90s kids didn’t get Instagram to post everyday moments or Facebook to meet new friends during school days, but we never had to worry about hackers controlling the battle arena, or capitalism challenging our hard-earned gaming skills. Games today are better in terms of graphics, but are they as good as the games we played in our childhood days? Some might say yes, while it’s a big NO for others. We could show off in front of our school friends about that powerful character we unlocked after hours of gameplay. Oh, now we can throw a few pennies at the developer, and get the same character without much hard work.
For a gamer at heart, these are things to get frustrated about, and we all know it will take years before the James Webb Telescope or something better can help us travel back in time to our childhood days. Jokes apart, if you want to play those iconic games on your Android, you can use console emulators. That said, today I am here with the top 5 game emulators that you must have on your Android if you are into retro-gaming, or you simply want to cherish those old memories.
What is an emulator?
An emulator is a piece of software that can mimic a hardware interface, fooling the games and apps into believing they are running on the platform, they are programmed to work. It is like setting up a laboratory with parameters set virtually to make things work, but emulators do it in practical ways to serve a purpose, like play a game, or run any useful program. These emulators request system resources from the host to execute its activities.
Smartphones today are far more powerful than the best-selling consoles of the 90s or 2000s, and hence we can effortlessly emulate those console environments on our smartphones, provided we have the appropriate emulator built by some developer for Android.
So, without any further delay, let’s get started with the top 5 console emulators that you must have on your Android.
PPSSPP PSP emulator
PlayStation Portable was one of the most popular handheld consoles that gained popularity in the last decade, and a few titles are great in terms of both gameplay and graphics, even by today’s standards. Thanks to PPSSPP, we can now enjoy those PlayStation Portable aka. PSP games right on our Android. The app not only offers a great and simple user interface but the games can be played with both the on-screen controls or an external controller, as the case may be.
As this is an emulator, there might be some games here and there that are not fully supported, but the most popular, as well as many other, not-so-well-known titles are supported without any issues, if you have a relatively new handset. There are several configurable settings to make the games run exactly the way you want or tweak the performance if you are running PPSSPP on a relatively old Android.
Mario, Contra, Adventure Island, etc. are games that define specific genres, and new games are made based on them. That said, these originals are still fun to play no matter how old you are, or whether some of the more advanced ports of such games are available. With NostalgiaNES, you can rejuvenate those old memories right on your Android, and play all your NES games at their full potential. Besides offering a gameplay environment, NostalgiaNES also makes it easy to save game states and load the game from where you last left.
Besides the on-screen D-pad and other controls, you can effortlessly connect any gamepad either physically or using Bluetooth, and that should be recognized by the emulator making it ready to play. You can also use the 1200-in-1 or similar all-in-one game ROMs to get the best of all-time NES games easily. NostalgiaNES also has a premium version, which has more options, or simply supports the developer for the app.
90s or the kids of the early millennium who got a computer during their childhood must have played some of the iconic games like Prince of Persia, Dangerous Dave, or even Mario for DOS, on their computers. Today, due to limitations on 64-bit systems, the only way to enjoy such games is to use DosBox which emulates DOS on Windows making the games possible to run. If you are on Android, you can use aDosBox to emulate the MS-DOS environment right on your Android and enjoy your favorite DOS games.
The only limitation here is, that you have to use a keyboard; and mouse, for the games that support a mouse to play these games. Connecting a keyboard and mouse to an Android isn’t the best setup ever, considering your handset will require OTG and your desk will be filled with cables, but it is one way to enjoy the DOS games if you don’t have a laptop or computer.
Note: The aDosBox is not in active development anymore but you can try it out…
ePSXe for Android
Just like the PSP games, the PlayStation was also a great console of its time, and there are several mind-blowing titles compatible with the console. With ePSXe, you can emulate all your favorite PlayStation games and a few of the PC games that are available for PlayStation too, like Road Rash. If you are having a relatively modern handset, the gameplay will be excellent, thanks to the modern SoCs, however, you will have to adjust on a small screen.
All modern game controllers are also compatible with ePSXe, making the emulator the best to bring back all those memories. Even if you don’t have a game controller, the on-screen controls are enough, if you want to enjoy the PlayStation games for a while, however, it is better to use a wired controller, yeah, a wired one for seamless and latency-free gameplay.
Dolphin console emulator
A great console of the last decade or so was the Wii by Nintendo, which also has some of the best games like Mario Bros, Call of Duty MW, Animal Crossing, NFS, etc. With Dolphin, you can emulate all such games right on your Android. While Dolphin is not as popular as most other emulators I have mentioned, it is still a decent emulator, if you are into trying some of your favorite Wii games on your handheld.
Dolphin isn’t the best emulator though, as it is complicated, if not hard to emulate controllers with motion sensors on your Android, and you can’t use any regular game controller to play your favorite titles. You can’t simply plug and play your gaming controller, but one way to get over the issue is by using certain apps that can map the physical buttons with the on-screen controls. Just give Dolphin a try and hope it works for you.
Android games of the generation are fun to play. But the frustrating thing is, that most of the games are ruined by Pay-to-win elements and unnecessary ads. With the emulators I have discussed, you can enjoy some of the addictive titles without any ads and you will not have to pay real money to establish progress. It is all your skills that matter.
So, those were some of the console emulators that you should have on your Android if you love playing games. Do you have any further questions regarding the topic? Feel free to comment on the same below.