- Out of Competition
- Other Consoles
- Home Computer Systems
- HONORABLE MENTIONS
Android devices are becoming stronger every year, enabling the development of better and visually stunning games. But sometimes, some of us want to replay games from the past that were available on some other platform. For that purpose there are programs that can emulate other systems, allowing us to experience the excitement once again. Luckily Android is powerful enough to support emulation, and year after year more emulators are being released for various computer platforms and consoles. Here at AndroGaming, we appreciate the effort developers put in, so we decided to devote part of our time on testing some of these apps, notify you of important updates and new emulator releases. So we decided to put up a list(s) of all the emulators hat can be used to play games (both free and paid), organize them by platform and when possible, put some of them on test.
To keep it short and simple, our main list will include only one or two of the best emulators per system, based on user ranking and number of downloads from the Google Play Store. We decided to prefer emulator apps available on the Google Play in order to simplify the installation process for those users that don’t know how to transfer APK files on their devices. Our full list will include all of the currently maintained emulators, regardless if they are present in the store, distributed on forums or dedicated websites, along with a hefty illustrated guide how to transfer and install APK files manually. We will try out best to keep this list updated, remove abandoned projects and add new ones as they become available. You are welcome to comment, suggest or inform us about new releases and updates.
Emulators are perfectly legal to own and use, however in order to get the necessary ROM and Bios files, you will have to own the system and the game you intend to play respectively. AndroGaming will not provide those files, look elsewhere. Furthermore, AndroGaming can not be held responsible if anything bad happens to your device by installing the software listed here.
Now that we got our behinds covered, let us proceed with the list.
Out of Competition
This is where you start your journey. Often called the mother of all emulators on Android, RetroArch actually incorporates different cores of multiple emulators. At this moment, RetroArch can provide emulation of over 14 different systems plus Doom and Quake game engine support. Best of all? RetroArch is free and will stay free forever. You can find more info by visiting the developers website.
Sony Playstation (PSX, PSONE)
FPse for Android
FPse for Android is the fastest and most compatible PSone emulator for handheld devices.(also known as PSX or Playstation 1)More than 200.000 active users and rated up to 4,5 stars on google play! Some of the newest additions include OpenGL HD Rendering and experimental LAN multiplayer mode.
ePSXe for Android
ePSXe for Android is a port from the famous ePSXe for PC. ePSXe provides very high compatibility and good speed. It is designed for smartphones and tablets, (for 1-4 players) including a fun 2 players option for tablets using split screen mode
Sony Play Station Portable (PSP)
While still in early stages of development, PPSSPP can already play number of games. It requires moderately powerful device and lots of patience. If you like to support further development, you are encouraged to purchase the Gold version of this emulator.
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
The only free NES emulator without restrictions or ads. This project is based on sources, published by original Nesoid developer, who in turn used code of GPFCE, forked from FCEUltra, currently incarnation of which is known as FCEUX. Nesoid is not available on Google Play, but you can download it by visiting its Sourceforge Project Page. Please note that you will have to enable “Unknown Sources” in your device settings in order to install the APK file.
NES/Famicom emulator based on FCEUX 2.2.2-svn (GPL), designed and tested on the original Droid/Milestone, Xoom, Galaxy S2, Nexus 7, and Xperia Play, but works on many devices with similar specs. It’s based on an up-to-date revision of well-known PC emulator FCEUX, offering some of the most accurate NES emulation on Android.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Snes 9X EX+
Based on Snes 9x 1.53, this emulator offers almost complete game compatibility. 1GHz+ device is recommended for best results, but for older devices a faster version is available at the developers website. Snes 9xEX+ is completely free without ads or any sort of restrictions.
Developed from the ground up to deliver the fastest play possible. SuperGNES offers couple of noteworthy features such as OpenGL support, dropbox cloud sync, 3rd party controller support and much more. Lite version of SuperGNES is also available, but it does not offer saving the game progress of any kind.
SuperN64 is a modified version of the Open Source project Mupen64+, which is licensed by GNU GPL v3. Modifications include performance enhancements for specific Phone Models such as the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S4 and small UI improvements.
Mupen64Plus, Android Edition (AE) is an N64 emulator for Android. It is currently in Beta testing, which means it is a work in progress. There are still many graphical, lag, and audio problems, even on modern devices. If you like to submit bug reports or help in Mupen64+ AE development, you can do so by visiting developers website.
Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance
Gameboy Color A.D.
