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NES Emulation: Nestopia Tutorial

About Nestopia

This tutorial is to help you with Nestopia. Nestopia is an excellent Nintendo emulator. It's considered the best. You might be asking yourself "But, which one is better? Nestopia or FCE Ultra?" Well, FCE Ultra seems to have better compatibility with games, and it's better for capturing screen shots. As for Nestopia, the emulator itself is programmed better and is more stable, hence it'll work better on your computer than FCE Ultra. Plus Nestopia has more nifty screen renders.

*If you would like to download Nestopia, I have it in my emulators page.

Extracting & Placement

I suggest you make a new folder called "NES" within a folder called "Emulation". You don't have to, but it makes things a little easier for you if you're not too computer literate. Extract all the contents of this emulator's zip file into the NES folder. If you don't know how to extract files from a zip file then read this. Put all of your NES ROMs into the NES folder too. Nestopia has zip support, so you do not have to extract ROMs from their zip files. Double-click on "nestopia" to open it.

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Q: Nestopia won't open!

If you opened Nestopia and get an error that won't allow the program to open, that means you need to change your color quality. To do so:

1. Right-click an empty spot on your desktop then click on Properties.

2. You should get the "Display Properties" window. Click on the Settings tab then click on the white box under "Color quality", which is right here. On my computer I just have 2 options: High (24 bit) and Medium (16 bit). Your computer may show different options since different video games support different color qualities, but it should have Medium (16 bit).

3. Go ahead and click on that then click Apply & OK. Nestopia should now open without a problem..

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Highslide JSSetting up the buttons on your keyboard or gamepad

1. Click on the Options menu then Input.

2. You'll end up in the screen you see toward the right (click to enlarge). Notice where my beautiful arrows are pointing. The 3rd column lists the default buttons for the 2nd column's NES buttons

3. Click Set All then Nestopia will take you through each button, then you would just simply press the button or gamepad button you want the corresponding button to be. Nifty, eh? Just like ZSNES's button configuration.

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Loading a game

Click on the File menu then Open. If you placed your games in the same folder that Nestopia is in, then you will see them here. Click on a game then click on the Open button.

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Full screen

Press Alt+Enter to enter full screen. Press Alt+Enter again to go back to window mode. During forget, pressing Esc disables/enables the top menu bar.

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Save states

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in a game. Once a game is open, press either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 to instantly save it. Each number is a different save slot. To recall a save state, just hold down the Shift key then press the number where you saved your save state.
• Nestopia also have a feature that will save your save states automatically! To enable it, go to Options > Auto Saver > Enabled. To stop it, go to Options > Auto Saver > Stop.

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Screen renders (video modes)

Screen renders make the screen look all pretty instead of pixel-ish. To access them:

1. Click on the Options menu then Video.

Highslide JS2. You will end up in the screen you see toward the right (click to enlarge). Click on the white box under "Filter". You'll see a list with Scanlines, NTSC, 2xSaI, ScaleX, and Hqx. And whatever of these you choose, each one has more options when you click Settings. The following is what everything does. Scroll further down if you want to view a thumbnail gallery displaying several of these filters in action.


    • Bright: adds bright scanlines.
    • Dark: adds dark scanlines.
    • None: attempts to simulate a TV.
    • Bright: attempts to simulate a bright TV.
    • Dark: attempts to simulate a dark TV.
    • 2xSaI: smears pixels together with a slight blur, and does so diagonally in attempt to round every edge.
    • Super 2xSaI: combines 2xSai and Eagle.
    • Super Eagle: same as 2xSai but the screen is less blurred and not all the edges are rounded off.
    • 2x: attempts to round pixels together without any smearing or blurring.
    • 3x: ditto, but does it better. Although it may cause Nestopia to lag.
    • 2x: rounds pixels together with some slight aliasing. The most advanced filter yet!
    • 3x: ditto, but does it better. Although it may cause Nestopia to lag.


3. Under "Settings", choose 32 bit if you want the screen to render sharper and better. Depending on the screen render you chose, doing this may cause Nestopia to lag.

4. Click on OK when you're done.

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Unlimited sprites

You know how the NES scrambles graphics whenever the screen gets busy with sprites? Nestopia can disable that. :) To do so, click on Machine > Options > No Sprite Limit (or press press Shift+U).

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Screen capture

Press Alt+E to capture a screen shot. A window will pop up; just type in what you want to name the screen shot then press enter. Nestopia will save it as a PNG image and toss it in the "screenshots" folder, which is within Nestopia's folder.

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