Ultimate Guide To Retro Game Emulators on Android Mobile Phones

Ultimate-Guide-To-Retro-Game-Emulators-on-Android-Mobile-PhonesGot an Android phone? Well you're in for a treat! With over 25 game consoles waiting to be emulated on your mobile phone, get ready to bring the likes of Sonic, Mario, Final Fantasy, Bubble Bobble and just about any game you can think of to your device. This exclusive RetroCollect guide dives into the deep end with a full list of Android Emulators.

If there is anything clear about the Smartphone market today, it’s that every retro gamer should be equipped with an Android phone. Unlike the limitations of Apple’s strict rule over what applications can and cannot be run on their iOS devices, the Android based operating system features a much lenient approach which favours classic gamers rather well. The more appealing set applications to slip through this lose net are the wealth of emulators allowing gamers to relive their gaming past on the go.

As of speaking there are emulators available for over 25 different game consoles and home computers including the majority of the Sega and Nintendo systems available on the Android Market. While some of these can be acquired for free, those costing just a few pounds to download are more than worth the cost given they will offer access to thousands of classic games for the price of just one.

But if you still needed any convincing, one of the hidden benefits to the Android operating system is hope open ended it really is. By making the most of the Bluetooth connectivity, with just a few tweaks here and there, you’ll be able to use a Nintendo Wii Remote to control all the on screen action on your mobile phone. That’s right, emulators on your mobile phone with a true gaming control pad.

This RetroCollect guide hopes to get you geared up and equipped for portable retro gaming on the go, showcasing the available emulators and discussing the hardware which caters for your gaming needs.

Recommended Hardware - Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

While you could connect a Wii Remote to access true gaming controls on an Android mobile phone, the Xperia Play throws away the need for accessories with a slide out gamepad. This fully functional and tactile control pad features every button you would expect to see on a PlayStation controller, albeit the L2 and R2 buttons. As most of the retro gaming emulators available can be reconfigured to take input from hardware keys, the control pad on the Xperia Play can be set up manually within each emulator to take control of what’s on screen.

To further plug the Xperia Play, Sony has also released a selection of packaged up PlayStation 1 games such as Crash Bandicoot and Cool Boarders 2, which have been optimised for the device. That said the business model of a PS1 Virtual Console store equivalent has fallen rather flat given that a much more powerful PlayStation 1 emulator with no limitations has been made available on the Android Market.

So without digging out that dusty Nokia N-Gage you once owned to get gaming on the go, the Xperia Play is without a doubt the best purchase any retro gamer can make right now.

Comprehensive Retro Gaming on Android Emulator List

(as of February 2012)

Quick links

Nintendo Systems

Sega Systems

Sony Systems

Other Systems


Nintendo Systems

Nintendo NES

Best Nintendo NES Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: NESoid

Offering fantastic compatibility and some rather decent features, NESoid is by far the best Nintendo NES emulator for the Android operating system. Offering Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality, Multiplayer Netplay and even Game Genie cheats, NESoid has all based covered for smartphone NES emulation.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

NESoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

John NES (Free Version Available)

Mojo NES (Free Version Available)

NES.emu

 


 

Super Nintendo

Best Super Nintendo Emulator for AndroidMobile Phones: SNESoid

Similar to NESoid, this Super Nintendo Emulator offers just as good compatibility and very similar features. Also with Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality, Multiplayer Netplay and Game Genie cheats, SNESoid is the perfect SNES Emulator for mobile phones.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

SNESoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

SuperGNES (Free Version Available)

SNES A.D.

Mojo SNES (Free Version Available)

SNES Pro

SNESDroid

 


 

Nintendo 64

Best Nintendo 64 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: N64oid

While N64oid is the only decent Nintendo 64 emulator available for Android, it has set an incredibly high standard for future rivals. Capable of running the likes of Mario Kart 64 and Super Mario 64 at full speed, you won’t believe your eyes when you see what your phone is really capable of. Similar to the previous ‘oid emulators, N64oid offers Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality and Gameshark cheats. To add more icing to the cake, N64oid uses OpenGL to smooth out the graphics and give a much more crisp look to the games.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes (Including Analog Controls)

N64oid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

Mupen64Plus 

 


 

Nintendo Game Boy and Game Boy Color

Best Nintendo Game Boy Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: GBCoid

Capable of running both classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color ROMs on your phone, GBCoid is definitely the superior choice for Android phones. Once again this ‘oid emulator features Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality, Multiplayer Netplay and Game Genie cheats.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

GBCoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

VGB Game Boy Emulator

MobileBoy (Free Version Available)

Game Boy Color Pro

Gameboy Color A.D.

