One of the advantages of Android is that it’s easy to install emulators. However, projects come and go, and the best emulators for Android in 2021 aren’t the same ones as they were a few years ago. We’ll recommend the current best app for each retro system below.
Note: Check the legality of emulators and ROM backups in your locality before downloading the below programs.
Best free emulators for Android in 2021
For those looking for the best free emulators for Android, Retroarch is usually the answer. However, it’s can be harder to set up since it relies on individual cores that have to be downloaded. The versions found on the Google Play Store don’t include the core downloader due to store policies. Users will have to either download the cores manually and place them in the right location or sideload the APK from the RetroArch website, which includes the core downloader.
Unfortunately, Android doesn’t have the plethora of free emulators available on PC. Many of the emulators we recommend below are paid products, but they’re typically easier to configure and include features that aren’t available in Retroarch.
Overall best emulators for Android in 2021
At this point, there are Android emulators for almost every system up to the sixth generation of consoles. This includes a multitude of computer systems as well. Here’s our list of the best emulators available for Android in 2021:
- 3DO: Phoenix
- Arcade: MAME4droid (0.139u1)
- Atari 2600: 2600.emu
- Atari Jaguar: IrataJaguar
- Atari Lynx: Mednafen (Libretro)
- Bandai Wonderswan: Mednafen (Libretro)
- Commodore 64/C128/VIC-20/PET/PLUS-4/CBM-II: VICE
- Neo Geo AES/MVS: NEO.emu
- Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color: Mednafen (Libretro)
- NES: Nestopia
- Nintendo 3DS: Citra
- Nintendo 64: M64Plus FZ
- Nintendo DS: DraStic
- Nintendo Game Boy/Game Boy Color: mGBA
- Nintendo Game Boy Advance: mGBA
- Nintendo Gamecube/Wii: Dolphin
- PC Engine/Turbografx-16: PCE.emu
- Sega Dreamcast: Reicast
- Sega Game Gear: Genesis Plus GX
- Sega Genesis: Genesis Plus GX
- Sega Master System: Genesis Plus GX
- Sega Saturn: uoYabause (for GLES 3.0 compatible devices) or Retroarch Yabause core.
- Sony PlayStation 1: ePSXe
- Sony PlayStation 2: The only legit emulator is called Play!, but it is still early in development. Avoid DamonPS2. It uses stolen code and is all around dodgy.
- Sony PSP: PPSSPP
- Super Nintendo:
- Snes9x EX+ (High-End Devices)
- Snes 9x Next (Lower-End Devices)