Want to play your favorite console or handheld games on Android devices? Yes, of course! Though most of the popular games from consoles like GBA, N64, DS, SPS, Sega Genesis, Mega Drive, GBC, NES, SNES and PS One have already been ported to Android or the newer video game consoles but craving to play the originals never go away.
It is really cool to have options to run the original video game console and handheld games on our Android mobiles and tablets, all the while utilizing external controls and/or hardware of the Android device. But how can we do that?
Emulator for Android is All We Need!
Console specific Emulator for Android is what all we need to replicate the ecosystem of consoles like N64, PSP, MD, PS one, GBC, DS, and GBA etc. on our Android devices.
There are many emulators available out there in the wild that let you play your console games on android but not all provide smooth and feature rich gaming experience.
In an attempt to provide you with the list of top emulators for android, we analyzed most of the emulators from the perspective of a gamer, keeping in mind the game compatibility, seamless performance & graphics and support for external controls.
You can click the links below to jump straight to your favorite video game console or handheld and find the best emulators for android available on Google Play Store-
- N64 Emulators
- GBA Emulators
- PS One – PS1, PSX Emulators
- PSP Emulator
- Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (MD)
- GBC Emulators
- NES/SNES Emulators
- DS Emulators
N64 Emulators for Android
MegaN64 is created by the development house named Fastest Game Emulators for Android and is available for free download on Google play store. The reviews from the android community are really good with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
To play your favorite N64 games on Android mobile phone, all you need to do is keep the game files on the SD card and run the MegaN64 app.
MegaN64 is developed on top of open source Mupen64+ and is under active development, the app keeps on getting continuous updates and the recent version includes many performance enhancements for specific phone models like Galaxy S4 and Nexus 4.
This is another good emulator on Android for Nintendo 64(N64) with a very high game compatibility, great performance and reasonably good voice. This emulator is the creation of WoaEmama and is getting continuous updates.
With an average rating of 4.2, it is closing on to compete with MegaN64.
Apart from the above two, “Emulator for N64” is another good emulator, a recent release on Google play store by RobertApp.You can also consider ClassicBoy and RetroArch; these two are the emulators that support wide array of game consoles including N64.
My Boy - GBA Emulator
There are many emulators on Google play store for playing GBA games on Android but My Boy is the name to reckon with in the world of GBA emulators.
My Boy is one of the most downloaded (free+paid combined) as well as among the highest rated emulators with an average rating of 4.6 for the full version.
My Boy is capable of providing real hardware replication and supports advanced games on most of the android devices ranging from low end phones to most advanced smartphones.
Some of the key features of My Boy include link cable support, Gyroscope, tilt and solar sensor support through Android’s hardware sensors and vibrator, BIOS emulation without the need of BIOS file, Open GL rendering for devices supporting GPU, option to play a game in slow motion to clear difficult levels or fast forwarding slow moving scenes, game save and resume and many more.
My Boy and for that matter other emulators also do not include any games and you need to get your own copy of the game. For My Boy, you can keep the game image on the SD card and browse through the user interface of the app, to load and play and unlimited fun thereafter.
The free version of My Boy GBA Emulator can be used to play games but offers limited features. You can give it a try before spending 5 dollars on full version.
Other options to run GBA games on Android include John GBA, GBA Emulator and GBA.EMU.
PS One – PS1, PSX Emulators
FPse for Android
Looking for PS one emulator to play PSX, PS1 or PlayStation 1 games on Android device? FPse for Android with an average rating of 4.5 on Google Play store is the perfect choice.
The big plus with PSone is its support for OpenGL that provides excellent graphics and high resolution for all PSone games on android phones and tablets.
Some of the key features of FPse for Android include -
- Option to save and loading the game state in real time.
- High performance, compatibility and sound quality
- Gun emulations, A &B buttons emulation on the screen.
- Support for Wiimote, Zeemote, IcontrolPAD and BGP100
- Overlay widgets to emulate analog and digital pads
- Force feedback vibration emulation.
- Multiplayer support (experimental at the time of writing)
- With NFS protocol support, load games from the computer or NAS
All you need to start playing PlayStation One games is copy the ISO image of the game files and keep it on your device memory - internal or external. Rest is just configuration of the FPse for Android App.
This is another great emulator for playing playstation games on android smartphones and tablets. It provides support for almost all the games and is specifically optimized for ARM and Intel based mobile devices.
ePSxe for Android is recently ported from the popular ePSxe for PC and is getting continuous upgrades for better usability, games support and performance.
Some of the key features of ePSxe include virtual touch screen pad support, OpenGL HD enhanced graphics, GPU soft HD, cheat codes, Bluetooth and USB connection with external gamepads, split screen option for 2 player games.
With the recent release that provides touch screen improvement and multiple skins, it is well placed to compete with FPse, which is arguably the best PlayStation emulator for Android.
PSP Emulators for Android
PPSSPP – PSP Emulator
PPSSPP is the emulator to play Sony PSP games on your android mobile or tablet. With millions of downloads and 4.2+ average rating as of now with total of 650000 ratings, it definitely qualifies as the best PSP emulator available in the market.
