6 best SNES emulators for Android
Emulators have been popular on Android for a long time. Back in the day when the best games on the platform were Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, emulators allowed gamers to experience console games on their devices long before developers brought console-level games to the platform itself. Not only that, but it allows many of us to replay our childhood favorites. In this short list, we’ll take a look at the best SNES emulators for Android.
[Price: Free / $2.99]
John SNES is from a long line of emulators from this developer that have a reputation for being done well. It’s very basic in terms of features but it does include turbo mode, cheat support, fast forward and slow down modes, Dropbox support, and support for third party controllers (wired, wireless, Bluetooth). You can try it out for free but to get the full experience, you’ll need to fork out the very reasonable $2.99. It features high compatibility and it really is solid.
Retroarch is an all-in-one style emulator that plays games from various consoles including the SNES. The developers boast a fully open source app here so you can go see the source code on your own if you want to. There is also no advertising and is totally free to use. The only real problem is that it hasn’t been updated since March of 2014 so it’s hard to say whether the app is still being actively developed. Otherwise, it’s a great free option.
First up is probably the best on the list and that is SNES9x EX+. This is an open source emulator which means the source code is posted somewhere where you can actually see it. The only recommendation is having a phone with at least a 1GHz processor which is pretty much every phone available period right now. It features all the stuff you’d need like solid game support, support for .sfc and .smc files (along with the traditional .zip), and even support for save games created on PC emulators. The interface isn’t the best looking, but with emulators you want functionality. You’ll be too busy playing games to care what the menu looks like. Also, this is totally free with no ads.
SNESDroid is also free and has most of the features you want in an emulator and a few fun features to play with. One such example is your choice of shaders to help tweak the graphics in your games. It’s a relatively older emulator and the developer hasn’t updated it since 2012 so it’s safe to assume that the features it has are the features it will have forever. It plays games and that is what is most important but because it has been so long since an update, there have been some compatibility problems.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
This is by far the most popular SNES emulator on the list. It has a boat load of features and some of them are actually fairly awesome. Along with the standard stuff like strong game compatibility and performance, SuperGNES also offers Dropbox support so you can play the same game (and save) across multiple devices, Game Genie support, Turbo mode, a wide range of supported formats, and a fairly polished and enjoyable interface that includes game cover art. It’s the only one on the list that costs money but the feature list is much longer. There are some problems here and there as some users still report the occasional issue but generally speaking it is a very solid offering. Note, as of early 2015, this app has renamed SuperLegacy16.
This last one is kind of a wild card. SNESoid used to be a very popular app in the Google Play Store but was pulled due to legal concerns. Fortunately, the app is now available for free using the button below. Unfortunately, you’ll have to download the APK yourself and sideload it manually. This app hasn’t been updated in a couple of years so you can expect some compatibility issues depending on your device. That said, it still runs very smoothly for most games on most devices. There is a fast forward mode (to speed up game play), C-Core support (allows the play of games like Super Mario RPG), and support for external controllers. It’s free and it’s a little off the beaten path but at one point it was one of the most solid emulators available.
The list is pretty short but that is because emulator development is a little more complicated than one would expect. At this point, there are emulators that are good enough and many have decided to either stop trying or to begin contributing to other, more open source efforts. Even so, these four emulators have about all the features you’d ever need in an SNES emulator. If we missed a good emulator, let us know in the comments!