The Best Android Emulators for Playing Video Games from Old Consoles When You Get Nostalgic

October 25, 2023

Gaming nostalgia sometimes catches us by surprise, so we like to remember what it was like to play some of the old titles on consoles such as PlayStation 1 or GameCube. Emulators are precisely the type of software that can help us with this.

If you are a gamer and like to play retro games or just reminisce about how things used to be, there are a number of quality emulators for Android devices that you can use to play once-popular titles. Below is a list of the best.

AetherSX2: The Best PlayStation 2 Emulator for Android

If you grew up with PlayStation 2 games in the early 2000s, thanks to the AetherSX 2 emulator, you can relive these memories on almost any modern flagship Android smartphone. Download it from within the Google Play Store or directly from the developer. Best of all, it supports touchscreen controls, so no additional investment is needed to buy a separate controller.

One of the most interesting games that you can run using this emulator is Ratchet & Clank, a series of action-adventure platform and third-person shooter video games whose first release was back in 2002.

Skyline: The Best Nintendo Switch Emulator for Android

The Nintendo Switch was an extremely successful console, and we all fondly remember titles such as Mario Kart or Animal Crossing. This console has quite a large list of excellent games, and Skyline will serve you so that you can play them at any time.

It is an emulator that has been in development for two years and is designed exclusively for Android smartphones. This project has developed quite successfully so that it is possible to play even some of the more demanding titles, such as Super Mario Odyssey.

Downloading Skyline is available on the official website of the developer. However, it is no longer in active development and remains an experimental emulator running on ARMv8 Android devices.

melonDS: The Best Nintendo DS Emulator for Android

Nintendo DS was a popular handheld console that had a wide catalog of games. For fans of this console, melonDS is by far the best emulator with which you can enjoy great games again. The emulator can be downloaded from within the Google Play Store, but updates are rarely made there, so downloading it from a platform and cloud-based service for software development GitHub is a much better option.

Another Nintendo DS emulator worth mentioning is DraStic, but it no longer supports updates and is paid. Its only advantage is that, unlike melonDS, it will also work on weaker Android devices.

Citra: The Best Nintendo 3DS Emulator for Android

Nintendo 3DS was a unique hand-held console whose 3D display was the main lure for purchase in the market at the time. Many great games can be played on it, and today, you can try them again using the Citra emulator.

Citra is available within the Google Play Store, but users report that this version has not been updated for a long time. An updated version of the emulator can be found on, you guessed it, GitHub.

Dolphin Emulator: The Best GameCube Emulator for Android

Dolphin Emulator is definitely one of the most popular emulators due to its great compatibility with GameCube and Wii games. It supports different devices, so it is a very versatile software that will work on Android devices without any problems.

You can download it from the Google Play Store or on the official website. The game that gamers play the most through Dolphin Emulator is the awesome Mario Kart.

DuckStation: The Best PlayStation 1 Emulator for Android

The PlayStation 1 needs no introduction. It is a cult console with which, we can safely say, a new era of video games began. We all remember titles like Tekken, Gran Turismo, or Crash Bandicoot, and there is probably no console that evokes as many emotions when it is mentioned.

PlayStation 1 has a really large number of titles, and all of them can be played on Android devices using the DuckStation emulator. It supports the Vulkan graphics application programming interface, so it enables a resolution of 4K and, in some cases, even up to 8K.

Download DuckStation from within the Google Play Store. Playing, say, Silent Hill inside this emulator is said to bring an amazing experience. The only thing you need is to pay attention to the settings that will help you better optimize the games themselves.

RetroArch: The Best Retro Game Emulator on Android

RetroArch is a popular open-source front-end for emulators. If you are a big fan of retro games, it will provide you with everything you need to run them.

So, RetroArch itself is not an emulator but allows adding various software packages that act as a backend and emulate games of several older consoles. Some of these consoles are NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Megadrive, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance.

You Can Practically Play Games of Any Console on Android Smartphones

The nostalgic visuals, icons, and auditory elements are among the elements that draw in adult gamers. It is easy to understand why retro games are still so popular today—their gameplay ideas offer a level of accessibility and simplicity that many contemporary games don’t. They are appealing not only to recreational players but also to professionals. Competitive gaming has a long history that dates back to the early days of arcades, even though the eSports scene has never been more well-known, with bigger tournaments and an increasing number of games appearing to challenge the top titles that draw the most attention, like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Call of Duty. There are professional gamers who are still more interested in 16-bit console cartridges and pixel art than MOBAs, which is why some of those titles are still played in competitions today. No wonder there are retro eSports tournaments for games that we all know and love, like Street Fighter, StarCraft, and Super Mario Kart, all popping up in eSports competitions and betting offers on the best Estonian bookmakers in 2023 and other eSports platforms at around the globe.

If the situation we just described is that way in competitive gaming, you can only imagine how popular retro titles are among “ordinary” gamers. That is why there are so many great Android emulators out there today; it is easy to tell that talented developers are doing a great job. After all, their work will allow you to carry all the retro games you play with you on your smartphone.

It should also be said that there have been many improvements and upgrades to the emulator. Two or three years ago, one could only dream of a Nintendo Switch emulator, and now it is used without any problems. Android phones today are powerful devices and all that remains is to pick them up and download one of the aforementioned emulators.

About the Author Kyrie Mattos

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