Retro and vintage games are gaining in popularity in recent times. Those games from your childhood have become very popular, with titles as diverse as Frogger, Double Dragon, Doom, and Star Fox 64 currently enjoying a revival.
Just because the old game consoles you owned are damaged doesn’t mean you can’t play those old games. You just need an Android phone or tablet.
The list of old game emulators for Android in this article will allow you to revisit the games of your youth on a range of gaming platforms and PCs.
- 1 How Android Emulators Work
- 2 1. ePSXe (Sony PlayStation PS1 and PSOne)
- 3 2. John NESS (NES and SNES)
- 4 3. DraStic DS Emulator (Nintendo DS)
- 5 4.M64Plus FZ Emulator (N64)
- 6 5. My OldBoy! (Game Boy, Game Boy Color)
- 7 6. My Boy! (Game Boy Advance)
- 8 7. Magic DOSBox (Classic PC Games)
- 9 8. PPSSPP (PSP)
- 10 9. GENPlusDroid (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)
- 11 10. Uae4arm (Amiga)
- 12 11. Mobile C64 (Commodore 64)
- 13 12. Speccy (Sinclair ZX Spectrum)
- 14 13. Emulate old games on Android with RetroArch
- 15 Old games on your Android device
How Android Emulators Work
To use emulators, you’ll need ROM files (and sometimes BIOS ROMs) that are compatible with the platform you’re emulating. However, if you do not already own the game, only downloading and using the game ROM file is considered copyright infringement.
The ROM must be downloaded directly to your Android device. Alternatively, you can start the download on your computer and then copy the ROM files to Android. Old ROM files rarely take up more than a few megabytes, which is modest compared to today’s massive game downloads. If you want a wireless solution, use an FTP app to send games to your phone.
With the ROM file downloaded, a compatible emulator should be able to run it. But which retro game emulator for Android should be used?
1. ePSXe (Sony PlayStation PS1 and PSOne)
The original Sony PlayStation is one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time and the number one in terms of sales with over 100 million units sold. With over 7,918 games released over its lifetime (and a few more since then), there’s good reason to revisit this platform.
Android users will find ePSXe ideal for playing PlayStation games. You will find split screen mode and support for up to four useful for playing with friends. ePSXe was built on PC, the Android version has compatible save states, as well as a custom key set for most different game consoles.
Download: ePSXe ($3.75)
2. John NESS (NES and SNES)
By combining both John NES and John SNES in one app, John NESS allows you to play Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games on Android.
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With support for entering cheat codes, saving states, turbo button, on-screen gamepad, and support for controllers, John NESS also integrates with Dropbox. This means that you can easily copy ROM files from cloud storage to the emulator to play them. For more gaming features, John NESS also supports screenshots, recording, and broadcasting.
Download: John NESS (Free, in-app purchases)
3. DraStic DS Emulator (Nintendo DS)
With the advancement of emulators, DraStic DS Emulator is particularly impressive, with the ability to double the resolution and customize the position of the screen.
Additional controllers are supported, with expected save states to instantly save and resume playing anywhere. Game progress saves can be synced to Google Drive, while simulation can be enhanced with fast forward mode.
As if all that weren’t enough, the emulator includes a database of thousands of cheat modes for Nintendo DS games.
Download: DraStic DS Emulator ($4.99)
4.M64Plus FZ Emulator (N64)
M64Plus is a highly rated emulator for gamers who loved Nintendo 64 games.
The M64Plus is a variant of the Open Source Mupen64+ emulator, with easy to use controls placed in the lower corners of the screen. This allows you to play games with your thumb just as you would any Nintendo64 game you’ve played.
It is better to play with the controls of the app than to rely on the game controller. USB or Bluetooth controllers for Nintendo 64 are hard to come by. As such, comfortable gameplay can only be achieved on an Android device that’s not too big for your hands. It’s an emulator more suitable for phones than tablets.
Download: M64Plus FZ Emulator (Free)
5. My OldBoy! (Game Boy, Game Boy Color)
For Game Boy and Game Boy Color fans, this dual system emulator is compatible with a wide range of Android devices.
It’s packed with features too, from progress saves and video filters to cheat codes, external console support, and custom panels. My Old Boy! It even includes Game Boy and Game Boy Printer camera emulators.
So, if you want to visit the library of 1046 Game Boy and 575+ Game Boy Color games, install My Old Boy!
Download: My Old Boy (Free) | No Ads ($3.99)
6. My Boy! (Game Boy Advance)
From the same developer as My Old Boy! This emulator is once again available for a wide range of Android devices. This makes it suitable for both old and new devices.
