20 Best Emulators for Android To Play Your Favorite Games
Do you still remember how you started playing consoles? Gameboys, PSP, etc.
It’s one of the best memories, right?
In my case, I started my gaming career with an original Gameboy, then my parents smartened up and bought my siblings and me a Nintendo 64.
Of course, it did not stop there.
We also eventually received a Gameboy Color and Xbox, and all of these gaming systems allowed me to spend time with friends and try to beat out my brother and sister and rub it in their faces later.
We have a unique opportunity to play all of these games again without even spending a dime on gaming systems. Using different game emulators on Android, you can play your favorite childhood games, and discover new ones as well.
Related: Great DS and 3DS Emulators for Android
Why Should You Use Emulators for Android?
If you’re bothered if you can get in trouble using these services, don’t worry, emulators are legal.
1. Saves money
Buying the whole gaming system is expensive but if you use emulators for gaming, you don’t have to buy the whole gaming system anymore. This instead will save you some cash.
You don’t have to carry around the consoles or games, making it easier to travel around and use these games. Playing your favorite games while waiting for the bus with all the consoles and devices is such a hassle, don’t you think? Making use of emulators for android phones can make everything easier. Since you can download it on your smartphone, you can comfortably carry it wherever you want.
3. Allows access to different OS
You can even put different operating systems on your phone with different emulators for Android. This makes the user experience a variety of aspects through the phone. Various OS can be used with various Android emulators.
If you’re bothered if you can get in trouble using these services, don’t worry, using emulators for android phones are legal.
So here’s the thing:
We’ve covered Android emulators for various gaming systems in the past, but now it’s time for the master list. Using the best game emulators for Android, you can now enjoy your favorite console games anywhere you go.
While some of these apps require a decent processor, most of them can run on older Android versions. So if you’re worried if your phone can run these apps, give them a try and share your experience in the comments!
See also: The Ultimate Android Phones for Gaming
There are tons of emulators out there, and to be honest, not all of them work well. Also, emulating consoles is a hard thing to do, so don’t be surprised to encounter a few errors from time to time.
Note: These emulators are not in a specific order.
1. My OldBoy! Free – GBC Emulator
I enjoy MyOldBoy! Free because you can test it out and play around with it before purchasing the paid version. I don’t have any problems with this, but I’ve noticed that some people say it doesn’t play all of their ROMs.
Overall, this GBC emulator for Android runs the games quite well, and it doesn’t take long to load the games on your device.
Just remember that you have to find the ROMs for this app yourself. View the entire list of GBC emulators for Android to find other options.
- Good compatibility with games
- You can save any game and come back at any time
- The motion sensors are excellent for tilting the phone–I like this for racing games
Although the free version works fine for playing your games, you receive additional features in the paid version, such as cheats and advanced motion tilting. The developers respond to all requests, so the paid version is quite lovely.
If you’re looking for the best and most stable DS emulator on Android, we suggest DraStic. Although it is not free, I’m telling you, this app is worth it.
With its smoothness and compatibility with DS games, the DraStic app is the best out there.
- Save and Load your games with save states
- Increase gameplay speed
- You can enhance the graphics of the game
- Supports add-on controllers
- Customizable layout
If you’re looking for a free alternative to DraStic, try nds4droid. Although DraStic is better, this NDS emulator is entirely free without any ads.
Since it hasn’t got any updates for a while, it isn’t surprising to see bugs and crashes now and then. Nevertheless, nds4droid still works with old games and is a friendly app for starters.
- Frame-skip function
- Perfect controls
- Save and load all your games
4. Snes9x EX+
This Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator doesn’t have that many features, but it seems like they just focused on the smoothness of the games. The controls are excellent, and I didn’t have any problems loading my ROMs.
View the full list of SNES emulators for Android to find other options.
- You receive Bio Worm with the download
- There aren’t any ads
- It’s open-source, so it’s always improving
Load games in a flash by placing them on your SD card.
