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5 Best Free Android Retro Console Emulators

5 Best Free Android Retro Console Emulators

Emulation refers to the duplication of functions of one system using a different system. Specifically, an emulator is software written to emulate aspects of the original console or computer, primarily the processor, input/output, and memory system. The most common type of emulation is video console emulation.

Armed with a retro console emulator, users can play games written for arcade machines on their Android device. Further, the same Android device can also be used to play video console games such as the ones developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), and Sega Genesis.

The legality of emulators has been debated on a number of occasions. The upshot is that whilst an emulator, in itself, is not illegal, this does not mean that individuals can legitimately download copyrighted games for free, which are stored in ROMs. However, generating a ROM from a game cartridge that you physically own does fall on the right side of the law in many countries. None of the emulators featured in this article therefore come supplied with any ROMs. If you wish to use these apps, you do need to own the relevant ROMs already.

There are a number of retro consoles currently without a good free Android emulator. A notable example is the Playstation 1. If you want to play Playstation 1 games on your Android device, we would recommend the highly impressive FPse for Android which costs just over 4 dollars.

There are a number of emulators coded for operating systems other than Android that have been ported (quite well) to the Android platform. Unfortunately, one 'author' violated the licenses of the original code. Consequently, a number of emulators such as Nesoid, n64oid, SNesoid, and Bit64 were removed from Android Market. These apps have also been excluded from consideration for the purposes of this article.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 remarkable Android retro console emulators. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to play their favorite 8-bit console games on their Android phone or tablet.

Now, let's explore the 5 retro console emulators at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews. We give our highest recommendation to MAME4droid and DroidEmuLite.

Retro Console Emulators
MAME4droid MAME is an arcade machine emulator
DroidEmuLite Play SNES, NES, GBA, GBC, GameGear, and Genesis games
John NES Lite A NES/Famicom emulator with good compatibility
SuperGNES Lite Fast Super Nintendo emulator
ColEm ColecoVision Console Emulator

Return to our collection of Android Group Tests, identifying the finest free Android software. Readers may also be interested in our comprehensive collection of Linux Group Tests.

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Last Updated Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 04:03 PM EDT

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