GBC.emu

GambatteDroid

 


 

Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Best Nintendo Game Boy Advance Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: GameBoid

Continuing the ‘oid trend, GameBoid is unsurprisingly the best Nintendo Game Boy Advance emulator for the Android operating system. Also offering Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality, Multiplayer Netplay and Game Genie cheats, GameBoid is your answer to Game Boy Advance games on the go.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

GameBoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

VGBA Game Boy Advance Emulator

Mojo GBA (Free Version Available)

 


 

Sega Systems

Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear

Best Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear Emulator for Android: Gearoid

Yet another ‘oid emulator makes the list by giving you the ultimate answer to Sega Master System and Game gear gaming on the Android operating system. Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Screenshot functionality and Game Genie cheats are all present in Gearoid.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Gearoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

MasterGear SMS/GG Emulator

 


 

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

Best Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Gensoid

With a couple more ‘oid emulators to go, Gensoid is without a doubt the answer to having Sega Mega Drive games in your pocket. As expected, Gensoid features Save States, Fast Forward Mode, Multiplayer Net Play, Screenshot functionality and Game Genie cheats.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Gensoid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

Other choices:

MD.emu

 


 

Sega Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit (VMU)

Best Sega Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit (VMU) Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Visual Memory Emulator

With the Sega Dreamcast emulator for Android being abandoned, all we’re left with now is an emulator for the trusty VMU memory card. While this emulator is far from perfect due to frequent crashes, it’s still a pleasure seeing Chao’s Adventure in action once more.

Xperia Play Optimised: No

Download Visual Memory Emulator

 


 

Sony Systems

Sony PlayStation 1

Best Sony PlayStation 1 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: FPse

While Sony have already started putting PlayStation games onto the Android Market, the FPse application manages to blow each and every one of them out of the water. Offering compatibility with a large portion of the PS1 library, the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross, Tekken 3 and even the Resident Evil series run rather well under FPse.

FPSE offers Multi disc loading, Memory Card functionality, Save States and Gameshark cheats, making itself well known for being the best PS1 Android Emulator.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download FPse

 


 

Other Systems

Neo Geo Pocket Color

Best Neo Geo Pocket Color Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: NGP.emu

While the ‘oid emulators have catered rather well for the Sega and Nintendo computers, the .emu range seems to be filling in the gaps for the more obscure systems. NGP.emu is the answer to getting your Neo Geo Pocket fix on the move, offering very similar features to the other emulators mentioned here.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download NGP.emu

 


 

NEC PC Engine and Turbografx 16

Best NEC PC Engine and Turbografx 16 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: PCE.emu

Also arriving under the .emu name, PCE.emu is the only emulator available for Android which can run PC Engine games. Despite being alone, PCE.emu does a fantastic job of bringing NEC’s 8-bit wonder to mobile phones. Like the rest of the .emu range, PCE.emu uses the same backend offering almost identical functionality.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download PCE.emu

 


 

Atari 2600

Best Atari 2600 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Ataroid

The ‘oid strikes again. Given the simplicity of the Atari 2600, Ataroid offers a little less functionality than the rest of available emulators however the important Save States and Screenshot functionality are still present.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Ataroid is not available in the Android Market and can be downloaded via SlideME.

 


 

Bandai Wonderswan

Best Bandai Wonderswan Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: WonderDroid

WonderDroid is the only Wonderswan emulator available on the Android Market and quite sadly it is far from enjoyable. With most games running rather slow and an awkward control system, WonderDroid could be doing so much more to allow the Japanese exclusive handheld to be accessible to Android owners.

Xperia Play Optimised: No

Download WonderDroid

 


 

Arcade - MAME

Best MAME Arcade Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: MAME4droid

With the ability to run countless early arcade games, MAME4droid brings the coin-op experience to smartphones with style. Although very fussy with which arcade ROMs are actually used, MAME4droid is capable of running the likes of The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course; Bubble Bobble.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download MAME4droid

Other choices:

Jrioni Arcade Full Version

MAME4droid USB 4 Player Version

 


 

Arcade - CPS2

Best CPS2 Arcade Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: CPS2HD

If anything you wouldn’t expect the CPS2 arcade hardware to run via emulation on a mobile phone, CPS2HD however enjoys proving you wrong. Being able to play Marvel Vs Capcom on the go is something incredible, as is having the entire library of CPS2 games in your pocket.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download CPS2HD

 


 

Arcade - Neo Geo

Best Neo Geo Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: NeoDroid

Metal Slug! That’s right, the first few Metal Slug games are now accessible on Android phones, along with the King of Fighters series thanks to NeoDroid. While NeoDroid provides a fantastic highway to the world of SNK, take note that it is incredibly fussy on which ROMs it is compatible with. Make sure the ROMs you put on your SD card are 'clean'.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download NeoDroid

