I started my gaming career with an original Gameboy, then my parents smartened up and bought my sibllings and I a Nintendo 64. 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.
Now, we have a unique opportunity to play all of these games again without even spending a dime on the gaming systems or games. With smartphones and tablets you can use emulators for Android to reach back into your childhood or play some of the games for systems that you don’t currently own.
Must Read for you: How to Run Gameboy Advance Games on Android
We’ve covered emulators for various different gaming systems in the past, but now it’s time for the master list. Take a look at the 30 best emulators for Android to play games on your devices, put the Android interface on your PC and even run Java on your phone. Let’s have a look.
Why Should You Use an Emulator?
There are a few reasons why an Android emulator is much better than using the traditional gaming console and games:
- You don’t have to buy the whole gaming system, saving you a little cash.
- You don’t have to buy any of the games for these systems, once again saving you money.
- You don’t have to carry around the consoles or games, making it easier to travel around and use these games.
- You can even put different operating systems on your Android phone with emulators for Android.
1. My OldBoy! Free – GBC Emulator – Free and $3.99
The Top GBC Emulator
1.a Free Version
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 emulator yourself. View the entire list of GBC emulators for android to find other options.
- Use the fast forward function to move forward in your games
- You can save any game and come back at any time
- The motion sensors are great for tilting the phone–I like this for racing games
You can create a server link to play with one of your friends.
1.b Paid Version
Although the free version is just 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 actually quite nice.
2. Gameboy Color A.D. – Free
A Gameboy Color Emulator for External Controllers
Gameboy Color A.D., the GBC emulator for android works quite well, but I would still prefer the previous option. The controls are a tad stiff, but all the games have nice graphics and the ROMs only take a few miuntes to load up on your device.
- Post your scores on the leaderboard
- You can choose different emulator skins
- Make a personal profile to show off your scores
Link up an external controller for the full experience.
3. nds4droid – Free
A Smooth NDS Emulator
I love this emulator because it works well with all the best NDS games. There isn’t really any lag, and the NDS emulator is completely free.
View the complete list of NDS emulators to find other options.
- The developer responds to all questions and requests
- The emulator is open source, so it has plenty of modifications and improvements
- Save and load all your games
The controls are perfect, so you don’t have to worry about getting frustrated by such as small feature.
4. Snes9x EX+ – Free
A Fast SNES Emulator
This Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator doesn’t have that many features, but it seems like they really just focused on the smoothness of the games. The controls are nice 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. SuperGNES Lite (SNES Emulator) – Free and $3.99
A SNES Emulator With Paid Options
5.a Free Version
This is a nice emulator, but in order to get the full experience you need to download the paid version. When I loaded my games and started playing I never had any problems with lag, sound or loading the games.
- Use an external controller
- Each game comes with cover art
- The emulator supports cheats
If you want to play on another device just sync your game with Dropbox and start playing elsewhere.
5.b Paid Version
The paid version adds a few additional features to improve the game play. The free version works fine as a bare-bones player, but big gamers might want to test the paid option.
6. GENPlusDroid – Free
A No Ads Sega Genesis Emulator
OK, there are some ads on this emulator, but they are completely removed when you start playing a game. This is perfect in my opinion. The controls are aligned nicely, and all the games I have tried ran smooth, without any lag or graphics problems.
- You don’t need to root your phone to play
- The emulator is open source so you might find some solid modifications on Google Play
- All the games run at full speed
Try the shader to improve the graphics on the higher quality games.
7. AndroGens – Free and $2.07
A Sega Genesis Emulator With a Paid Option
7.a Free Version
This emulator is for Sega Genesis, and you can always download the paid version if you hate ads. Most Sega Genesis android emulators have problems with loading games or even playing them when you get them on your phone. This is not one of those emulators.
- Try using physical controllers with the emulator
- Save a game and load it up later
- The emulator is designed to save battery life
Change around where the buttons are placed and how big they are.
7.b Paid Version
The only thing you get with the paid version is no ads.
8. PPSSPP – PSP emulator – Free and $5.99
A Flawless PSP Emulator
8.a Free Version
Play PSP favorites like Dragon Ball Z and Final Fantasy. The control placement is prominent and easy to use. Not to mention, every game I’ve played has run smoothly. View the list of PSP emulators for android to find other options.
