Emulators are softwares that duplicate the functions of one computer system on another, allowing games and programs from that system to be run. Android devices are typically more friendly towards emulator apps due to the ease of file management and the laissez-faire management of the Google Play store. RetroArch is a retro console emulator for Android, enabling you to play classic games from a variety of consoles from Nintendo, Sega, Sony and PCs. If you have had any favourite titles over the years then this is a great app to allow them to be played on your Android device.
Despite questions of the legality of using emulators (technically speaking the using of emulators is legal, while the use of ROM game titles is questionable), RetroArch provides a way for you to play games from the console list below with comparative ease. Once you have the app downloaded then you need to download the relevant game files and locate them in the game folder for the app to access. As you can see from the list below, the RetroArch emulator for Android has a large amount of consoles covered to allow you to play a massive array of games on the device.
– PlayStation 1 (emulator: PCSX ReARMed)
– Super Nintendo (emulator: SNES9x Next)
– Nintendo Entertainment System (emulator: FCEUmm / NEStopia)
– GameBoy / GameBoy Color (emulator: Gambatte)
– GameBoy Advance (emulator: VBA Next) (*)
– Arcade (emulator: Final Burn Alpha)
– Neo Geo Pocket Color (emulator: Mednafen NGP)
– Virtual Boy (emulator: Mednafen VB)
– Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (emulator: Genesis Plus GX)
– Sega Master System/Sega Game Gear (emulator: Genesis Plus GX)
– Sega CD / Mega CD (emulator: Genesis Plus GX)
– PC Engine / PC Engine CD (emulator: Mednafen PCE Fast)
– WonderSwan Color / Crystal (emulator: Mednafen Wonderswan)
– Cave Story (game engine: NX Engine)
– Doom 1 / Doom 2 / Ultimate Doom / Final Doom (game engine: prBoom)
As regards gameplay, you can either use a built-in on-screen controller, allowing you to use the device anywhere or a plug-in USB controller supported by Android. Both controllers have drawbacks, while the built-in controller is convenient and saves you space, it is very fiddly to use, especially when you are playing games from consoles which were controlled by controllers with a large number of buttons and keypads. For games from the earlier systems, this is not much of a drawback. The plug-in option makes gaming a lot easier, however mean that you have to prop up the Android device, taking away the “hand-held” aspect of it.
- Play your favourites from gaming classics on your Android phone
- Large selection of ROM emulators
- On screen controller difficult to use
- No ROM support due to legality issues
As an emulator gaming solution for your Android device, RetroArch is one of the best on offer. Yes it is somewhat annoying that the app offers no help and support for ROMs due to questions of legality but if you can source the games yourself then this offers a number of solutions for playing them and reliving classic gaming moments.