Do you still remember how you started playing consoles? Gameboys, PSP, etc.
It’s one of the best memories, right?
In my case, I started my gaming career with an original Gameboy, then my parents smartened up and bought my siblings and me a Nintendo 64.
Of course, it did not stop there.
We also eventually received a Gameboy Color and Xbox, and all of these gaming systems allowed me to spend time with friends and try to beat out my brother and sister and rub it in their faces later.
We have a unique opportunity to play all of these games again without even spending a dime on gaming systems. Using different game emulators on Android, you can play your favorite childhood games, and discover new ones as well.
Why Should You Use Emulators for Android?
If you’re bothered if you can get in trouble using these services, don’t worry, emulators are legal.
1. Saves money
Buying the whole gaming system is expensive but if you use emulators for gaming, you don’t have to buy the whole gaming system anymore. This instead will save you some cash.
You don’t have to carry around the consoles or games, making it easier to travel around and use these games. Playing your favorite games while waiting for the bus with all the consoles and devices is such a hassle, don’t you think? Making use of emulators for android phones can make everything easier. Since you can download it on your smartphone, you can comfortably carry it wherever you want.
3. Allows access to different OS
You can even put different operating systems on your phone with different emulators for Android. This makes the user experience a variety of aspects through the phone. Various OS can be used with various Android emulators.
If you’re bothered if you can get in trouble using these services, don’t worry, using emulators for android phones are legal.
So here’s the thing:
We’ve covered Android emulators for various gaming systems in the past, but now it’s time for the master list. Using the best game emulators for Android, you can now enjoy your favorite console games anywhere you go.
While some of these apps require a decent processor, most of them can run on older Android versions. So if you’re worried if your phone can run these apps, give them a try and share your experience in the comments!
See also: The Ultimate Android Phones for Gaming
There are tons of emulators out there, and to be honest, not all of them work well. Also, emulating consoles is a hard thing to do, so don’t be surprised to encounter a few errors from time to time.
Note: These emulators are not in a specific order.
1. My OldBoy! Free – GBC Emulator
I enjoy MyOldBoy! Free because you can test it out and play around with it before purchasing the paid version. I don’t have any problems with this, but I’ve noticed that some people say it doesn’t play all of their ROMs.
Overall, this GBC emulator for Android runs the games quite well, and it doesn’t take long to load the games on your device.
Just remember that you have to find the ROMs for this app yourself. View the entire list of GBC emulators for Android to find other options.
- Good compatibility with games
- You can save any game and come back at any time
- The motion sensors are excellent for tilting the phone–I like this for racing games
Although the free version works fine for playing your games, you receive additional features in the paid version, such as cheats and advanced motion tilting. The developers respond to all requests, so the paid version is quite lovely.
If you’re looking for the best and most stable DS emulator on Android, we suggest DraStic. Although it is not free, I’m telling you, this app is worth it.
With its smoothness and compatibility with DS games, the DraStic app is the best out there.
- Save and Load your games with save states
- Increase gameplay speed
- You can enhance the graphics of the game
- Supports add-on controllers
- Customizable layout
If you’re looking for a free alternative to DraStic, try nds4droid. Although DraStic is better, this NDS emulator is entirely free without any ads.
Since it hasn’t got any updates for a while, it isn’t surprising to see bugs and crashes now and then. Nevertheless, nds4droid still works with old games and is a friendly app for starters.
- Frame-skip function
- Perfect controls
- Save and load all your games
4. Snes9x EX+
This Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator doesn’t have that many features, but it seems like they just focused on the smoothness of the games. The controls are excellent, and I didn’t have any problems loading my ROMs.
View the full list of SNES emulators for Android to find other options.
- You receive Bio Worm with the download
- There aren’t any ads
- It’s open-source, so it’s always improving
Load games in a flash by placing them on your SD card.