Other choices:

Tiger Arcade (via SlideME)

 


 

Apple IIe

Best Apple II Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: cAndy Apple

It’s not only the more powerful 16-bit systems which have been granted immortality on our phones, but also a wealth of home computers including the Apple ][e. cAndy Apple is the perfect solution to enjoying Apple’s earlier gaming treats on the go, boasting 

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download cAndy Apple 

 


 

Atari ST

Best Atari ST Emulator for Android Mobile Phones Mobile Phones: SToid

While we’d much rather fly the Amiga flag (*ahem*), those who are on team Atari will be pleased to know their beloved home computer can be emulated on the Android operating system. SToid offers fantastic compatibility with the vast range of Atari ST disks available online including all the old favourites such as Xenon.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download SToid 

 


 

BBC Micro

Best BBC Micro Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Beebdroid

The majority of the emulators mentioned within this article tend to leave you with just the means to playing game ROMs on the go. Beebdroid however hooks into one of the leading BBC Micro fan sites and provided a wealth of in-application game downloads, taking away any effort required to get this one set up correctly. Chuckie Egg you say? It’s in there!

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download Beebdroid

 


 

Colecovision

Best Colecovision Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: ColEm

Also catering for our home computer roots is ColEm, an emulator for reviving the Colecovision on Android. ColEm hails from the same developer who has provided a wealth of other retro game emulators, confidently providing a robust experience overall.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download ColEm

 


 

Commodore 64

Best Commodore 64 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Frodo C64

Where would we be without the Commodore 64? Frodo C64 does a fantastic job of bringing the classic computer to our smartphones, although with a small limitation. As of speaking the emulator is only capable of loading Commodore 64 disk images in d64 format, leaving out the vast range of tape images.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download Frodo C64

 


 

Commodore Amiga

Best Commodore Amiga Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: UAE4Droid

Sensible Soccer, Superfrog and Turrican on the go. Need we say any more? UAE4Droid is well equipped and ready to provide Amiga fan boys with everything they need to enjoy Commodore’s computer on the go. The emulator (like WinUAE) however is a little too faithful to the original hardware, often leaving a good chunk of time for disks to load up. That said, there is currently no alternative and Amiga gamers couldn’t ask for anymore.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download UAE4Droid

 


 

MSX

Best MSX Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: MSX.emu

Yet another emulator in the .emu range lives up to its name. MSX.emu is by far the most superior MSX emulator available on Android phones thanks to its compatibility with not only MSX ROM Cartridges, but also MSX disk based games too. This will allow the more hardcore games amongst us to hold the likes of the original Snatcher (patched with a fan translation) in the palm of our hands.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download MSX.emu 

 


 

ZX Spectrum

Best ZX Spectrum Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Marvin

Although we’ll have to make do without the rubber keys in front of us, Marvin makes up for the lacking aesthetic value thanks to the features within. Similar to Beebdroid, Marvin links into the ultimate ZX Spectrum archive (World of Spectrum) and provides quick one click downloads to getting games legally into the emulator.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download Marvin

 


 

ZX81

Best ZX81 Emulator for Android Mobile Phones: Zed Ex

For those who want to go back to basics can look in the direction of Zed Ex. This is Android’s only ZX81 emulator which manages to do a sound job of simulating the 1981 machine. The only thing worth noting is that each game will no doubt require a bit of configuration beforehand due to the nature of the system’s lack of a standard set of controls/defined keys.

Xperia Play Optimised: Yes

Download Zed Ex

 


 

Summary

Hopefully this extensive guide will help you on your way to getting your entire gaming past in your pocket. Should we have overlooked a worthy emulator, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer - We do not encourage nor promote illegal downloads, nor do we provide any download links to copyrighted material.


Last Updated ( 09 February 2012 )  

Cauterize

Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

Other recent articles:

Comments 

(Link to this comment) ninjabearhug 2012-02-13 18:34
Nice article! I don't have too many Emu's on my phone at the minute but I'll definitely try them out. Personally I use GenPlusDroid for Sega emulation though, it runs MD and SMS games really well and is also optimised for Xperia play :)
(Link to this comment) k1ngarth3r 2012-02-14 13:44
This looks great :-) Xperia play looks worth while picking up.
(Link to this comment) mainvein 2012-02-15 20:11
great article :-) i finally put some emulators on my xperia play last night - bit disappointed that none are quite perfect yet bar speccy, some speed issues but its certainly great to play them on my phone and not have to carry a psp around. my little girl loved watching me play some md games too
(Link to this comment) arquillos 2012-10-15 11:16
Excellent Article!
I´m just testing the Android MAME emulators on my Neo and having a lot of fun!

You can read it all on my blog: http://retro-android.blogspot.com.es/
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