Developers have been offering video game console emulators for Android almost as long as Android’s been around. While there are some top notch games designed for Android, there’s nothing quite like firing up an emulator to play Final Fantasy VII on your phone.

Up until now if you wanted to handle PlayStation, NES, Sega Genesis, and other games, you’d need a separate emulator for each. But now there’s an Android app that supports games from over a dozen different game consoles.


RetroArch is a free multi-system game emulator. It’s already available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and other platforms, and it recently hit the Google Play Store for Android.

The app supports plug-and-play detection of USB and Bluetooth gamepads, but you can also use customizable on-screen controls to play games. Some games are easier to play using these sorts of touchscreen controls than others — role playing and strategy games are a bit simpler than fighting or racing games, for instance.

RetroArch supports a range of platforms including:

  • PlayStation 1
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Super Nintendo
  • GameBoy
  • GameBoy Advance
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Sega Genesis
  • Sega Master System
  • WonderSwan Color

There’s also support for the DOOM game engine for DOOM 1 and DOOM 2.

As with most apps of this sort, it’s perfectly legal to install and run the emulator. Obtaining game ROMs, on the other hand, is a different story.

There are tools that make it possible to rip your own games from cartridges or CDs, but it’s typically much easier to find and download games from the internet — which violates copyright law, even if you physically own hard copies of the games you’re downloading.

So proceed with caution… unless you’re simply using RetroArch to play public domain, homebrew games. Hey, it could happen, right?

via reddit

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4 replies on “RetroArch lets you play classic PS1, NES, GameBoy games on Android… and much more”

  1. “Up until now” is technically true as there hasn’t been a multi-console emulator that I know of that’s also done PS1 games, but DroidEmu has been around and plays SNES, NES, GBA, GB, GBC, Sega GG, and Genesis games, though it does cost a few bucks. I think there was a Tiger emu that also did multiple console emulation, though their apps got pulled from the market a ways back. For free, though, I’ll definitely install this one and try it out. Seeing WonderSwan emulation listed reminds me of my Palm Treo 680 I still have around the house. The Little John Palm app plays all the listed consoles with the exception of PS1, and the D-pad makes great joystick.

  2. ScummVM is another way to play old games on Android. All you’ve got to do is copy the files from your old Sierra Designs games to an Android device, point ScummVM to the files, and play away. It’s been stable and solid for me with the couple of 1990s adventure games that I still had on my shelf.

    The only drawback is pointing device integration. They emulate the mouse cursor, which makes sense for a touchscreen-only device. But it’s a little awkward with the Samsung Note stylus or an OTG mouse. But it’s a team of volunteers who’ve put it together, and they’ve done a wonderful job — so I’m not complaining! 🙂

  3. Interesting stuff!
    I do a lot of MAME too, but I don’t see that being integrated any time soon.

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