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An emulator is a program that mimics another device, allowing programs to be run on another device as if they were running natively.

Computer and video game companies have used emulators to run applications and games from past systems on modern hardware.

Microsoft

The Microsoft Xbox 360 had a custom emulator to play a selection of Xbox games. The Xbox One, likewise, has emulators to play a selection of Xbox and Xbox 360 game.

Rare Replay had custom emulators to allow the Xbox One to play Sinclair ZX-Spectrum, Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, and Xbox Rare games included in the compilation. The Xbox 360 games used the standard Microsoft emulator.

Nintendo

The Nintendo Virtual Console store, for Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, contains several custom emulators which run the games offered for sale on the device for which they were purchased, including emulators for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Sega Master System, Genesis, NEC Turbografx-16, SNK Neo Geo AES, Commodore 64, MSX, and arcade.

NERD developed the Nintendo Entertainment System emulator used in the NES Classic Edition and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator used in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition. The Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online service for the Nintendo Switch is based on NERD's NES Classic Edition emulator.

Sega

Sega released several Genesis games for various systems via emulation:

Sony

The early Sony PlayStation 2 consoles had a chip that allowed play of PlayStation games directly. Later PlayStation 2 models had this chip removed, and a custom emulator played PlayStation games. The PlayStation 3 also had a custom emulator to play PlayStation games. Early models of the PlayStation 3 had a chip that allowed play of PlayStation 3 games directly. Later models had a custom emulator to play PlayStation 2 games, and this was taken out in later model revisions. The PlayStation 4 is not capable of playing games from any previous console.

The PlayStation Classic uses the open-source emulator PCSX ReARMed to play the included PlayStation games.

Other

The cover disc of the eighth issue of Retro Gamer magazine, The Graftgold Collection, used fifteen emulators to play the thirty-one included Graftgold games across six platforms

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