To play games using this emulator on your android device, you need to keep games on SD card or USB storage as .ISO or .CSO files. You can also play online free homebrew games.
PPSSPP supports many games including Persona 2, Persona 3, Dragon Ball Z, Little big Planet, Burnout Legends, Burnout Dominator, Final Fantasy : Crisis Core, Final Fantasy : Type-0, Monster Hunter 2 Unite and 3: HD Remake, Soul Calibur, Tekken: Dark Resurrection and Tekken 6, Grand Theft Auto LCS / VCS, Lumines, Worms, Wipeout, and many more.
To run graphics intensive games smoothly, in High definition and for a seamless gaming experience, you need high end Android devices.
PPSSPP is available as an ad-supported free version. If you don’t like the ads and ready to spend some money, go for the paid version PPSSPP gold and get rid of the ads.
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (MD)
MD.emu is the creation of Robert Broglia and supports Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Master System/Mark III games on Android.
The full featured app is paid but an excellent option to play Sega Genesis and Mega Drive (MD) games on your mobile or tablet. There is a free version available for users who do not have access to paid apps but free version is not updated regularly.
gGens is another good emulator for playing Sega Genesis games and is available free of cost. It is light weight and simple to use that is compatible with most of the games and gives excellent performance.
gGens is a great option out there and costs nothing, a definite try if you do not need all the jazzy features provided by MD.emu.
My OldBoy – GBC Emulator
Playing Game boy and Game boy color games on Android device is an absolute breeze with My OldBoy – GBC emulator. My OldBoy is very sophisticated and emulates almost everything as original as the original hardware does. This is an advanced emulator that supports features like tilt sensor, link cable, rumble and also gives you a beautiful color palette to make GB games colorful.
With My OldBoy, You can save game at any point of time and load it at a later stage, fast forward a game to play what you like the most.
Another powerful GBC emulator is John GBC.
SNES and NES Emulators for Android
This is the best free emulator to play SNES games on your android device. The app is absolutely free and doesn’t even show any ads (as of writing). It comes loaded with one game - Bio Worm, to play other games, you need to supply ROMs.
ROMs must be either .smc or .sfc files, ZIP, RAR and 7Z formats can also be loaded. The app is loved by users with an average rating of 4.4 by 62K+ users.
SNES9X EX+ keeps on getting continuous upgrades for better performance and support. You can download SNES9X EX+ from Play store, here is the link - Download SNES9X EX+.
SuperRetro (NSES Retro)
SuperRetro is a close competitor of SNES9X EX+ in terms of features, number of downloads and overall rating on Google play store.
SuperRetro has two versions available for download, free as well as paid. The main difference is that you do not see ads in the paid version and it offers few additional features.
John SNES is another great option to play SNES games on your android device.
Nostalgia.NES is a very sophisticated emulator to play NES games on Android. It is based on the most popular open source emulator FCEUX. Nostalgia.NES comes with modern look and feel, great performance and is intuitive to use.
No stalgia.NESemulator is actively maintained by developers and is loved by NES gamers with an average rating of 4.6 on Google play store. You can try the free version before paying for the ad free paid version of Nostalgia.NES.
NES.emu is another great option for playing NES games on Android. NES.emu is the creation of Rebert Broglia, the creator of famous MD.emu
NES Emulator – 64in1
This one doesn’t fit in the category of emulators but then all we need is our favorite NES games on the Android device. This app comes packed with 64 of the most popular NES games including Battle City, Super Mario and Bomber man etc.
With NES Emulator – 64in1 package, you can play multiplayer games over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection, save games and load the saved state. Since this app contains the game files, so you do not need to have any game ROMs.
Nintendo DS Emulators
DraStic DS Emulator
Drastic DS emulator is for all the Nintendo DS fans planning to play DS games on Android handheld devices. There are other good freely available DS emulators like AseDS and NDS Boy but those are new entrants in the market and yet to establish their credibility.
Some of the key features of Drastic DS Emulator are –
- Custom screen placements for landscape and portrait modes
- Option to save games directly on Google Drive and resume the saved state
- Cheat codes database with easy search options
- Fast forward support for increased emulation speed
- High end devices get enhanced 3D graphics and resolution.
Though the price of DraStic DS emulator app is only around $5 but you can still try the freely available demo version before spending any money.
NDS Boy – NDS Emulator
NDS Emulator is a new kid on the block but a much loved one. It has got an overall of 4.4 average rating on Google play store comes up with fixes and new features regularly.
As of now NDS Boy supports only high end devices with 2GB Ram and minimum of quad core CPU.
Key features of NDS emulator include –
- Support for NDS game files .nds, .zip, .7z, .rar
- Save and load, auto save, quick save etc.
RetroArch is another great option to play NDS games on Android.
There are many emulators for android out there in the wild and finding one that provides a smooth gaming experience can be a difficult task. Many are free and some are paid and what you need completely depends on your need, liking and the price you can pay.
The list here is an attempt to ease out your search and get you to the best android emulator of your choice. Almost every paid emulator has a demo link or free trial version available, so, you can always try out multiple free versions before making a purchase. It is as simple as installing any other app from the Google play store, try out the emulator, keep it if you like, uninstall is always an option :). Cheers!