Play Classic Super Nintendo (SNES) Games on Ubuntu Linux

Perhaps most of our readers are old enough to have experienced playing some of the popular video games of the 80's and the early 90's on Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Although the visual graphics looked pretty much garbage when compared to today's games, I know how enjoyable those classic games were and still think about the countless hours that I've spent just to get to the highest level and ultimately kill the evil boss. So if you are like me who wants to relive the good old days of gaming, you don't have to purchase an old NES or SNES console to do it. Because if you have a Linux box, or in this case Ubuntu, then you are good to go.

Here's a step-by-step instruction on how you can easily play classic SNES games on Ubuntu:

1. First, you will have to install an SNES emulator. There are actually several SNES emulators that are available for Linux, but I would recommend you use the popular ZSNES. To get the ZSNES package on Ubuntu, just open Synaptic Package Manager, look for "zsnes" and install it. Or you can do it quick and dirty via the Linux terminal with this command:

sudo apt-get install zsnes

2. Now that you have ZSNES installed, you will need to get some games by downloading SNES ROMs. --Search for them on Google or on Bit Torrent sites. They say that it is illegal to download ROMs so it's up to you to take the risk. The downloaded games will be in .zip format but there's no need to extract them.

3. It's time to open the ZSNES emulator, and on Ubuntu it should be at Applications --> Games.

4. From the ZSNES "GAME" menu, load the SNES ROM by navigating to where you saved it.

5. After loading the SNES ROM, you can now start playing. While the game is running, you can press ESC to access the menu bar. Feel free to explore other options and configure ZSNES to your own liking.

Have fun!


  1. Awesome. I can't wait to deploy and play.

  2. AnonymousJuly 30, 2009

    Nice to see that zsnes is now in official repositories. Too bad it segfaulted here on 64-bit Fedora :( .