Fans of classic video games have long been able to mimic old game systems on their computers using apps called emulators. Now, smartphones and tablets can also run them. With the right emulator and game files (downloaded separately), virtual versions of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis and other consoles—as well as dozens of vintage arcade titles that can't be found as standalone downloads—will be available anywhere.
1. FIND EMULATORS
The Android Market has several emulators, but some of the best ones exist in a separate app marketplace called SlideME or as a mobile app. Search for "yongzh" (the name of a software developer) on the site or app to get the emulator files. Apple generally doesn't allow emulators in the App Store, so you'll need to jailbreak your phone or tablet. Go to Lifehacker for instructions. Once the device is ready, the icon for a new app store called Cydia will appear on its home screen. Note that some emulators have confusing names [see table below].
2. GET ROMS
The next step is to find game files, called ROMs, and transfer them to the phone or tablet. Start by checking Emuparadise and CoolROM. If these sites don't have what you're looking for, Google the title of the game and the word "ROM."
On Android, ROMs can be stored on an SD card or internal storage. On iOS, many emulators have an integrated Web browser for downloading ROMs. For others, connect the iOS device to a computer and transfer them manually. An application such as iExplorer, (free) will let you access your device's file system and copy ROMs via drag-and-drop. The location to place ROMs varies depending on the emulator, so consult its Help files. Once the games have been transferred, open them in the emulator and start playing.
3. ADD A CONTROLLER
It's generally easier to play with an external controller than a touchscreen. Emulators for iOS let users pair (via Bluetooth) a Nintendo Wii Remote or a controller designed for mobile gaming such as the attachable iControlPad ($63). Simply turn on Wii Remote support in the emulator and follow the onscreen prompts to pair the controller. On Android, gamers can download Bluez IME to pair controllers to a phone. The free app tells Android that the controller is an input device and helps set up the buttons.
THE BEST RETRO GAME EMULATORS
|Sega Genesis||Gensoid||Genesis A.D.|
|Game Boy and Game Boy Color||GBCoid||Gameboy4iPhone|
|Sega Game Gear/Master System||Gearoid||iMasterGear|
Note: all of the iPhone apps are available from the Cydia app store--just search for their names. All Android apps can be found through these links on SlideMe.
I never saw a dog like that til I had a corndog
Big thumbs up for the author of this artice. I've been waiting for this for a while..since android market cracked down on roms
Holy illegal shit / grey area Batman! I should probably be pointed out that while Emulators themselves are NOT illegal, owning, distributing and sharing ROM's tends to be. So if you do decide to go this route, be sure to ONLY download ROM's for console games you ACTUALLY OWN A PHYSICAL VERSION OF, and even then its a "grey" area depending on where you live since "reverse engineering the hardware and encryption scheme used to store the ROM's on the cartridge" could in fact constitute an illegal act and therefore leave you in a situation of.. how did you get the ROM? You either downloaded it from someone illegally sharing copyrighted work OR you illegally reverse engineered to the cartridge and copied the game.
The same can be said for BIOS images for certain emulators that require them to function (DISC based consoles like the PSX and Dreamcast come to mind).
Really, I can't believe this article made it past the legal team at Pop-Sci without at least SOME disclaimer in the ROM download section warning people about the legality.
I understand how this can be or possibly is illegal but the fact of the matter is it makes the old classics more available and convienient to carry around. A simple labtop or tablet can emulate things like n64, ps1 or even a gamecube(although it will be at like half speed and probably burn it out)Ill also admit that nintendo did try to make one of the most downloaded and popular roms for DS(Zelda: Ocarina of time) All im trying to say is that these games have been gone for so long that it almost doesnt seem illegal anymore and the convience from going to playing an N64 to Angry birds is to great to lose. Maybe Nintendo and sony should work with the emulator developers to sell the roms and emulators in the app store like the wii channel store does.
Great job advocating piracy without admitting that what you suggested is illegal.
Additional kudos to you for directly linking to websites of copyright infringers that host pirated ROMs.
Just the high-class journalism I expect from Popular Science. Maybe some day it will reach the prestige of wikipedia.