How to emulate NES, SNES and Nintendo DS on Android


Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

So you have decided to enter the world of emulation on Android and want to learn how to emulate NES, SNES or Nintendo DS games. There are a few steps you need to take before you dive in, as you won’t find any games listed on the play store. Still, we’ve got you covered, here’s everything you need to know on how to emulate some of your favorite old-school games on Android.

Use the right emulator

Pizza Boy GBC Lifestyle AltSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Before you can start playing these old school classics on Android, you first need to find the best emulators for Android. There are many different options available to you, as a quick search of the Google Play Store reveals more than a few emulators alongside some of the best Android games. However, choosing the right emulator for your needs depends on the game you are trying to play.

There are all-in-one solutions, such as ClassicBoy or RetroArch. But there are also emulators designed to work with a single type of console, like GBA.emu or John NESS. Whichever option you choose, many of them offer free trials, so you can tinker with the interface and see if one emulator works better for you than others.

As for our favorites, the options are pretty straightforward.

DraStic DS LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

ClassicBoy is arguably the best emulator for Android, as you can use it to emulate a wide variety of games from different consoles. There is built-in controller support, which means you can grab one of the best controllers for Android and use it to play your games, instead of the onscreen touch controls.

If you are looking to play NES games then John NESS is definitely the way to go. The app itself offers a clean and simple interface to navigate, and just like ClassicBoy, you can pair a controller with your phone to avoid dealing with touch controls. But if you’d rather just play right on your phone, John NESS lets you customize button placement, so your hands don’t feel cramped.

Nintendo DS emulators are not as common as GameBoy or NES options. And that’s just part of the reason why DraStic DS is the best Nintendo DS emulator on the Play Store. Instead of worrying about poor graphics, DraStic DS takes your games and automatically improves them by doubling the resolution. This ensures that no matter what size screen you’re playing on, you won’t have to worry about squinting to see what’s going on or trying to decipher the messages that appear on the screen. .

Find ROMs to emulate on Android

Archive.orgSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Now that you’ve found the best emulator for Android that meets your needs, it’s time to bring those old school games to new school tech. But you don’t want to just google for ROMs because it is against the law for users to use ROMs for games they don’t own. If you have the original Mario Bros. lying around, you can “empty” your cartridges with something like the Flash Boy Cyclone. This downloads the ROM to your PC, making the file accessible so that it can be transferred to your phone.

There is also a fairly extensive catalog of ROMs available for older games on Again, you will only need to download ROMs and files for games you own, to avoid legal ramifications. But if you don’t have a ROM dumper and want to enjoy the world of emulation on Android, this is your best bet.

How to emulate NES on Android

If you want to start playing your old NES games on Android, we suggest you use John NESS. This is our top pick when it comes to the best emulators for Android if you emulate NES games. All of the following instructions will use John NESS and assume that you have already downloaded a ROM to your smartphone.

  1. To download Jean NESS from the Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app on the phone on which it was installed.
  3. Faucet To allow to provide John NESS with access to the files on your device.
  4. The app will automatically search for all compatible files on your device.

    Download John Ness Play StoreAllow access to John Ness filesSource: Android Central

  5. Once a compatible file has been located, it will appear in the game selection list.
  6. Tap the game you want to play.
  7. Start playing.

    Select the game John NessStart playing John NessSource: Android Central

The onscreen controls will be more than enough for many, but you can customize the look of John NESS if you want to customize things a bit. But with automatic file scanning, you can be up and running in no time.

How to emulate SNES on Android

For those who want to play your SNES games on Android, we recommend ClassicBoy as the best overall option. This application allows the use of emulators for a wide variety of classic consoles, ranging from the Atari 2600 VCS up to the PlayStation 1.

  1. To download Classic Boy from the Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app on the phone on which it was installed.
  3. Faucet To allow to provide ClassicBoy with access to the files on your device.

    Download Classicboy Play StoreSelect Snes from the Classicboy listChoose the Classicboy gameSource: Android Central

  4. To select SNES from the list of emulators.
  5. Under Game Selector, tap Choose a game.
  6. Navigate in the folder where your ROM is downloaded.

    Select a game from Classicboy filesStart a new Classicboy gameStart playing ClassicboySource: Android Central

  7. Select ROM from the files listed.
  8. Once selected, press Start a new game from the ClassicBoy screen.
  9. Enjoy!

Thanks to ClassicBoy, you can play your favorite childhood games right on one of the best Android phones in 2021. You can also customize the button layout, or leave it as is, whichever is more comfortable.

How to emulate the Nintendo DS on Android

DraStic DS seems to be the best consensus choice when it comes to finding the best DS emulators for Android. The app has been around for quite a while and is also available on your PC. You can even save your progress via Google Drive, so you can start a game on your phone and retrieve it on your PC, or vice versa.

  1. To download Drastic DS from the Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app on your phone.
  3. Faucet To allow to provide ClassicBoy with access to the files on your device.

    Download Drastic Ds Play StoreAllow drastic Ds audio recordingMain menu Ds drasticSource: Android Central

  4. Choose whether or not to allow DraStic DS to record audio if you want to stream your games.
  5. Faucet Load a new game from the main menu.
  6. Select name of your game in the list.
  7. Faucet Start a new game.
  8. Start playing!

    Select Rom to import drastic DsStart a new drastic Ds gameScreenshot of drastic Ds emulatorSource: Android Central

It is highly recommended to customize the interface of DraStic DS as it can look a bit odd when using a device with only one screen. Fortunately, you can change all the necessary settings and rearrange these buttons right from the DraStic DS app.

Our best equipment choices

Even if these games were running on hardware that is around 30 years old at this point, or older, you still want to make sure you find the best Android phone to use them with. While you can go the route of the best gaming phones, it’s not an absolute necessity to have RGB on a smartphone just for playing certain games.

Best Android Phone

Samsung Galaxy S21 Render Phantom Purple Official Back

Samsung galaxy s21

Enjoy these classic games on the latest hardware

The Galaxy S21 offers a great combination of value with the hardware used. Samsung is bringing back the plastic from the Note 20 and Galaxy S20 FE, as well as the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset for a phenomenal overall experience.

Additional equipment

Before you can start enjoying these old school games on your Android phone, you need to make sure that you have the right emulator to use. There are different emulators available on the Play Store, depending on the games you play. Or you can take something like ClassicBoy for an all-in-one solution.

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