple Sega emulators, including Sega Genesis and Master Drive, Sega 32x, Sega CD, and Sega Saturn.
  • It is one of the few emulators that work with Apple silicon and modern versions of macOS.
  • Boasts high compatibility, decent performance, and a slew of other features.
  • It includes systems other than Sega, so it works as a one-stop-shop for macOS emulation.

What we don’t like:

  • No PC or Linux version.
  • Doesn’t support all Sega systems.

OpenEmu is probably your best bet if you use modern macOS devices. This is one of the few emulators with modern macOS support along with support for Apple silicon. Luckily, it functions quite well. It’s the core system, similar to RetroArch, and you can download cores through the UI whenever you want to in order uses to increase your emulation across more systems. In practice, it runs just fine. It uses the Genesis Plus GX core along with the Mednafen core, so performance and compatibility should be on par with RetroArch, even if RetroArch uses a different Saturn core. In any case, this is about as good as it gets for modern macOS users, and this is the one we recommend you start with.


RetroArch

RetroArch Sega screenshots

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

A truly powerful emulator that can do dozens of consoles as long as you can get past the initial learning curve.

  • Pricing: Free
  • Platforms: PC, macOS, Linux, and many others (Downloads)

What we like:

  • Emulates many, many consoles, including Sega Genesis, Master Drive, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Game Gear, and others.
  • Has the best performance of any emulator on the list.
  • Works on Apple silicon and modern versions of macOS.
  • There are usually multiple cores per system, so you can pick and choose, which maximizes compatibility and performance.

What we don’t like:

  • There is a slight learning curve.
  • Maybe too many options for some people.
  • Not all cores are available on all platforms.

RetroArch is, without question, the best overall Sega emulator on any platform. It supports most Sega consoles and also supports most computing platforms. That gives it a leg up on everything else on the list. The performance was truly excellent, as it has access to the Genesis GX Plus core. We not only had no problems running anything, but it ran perfectly. For us, the only downside is that the learning curve is a bit steep if you’ve never worked with multi-console emulators that use cores before. Still, it’s definitely worth learning because this thing is a powerhouse.


If we missed any great Sega emulators, tell us about it in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.

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