5. JOHN NESS
If you’re looking for an app to play both your NES and SNES games, JOHN NESS is the one for you. The app can support ROMs, cheats, and save states, which are the extra features most people want in emulators.
- Controller support
- Fast forward option
- High-quality rendering
Nostalgia.NES is a high-quality NES emulator for Android, which is perfect if you’re looking for some retro fun on your phone. The app is very user-friendly, smooth, and customizable.
- Customizable virtual pad
- Save states
- NES and Zip file support
- Hardware-accelerated graphics
- Supports Wi-Fi controllers and Bluetooth gamepads so that you can play with your friends.
Supports with Wi-Fi controllers and Bluetooth gamepads so that you can play with your friends.
The Pro version removes all of the ads in the app.
OK, there are some ads on this app, but you’ll only seem them in the main menu and not when you start playing a game. The placement of their ads isn’t annoying, in my opinion.
The controls are aligned nicely, and all the games I have tried ran smooth, without any lag or graphics problems. GENPlusDroid also has customizable control bindings, and fast forward features like other emulators out there.
- You don’t need to root your phone to play
- The app is open source so you might find some stable modifications on Google Play
- All the games run at full speed
Try the shader to improve the graphics on the higher quality games.
Play your PSP favorites like Dragon Ball Z and Final Fantasy on Android. The control placement is prominent and easy to use.
Not to mention, every game I’ve played has run smoothly. Overall, this is the best PSP emulator for Android out there.
- Convert your real PSP games and play them on your device
- Play your games in HD
- Compatible with a ton of games out there
Punch in as many cheats as you want.
Take away the ads and support the developers by paying for this app.
9. Dolphin Emulator
Dolphin is the best GameCube emulator for you out there. Although you might experience some lags and frame drops, that is understandable since the app is still in its beta stages.
- Compatible with most games
- Adjustable visual and general settings
10. Mupen64+AE FREE (N64 Emulator for Android)
This app is the best bet for Nintendo 64 Emulators because it runs most games smoothly, and this is saying a lot for the other ones on Google Play Store. Although there are some audio and graphical problems with some games, it runs smoothly overall.
- Very little lag
- Simulates the N64 Rumble Pak with the vibrate function
- Look for your favorite games within the app
Choose any phone directory to store your games.
The paid version is only for donations and removing ads, but since this developer is quite helpful, you might want to think about it.
Nostalgia has a few emulators for Android, and this is their GBA version. It also has the rewind feature, which made this app unique compared to other emulators and perfect for pokemon games.
- GBA and ZIP file support
- Compatible with Bluetooth gamepads
- Highly customizable virtual controller
Although the free version has ads, it isn’t intrusive and annoying. If you want those advertisements gone, you can purchase the Pro version. There isn’t much difference between the free and the Pro one except for the ads.
11. My Boy! – GBA Emulator for Android
This app is one of the more simple emulators I have ever used, and you receive fast emulation compared to other options on Google Play. Compatible with almost all GBA games out there, this emulator is the best bet for you.
My Boy! also have the fastest and smoothest emulation I’ve seen so far in Android emulators from Google Play. With this app, you’ll end up playing your favorite GBA games anywhere you go.
- The interface is super clean
- Fast forward and half-speed features
- Save games whenever you want
- External controller support
- Compatible with almost all GBA games
You can sync your saves on Google Drive to play it on other devices.
13 John GBA
This app is a Gameboy Advance emulator, but it’s one of your best options to play Pokemon on your Android device. It runs off the original GBA engine, so you shouldn’t have any problems with gameplay.
John GBA Lite also doesn’t require a lot of resources to run. Having at least a 1GHz Dual-core processor and 1GB RAM is enough to run most games.
- Use the virtual on-screen keypad
- High-quality rendering
- Save your games and take screenshots
Turbo buttons allow you to fast-forward in your game.
The paid version takes over your free version data, so you don’t lose anything. Get some additional features like more game format support and no ads.
If you like this app, there is a new and better version of it named John GBAC. Although this app works fine, it won’t get many updates since the developers will focus on the new one.
