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Top 5 emulators for Xperia Play

The difference between right and ROM
Product: Emulation | Format: Xperia Play
Emulation Xperia Play, thumbnail 1
If you've ever spent an afternoon looking for them, you'll know that there have been more emulators on the Android Market than there have been arrogant jerks on The Apprentice.

If you really, really wanted to, you could probably play every games console from your childhood on your Android device, and every hard-as-nails platformer you never actually got around to conquering.

Up until now, though, emulators on smartphones have relied on virtual keys, which even at the best of times can feel a little sticky and unresponsive. Now, if you're an Xperia Play owner, you need fret no more.

All of these emulators allow for key mapping to the physical controls, giving you the chance to play the games the way they were meant to be played.

Disclaimer: You should only download legal ROMs, you naughty thing. Obviously, we would never condone people using their Xperia Play to emulate PlayStation games - you can buy some of the best games from the Pocket PlayStation store, after all - and we wouldn't want any more people to get into trouble for content violation like ZodTTD did earlier this year.

1. SnesDroid

Once upon a time, there used to be an emulator called Snesoid. He worked hard and cheerfully, never complained, and was loved by all his friends and family. And he had a large family: Nesoid, Gensoid, GBAoid...they all got along and the world was a glorious place to live in.

Then the dark times came. One day in the marketplace, the emulators went missing, never to be seen again. Their loss was lamented by all who knew them.

But, perk up! Guess who showed up next? Snesoid, Nesoid, Gensoid, and GBAoid's cheeky cousins from across the water, that's who.

SnesDroid - along with its 'brothers' NESDroid, GenPlusDroid, (see below), et al. - basically does the exact same thing as the aforementioned Snesoid & co. in a very similar fashion. It runs old SNES titles perfectly in landscape mode, boasts several audio sample rates to make sure the music works well, includes x- and y-axis sensitivity options, and even contains an autosave feature.

2. GenPlusDroid

A brother from the same mother. GenPlusDroid runs both Sega Genesis and Master System ROMs, allowing you to relive everything from Sonic & Knuckles to Battletoads.

It has all the same features as SnesDroid, most notable of which are the cheeky rewind and fast-forward options that you can easily map to the L and R triggers, essentially making every game a little bit like Braid.

It's unusual, yes, but not entirely useless, considering a lot of these oldies have long and sometimes unskippable intro screens. This way, you can simply speed through them. The settings warn you that it might cause performance loss, but the Play is more than capable and handles it well - any slowdown is imperceptible.

3. GameBoy Advance Emulator

As a nice chunky handheld with L and R triggers of its own, the Game Boy Advance is pretty much the perfect fit for running emulated games on the Xperia Play.

GameBoy Advance Emulator may have an extremely simplistic name and standard settings, but it does everything desired of it.

And despite possessing none of the complicated features of the previous emulators, it comes with a very handy ROM-finding app (you have to download it afterwards, but the Emulator leads you by the hand to the right place).

You'll need the original game BIOS to run ROMs, but, again, a few easy-to-follow instructions do away with that problem.

4. GameBoy Colour Emulator

Let's go further back.

Before the esteemed Game Boy Advance came along and rendered us all googly-eyed, there was the noble Game Boy Colour.

"What's that?" the western world said in unison, "A Game Boy with colour? Pfft. I'll believe it when I - OH, MY WORD, IT'S GOT COLOURS."

As well as hand you the ability to use Gameshark and Game Genie cheat codes (some of those classic games are hard, man) GameBoy Colour Emulator lets you alter the framerate, or play the game at twice the normal speed.

We can imagine that'd make the already piercing music of Kirby's Dreamland even more insane.

5. John NES (NES Emulator)

Even further back now.

The NES is probably where a lot of people got their first taste of console gaming. You can find out if it's still as sweet as you remember with John NES.

It's a pretty standard one this, about as average and no-nonsense as the name it bears - all the usual audio and visual settings, none of which you really have to change or mess about with in any way for the emulator to work smoothly.

Likewise, mapping the keys is very straightforward, and if you really want to use the touchscreen (you damn fool), there's the option to vibrate the phone slightly with each key press, producing some degree of tactile feedback.

Like most Johns, it's simple and reliable. A sound bloke.


Reviewer photo
Brendan Caldwell 16 August 2011
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