15 Best Emulators for Android to enjoy Classic Retrogaming (NES, SNES, GBA, PS1, N64 & more) on Android

Play classic console games with these ROM Emulator apps

If you are hungry for retro gaming goodness, why not take it with you wherever you go? There is an abundance of best emulators for Android (android emulator apps) that will allow you to play your favorite classic games on your mobile device.

Best Emulator Apps for Android

As most of you probably know already, we can use emulators to play ROM games on Android as if we had a gaming console in our hands – essentially, it is like making your phone a Nintendo or some similar console. These best emulator games bring back the old school arcade games right in your smartphone. Best of all, many of these game emulators can nonnect a Bluetooth gaming controller, rather than using the on-screen buttons.

How does emulator app work on android?

First of all, you must go to Google Play and download a specific emulator. Once you’ve done that, you should search for the ROM directory and download games you like, while all ROMs automatically download into the SD card or internal memory of your Android. Sometimes ROMs come in a .zip format (some emulator app also support zip files) and in that case, you will probably need a good file manager app to be able to support such files. After that, you can start your emulator app and in it find the ROMs folder – it will most likely be /download/, sdcard/download/ or ext_sd/download/. In this folder, you will see the “Load ROM” option, and all it takes now is to double tap it and start the game.

What emulators can run on Android?

Of course, emulator apps come in various specifications and designs, and you must pay attention to all details in order to play the game comfortably. You might have a somewhat older smartphone with not too solid processing possibilities or a newer one with great battery life and big processing power. In both cases, you have more than enough emulators to choose on the market. If you have a high-end phone, you can run complex apps such as Genesis or N64 but also bear in mind that it will squeeze out everything from your battery. Other rom player like MyGBA or 2600.emu will run on lower-end devices without any issue. I am not going to talk about the legal issues of emulator apps because it’s such a difficult topic to investigate in this one article so act crazy and simply enter the app world.

Anyway, just like our phones age over the years, so do classic games. In the meantime, some have aged so badly (example: GoldenEye) that I wouldn’t recommend you to play them while some remain very strong and interesting to play nowadays, such as Super Mario. One more important feature of Android emulators is that controls can be a little difficult sometimes as the touchscreen mode disables you to prove your light-speed reflexes during action games so try to avoid these unless you have a Wiimote remote.

What are the best emulators for android?

  • 2600.EMU
  • SNES9X EX+
  • MEGAN64
  • MD.EMU

Below you will find 10 games emulators to relieve your favorite gaming memories wherever you are (most of these are free emulator app).

1. 2600.emu

2600.emu android emulator app

Download 2600.emu ($2.99)
When you want to play your favorite Atari 2600 games, 2600.emu is exactly what you need. It is a very nice virtual console which offers almost 100% of compatibility. Along with good speed and clear sound, it gives you the most thrilling gaming experience. It works perfectly on any Android 3.0 and up devices. This emulator is supporting the ROMs, 7Zip, or ZIP and RAR files and also enables you to save games during play.

Physical Bluetooth/USB gamepad and keyboards can be also configurable along with on-screen multi-touch controls so you can play any way you desire! Probably the only bad thing (though very annoying) about the 2600 is that it often plays ads and it can really ruin your pleasure sometimes.

2. Snes9x EX+ (best SNES emulator)

Snes9x EX android emulator app

Download SNES9x EX+ (Free)
If you want to play a quick round of Super Mario World or dive into one of the epic Final Fantasy titles on the SNES, SNES9x EX+ is your ticket to nostalgia town. Supporting a Bluetooth keyboard in addition to Bluetooth gamepad support, SNES9X EX+ allows you to play with up to five different players via gamepads simultaneously.

Snes9x EX+ is an open-source emulator which runs most of the titles smoothly. It requires a somewhat stronger Android device (1GHz processor) and comes with Bio Worm. This app is free of charge and disturbs you with no ads. It’s easy to use, doesn’t crash and supports external controllers and other accessories; it also has many other features to offer. The only bad thing about it is the controller issue where there’s sometimes a isn’t a feature for the user to move the buttons around, especially if your phone automatically has a menu slide from the top screen, which is annoying.

3. AwePSX- PSX Emulator

AwePSX- PSX Emulator

AwePSX- PSX Emulator ($0.99)
Just like all other items on my list, AwePSX is another magnificent emulator and definitely one of the best for PlayStation. It provides exceptional compatibility, very nice sound, and stable speed. Being one of the fastest and most compatible PS One emulators, it comes at high definition and sounds as on the original PSX device.

AwePSX supports cheats and networked game playing, as well as the multiplayer option (1-4 players). You can save and load game state easily. If you were thinking about buying the premium version, you should first try the free one as it doesn’t differ too much. It requires Android4.0.3 and up and the last time it was updated was in late February 2017.

4. NES.emu (Best NES emulator)

NES emulator for android

Download NES.emu ($3.99)
If you want to get your NES fix, NES.emu is the best choice. Supporting Famicom Disk system emulator as well as VS UniSystem Support, Zapper/Gun support, and even the ability to use your favorite Bluetooth/USB gamepad with your device, you will be playing all of your favorite NES titles in no time.

5. PPSSPP – PSP emulator

Download PPSSPP – PSP emulator (Free)

Most users have been complaining about the PlayStation Portable emulators for Androids and with good reason – most of these weren’t running properly. It changed with the introduction of PPSSPP, which experienced many changes over time to be furnished and polished so as to become by far the best playstation emulator option on the market. It allows you to play free homebrew games or transfer the saved ones from your PSP games console.

PPSSPP is made for powerful Android phones and doesn’t be surprised if you experience occasional slow-running in case you don’t have a recent version of the mobile device. Galaxy S7 is not currently supported, but the fix should be coming soon.

