12 best emulators for Android
Older consoles are an endearing and memorable part of a lot of childhoods. Not only were they bastions for gaming graphics and pushing the envelopes of their day, but they also had some of the best video games of all time. Even today you can find games on these consoles sprinkled among best-of lists of nearly every genre. So can we play these games on Android? You bet we can and in this list we’ll look at the best emulators for their respective consoles. In case you’re unfamiliar with emulators, your mileage may vary depending on your device, version of Android, which games you plan on playing, and your luck. Enjoy!
If you’re into Commodore 64 (or you want to be), the most stable emulator around right now is C64.emu. It supports the most number of formats and seems to work better with things like multi-disc support. It is a tad pricy at $3.99 but nostalgia buffs won’t mind shelling out the price of a Big Mac to enjoy some old classics. If you absolutely must have it for free, there is a slightly less stable emulator that is free called Frodo C64 that’s worth a shot.
Despite its name, you should not associate ClassicBoy with other emulators on this list like MyBoy as they are not done by the same developers. This one is among the lowest rated on this list but it does have a pretty fun little function in that it emulates a bunch of systems all in one app. Some of the included emulators are SNES, PSX, GameBoy Advance and Color, NES, and Sega. It seems to work generally well but there are some titles that the emulator is not made for and thus has a lower game compatibility than a specific game emulator would. If your tastes are pretty broad, your phone storage is really small, and you need an all-in-one solution, this one isn’t half bad.
First on our list is DraStic and it is the best Nintendo DS emulator out there. It isn’t totally complete just yet, but in terms of features, smooth game play, and ROM compatiblity, this is about as good as you can get. It supports a huge number of games and has good controls and menu options. It’s a tad pricy at $7.99 but for the chance to play some of the Nintendo DS classics, it’s worth every penny. Click the button to check it out!
It’s always been hotly debated on which PlayStation emulator was the best. Many say that ePSXe is the best but if you want full control, all the options, and the best overall experience, FPse wins out. It has an amazing ROM compatibility and more options and tweaks than you can shake a controller at. The only downside is the app is definitely not simple. Using it requires a slight learning curve but once you get around the app, it’s the best out there.
If you were more of a handheld console person, there are some great emulators out there for you too. To start, John GBC which is a Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulator. It’s highly rated, stable, and has the best ROM compatibility. Included is fast forward control, turbo buttons, and cheats are enabled. Reviewers have stated the emulator is quick and has virtually no outstanding problems. If you liked the GBA era, this is the emulator for you.
It is actually quite difficult to find a good Sega Genesis emulator on Android but MD.emu fits the bill. This one is an open-source Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD, and Master System/Mark III emulator that pretty much covers all of the early Sega years. There is a free version and a paid version that work pretty much the same way with the paid version being updated more frequently. According to our testing and user reviews, this is your best option for those early Sega fans out there.
The emulator crowd on Android was begging for a functioning N64 emulator and they finally got one. It’s not perfect and there are some minor graphical glitches here and there, but it’s the most complete N64 emulator you can get right now. It’s also based on the popular Mupen64 so if you liked that one, this one is pretty similar. Also, it’s free (with ads) and free stuff is awesome. If one isn’t working, simply give Mupen a shot. One of the two should have what you’re looking for.
In terms of pure Google Play ratings, My Boy is the highest rated on the list. It’s incredibly stable with great compatibility and a lot of options. This includes the fast forward control so you can speed through slow parts of the game. This is a great feature for RPG players because it makes level grinding very quick. It looks good, is customizable, and worth every penny if you’re fan of Game Boy Advance games.
None of us will ever forget the days of the original Mario Bros video games. Now, you can relive those days with a good NES emulator and our pick was Nostalgia.NES. As with the rest of these, this has the prerequisite stability and ROM compatibility needed to be here. It also includes some awesome features like virtual controller customization and the rewind function. The rewind function lets you rewind a few seconds of game play so you can try it again. If you want to try it out, the button is right there.
The PSP emulator market is fairly skim but there is one that’s separated itself from the pack and that’s PPSSPP. It’s not as polished as some of these but PSP is also a less popular console than a Super Nintendo or a Sony PlayStation so it’s expected that development would take longer. That said, it does have an above average ROM compatibility and it works on a lot more devices than most of the others. It’s far from perfect but they are working hard on it. If you like PSP games, this is the one you’ll want to try out.
RetroArch is here by popular demand from our readers. It apparently emulates a number of systems all at once and the developers are working on ways to have it play movies and have augmented reality stuff. While the future looks great, the present isn’t so bad either. Much like ClassicBoy above, the all-in-one emulator does have some compatibility problems that a one-system emulator probably wouldn’t have but generally speaking it’s pretty solid and has a decent game compatibility list. It’s also free so it’s not like you would be wasting money if you didn’t like it!
Super Nintendo is generally heralded as one of the best consoles of all time. It had a range of games from shooters to action/adventure games and one of the healthiest RPG selections ever. Even though games are bigger and more beautiful than ever, you’d be hard pressed to find a gamer who doesn’t like to pop open Super Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy 3, or Chrono Trigger every once in awhile. For an emulator, we recommend SuperGNES. It’s solid and stable with a plethora of options and customizations. It’ll even go find the game art for your ROMs so you can select like you do with music.
Best emulator for Android wrap-up
Emulators are funny things. Sometimes they work flawlessly and sometimes they just don’t. Years ago, the Super Nintendo emulators used to work fine except for games like Super Mario RPG. Now, problems like that are in the past. The emulator space is far from perfect but the developers seem to be working hard to let everyone play their old favorites once again. These things are also pretty difficult to find in the Play Store. If we happened to miss one and you want to tell us about it, feel free to do so in the comments below.