Published on March 31st, 2013 | by Sean Power


How To Old School Emulate on Android

Android Emulation can be confusing, especially if you are new to emulation altogether. Most of the Emulators (Systems) you will see on the Android Market are actually ported and slightly modified versions of the PC emulators already released. But fear not, once you emulate one system, the rest are much more easy. However, if you need help you can always visit the Android Emulation Homepage

Now before we begin the how to, let’s define some key terms:

Emulator: An emulator is the console or system, like Nintendo 64 or PlayStation. Basically, the virtual game system.
Roms: Roms are the games that you play. ‘Nuff said.
BIOS: BIOS files are the brains of the emulators, they instruct the emulator how to start. The reason they are not included within Emulators is they are trying to prevent legal issues.

The first step in your quest to emulating the classics on your Android Phone or Tablet is to first obtain an Emulator. Do this by going to Google Play searching for ” Emulator,” so like this: SNES Emulator. If you’d rather use the internet, you can visit this link: Android Emulators. I myself, enjoy Droid EMU, which is a multi-emulator that works for 6 different consoles: NES, SNES, GENESIS, GAMEGEAR, GBC, GBA.

Once you’ve downloaded an emulator successfully, you may need to get a BIOS FILE. The way to determine if you need is a BIOS is simple, only GameBoy Advance, PlayStation, or Atari require emulators, if you do not have one of those emulators, skip this step. You can get the BIOS by downloading BIOS Archive from Google Play or searching Google like so: “GBA BIOS“.

The next step is the fun step, downloading ROMs (see disclaimer below). If you need ROMs, simply type “Roms for Android” on Google and you will come up with a website that will provide you links. Your games will download to your SD card most likely, sometimes in folder /sdcard/download/ or in mnt/sdcard/download. You can either download them from your phone or PC, if you’re new it may be easier to do it with your PC. Just make sure you place your files in the same folder you have your BIOS in.

After you’ve figured out how to download the ROM’s and store them, you will need to open your Emulator. When the Emulator is open, it will prompt you to specify a BIOS or a ROM, depending on the emulator. If BIOS, browse to the bios file and make sure you save your settings if required. Next, or if you have no BIOS, you will need to browse to the directory your ROMs are in (most likely sdcard/Download/).

The game may or may not load, depending on which phone you use, which emulator you use, or which copy of the ROM you use. With PlayStation or Nintendo 64 emulators, settings have to be tweaked to fit the performance of your phone. AGAIN, not all games will work or perform the same. The best thing you can do is report it to the developer of the Emulator. Make sure to include ROM name, emulator, and your Android Device Type.

Don’t get angry, in the event you can’t figure it out, you can always Google “Roms for Android” or something that area and find a website that has tutorials or guides for Android. Just make sure to include proper keywords so you get more accurate topic or threads on Google. Well, that’s it for now! Enjoy all your classic games and I hope you have fun!

DISCLAIMER: While running emulators isn’t illegal, piracy is. Emulators can be used to run homebrew applications or back-up ROMs of games. Gimmedigital doesn’t condone the duplication and distribution of pirated games in any form.


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About the Author

Sean Power

Sent to earth from a dying planet, young Sean Power grew to adulthood with a deep love for comics and all things from the local chipper. He has dedicated his life to pedantic ramblings about continuity, superhero superiority, and whether Han shot first. Yes, he is single. He also writes for a number of UK Magazines.

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