Emulators for retro consoles on Android are nothing new. They can be found in large numbers throughout the Play Store. We have previously covered emulators for PS2 and fourth-generation consoles, to give a couple of examples. However, in this article, we want to go a little further.
In this article, we will focus on systems that you didn’t know could be emulated on Android. We will review a few consoles from the past, some more well-known than others, that you can enjoy on your phone if you download the emulators we will give you below. Of course, for an optimal gaming experience, don’t hesitate to take a look at the best gamepads for Android.
A small disclaimer before we continue: the links we provide are only for downloading the emulators. You will need to have game images in order to run them, but providing them is beyond our functions.
The PC Engine, known as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America, was the first console to incorporate a 16-bit graphics chip back in 1987. Games came in the form of cards (similar to some for the original Master System) and fell right in the middle of the transition from the third to the fourth generation of consoles.
This means that we have something that falls between the NES and the Super Nintendo in terms of power and graphics quality, but with highly enjoyable titles. For example, the legendary Wonder Boy III, R-Type, or Bonk’s Adventure.
You can find an emulator called PC.Emu on the Play Store that unfortunately is not free. However, by paying a small amount, you can ensure that you have a TurboGrafx-16 emulator that works perfectly.
Google Play | Download PC.Emu ($3.99)
The Sega Saturn was an interesting project that was unfortunately doomed to fail. The Japanese company had come from a turbulent time, in which its Mega Drive 32X had not had the desired success in trying to extend the life of its 16-bit console. In addition, the Saturn did not fully bet on 3D like other rivals of its time such as the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64 did.
This meant that commercially, as we already mentioned, it didn’t sell much outside of Japan. However, Sega came up with some great games for its machine that unfortunately paled in comparison to Sony and Nintendo’s offerings. Among them, we find Panzer Dragoon, Sega Rally, Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, and Virtua Cop.
If you want to enjoy these legendary titles on your Android, you will need to install the Yaba Sanshiro 2 emulator.
Google Play | Download Yaba Sanshiro 2 (free)
Neo Geo Pocket Color
SNK was responsible for making what was possibly the best console of the fourth generation: the all-powerful Neo Geo. At the time, it was a system coveted by all gamers in the 90s, which not everyone could afford and which still reaches astronomical prices (both machines and games in good condition) in the second-hand market to this day.
An attempt to create a much cheaper version that could also compete with Nintendo for the handheld market (then dominated by the Game Boy with an iron fist) was the Neo Geo Pocket, which was capable of presenting titles of very high quality despite having reduced specifications to fit in this format. Needless to say, it had no chance against the Game Boy, but that’s another story.
Among these recommended games, we find the great and forgotten Sonic Pocket Adventure, Metal Slug 1st Mission, SNK vs Capcom, and even a King of Fighters Pocket. You can enjoy these titles if you get RetroArch Plus, one of the best emulators of its kind.
Google Play | Download RetroArch Plus
Nintendo Virtual Boy
Long before virtual reality was what it is today and years after those Virtuality VR machines arrived in arcades, Nintendo wanted to join the trend in the mid-90s by creating a console that was essentially a stereoscopic vision helmet supported on a viewer. For some reason, Nintendo wanted to sell this machine as if it were portable (which, by all accounts, it is not) and trying to give it a layer of futurism by putting the word “virtual” in the name.
This monstrosity is what we know today as the Virtual Boy, which had nothing virtual, nothing 3D, and was many steps behind the Virtuality machines of the early 90s. This console primarily ran games in 2D, with some interesting visual effects, but in two dimensions. And to top it all off, only in red and black colors. This led Nintendo to place warnings about migraines and other health risks in its advertising.
Not many games were created for the Virtual Boy library. In fact, the console was a failure. However, if you have 3D glasses or Google Cardboard, you can download the Virtual Virtual Boy app and experience the same dizzying sensation as those who played with it back in the day.
Google Play | Download Virtual Virtual Boy (free)
Nokia N Gage
Long before beasts for gaming like the RedMagic 8 Pro or the fantastic ASUS ROG Phone 6D arrived on the market, the closest thing we had was the Nokia N-Gage. As a concept, it was something completely revolutionary, but of the two things it was supposed to do (be a portable console and be a mobile phone), it didn’t do either well. To use the phone as such, you had to place it on the thin side in the usual position, a mistake that was corrected later with the Nokia N-Gage QD.
Either way, this rare hybrid of console and phone couldn’t compete against Nintendo and its DS or against the PSP. It has gone down in history as a strange system that had more cons than pros but still had a few notable titles. Some of them were Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Tomb Raider, or The Sims Bustin’ Out.
If you never had one of these devices and are curious about what it was like to play with an N-Gage, you can download the EKA2L1 emulator, but its use is not as straightforward as others included on this list. You will need to go to its particular wiki to properly install everything needed for the emulator to work on your Android.