14. John GBAC
If you have seen the John NESS emulator, it isn’t surprising to see a GBC/GBA version. This app lets you play GBA and GBC games in one app.
Although games can run better with newer phones, the app works with older Android versions as far as 6.0.
- Original game engine
- Customizable keys
- Supports ZIP files
- Virtual keypad
Developed by Robert Broglia, this app is an open-source emulator that can run Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Mark System games.
Although you might experience some specific in-game problems since the app is still in its beta stages, it looks like a promising emulator that has room for improvement.
- Accurate sound
- Save states
- Supports ROM
- Customizable controls
RetroArch is an open-source project and a unique one at that. Unlike most emulators, this app provides you with cores to download and use.
The app is perfect for people who want to play games from different consoles but doesn’t want to download more apps.
- Customizable controls
- Allows cheats
- Multi-language support
- No ads
Games and cores are available directly from the app. There is no need for users to find and download games online.
ePSXe is one of the two famous Playstation emulators that you can find on the Google Play Store. With its high game compatibility, excellent speed, and accurate sound, you won’t waste your money on this one.
- Use the touchscreen or attach your external controller
- Punch in your cheat codes
- The audio is accurate, and the speed is better than most emulators
Includes a split-screen mode so you can play with another friend.
FPse is another Playstation emulator on Android. While ePSXe is direct and simplistic, this app is a bit heavy on the customization side.
If you like to tweak the settings, framerate, and graphics, FPse is the one for you. Although it might take some time to find the right configuration for your phone, nothing more is stopping you from playing your favorite PS1 games after that.
- Controller support
- Customizable interface
- High compatibility with games
FPse can run smoothly on old phone versions as far as Android 2.3.
19. Terminal Emulator for Android
Android Terminal Emulator provides a full Linux command line shell for all you geeks out there. It’s not the gaming type, but you can use the command module, which is fun for playing around with your phone.
- Bring up multiple windows
- Create launcher shortcuts
- It supports tons of different languages
It’s completely free. They don’t try to sell you with ads or in-app purchases.
20. Linux Deploy
Linux emulators aren’t that common for Android, but this one pulls through with quick processing and just about everything you would expect from the Linux system.
Although the app isn’t perfect, this is one of the best Linux emulators you can find on Google Play Store.
- Installs the Linux program within seconds
- Open-source app
- Has several supported distributions like Ubuntu and Debian
You can use it in both English and Russian.
What is an Emulator?
An emulator allows you to run another software like Playstation or DS on your PC or Android device. The emulator imitates the nature of this software and allows the Android device to run files or games that are compatible with such software.
Do Emulators work for all Android devices?
As different emulators require different device specifications and Android versions, unfortunately, it’s not for every device. However, they are compatible with the majority of Android devices.
Are Emulators safe to use?
As long as these emulators come from a reliable source, they are risk-free and safe to use. However, if you plan to download and use ROMs, we advise you to exercise caution since they are illegal, and sometimes come with viruses that can harm your device.
What is the difference between simulators and emulators for android?
A simulator is one that models but an emulator is the one that replicates the usage as on the original system and device. For example, a flight simulator replicates the experience of flying a plane while emulators replicate non-physical user experiences like software.
When do we use emulators for Android?
Emulators for Android are most useful when we need to test how software interacts with underlying hardware or a combination of hardware and software. It can be a helping hand if we want to access different OS on different Android devices.
20 Best Emulators for Android To Play Your Favorite Games
Android Emulators are quite famous for big gamers, and the Google Play Store does not disappoint, with options like Gameboy emulators, PSP emulators, and even ways to put your Android games on a computer.
Keep in mind that you should test out these emulators for Android on your device because sometimes they work differently on other phones and tablets.
If you have any questions about these emulators for Android, let me know in the comments section below. For the best Android news, tips, and apps, join and subscribe to our newsletter!
Fantastic job, bookmarked.
Happy to help you Danny 🙂
Please be more clear?!
