Many people born in the 80s and 90s grew up on PlayStation 1, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, and other great consoles. We all remember that period because of the great music and beautiful video games.
Although some of the games from that period are available on PC as remakes, they can’t bring you back that feeling of playing the actual game on the original console. That’s where Android emulators kick in.
Using emulators that we reviewed, you can play your favorite old-school games on Android phone or tablet. We chose all-in-one emulators since they can emulate various devices under one program.
Interested in emulating Android on your PC? Check out Android Emulator: What Is It and Why Use One.
3 Best Multi-System Emulator Apps for Android
There are many emulators for Android. However, since we are talking about all-in-one emulators, we will review only those that can emulate multiple systems. The sad truth is that there aren’t many multi-system emulators, but – the already existing ones are just great!
This is definitely the first one that we should mention. RetroArch can emulate 18 different systems, including PS1, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis and a lot more. With the newest update, you will get plenty of eye-candy menus, which make the interface nice, simple and smooth.
For each system that you want to emulate, you will have to download it’s “core” from within the app. Basically, we might say that these core files are “emulators” and RetroArch is a program that runs them.
There are various cores for each system, so you might want to try out a few of them to see which one works best for you. Once you download it, you will have to set up controls, and then load a game. That’s it.
Although RetroArch is pretty good, please note that it’s an open-source program which makes it a bit unstable sometimes. That means it might crash from time to time.
This is an interesting emulator because it allows you to play classic games with phone gestures. Therefore, you will be able to play a game with the whole screen visible. It supports all GameBoys, PS1, Nintendo64 and a few other consoles.
Controls are fully customizable, and you can even create and save multiple controls profiles. Retro graphics and the original audio samples can definitely bring up some feelings of nostalgia.
Please note that the emulator doesn’t come with ROMs, so you will have to download them manually. However, it’s pretty easy to find tons of ROMs online.
Okay, this one might not seem like an all-in-one emulator, since it emulates only arcade games. However, since there are tons of games available for MAME4droid, we can say that it emulates many different arcade game systems.
If you are a fan of old, arcade games, this emulator is the best choice for you. MAME4droid supports various versions of arcade devices, which include over 8,000 ROMs.
However, it’s recommended that you have at least a dual-core Android device. Even with a high-end modern device, some games from the 90s and beyond might not work at full speed or compatibility. Some games might run better than others, some might not run at all.
The app is very easy to use, and the interface is pretty intuitive. MAME4droid supports customizable in-app button layout, and a netPlay over WiFi. Options like video aspec ratio, scaling and screen rotating are also available.
- Why emulators instead of ported games?
- While the actual process of “porting” adapts the game so it can be played on a different platform, it might (and usually does) affect the actual game quality. The emulator makes your device “act” as a different system, therefore imitating its functionality. This way, you can play the actual, original game.
- What consoles can be emulated on Android?
- Usually the older ones, with the lower hardware specifications. Just imagine playing PS4 games on your Android device – it really seems impossible, considering amazing PS4 graphics and animations that no phone could handle.
- Will the emulated game look exactly the same on Android and on a console?
- Of course, some minor graphics bugs or glitches might appear from time to time – after all, it’s an emulator and not a real device. However, today’s emulators are pretty good, so your gameplay should be very smooth and without any major problems.
Mayfan Switch Controller for Android
For the complete old school feel, we strongly recommend you to check out this Android controller. It has a very nice Nintendo joypad design but also has analogs in case you want to play emulated PS1 games.
It’s a good investment because it can also be used with PS3, Nintendo Switch and PC.
A Few Words in The End
Android emulators seem to be doing their job perfectly. It’s very easy to set them up and, after all, these apps provide a great gaming experience. Almost like you are playing a game on its original platform.
There isn’t much to say about choosing the right one for you – if you grew up in a PlayStation 1 era, which is very close to Sega Genesis and SNES, you should definitely try out Retro Arch or ClassicBoy. If, on the other hand, you grew up in the arcade era – MAME4droid is the thing for you.
Have you used any of these emulators? Do you like the gaming experience they provide? Please let us know in the comments below…