6. DosBox Turbo

Download DosBox Turbo ($2.49)
This highly optimized emulator for Android comes with the specialized Voodoo Graphics, IPX Networking, PCI Devices, and Windows support. It takes at least 50+MB of storage space and minimum 256MB RAM to run it, but if you have a powerful device, you can run games for Windows 95 or 98.

This app allows a great amount of control customization, which means that a Bluetooth controller or keyboard isn’t required. However, the Bluetooth keyboard could make great use if you want to cope with more complicated titles.

7. RetroArch

RetroArch android emulator

Download RetroArch (Free)
If you want an all-in-one emulator, RetroArch is the best choice of this list. Supporting every platform on this list (minus the Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, and Atari 2600) and many others including Sega CD, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Virtual Boy, and even multiple ports of DOOM, it’s a great way to have most of your favorite platforms in one android emulator app.

It offers an incredible number of customization, with a variety of plugins, cheat codes, overlays, and inputs. This emulator also has the Play and Watch Games support so that you can play a game and then see a video recording of it. It’s free and it interrupts you with no ads so it makes it even better. However, you should keep in mind that it’s meant for controller input before all and the system essentially is not about a keyboard or mouse.

8. DraStic DS Emulator Android

DraStic DS Emulator for android

Download DraStic DS Emulator ($4.99)
Speaking of the Nintendo DS, if you missed out on the awesome games on the Nintendo DS you need to consider DraStic DS Emulator. Supporting add-on controls as well as physical controls within devices such as the Nvidia Shield, this is an emulator for the 21st century. Indeed one of the best items on the market, this Nintendo DS emulator app is very reliable and fast. You can play almost all of the games at full speed and it gives you the real feel.

It even allows you to sync save games in your Google Drive account, ensuring that you have access to your saved games no matter which Android device you are playing on.

Additionally, you can fast-forward the game and adjust the DS screens to fit your needs. You can play any game without lag, and you have the option for cheats if necessary. With all the options, especially enhancing graphics along with playing every single ROM without error, it is certainly worth buying and not only sticking to the free version.

9. MyGBA (Best GBA emulator android and gba roms)

Mobile Gameboy emulator for android

Download MyGBA – Gameboid Emulator (Free)
You can’t mention one Game Boy/ Game Boy Color emulator without mentioning a Game Boy Advance emulator. MyGBA – Gameboid Emulator is a simple yet easy to use app that allows you to store game states on your SD card while you use the simple touch-screen controls of the Game Boy/Game Boy Color. Note that you need to place the game ROMS before you can play the game. Download gba roms (Gameboy Advance ROMs) for android here (This is an external link found online, download at your own risk).

Download GBA.emu ($4.99)
GBA.emu contains a few more features, in that you can use a physical Bluetooth/USB controller to control the games and can also transfer games from internal storage to the SD card whenever you wish.

10. MegaN64 (n64 emulator android)

MegaN64 (N64 Emulator) - best android emulator

Download MegaN64 (N64 Emulator) (Free)
Want a fast N64 emulator? MegaN64 (N64 Emulator) is the premier choice. Allowing you to save your games on your SD card, it’s one of the best performing Nintendo 64 emulators on Google Play. MegaN64 is a best n64 emulator for android. It’s an Open Source project that modified and improvised the paid android emulator Mupen64+.

11. MAME4droid

MAME4droid android emulator app

Download MAME4droid (Free)
Perhaps you want to play some of your favorite arcade games from yesteryear, yet you don’t have access to an arcade cabinet that plays said games. If so, consider MAME4droid – an emulator that supports a wide array of arcade titles. Featuring the ability to use iON’s iCade and iCP external arcade controllers and even the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote, MAME4droid allows you to take full control of your favorite arcade titles in a brand new way.

12. MD.emu

Download MD.emu ($4.99)
Sega had enough time to develop and change over the years, and it really does offer many titles since the early years. Not too many emulators can cope with that issue, but we found a solution in MD.emu app. It’s suitable for Sega Genesis & Mega Drive, Sega CD, and Master System/Mark III. On a relatively new Android device, MD.emu will operate all sorts of formats (zip files included). Its list of extra features is very long as it offers hardware controller support, cheat codes, auto-saving. This is a great app for Sega lovers.

13. My Boy! Free – GBA Emulator

Download My Boy! – GBA Emulator(Free)
This high-quality item is the best Game Boy Advance emulation app on the market with solid compatibility scope. It’s a battery-saver which is always good to know, and it offers the greatest customization possibilities. It also offers an IME controller support which is nice since hardware controls for GBA are much superior to on-screen buttons. MyBoy! Comes with some interesting features (unknown to the competing emulators) and the most important one is the link cable emulation. This way, MyBoy! enables you to Bluetooth with another player and cross-play. And with the full version, you can remove annoying ads.

14. FPse for android

Download FPse ($2.95)
Able to render PSone games in high resolution via OpenGL, FPse will make your favorites look absolutely stunning. Supporting real-time saves, force-feedback, physical controllers, and even LAN support so you can play two-player games with two different devices, FPse will make your favorite PS1 games better than ever.

15. GENPlusDroid

Download GENPlusDroid (Free)
If you want to play your favorite Sega Genesis games optimally, GENPlusDroid is the emulator for you. As with most of the others in this list, physical USB/ Bluetooth game controllers are supported in addition to two-player support.

There are more emulator apps for Android available out there, but these are the best emulators for android on the list above will allow you to bring back your childhood time right into your pocket. Enjoy!

Recommended reading

Khaled Shariar
Khaled is using Android OS since the very first Google Phone. Back in 2008, he started getandroidstuff.com to help other Android users to find the right Applications/ Games and solving issues with their phone. Khaled also works in Creative Media Design.



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