With Game Boy Advance emulation, you’ll find support for saving states, Google Drive syncing, support for external controllers, and video filters. Cheat codes and game speed change can be used to help you master high speed obstacles.
Download: My Boy! (free) | No ads ($4.99)
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7. Magic DOSBox (Classic PC Games)
Remember the days of pulling the chair away from your computer and installing the CD to access the game directory? Entering a single command to start the game without a desktop GUI?
If so, revisit the classic PC gaming era for MS-DOS on your mobile phone with Magic DOSBox. Thousands of games were released on the PC before Windows 98 could support playing desktop games. Many classic PC game titles have been announced abandoned or open source. More than 2,500 games can be found in the Internet Archive.
Most of the computer games of this era can be compared to the titles of Amiga and Atari. Besides the popular gaming platforms, you will notice more number of simulators.
Download: Magic DOSBox (Free)
8. PPSSPP (PSP)
PlayStation Portable (PSP) was an incredibly popular portable gaming system when it was first introduced in 2004. With over 1,370 games released between launch and retirement in 2014, PSP fans enjoy an amazing selection of titles, all in HD.
The PPSSPP emulator will take you back to 2004. You just have to load a simple ROM, and the app is configurable with a wide range of settings. HD resolutions are supported, saves can be transferred from the actual PSP, and anisotropic filter settings and texture scaling can be adjusted.
If you are a fan of PSP, this is definitely the emulator to install on your Android device.
Download: PPSSPP (Free)
9. GENPlusDroid (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)
If you enjoy playing the Sega Genesis (Sega Mega Drive globally), then the GENPlusDroid emulator is for you. A major player in the so-called console wars of the late 80s and 90s between Sega and Nintendo, more than 900 games are available.
GENPlusDroid supports physical controllers, has support for rewind, forwarding, cheat codes, autosave, custom keysetting, and many other features. In the end, you can enjoy a near-original Sega Genesis experience on your Android device with GENPlusDroid.
Download: GENPlusDroid (Free)
10. Uae4arm (Amiga)
Perhaps the most popular computer system of the 16-bit era, the Amiga launched in 1985 with the last version, CD32, being manufactured until 1996. At that time, an estimated 4,850,000 Amigas games were sold, with more than 2000 games during release. in production.
Amiga games can be played on existing platforms with the help of many existing (or inspired) emulators. Uae4arm is perhaps the best option on Android, it is capable of working in any of the configurations of the Amiga line. So, you can emulate an Amiga 500, 4000T or CD32. The Amiga game library does not all run on the same device; There are three basic generations of the system, hence the Uae4arm granular configuration tools.
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Download: Uae4arm (Free)
While the Amiga Kickstart file is generic with most emulators, for full support you must purchase the official version. Which you’ll find available from Amiga Forever Essentials.
Download: Amiga Forever Essentials ($1.99)
11. Mobile C64 (Commodore 64)
The most popular home computer of the 80s, the Commodore 64 is currently enjoying a revival as a retro gaming clone system. If you don’t care about breadbasket aesthetics as much as you care about gaming, you can play it on Android.
There are many C64 emulators available on Android, but Mobile C64 among them seems to be the most stable one. Including a software keyboard for text entry and support for USB and Bluetooth controllers, the Mobile 64 also ships with some public domain games to get you started.
Download: Mobile 64 (Free, in-app purchases)
12. Speccy (Sinclair ZX Spectrum)
In the UK and Europe, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a popular, if modest, home computer system. Incredibly affordable, over 5 million devices have been sold, a number that doesn’t include cloned options like the Timex Sinclair 2068.
Speccy is a remarkably complete emulator. Supports all Sinclair ZX Spectrum models and most cloned options. Speccy also supports game screenshots, loading from tape files (with the original tape loading effect), and you can play with USB and Bluetooth game controllers.
This is just scratching the surface. If you like Spectrum games, this is the best Android Emulator for you.
Download: Speccy (Free) | No ads ($4.99)
13. Emulate old games on Android with RetroArch
Many other emulators are available for Android. But if you are installing a lot of emulators, it might be better to stick with one solution.
RetroArch is installed with 50 emulator cores, giving you an amazing selection of emulators. All systems mentioned here are included in RetroArch, along with PC Engine and Sega Dreamcast. Do you want to emulate classic arcade games? MAME is also included in RetroArch. Check out the ultimate guide to N64 emulation on Retroarch to play old games.
Download: RetroArch (Free)
Old games on your Android device
We think these are the best game emulators for Android, but whether you agree or not, you should find them easy to install, set up and play.
Simply copy the ROM files to your Android device, load them into the appropriate emulator, and start playing.
Android is a great choice for playing classic games, and it is capable of handling most of the emulated platforms. In fact, you can even use Android to create an old game center.