How is it possible for eBox360e to emulate Xbox 360 if there is no emulator for PC yet?
Did you ever test the PS2 emulator out? It’s been full of complaints on the Play Store
Hi there. Yes I tested it out a while back and it was working just fine, but there are clearly problems with the PS2 emulator now. I’m looking into it and going to try and find an alternative. Sorry for the confusion.
Please do find an alternative, but in the meantime thanks so much for your work! Keep us posted! 😀
You’re lying, most of the PS2 emulators are fake.
sigh , why lie? there has never been PS2 or newer systmes on android, only on PC and even then not after Ps2. It used to work? lol. Android has PSP of the newer systems, then PS1 level and older systems. PS2 and up does not exist on android! Dont fake it just to look good, people are going to believe the scammers thanks to you. It used to work…. ha!
i almost believe him
Hi, how do u get the ps2e to work? When i open it, it tells me to download bios and wont go any further even though i have them downloaded
Hi Lee, it seems like the PS2 emulator is not working for anyone anymore. I’m sorry for the confusion, but everyone seems to be having the same problem. I’m assuming the app creator is not moderating the app anymore. I’m going to look into it and see if I can find a replacement. Thanks for the comment.
How can the Xbox 360 emulator work, if there is not one for PC.
This emulator has been taken off of the Google Play Store. It worked in the past, but it may have been something illegal or fishy so they took it down.
That is not true. This emulator was and always has been a fake. Its a hard fact. Sadly Joy of Android appears to be just writing articles to get hits on their website and not actually doing some of the leg work. :/
Never worked actually. Proven to be a fake long ago.
PlayStation 2 emulator does not work
You’re right. It seems to not be detecting my bios anymore, so it’s pretty much useless, huh? I’ll check into it a little more, but judging by recent comments the app creator is not managing it anymore. Bummer, but I’ll remove it from the list if this is the case.
Dude … have you ever successfully used PS2e to play a game? Or did you just decide to list it and put a screenshot from its google play page there even though you haven’t used it?
“I’ll be honest, there aren’t many features in this emulator, so there is nothing that stands out to me. It plays your games and that’s about it.” Thanks for being so honest … while you are at it you might as well mention it doesn’t even play your games
Lee also has faced similar problem. Please see our comment. Thanks.
Thanks for all the work you did trying them out.
He didn’t really try them all out. The PS2 emulator is fake.
You bloggers posting lists about products you haven’t even used before. That PS2 emulator don’t even work
Please refer to other comments
Do you have to whine about the MODS not testing an emu. ? That is quite rude and childish dude. Givem’ a break and do your work quietly and respectfully. And do you expect them to thoroughly test all software titles in a compiled list?
Drive a taxi or work at the family convenience store yeah ps2 I’d like to think they came back to your sight to read my comment because feedback about the testing of software for any of os is essential and should be based on the facts it would save precious time however I’m going to test the windows apps to see if fallout can be installed dosbox yeah install wizard c I read many forums for technical experience.. Ps2 had a Page fault if you ask me, oh and I like how I don’t need to have an account to post that’s a time saver
This person completely forgot to mention Tiger Arcade, an android emulator which is able to run cps3 which runs games like Street Fighter 3rd strike.
this is for everyone that just wants to shoot their mouth off,for someone like myself that is willing to take the time to read the entire forum this was very helpful but if it doesn’t make any sense to you because you only read bits and pieces here and there and came to your own conclusion then you can bug off.I have an Nvidia shield that I do not keep constantly connected to the Internet and because of this I am able to play the ps2 emulator just fine with only minor bugs here and there, and things do change and if you do not realize this obviously you are new to the world of Android gaming and so to you I simply say please educate yourself because you simply look like idiots and give a bad name to all gamers,thank you to anyone that took the time to read all of this (obviously not the cry babies that just want to complain because the world does not revolve around them)
No EPSXE for Android..? IMO the best PS1 Emu out there. Feature rich also
Lol I think u just passed by it when u scrolled down.
