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Bring Retro Gaming to Your Smartphone with Emulator Apps

By 2015, the gaming industry is expected to grow to 7.5 billion dollars, according to a recent study by SuperData. While the latest games are attractive, there’s nothing quite like revisiting old-school videogames or discovering classics you never had a chance to play. Buying all of the retro game consoles and games that you want takes a lot of time, money and space. Instead of turning your home office into a retro gaming shrine, turn your smartphone into a mobile retro gaming emulator with one of these apps.

In order to play games on any of these emulators, you also need the ROM files for the games you want to play, which can be found on various ROM repositories online. Any iOS device needs to be jailbroken to work with virtually all of the emulators on the marketplace. The new generation of smartphones might be great for pushing the limits on mobile gaming graphics, but sometimes old school gameplay wins out over flashy video.

Super Nintendo

Photo of a Super Nintendo by moparx via Flickr

Snes9X EX is a SNES emulator that runs on iOS and Android. It allows you to save your games, works with standard ROM file formats such as .smc and .fig, provides you with a way to configure touchscreen support, and it is also compatible with iOS and Android controller accessories. It gives you access to the entire Super Nintendo library, which includes classics like “Super Mario World,” “Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” “Final Fantasy VI,” “Earthbound,” “Super Mario RPG” and “Chrono Trigger.”

Sega Genesis

Photo of a Sega Genesis by David Hepworth via Flickr

The Sega Genesis had technical superiority over the SNES during the 16-bit console wars, and many amazing games came onto the market during that era of video gaming. The GENSoid emulator is compatible with the Android operating system. It has a robust saving system, support for common ROM files, a cheap $2.99 price point and an easy-to-use pre-configured control scheme. You can play games like the “Sonic” series, “Gunstar Heroes,” “Shining Force 2,” “Castlevania: Bloodlines” and “Battletoads.”


Photo of a Dreamcast console by aperture_lag via Flickr

Many gamers feel that the Dreamcast was a system that could have gone a lot farther if it hadn’t been plagued by a rushed launch and overwhelming competition from Nintendo’s N64 and Sony’s Playstation. If you missed out on its shortened life in the console world, revisiting it through a mobile emulator is a perfect idea. You don’t want to pass up games like “Sonic Adventure,” “Shenmue,” and “Crazy Taxi.” NullDCE is a previously stagnant project that was revived and released as an open source, free application according to Engadget.


Photo of a Gameboy by bochalla via Flickr

According to Crackberry, the GBColor-PB emulator brings a seamless Gameboy Color experience to the Blackberry 10 operating system. This emulator supports the Gameboy and Gameboy Color library, with save state support for all of the games. Classics that you can play with this emulator include “Tetris,” the various “Pokemon” games, “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” and “Metal Gear Solid.”


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