- Convert your real PSP games and play them on your device
- Play your games in HD
- Supports more games than I could think of
Punch in as many cheats as you want.
8.b Paid Version
Take away the ads and support the developers by paying for this app.
9. emu.PSP Emulator – Free
A Bare-Bones Playstation Portable Emulator
There isn’t much to say about this PSP emulator for android because it’s so simple. There aren’t many features but you can load your games in a few seconds and start playing without any problems.
- Use homebrew games that you find online
- Converts your own PSP games to play them on your device
- It is based on PPSSPP, so it works well
You can use Playstation games on this emulator as well.
10. Mupen64+AE FREE (N64 Emulator for android) – Free and $0.99
An N64 Emulator with Great Support
10.a Free Version
This is the best bet for Nintendo 64 Emulators because it runs games smoothly and this is saying a lot for emulators on the Google Play Store. The developer is always around to answer questions, so feel free to submit any questions or suggestions for the emulator.
View the entire list of N64 emulators to find other options.
- 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.
10.b Paid Version
The paid version is only for donations, but since this developer is quite helpful you might want to think about it.
11. MegaN64 (N64 Emulator) – Free
A Speedy Nintendo 64 Emulator
This is one of the fastest emulators I’ve used on my phone. Expect similar performance as the Open Source Mupen64+, since it uses the same interface.
- Includes enhancements for your Nexus 4
- Includes enhancements for your Galaxy S4
- Works well on tablets and phones
Put all your ROMs on the SD card in your device.
12. MyGBA – Gameboid Emulator – Free
Launch Multiple Formats With This GBA Emulator
This is one of the best Gameboy Advance emulators for android since it is really easy to use, and you only have to transfer your games to the phone storage and start playing. View the entire list of GBA emulators to find other options.
- Look for ROMs inside the app
- Play games in .gba and .zip formats
- Launch your games within seconds
The emulator runs smoothly and you can place the ROMs in any directory you want.
13. My Boy! Free – GBA Emulator for android – Free and $4.99
A Simple and Fast GBA Emulator
13.a Free Version
This is one of the more simple emulators I have ever used, and you receive fast emulation compared to other options on Google Play. You can also fast forward and slow down the speed in the game if needed.
- The interface is super clean
- Works with most games
- Edit the screen layout
Make your own shortcuts to launch games from your homescreen.
13.b Paid Version
You get a few extra features with this GBA emulator. Save your game at any time, create some profiles and use more cheat codes.
14. John GBA Lite – Best Emulator for Pokemon – Free and $2.99
The One and Only Pokemon Emulator for Android
14.a Free Version
This is a Gameboy Advance emulator, but it’s your best option to play Pokemon on your Android device. It runs off the original GBA engine, so you shouldn’t have any problems with game play. View the entire list of Pokemon emulators to find other options.
- Use the virtual on-screen keypad
- Punch in as many cheats as you want
- Save your games and take screenshots
Turbo buttons allow you to fast-forward in your game.
14.b Paid Version
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.
15. Terminal Emulator for Android – Free
The Top Android Terminal Emulator
Android Terminal Emulator provides a full Linux command line shell for all you geeks out there. It’s not a gaming emulator, 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.
16. ClassicBoy (Emulator) – PS1 Emulator Option – Free
Your Only PS1 Emulator for Android
Their isn’t much on the Google Play Store in terms of PS1 emulators, so this is really your only option. ClassicBoy allows you to load up lots of gaming system games, and Playstation 1 emulation is one of those options.
- Play PS1 and other systems like N64 and Sega Genesis
- Gesture and sensor settings
- Auto save included
Change the size and placement of your controller buttons.
17. Reicast – Dreamcast Emulator for Android – Free and $3.99
A Supreme Dreamcast Emulator
This isn’t the perfect emulator, but it comes close. It’s actually one of the only android Dreamcast emulators you can find online. It runs so darn smooth, and I love it because Dreamcast has always been one of the most underrated gaming systems of all time.
