Do you want to relive your childhood memory? Do you want to play your favorite retro games (like Super Mario, Contra, Pokemon etc) on your Android phone or tablet? Well, the good news is– you can
But why would anyone play those old 8-bit games, when the newer ones are way better in graphics and everything? And the reason is simple, if you are like me (a 90’s kid) who has grown up playing these games, then playing them once again will bring back the childhood happiness.
Now if you are on a computer, you can easily play them online. But for Android, things are slightly more complex.
How to Play old Retro Games on Android
First, you will need an Android smartphone with decent processing power. I have tested this on my Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2012) tablet. And both worked fine. Second, you need to download an Android emulator and a ROM of the game you want to play. So let’s see how this works.
Step 1: Get an emulator
Since these games are not designed to run on Android OS, you will need a third-party app (aka emulator) to provide a virtual environment. Now, there are a handful of Android emulators on PlayStore like — My Boy and RetroArch etc.
But for this tutorial, we will use MyBoy. Why, well it’s the most popular and stable than any of its competitors. Though, do note that these emulators are not perfect and may not run every the game you threw on them.
So head over to Google Play and install MyBoy. The free version is ad-supported and lacks some nifty features like saving and restoring games and cheat sheets, but still, it’s totally useable.
Once you open the app, you will notice it will ask you to load a ROM. So what is ROM and how do you get it?
Step 2: Get a ROM
ROM has a different meaning in different contexts. And here it means a modified version of an original game, that can run on Android.
Now, since there are many independent developers who modify these ROM for you; all you have to do is load these files (.zip or .gba) onto the emulator and the game with start instantaneously.
Now, where do we find these ROMs? Well, since offering ROM of copyright games are illegal, no emulators come with pre-built ROMs. But you can easily find them with a simple Google search like ‘Super Mario ROM for Android‘. (see screenshot below)
You can download these ROM (which is around a few MBs) either on your computer and then send them to your android or you can directly download them on your mobile.
And once done, open the emulator (GameBoy app) and import the ROM. And that’s it, your game will start instantly.
By default the game loads in portrait mode with the controller at the bottom half of the screen. To get the full screen, either rotate your device to landscape or go to video settings of the app.