Carbon Engine

The Carbon Engine is a development tool that allows legacy content to be ported to modern platforms. Old, well-loved releases can find a second wind on all-new hardware using the Carbon Engine. It is a core component of Limited Run’s vision for a world that is Forever Physical.

Giving retro games a new life on modern consoles.

What is the Carbon Engine?
Created internally at Limited Run Games, Carbon Engine is a multi-platform development tool that helps different emulators interface with modern hardware. It uses emulation as a base, on top of which the Carbon Engine builds features like UI, rendering, audio, data management, controller inputs, and console-specific SDK features like trophies. It allows Limited Run to put out highly accurate, emulation-based ports of classic games for modern hardware.

What are its goals?
Carbon Engine development aims to breathe new life into releases that are rare, highly sought-after, or otherwise no longer available and make them more accessible to consumers, preservationists, and developers. Furthermore, the Carbon Engine seeks to create a perfectly accurate experience for the player— creating a true “carbon copy” of the original game they played long ago and allowing new players to play games as intended by the developers. - Interested in using the Carbon Engine? Are you a developer seeking to revisit your back catalog with the Carbon Engine? We’d love to hear from you. If you have further questions or want to learn more about what the Carbon Engine can do with your legacy content, please contact

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Which platforms does the Carbon Engine support?

Carbon Engine currently supports legacy content from the following platforms:

  • NES/Famicom
  • SNES/Super Famicom
  • Genesis/Mega Drive
  • Game Boy, Game Boy Color & Game Boy Advance
  • Game Gear
  • Master System
  • Sega CD/Mega CD (Coming soon)
  • PlayStation (Coming soon)
  • Benefits of the Carbon Engine:

  • An easy pipeline for developers to re-release legacy content—The Carbon Engine allows you to tap into your back catalog at no expense while maximizing your earnings on the resulting digital release

  • The capability to adjust and modernize the user experience, creating a more intuitive version of games without compromising the integrity of their original vision.

  • Accuracy—the Carbon Engine team cares about game and hardware accuracy. A game re-developed via Carbon will feel and play just like it did 10, 20, or 30 years ago. The only difference will be the controller in your hand.
  • Top Carbon Engine Games Shipped:

    Shantae - Ported from the GameBoy Color to the Nintendo Switch, Shantae was the first Carbon Engine release from Limited Run Games. Before this Carbon-powered release, new fans of the Shantae series had few opportunities to play the franchise’s opening title. The new digital release allowed players to bypass the cost-prohibitive used market and experience the title as if they were playing on original hardware.

    River City Girls Zero - River City Girls Zero is an updated English edition of Super Famicom title Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, the first title in the Kunio-kun franchise to feature the infamous River City Girls, Kyoko and Misako, in action. Building on top of the original release, the game is fully-localized in English, features new manga-style cinematics and an anime intro sequence, and includes a new theme song composed and performed by the brilliant Megan McDuffee.

    Check out the latest Carbon Game Trailer:

    Ready to run your game on Carbon?


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