5. JOHN NESS
If you’re looking for an app to play both your NES and SNES games, JOHN NESS is the one for you. The app can support ROMs, cheats, and save states, which are the extra features most people want in emulators.
- Controller support
- Fast forward option
- High-quality rendering
Nostalgia.NES is a high-quality NES emulator for Android, which is perfect if you’re looking for some retro fun on your phone. The app is very user-friendly, smooth, and customizable.
- Customizable virtual pad
- Save states
- NES and Zip file support
- Hardware-accelerated graphics
- Supports Wi-Fi controllers and Bluetooth gamepads so that you can play with your friends.
Supports with Wi-Fi controllers and Bluetooth gamepads so that you can play with your friends.
The Pro version removes all of the ads in the app.
OK, there are some ads on this app, but you’ll only seem them in the main menu and not when you start playing a game. The placement of their ads isn’t annoying, in my opinion.
The controls are aligned nicely, and all the games I have tried ran smooth, without any lag or graphics problems. GENPlusDroid also has customizable control bindings, and fast forward features like other emulators out there.
- You don’t need to root your phone to play
- The app is open source so you might find some stable modifications on Google Play
- All the games run at full speed
Try the shader to improve the graphics on the higher quality games.
Play your PSP favorites like Dragon Ball Z and Final Fantasy on Android. The control placement is prominent and easy to use.
Not to mention, every game I’ve played has run smoothly. Overall, this is the best PSP emulator for Android out there.
- Convert your real PSP games and play them on your device
- Play your games in HD
- Compatible with a ton of games out there
Punch in as many cheats as you want.
Take away the ads and support the developers by paying for this app.
9. Dolphin Emulator
Dolphin is the best GameCube emulator for you out there. Although you might experience some lags and frame drops, that is understandable since the app is still in its beta stages.
- Compatible with most games
- Adjustable visual and general settings
10. Mupen64+AE FREE (N64 Emulator for Android)
This app is the best bet for Nintendo 64 Emulators because it runs most games smoothly, and this is saying a lot for the other ones on Google Play Store. Although there are some audio and graphical problems with some games, it runs smoothly overall.
- Very little lag
- Simulates the N64 Rumble Pak with the vibrate function
- Look for your favorite games within the app
Choose any phone directory to store your games.
The paid version is only for donations and removing ads, but since this developer is quite helpful, you might want to think about it.
Nostalgia has a few emulators for Android, and this is their GBA version. It also has the rewind feature, which made this app unique compared to other emulators and perfect for pokemon games.
- GBA and ZIP file support
- Compatible with Bluetooth gamepads
- Highly customizable virtual controller
Although the free version has ads, it isn’t intrusive and annoying. If you want those advertisements gone, you can purchase the Pro version. There isn’t much difference between the free and the Pro one except for the ads.
11. My Boy! – GBA Emulator for Android
This app is one of the more simple emulators I have ever used, and you receive fast emulation compared to other options on Google Play. Compatible with almost all GBA games out there, this emulator is the best bet for you.
My Boy! also have the fastest and smoothest emulation I’ve seen so far in Android emulators from Google Play. With this app, you’ll end up playing your favorite GBA games anywhere you go.
- The interface is super clean
- Fast forward and half-speed features
- Save games whenever you want
- External controller support
- Compatible with almost all GBA games
You can sync your saves on Google Drive to play it on other devices.
13 John GBA
This app is a Gameboy Advance emulator, but it’s one of your best options to play Pokemon on your Android device. It runs off the original GBA engine, so you shouldn’t have any problems with gameplay.
John GBA Lite also doesn’t require a lot of resources to run. Having at least a 1GHz Dual-core processor and 1GB RAM is enough to run most games.
- Use the virtual on-screen keypad
- High-quality rendering
- Save your games and take screenshots
Turbo buttons allow you to fast-forward in your game.
The paid version takes over your free version data, so you don’t lose anything. Get some additional features like more game format support and no ads.