Play all of your favorite classic games for free on your phone. Infinite replay value with built in achievements, hi-scores, game saves/loads, cheats, portrait and landscape modes, and more. Works with the wiimote controller apps, allowing users to play with an actual controller.
No Download – Unfortunately, this emulator disappeared from the Play Store
John GBA Lite
This is one of the most popular GB/GBC emulators that still receives regular updates. It supports both internal storage and external SD cards for game storage, has ZIP support, supports external controllers and on-screen buttons. This lite version is ad supported and there are no save game restrictions. The full version (without ads) can be purchased here for $2.99
VGBA runs GBA games on your Android phone or tablet, saves GameBoy game progress at any time, and even lets you cheat by adding health points, strength, or becoming invincible. VGBA will also let you play with generic Bluetooth joysticks, Xperia gaming buttons, Moga gamepads, iCade joysticks, and Sixaxis controllers.
Sega Master System
GENPlusDroid is an open source Sega Genesis emulator powered by GENPlus. Runs Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive games. High compatibility, games like Virtual Racing and Phantasy Star work full speed. Devices with a good GPU can use shaders to increase the graphic quality. GENPlus is free, ad supported (only in the main menu).
MasterGear emulates Sega MasterSystem, Sega GameGear, and other classic 8bit consoles from Sega. It runs MasterSystem and GameGear games right on your Android phone or tablet. Save game progress at any time and share it with friends, or play games together on the network.
Sega Genesis – Mega drive
AndroGens is an Megadrive / Genesis emulator for Android. It provides high game compatibility, xpreia play support, save states, support for 3rd party physical controllers and much more. This version is ad supported, but paid add-less version is also available here.
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD, and Master System/Mark III emulator based on portions of Genesis Plus/Gens/Picodrive (GPL), designed and tested on the original Droid/Milestone, Xoom, Galaxy S2, Nexus 7, and Xperia Play, but works on many devices with similar specs. MD.emu features accurate emulation is able to properly display graphics in game such as Panorama Cotton, Star Control, and the VS mode in Sonic 2. Sega CD support is currently considered beta, but its getting there.
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 (TG16) emulator based on Mednafen 0.9.22-wip (GPL). It provides zipped rom support of both .pcx and .sgx formats, CD emulation via loading CUE or TOC+BIN files, Configurable on-screen multi-touch controls & keyboard support and multiplayer support by pairing more then one external controller.
ColEm is a ColecoVision emulator. It runs Coleco games on your Android phone or tablet. Play Coleco games with Bluetooth joysticks, Xperia gaming buttons, Moga gamepad, or iCade joystick. Save game play at any time and restart once you get killed. Record ColecoVision music to MIDI files and use them as ringtones. Play with friends over WiFi or Internet, using NetPlay.
NeoGeo Pocket Color
Neogeo Pocket Color emulator based on Neopop (GPL) supporting PSG Sound, zipped roms, on screen virtual joypad and external Wiimote/Classic Controller/Wii U Pro Controller, iControlPad, and Zeemote JS1 support. Ad supported free version of this emulator is also available here.
A highly optimized and feature enhanced port of the latest SVN Version of the DOSBox DOS emulator for Android where new optimizations and features are introduced at a rapid pace. Run your old DOS games quickly, with full mouse, keyboard, sound and analog joystick emulation. Recent updates introduced external controller support (Xbox360, Sixaxis etc.) and IPX Network support. If you decide to buy this emulator, don’t forget to grab your DosBox Turbo Manager for free here. The manager allows easy profile configurations (per game) and shortcut creation.
ScummVM is not exactly an emulator, but it will provide you a way of playing old P&C adventures on your Android device. It works by replacing the executables shipped with the games, allowing you to play them on systems for which they were never designed! The project started back in 2001 and after more then a decade it spread across multiple platforms and devices. Full game compatibility list is available at the official ScummVM website. Please note that you will have to install additional addons depending on the game you wish to play. If you need help, follow this guide.
MAME4droid Reloaded is developed by David Valdeita (Seleuco), port of MAME 0.139 emulator by Nicola Salmoria and TEAM. MAME4droid Reloaded emulates arcade games supported by original MAME 0.139. This MAME4droid version is targeted to Dual-Core devices (1GHz and 512MB RAM minimum), because it is based on a high specs 2010 PC MAME build. For older, slower devices please use MAME4droid (0.37b5) from the same developer.
Neogeo arcade and home system emulator based on Gngeo 0.8-svn (GPL), designed and tested on the original Droid/Milestone, Xoom, Galaxy S2, Nexus 7, and Xperia Play, but works on many devices with similar specs. It requires user-supplied romsets from MAME 0.144 or newer for correct operation (neogeo.zip, etc). View the full compatibility list here.
