Best Android emulators: Play the greatest games in history on your Android device

Android emulators are a godsend. These apps, easily available from Google Play, allow you to play a back catalogue of excellent retro games right from your Android-powered smartphone, tablet or TV. Not only is it great fun to play Super Mario 64 on the bus or break out classic SNES-era Super Bomberman on the train, but these – usually free – emulators can also give you an opportunity to discover games you’ve never had a chance to play before.

Android emulators don’t come without caveats, however. Just like Kodi, emulation software is perfectly legal to own and use. Things become a little sticky when you get down to the nitty-gritty of obtaining game files for emulation. If you have no qualms downloading a game you want to play, there are many resources available, but it should be noted that doing so is actually illegal.

There are are a few potential loopholes. Chief among these is that you already own a copy of the game legally, although you should really use your copy of the game to obtain the relevant files for emulation instead of downloading them online. Obviously I’m not going to be linking to where you can obtain such files, but just make sure you’re careful as it’s an easy way to obtain a computer virus.

Best Android emulators:

Mupen64Plus FZ: Best N64 emulator for Android

Price: Free


Its name may not roll off the tongue as smoothly as other N64 emulators out there (and trust me, there are a lot), but Mupen64Plus FZ is the slickest and smoothest N64 experience I’ve had on Android. All the games added to your library display box art and other publishing information, and you can tweak just about anything to make sure it runs smoothly on your Android device. Francisco Zurita has also built Mupen64Plus with Android TV in mind, so it works effortlessly with Bluetooth controllers and is incredibly easy to navigate via your Android TV device.

You can download Mupen64Plus FZ from Google Play

ePSXe for Android: Best PS1 emulator for Android

Price: £2.37


If you want to get your PS1-era gaming fix on your Android device, ePSXe is the way to go. It may cost you – with no free alternative – but as it’s from the same folks behind the excellent PS1 emulator for PC, and it works with practically every PlayStation game ever made, there’s no point looking anywhere else. You can play split-screen two-player and it has support for both virtual touchscreen controls and Bluetooth controllers. It should run on basically any Android device too – not bad for a small entry fee.

You can download ePSXe for Android from Google Play

SuperRetro 16: Best SNES emulator for Android

Price: Free or £2.49 ad-free

If it’s SNES emulation you’re after, you can’t do much better than SuperRetro 16. It’s regularly updated and maintained by its developers, it’s incredibly stable, and it can play even the most obscure SNES games. If you want to add a bit of a classic sheen to your games, SuperRetro allows for CRT filters, or you can polish visuals up to HD standards instead. As with many other emulators on our list, SuperRetro also has support for custom controller layouts along with Bluetooth controller support.

You can download SuperRetro 16 from Google Play

PPSSPP: Best PSP emulator for Android

Price: Free or £3.99 for ad-free build


Sony’s PSP gets a bum rap for basically not being as successful as the Nintendo DS, but it shouldn’t be discounted. PPSSPP is an excellent way to discover some of the excellent games found on Sony’s first handheld. Not only is PPSSPP the first major PSP emulator available on mobile, it’s also the best. All PSP games are displayed in HD and you can tweak any number of options to improve texture resolution, anti-aliasing and the speed at which games run or are loaded. You can even change the model of PSP you’re emulating on if you’d rather have that authentic feel of a base PSP-1000 model over that of a quicker PSP-3000.

Certain titles aren’t yet supported, and the emulator doesn’t currently work with the Samsung Galaxy S7, but for the most part problems are few and far between. The ad-enabled version doesn’t feature adverts beyond PPSSPP’s menu system (so nothing interrupts your gaming), but if you’re not happy with that you can drop £3.99 on an ad-free version that also helps support the lone developer.

You can download PPSPP from Google Play

Dolphin emulator: Best GameCube emulator for Android

Price: Free


Yes, you read that correctly, you can emulate GameCube games on an Android device thanks to the excellent Dolphin emulator. There is one caveat, though: the only Android devices powerful enough to run GameCube games are Nvidia’s Tegra-powered Shield Tablet and Shield TV devices – everything else just doesn’t have the juice. If you own either of those, then you’re in luck, as GameCube emulation is fantastic with Dolphin. Most big games are supported without issue and many run with only minor bugs. Dolphin is also capable of running Wii games, although this is more unstable than its GameCube support. It’s worth noting that Dolphin for Android is still in development and there isn’t a single truly stable build available just yet. Because of that, it’s not available via Google Play and must be installed as a direct APK file.

You can download the Dolphin emulator for Android from the Dolphin website

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