If you like this app, there is a new and better version of it named John GBAC. Although this app works fine, it won’t get many updates since the developers will focus on the new one.
14. John GBAC
If you have seen the John NESS emulator, it isn’t surprising to see a GBC/GBA version. This app lets you play GBA and GBC games in one app.
Although games can run better with newer phones, the app works with older Android versions as far as 6.0.
- Original game engine
- Customizable keys
- Supports ZIP files
- Virtual keypad
Developed by Robert Broglia, this app is an open-source emulator that can run Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Mark System games.
Although you might experience some specific in-game problems since the app is still in its beta stages, it looks like a promising emulator that has room for improvement.
- Accurate sound
- Save states
- Supports ROM
- Customizable controls
RetroArch is an open-source project and a unique one at that. Unlike most emulators, this app provides you with cores to download and use.
The app is perfect for people who want to play games from different consoles but doesn’t want to download more apps.
- Customizable controls
- Allows cheats
- Multi-language support
- No ads
Games and cores are available directly from the app. There is no need for users to find and download games online.
ePSXe is one of the two famous Playstation emulators that you can find on the Google Play Store. With its high game compatibility, excellent speed, and accurate sound, you won’t waste your money on this one.
- Use the touchscreen or attach your external controller
- Punch in your cheat codes
- The audio is accurate, and the speed is better than most emulators
Includes a split-screen mode so you can play with another friend.
FPse is another Playstation emulator on Android. While ePSXe is direct and simplistic, this app is a bit heavy on the customization side.
If you like to tweak the settings, framerate, and graphics, FPse is the one for you. Although it might take some time to find the right configuration for your phone, nothing more is stopping you from playing your favorite PS1 games after that.
- Controller support
- Customizable interface
- High compatibility with games
FPse can run smoothly on old phone versions as far as Android 2.3.
19. Terminal Emulator for Android
Android Terminal Emulator provides a full Linux command line shell for all you geeks out there. It’s not the gaming type, but you can use the command module, which is fun for playing around with your phone.
- Bring up multiple windows
- Create launcher shortcuts
- It supports tons of different languages
It’s completely free. They don’t try to sell you with ads or in-app purchases.
20. Linux Deploy
Linux emulators aren’t that common for Android, but this one pulls through with quick processing and just about everything you would expect from the Linux system.
Although the app isn’t perfect, this is one of the best Linux emulators you can find on Google Play Store.
- Installs the Linux program within seconds
- Open-source app
- Has several supported distributions like Ubuntu and Debian
You can use it in both English and Russian.
What is an Emulator?
An emulator allows you to run another software like Playstation or DS on your PC or Android device. The emulator imitates the nature of this software and allows the Android device to run files or games that are compatible with such software.
Do Emulators work for all Android devices?
As different emulators require different device specifications and Android versions, unfortunately, it’s not for every device. However, they are compatible with the majority of Android devices.
Are Emulators safe to use?
As long as these emulators come from a reliable source, they are risk-free and safe to use. However, if you plan to download and use ROMs, we advise you to exercise caution since they are illegal, and sometimes come with viruses that can harm your device.
What is the difference between simulators and emulators for android?
A simulator is one that models but an emulator is the one that replicates the usage as on the original system and device. For example, a flight simulator replicates the experience of flying a plane while emulators replicate non-physical user experiences like software.
When do we use emulators for Android?
Emulators for Android are most useful when we need to test how software interacts with underlying hardware or a combination of hardware and software. It can be a helping hand if we want to access different OS on different Android devices.
20 Best Emulators for Android To Play Your Favorite Games
Android Emulators are quite famous for big gamers, and the Google Play Store does not disappoint, with options like Gameboy emulators, PSP emulators, and even ways to put your Android games on a computer.
Keep in mind that you should test out these emulators for Android on your device because sometimes they work differently on other phones and tablets.
If you have any questions about these emulators for Android, let me know in the comments section below. For the best Android news, tips, and apps, join and subscribe to our newsletter!