Unfortunately the developer of this emulator decided to abandon the project. It’s a shame as it was working and was completely free. The links are down at the moment, and is no longer available at the Google Play store, but keep an eye on this Xda-Developers thread in case the author decides to resurrect the project.
Capcom Play System 2 (CPS2)
CPSEmu is a Capcom CPS2 emulator for android. Play your favorites CPS2 games like Marvel Vs. Capcom, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Progear, Mars Matrix and more on your android device. It was last updated over a year ago and Google Play link is dead, but fortunately the Xda-Developers thread is still there with all the APK’s attached.
Home Computer Systems
The Android port of the popular Frodo C64 emulator. It hasn’t been updated for a while, and still has problems providing both keyboard and joystick support at same time, but it is the best free Commodore 64 emulator for Android at this point.
Commercially supported alternative of Frodo C64. It offers frequent updates and greater compatibility. The emulator is based on VICE 2.4.3. This is a fully native port not using SDL and implements features needed to run the majority of games.
SToid is a Complete Atari 1040 STF emulator for any android device running at least Android 2.1 or later. It provides high game compatibility, automatic and realtime savestates, onscreen pads, dynamic screen positioning and more.
aLynx – is a Atari Lynx emulator for Android OS 2.1 and higher. aLynx supports on-screen keyboard, sound output, OpenGL rendering, load/save games states.
Droid-CPC is an Amstrad CPC emulator for Android. It supports virtual on screen joystick and keyboard emulation, saving machine state, OpenGL and external controllers suck as Xbox360 and Moga.
Marvin ZX is the oldest Sinclair Spectrum ZX out there. It can run games with full 50 frames per second on modern phones. It will happily do both 48 and 128k emulation, supports ZIP files and OpenGL hardware acceleration.
fMSX is an MSX home computer emulator. It runs MSX, MSX2, and MSX2+ games and other software on your Android phone or tablet. Play MSX games with Bluetooth gamepads, Xperia gaming buttons, Moga gamepads, or iCade joysticks. Save gameplay at any time and restart once you get killed. Record MSX music to MIDI files and use them as ringtones. Play with friends over WiFi or Internet, using NetPlay. There is also a paid add-less version of this emulator, available here.
Advanced MSX/ColecoVision emulator based on BlueMSX with support for the original hardware up to the TurboR. Future updates will add support for the Sega SG-1000. The majority of BlueMSX features required to run most games are already supported with more coming soon (tape support, improved on-screen keyboard, etc).
Beedroid emulates the BBC Micro, machines designed by the Acorn Company, utilized by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1981. It will run in full speed on most recent devices and supports Xperia Play controls. Beedroid is completely free and open source.
Amiga emulator, based on uae4all openpandora-port sources. Features: AGA/OCS/ECS, 68020 and 68000 emulation, harddisk-support, WHDLoad-support, Chip/Slow/Fast-mem settings, savestates, vsync, most games run fullspeed.
An UAE4All port for Android. UAE4All is an Amiga 500 emulator originally from Chui mainly for playing old Amiga games. Work in Fast mode or Compatible mode, emulates 1 to 4 floppy disks, supports sound and hi-res mode and much more.
cAndy Apple is an Apple //e emulator for Android. It can download diskettes and a rom from the internet, boot diskettes, has customizable on screen buttons for us folks with no hard keyboard, uses trackball/dpad, saves button and trackpad configs in a sql database on the sdcard, supports landscape and portrait as well as larger size displays on the Droid and Nexus One. For everyone running Android 1.5, head over to the develops website here, and download version 1.58, everyone else follow the link below.
KEGS IIgs Emulator
Port of the KEGS Apple IIgs emulator to Android. Includes a System 6 disk with shareware games.
Nintendo Gamecube / Wii
This is a port of the famous PC and Mac OS emulator for Nintendo Wii and Gamecube. Still in early pre-alpha development and barely anything works on it, but it will get there. If you wish to try it yourself and report bugs, performance and compatibility, you can do so by installing it from the play store.
nds4droid is a free Nintendo DS emulator. It is still in it’s infancy but supports many features you’d expect like save states and sound. It also supports the OUYA game console. Unfortunately, Nintendo DS emulation is still somewhat slow, even on higher end phones, but the developer promises to continue making improvements.
The list ends here. If you believe we left something out, or have something to propose feel free to share your opinion in the comments section. When done, link to the full list will be posted here, as well as the guide for installing APK files outside Google Play.