Any luck on a ps2 emulator??
Hey, game devolopers owe us this for charging the same price for n64 cartridges as they do for blu-ray disk games nowadays, i mean… 8Mb super mario 64 vs 8-12 gb packed with not even content but just work in general skyrim!!? They better stop messin around and ‘give’ us the smooth ps2 emulator, instead of the endless frustrating fps and frame skip options in the so called ‘unfinished’ ps2 emulator for pc with the shouldnt-be-illegal-ever torrentable bios!! Which by the way, through countless systems and games we have all more then twice over paid for! My wish? When ever the next gen consoles come out, they should include free emulators for all previous games and systems devoleped by said companys to win our approval back!! THATS why i ‘nos team'( no steam) my tushy off!
Fantastic articule, i just bought a GPD Q9 that should be arriving soon (CANT WAIT) and this will truly help to get all my emulators running. Thanks a lot.
Guys dont be fooled!!
The person that wrote this is clearly not a gamer or uses emulation very often because he mentioned the obvious scams lol. There is GREAT ps2 ps1, n64, and older emulation other there for just about anything. THERE IS NOTHING for ps3 , xbox360 and newer but everyone and any reputable emulation site already knows that! Its the most common scams out there!
Some reputable ones that play MOST games like 97% on that system.
PPSSPP is out on PC and android for PSP gaming
EPSXe for PS1 games also out on android
Pcsx2 for PS2 gaming, NOT out on android
N64, Gameboy, Genesis, Nintendo etc all have great ones are out on PC and android too, so the old stuff is ok to believe and they run great.
There is no emulator that is only out on android for a modern system that did not start on pc first, It’s a scam! You can get them ALL on their official websites or just check out http://www.emulator-zone.com/ which keeps you up to date on all oficial and REAL emulation news, not just gaming emulation either. Plus they also report the current scams so keep an eye out. SAFE GAMING !! everyone! You can tell by my link i’m a filmmaker that likes gaming, I am not affiliated with any of these programs just hate watching how often newbies get scammed.
It’s amazing emulator, thanks brother for your sharing. You helped me to choose Android Emulator!
I was interested in the Xbox emulAtor for android but it no longer seems to be available either on Google play which does not surprise me but i have not had luck with finding it in torrent sites either any sugestion
hi,I read all the comment to you.from now on is there an ps2 emulator for android that works?what is it?pls…..I beg you..!
Everything was great, thank you.
You are most welcome for the information and I am glad that you liked it. =-) Thanks for reading (Gracias por leer!)
Are there any good/real alternatives to Dolphin on Android?
If you want to use the best Dolphin has that reputation. Are you still interested in an alternative? =-)
Excuse me, the ps2 and xbox emulators do not work. However, FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PLAY PS2 AND XBOX360, there is a beta emulator called Play! that lets you play ps2 if you have 4.4 or higher. And, a xbox360 emulator from Gloc Games. Dolphin Emulator does not, and there are no alternatives that I have seen. Like it says in the article, games will not load, when I click them it shows a black screen and returns to the Dolphin homepage. May I please have some help on this?
Just to make sure I understood your question correctly, Are you looking for a Dolphin emulator alternative? =-) Thanks for the links that are not working.
What the three is no original ps2 emulator for android there is a ppsspp psp emulator that is original psp emulator but in the world no one can make ps2 emulator for android devices bloody fools all of u think we r fool there is no ps2 ps3 ps4 xbox 360 original emulator which can play games smoothly no one can make ps2 ps3 ps4 xbox360 computer games on android without internet no body can make this kind of emulator because all of u idiots and a bìg big liar liar liar hahahaha…. sry for my bad english
thanks for sharing the post with us. keep posting such nice informative articles. good work indeed.
This is a great list of emulators, thanks for posting it.
Also, everyone complaining about a PS2 or 360 emulator quit whining and get over it. Even if you could get hardware that new to emulate on Android system, it would likely be unbearable slow and not worth the trouble.