LJGP32 0.21 vs fNES32


Apr 7, 2003
I am one of the lucky people who have been handed betas of Rlyeh's fNES32 emulator for the GP32. As such, I haven't really felt a need to try out these other NES emulators that have cropped up. Inspired by 100+ degree weather (it's too damn hot to go out today!) I decided to put these two emulators head to head and see who came out on top.

Disclaimer: Both of these emulators are still considered betas. I am using the May beta of fNES32 vs Little John 0.21.

As a gamer, I set up the following categories: Video, Audio, Options, Compatibility/Speed, Overall.

Both Yoyo's Little John (LJ) and Rlyeh's fNES32 (fNES) do a good job in the video department. The biggest problem is that the NES has a resolution of 256x254, versus the GP32's screen size of 320x240. While both emulators look good, LJ gives users a couple of different screen resolutions / scale modes to choose from.
Winner: LJ

I don't use headphones on my GP32, so both emulators sounded the same to me. They both sound like I remember my old NES sounding, that's about all I can say.
Winner: Tie

Here's where LJ begins to pull away from fNES. With autofire modes, gamma correction, zapper emulation, the ability to load/save states and zipped rom support, there's no comparison here. LJ is the clear winner here.
Winner: LJ

Really, this is the bottom line. Options and sound are all secondary to how fast and how many games the things play, right? So, how do these two emulators stack up against each other?

Basically, every NES rom I tried can be divided up into three categories. Games that ran equally well on both emulators, games that ran slower on fNES, and games that didn't run at all on fNES.

Archon, Battle Chess, Defender of the Crown, Excitebike, Gauntlet, Gauntlet II, Ghosts'N Goblins, Super Mario Brothers I and III, and Tecmo Super Bowl all played flawlessly on LJ. Some of those wouldn't run at all on fNES. Others ran slow (SMB3), had graphics glitches (Tecmo Super Bowl), or messed up when scrolling (Gauntlet, Excitebike). The majority of other games I ran (Tetris, Dr. Mario, etc) were playable on both systems.
Winner: LJ

For me, the overall winner was LJGP32 0.21, much to my surprise. I really had it set in my mind that Rlyeh's fNES32 was going to be the best NES emulator to ever appear on the GP32, however, I was seriously impressed by Yoyo's emulator. LJGP32 played everything fNES32 did, played many games faster, and played several roms fNES32 choked on.

As one final disclaimer, let me remind everyone that fNES32 is still in development, and the final version will probably play many more roms and be much quicker than the current beta. That being said, those sitting around waiting for it instead of trying out LJGP32 are doing themselves a huge injustice.
Nice comparison Flack, would you mind if I posted it on my site so that it doesn't get lost in the forums?


GP32zine will have a comparison of all three NES emulators :p Well I've written it. From my testing, I found that fNes plays a lot of rare games that LJ doesn't support as it runs a standard core, and shares (in)compatibility with Nester.

However, it's important to stress, NesterGP, LJGP and fNes32 are all well-coded, great emus that we are blessed with here. Competition is a good thing :)
Absolutely, I agree 100%. I think I (and a lot of other people) were so caught up in the fNES32 hype I wasn't even giving the other two a fair shake. I'm glad I did.

Rico, did you mean rare games as in not common, or Rare (the company) games? I'll be curious to read your review! I'm also curious to find out which beta of fNES32 you used. I know that some are faster, some are slower, some are more and less compatible.

If anything, I think this will make all the emulator authors push to make their programs even greater. I'd like to try NesterGP also, but right now I'm so thrilled with LJGP32 that I'm not sure what extra it could offer??
Meh, Fnes works for me. It runs great and emulates the games that I want to play. I dont know what all the hype is about in nes emulation right out of nowhere, I wish for a good speed genesis emu.
At the moment my favorite NES emu happens to be Little John and I'm looking forward to future public releases for this most, but I'm still keeping an open eye out on fNES and NesterGP.. :)
Mofokubik posted on Jul 20 2003 said:
Meh, Fnes works for me. It runs great and emulates the games that I want to play. I dont know what all the hype is about in nes emulation right out of nowhere, I wish for a good speed genesis emu.
fNES worked okay for me, but Little John worked much better, especially with those roms I mentioned. All the hype about NES emulation is coming from the fact that NES emulators have been released. When a good speed Genesis emu comes out, rest assured people will talk about it as well.
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Just a quick-question. Does FNES use 66mhz or 133? because I know LJ uses 133 so if FNES uses 66 that would explain the speed (personally i would prefer 66 due to less battery power consumption).
Fnes runs at 66mhz and he thinks that when hes finished coding that it will b 100% full speed at this clock rate :-D. I agree, i think that ill use fnes when it comes out just to save a lil bit of battery life.
66MHz, are you sure ? :huh:

If so I'm impressed ! :D

but I hardly believe it.... Anyway, I'm waiting to try it and compare with

my emu : competition is motivation!
No, fNes runs at 133 mhz. It also has the best sound of the 3 emus and the scroll in Super Mario Bros 3 is perfect :)
I would have said it, but Rico beat me to it. GP32:zine will have a full feature article, covering LJgp, Fnes32 and NesterGP.

You can't wait, can you? You know you can't ;)
I have two different fNES betas, one from April and one from May. One plays SMB3 at 95-98% speed, with not so good sound. The other plays it at 75%, with good sound (but obviously slowed down). Maybe you guys have a different release than those two?

LJGP32 looks to me like it's running SMB3 at 100% sound/speed. If he's doing that by overclocking to 133, more power to him. I have two sets of rechargable batteries and an AC adapter should both of those run out. I dont' really care what mhz the emulators run at, I just want to play the best one. If fNES32 can crank out the same speed at 66mhz then I might switch over, but if it's slower, I won't.

I probably don't go through a set of batteries a week on my GP32, so maybe that's why the extra use doesn't bother me. I play occasionally in the car or at work or at home.
Your telling me you dont care about the mhz an emu uses, thats a little foolish isnt it? If lj is overclocked then it will fry your cpu and melt your screen. I dont think it is though because any serious developer knows its a bad thing to do...

And I have the fnes beta with bad sound and I like it. No need for anything better cause most of the music gets annoying anyways. The sound is fine but it doesnt have pcm crap. But thats why I like it.
just to clear things a bit.

ljgp32 runs at 133Mhz, as shown in the browser & the messages before starting a rom.
Most emulators are running at this frequency and there is no danger for your
handheld. The gp32 can be seriously harmed if runned for a long time at
more than 133Mhz (gpengine & scummvm comes to mind here with the 166Mhz