There is no actual installer for Mesen – run the Mesen.exe application and a first-run configuration wizard will be shown.
Data Storage Location: This section of the wizard allows you to select where you prefer to keep Mesen’s files.
Input Mappings: Select which input types you want to use to play games. There are built-in presets for:
You can select multiple presets at once, but only a single keyboard layout.
Create a shortcut on my desktop: Check this option if you want to add a Mesen shortcut to your desktop.
Mesen’s default configuration should work out of the box and allow you to get right into playing games.
To load a game, use the File→Open command and select any supported file (
.unf) you want to load.
FDS games require a BIOS file. When you load a FDS game for the first time, Mesen will ask you for the BIOS file – without one, running FDS games is not possible.
FDS games were originally stored on floppy disks - sometimes split across multiple disks and disk sides. The
Game menu contains a number of additional shortcuts for FDS games to handle these:
VS System games were originally in the form of arcade cabinets – unlike FDS games, playing them does not require any special BIOS.
Being arcade cabinets, VS System games typically require the player to insert coins before the game can be played. Additionally, the arcade cabinets could often be configured via a number of physical DIP switches – for example, to select how much money needs to be inserted to play, or to alter a game’s difficulty. The
Game menu offers additional options when playing VS System games to handle these:
NSF and NSFe files are used to store music from NES and Famicom games.
When loading NSF files into Mesen, the UI will change into a media player style UI. From this UI, you can control the volume, select the track, pause the music or fast forward by holding down the mouse button.
Additionally, the two icons at the top right allow you to toggle the repeat and shuffle playback modes.
The game selection screen is shown when no game is currently loaded – it will display the last games you’ve played, along with a screenshot of the game at the point where you left off playing. The number of games shown depends on the window’s size.
You can use this screen via the key bindings for player 1 - e.g press the d-pad to change selection, and the
A button to start the game. You can also navigate the screen with your mouse – use the arrows on each side of the screen to change game, and click on the game’s screenshot to start playing.
Mesen has a number of shortcut keys that you may find useful:
If you load a state, reset or power cycle by mistake, you can use the rewind feature to undo the action.
Mesen supports a large number of command-line options.
To see a full list and some examples, click on the Help→Command-line Options menu option.