15 best emulators for Android
Older consoles are an endearing and memorable part of a lot of childhoods. From the SNES to the PlayStation, there were a ton of amazing, iconic games, some of which are considered good even by today’s standards. There are a lot of those games being re-released on newer consoles, but sometimes there isn’t anything better than the original. With emulators, you can play the originals whenever you want on your devices. Let’s check out the best emulators for Android. Keep in mind that emulators are finicky by nature and will sometimes work flawlessly and other times will not.
- Looking for Android emulators for your computer? Sorry about that, you can find that list here!
- Check out the best Nintendo 64 emulators here!
- Here are the best Android games, ever!
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. There is a bit of a learning curve with this one, but we had no trouble running some old classics once we got it up and running. It also supports FastSID and ReSID sound modes, most gaming controllers, and it should work in both portrait and landscape mode. If $3.99 is too much, Frodo C64 is a free, albeit less stable C64 emulator.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
Despite its name, ClassicBoy is not done by the same developers who do the other “boy” emulators. 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, PS1, GameBoy Advance and Color, NES, and Sega Genesis. 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 an individual console 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.
DraStic DS Emulator is the most complete and functional Nintendo DS emulator available. It has (very) above average game compatibility, controls, and various other functions. It supports most controllers, multiple formats for the dual screen set up, cheat code support, fast forward mode, and you can sync your game saves with Google Drive. Our favorite feature is the ability to customize the placement of the two DS screens so you can play comfortably. It’s a good emulator, even if it is a bit pricey.
You may have heard of ePSXe because it is one of the more popular PlayStation emulators on PC. This version is the Android port and it’s considered one of the two best ones available right now. It boasts high compatibility and good performance with almost all titles. It also contains the standard emulator stuff like button remapping, configurable on-screen controls, and support for most gamepads. It also has OpenGL plugins that can improve graphics and performance which is especially nice since PlayStation games upscale so poorly on HD screens. It’s relatively inexpensive and it works well.
FPse is probably the better of the two main Playstation 1 emulators available on Google Play. It has a ton of features, including really good performance and compatibility that should support almost all Playstation 1 games. There is also support for cheat codes, overlay control themes, game controller support, support for most file extensions, and an OpenGL plugin mode that can add all kinds of visual tweaks. It’s powerful, it works, and you can even play multiplayer on some titles. It’s definitely more complex than ePSXe and a better emulator if you don’t mind giving it some time and learning how to use it. However, if you want something simple, you may want to try ePSXe first.
John GBC is a Game Boy Color emulator and one of the best ones currently available. It’s rock solid with high compatibility and performance and also includes a slew of additional features, including customizable controller overlays, support for zipped files, fast forward and slow motion modes, turbo buttons, Bluetooth controller support, Dropbox support, and it can be played offline. Those looking to get back into the Game Boy Color classics should definitely check this one out.
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. It also supports most game pads, cheat code support, and it should also work in any orientation. There is a free version and a paid version that work pretty much the same way with the paid version being updated more frequently.
MegaN64 is based on the open source Mupen64 project and includes a few additional tweaks and functions that the original Mupen64 doesn’t have. This one is functional and should work well in most scenarios. N64 support hasn’t been great on Android so the game compatibility and performance could definitely be better. However, if you’re looking for something that works well enough, this could be the way to go for right now. At the very least, it’s entirely free so it won’t cost you anything to try it out.
See also: The best Nintendo DS emulators for Android
In terms of pure Google Play ratings, My Boy is the highest rated on the list and it’s a Game Boy Advance emulator. 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. The feature list is quite long, but it does support the basics like save states, customizable controls, Bluetooth controller support, and high level BIOS emulation so you don’t have to go find a Game Boy Advance BIOS to play. It’s $4.99 but definitely worth it.
My OldBoy is a Game Boy Color and regular Game Boy emulator by the same developers who did My Boy – Game Boy Advance Emulator. It’s rock solid with great compatibility and some awesome features, including the ability to choose a color palette for black and white Game Boy games to give them some color. It also comes with cheat code support, fast forward and slow motion, link cable emulation, customizable controller overlays and a lot more. It’s pretty good.
Nostalgia.NES Pro is an NES emulator and one of the best on the market. It boasts high compatibility and should work with just about every game you can think of. It also comes with customizable overlay controls, game pad support, WiFi controller mode, and cheat code support. It also has Famicom support in case there are any titles for that you want to play that didn’t make it to the NES. It’s solid, it’s stable, and it’s inexpensive.
The PSP emulator market is fairly slim but there is one that has separated itself from the pack and that is PPSSPP. It had a rough beginning, but the developers have clearly worked hard to update, iterate, and improve the app and now it rests solely at the top as the best Sony PSP emulator out there right now. The game compatibility is decent, but improving and the app also has some additional options and features. Not all games run all that well, but it should run most at least well enough.
RetroArch is here by popular demand from our readers. It apparently emulates a whole bunch of systems and it seems to do so competently most of the time. It has a range of unique features, including support for Play and Watch Games where you can play a game and then watch it. It also has customizable overlay controls, cheat code support, and more. It’s open source, entirely free, and contains no advertisements. It’s a solid option and one that you should definitely check out.
SuperRetro16 is an SNES emulator and one of the best ones around. It has undergone a number of name changes over the years, but remains the rock solid emulator it always has been. It has very high game support, including difficult titles like Super Mario RPG along with customizable overlay controls, game pad support, cloud sync for your save files, cheat code support, network multiplayer, fast forward and slow motion, and more. There are many SNES emulators, but we’ve never had a problem with this one.
[Price: Free / $2.18]
Tendo64 is one of the few Nintendo 64 emulators that is still under active development (as of March 2016). Like most, it’s built on the Mupen64 open source project but with additions and tweaks to make it better. It features customizable layouts, cheat code support, multiplayer capabilities, and better than average game compatibility. It seems to work better than most and it does have the advantage of being actively developed so it may get even better. Best of all, it’s entirely free with the pro version simply removing ads.
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If we missed any of the best emulators for Android, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.