- You can checkout the device and game history to see if anything is wrong and to help out the developers
- Includes Dreamcast microphone emulation
- Save your gaming status for your games
Save your games anywhere on the device, making it easy to locate them and put them on your device.
18. ePSXe for Android – Free
PSX Emulator, with an Added Bonus
This is the only PSX emulator you can find on the Google Play Store, and you receive an extra bonus of playing PS1 games.
- The sound is accurate and the speed is better than most emulators
- Use the touchscreen or attach your own external controller
- Punch in your cheat codes
Includes a split-screen mode so you can play with another friend.
19. MAME4droid – Free
The MAME Emulator for the Oldest of Games
This MAME Emulator for android is great for playing your favorite arcade games, making it the only option to play your favorite older games on this list. If you just read the reviews you can see how quickly the game runs, and you even get some nice support from the developer.
- Supports tons of ROMs
- The controls are placed nicely so you can play games easily
- Place all your games on the SD card for quick starts
The developer offers tips on how to speed up your gameplay, especially on older devices.
20. Winulator-beta – Free and $7.99
A New Windows Emulator
20.a Free Version
This windows emulator for android seems to run pretty well. There aren’t that many games supported, but I’m assuming this will improve in the future.
- Plays Windows 95 games
- Plays Windows 98 games
- Comes with on-screen controls
The development team is open for feedback to improve the Windows emulator.
20.b Paid Version
The paid version is exactly the same, except that it removes a Beta tag that shows up in the app.
21. Wind OS – Free
Another Nice Windows Emulator for Android
There are only three or four Windows emulators to choose from, and one of them is a joke app. This is another solid option, and it actually has more features than the previous option we just looked at.
- It comes with a browser for looking at your favorite sites
- Comes with Minesweeper
- You get the classic Windows desktop
You can even bring up the blue screen of death if you want. Remember that?
22. Linux Deploy – Free
Grab a Nice Operating System With This Linux Emulator for Android
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.
- It installs the Linux program within seconds
- It’s open source, so you will see many modifications and improvements
- Has several supported distributions like Ubuntu and Debian
You can use it in both English and Russian.
23. Java Manager; Emulate Java – Free
Java Emulation – Not Perfect, but It’s Getting There
This Java emulator for android is quite simple. It allows you to use Java on your phone. I didn’t run into any problems while testing, but I’m certain some phones don’t support this.
- You don’t need to root your phone
- Compile and execute your files
- Run and open jar files
This is not a feature, but a warning. The emulator can only run command code. It is not yet ready for GUI.
24. DosBox Manager – Free and $3.49
Manage Your Games With a DOS Emulator
24.a Free Version
DOS emulator for android are designed so that you can manage your games without any problems. The interface is quite clean and you can set up and start any game within just a few minutes. I like this be because it gives you somewhat of a bookshelf to see all your games and play them upon clicking.
- Manage multiple games and profiles
- Click on a game once and it launches
- You can make it so that it automatically starts up upon turning on your device
Import your own custom icons to make your library suit your personality.
24.b Paid Version
The paid DOS emulator offers additional features like Pentium MMX instructions, analog controller support and network gaming.
25. BlueStacks – Android on PC Emulator – Free
The Perfect PC Android Emulator
Sometimes you want to get the Android interface on your computer. Play games and install apps on your computer with the BlueStacks program. It’s quick to install and you can choose the type of phone or tablet you want to emulate. Checkout additional methods to play Android games on your PC.
- Works for XP, Vista Windows 7 and 8
- Comes with the Google Play Store to download apps
- Plenty of support from the development team
You can modify what the screen looks like on your computer and even click buttons that you would find on a regular Android phone.
26. Genymotion – Android on PC Emulator – Free
A Secondary Option for Android on PC Emulation
Genymotion is another great option if you want to play Android games on your computer. Choose from different devices and load your favorite apps within seconds. Lots of developers use this to test apps, but you can use it to play games.
- The apps and games run very fast
- Create an account to get great support
- Use full-screen display
Put your display on a larger screen like your TV.
Android Emulators are quite popular for big gamers, and the Google Play Store does not disappoint, with options like N64 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. Have fun!