By Squarepusher –

Another point release – and a lot more to talk about again.

New cores

So given the power of the Shield, we decided to dust off some libretro cores that have previously only been used for PC. bsnes/higan Performance core was high on our list. Thankfully, the nVidia Shield puts up quite the show.

I have done some extensive performance tests with bsnes/higan v0.92 on RetroArch Android (on the Shield) and I can confirm that every single non-coprocessor game runs at fullspeed and runs great. That means – every game that is not an SA-1/SuperFX/DSP/Cx4-coprocessor enhanced game will run just fine with bsnes/higan on a Shield.

bsnes/higan Balanced core according to maister did around 57fps with Zelda 3 – so *nearly fullspeed* but obviously Performance core is a better candidate for now on the Shield. Perhaps with the Shield 2 (Tegra 5?) we could expect co-processor games to run at fullspeed on the Performance core and for every non-coprocessor game to run at fullspeed on the Balanced core.

Also, need I remind you – yes, battery usage with bsnes will be higher than with any other SNES core. And no, unlike bsnes/higan on the PC, you can just use your trusty old .SFC/.SMC ROMs on it.


I’m gradually coming around to the realization that the people badmouthing the current UI are, in fact, somewhat correct. However, this complaint I feel is valid only when it comes to the Android frontend which does indeed suck. So I have begun to restructure it all and in this release you can start seeing the first fruits of that labor. It’s a lot better organized now and on a microconsole like the Ouya/Shield it shouldn’t require you to leave your fingers off the gamepad and reach for touchscreen or the mouse in order to reach certain parts of the UI.

TV Mode

Given that microconsoles seem to be all the rage now – I thought adding in this mode from the iOS port would be nice. What this does, is that it boots you straight into RGUI. From there, you can navigate the menu with your gamepad and launch cores/games from there. The best part about RGUI (which could always be toggled from an overlay or from a gamepad that has a menu button BTW) is that it has a ‘history list’. It keeps a history of every game you have played – and you can select that game from the history list and it will instantly switch to that game. This mode is even more convenient when you have “Auto-load state” and “Auto-save state” turned on so that it instantly starts again at the point where you last left off.

Also, this “History list” is also going to be making an appearance in the Android frontend UI at some point for convenience.


Somebody has offered to send an Ouya. We’ll see if it arrives here safely. If so, I’ll assume control over the RetroArch Ouya release as well along with Moonlighting and make sure that it’s a decent user experience on Ouya.

Download links

APK (r19) –

Google Play –

BTW – the iOS port will come a day later. It will have Picodrive and all updated cores and changes.