Emulator on Android: The games of your youth with RetroArch!

A emulator is a program (software) that will imitate in every way the operation of a machine (hardware). On Android, you can “emulate” just about any console from the 90s and even 2000s. It is therefore possible to replay the games of your childhood with an entry-level smartphone: Megadrive, Super Nintendo, Sony PSP, etc. . Instead of recovering one emulator per machine, the best solution is to use RetroArch, a frontend that allows you to bring together several emulators or “cores”…

Thousands of games in your pocket

These emulators are made by fans who don’t want their systems or old consoles to be forgotten. It’s also a good way to perpetuate the myth and continue to develop games on machines that no longer exist… Emulators copy the characteristics of the original machines in every way. Whether it’s the configuration of the controllers by means of backup through the resolution of the screen, everything is done in such a way as to find its old sensations. Even the original bugs are present!

To work, an emulator needs games. For many years, hackers have known how to “vacuum” the content of games using special devices called “dumpers”. Once the content of the cartridge is found in a digital format, it is possible to pass it through the Net, to download it and to share it: it is a ROM. For games from CDs and DVDs, we will rather talk about ISO.

android emulator

RetroArch: the all-in-one solution

Available on Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi, iOS or MacOS, RetroArch has some limitations on Android. Don’t expect, for example, to emulate a Dreamcast or a GameCube, even with a device equipped with a Latest generation Snapdragon. RetroArch also allows network play, the ability to go back in a game, cheat options, instant saves and of course optional controller support. If you have a Bluetooth gamepad, you can therefore play without using the touch screen and enjoy a full screen display.

What about the law?

On some sites that offer ROMs or ISOs, you may see a kind of warning that states that you have the right to keep these files on your hard drive for 24 hours. It is completely false. If you don’t own the originals of the games you’re emulating, it’s illegal. On the other hand, some games can be considered as abandonware: software which is no longer used by the publisher and which is no longer successful. Indeed, it is hard to see Sega suing you for having pirated games that have not been used since 1995! The only publisher that doesn’t really like it is Nintendo. It must be said that Big N makes full use of its titles, even the oldest ones, on virtual console. Afterwards, don’t expect to see the BRI arrive at your house at 6 a.m. because you downloaded Super Mario World…

How to use RetroArch on Android?

1/ The choice of hearts

Download the app on the Google Play Store and allow RetroArch access to the files. Load the cores you want depending on the consoles you want to emulate. Feel free to load multiple cores for each console in case a game doesn’t work with a particular core.


2/ Transfer the ROMs

You will then need to transfer the ROMs to the device via your USB cable. We advise you to place them in separate folders. In RetroArch, do Upload content and find the folder containing your games. The application will then suggest loaded cores depending on the machine to be emulated. Of course, to find the ROMs, we can’t help you too much. Be careful where you step though.


3/ Game Start

That’s all ! The game launches and you can use the virtual buttons on the touch screen to play. It is possible to play vertically in “Game Boy” mode or horizontally in “Game Gear” mode. In the settings, you can add a controller and configure the buttons. To go back, you will have to press the button with the RetroArch icon.


Take off your Reebok Pumps, put down your LC Waikiki backpack and play Sonic until mom calls you to eat…

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Emulator on Android: The games of your youth with RetroArch!


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