Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES console games, including The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Super Mario World to name a few, are arguably the most famous video games from the ’90s to this date. The appeal of SNES games to fans and new players isn’t wavering through the years. That is even if the original platform running it is not sold officially anymore.
If you are like many gamers who want to experience those retro games, there is a way to do so on an Android phone without the console. You will have to use a SNES emulator.
Inside This Article
A SNES emulator, in a nutshell, is software that allows a smartphone to mimic how the classic Nintendo console works. Also, it typically comes in the form of an app.
Moreover, each emulator can be installed directly from the Google Play Store to your smartphone, unlike on an iPhone where the process is complicated. In case you didn’t know, game emulators are banned on the App Store. Consequently, you need to jailbreak the iPhone, or get the emulator and game file known as the read-only memory (ROM) and perform a phone date adjustment hack for the emulator to work.
A SNES emulator or any of the best Android emulators available is not exactly illegal. What is known to be prohibited is obtaining from and sharing on the web a game file that you do not own, although the specifics are not clearly defined by some laws or differ per country.
What if you bought the game, extracted its file then run that on an emulator for personal or peer use, you ask? This is exactly how emulators on the Google Play Store work. The apps do not have built-in ROMs, so the user must purchase games legally and extract the files on his or her means. There is a loophole in the scenario, though; that’s why playing games on the best SNES emulator remains possible.
You might have already scoured the Google Play Store for emulators and cannot easily decide on which to try. We’re here to help you narrow down your choices and find the best SNES emulator to download and install on your smartphone. You’ll notice that some entries are also the best NES emulators for Android.
Below are our top 13 picks for you:
When it comes to apps dedicated exclusively to working like the 16-bit game console SNES and its 8-bit counterpart NES, John NESS is the best emulator to have. It excels in its render quality and storage among other aspects.
To elaborate, John NESS adopts the same engines that the classic Nintendo consoles it mimics use. As a result, it can present SNES games accurately from your Android phone’s microSD card or internal memory, like how they appear on the original SNES platform. Moreover, there are several save states or slots with previews accessible from the interface. If you have the John DataSync plugin, you can even back up your data on Dropbox directly from the emulator.
The SNES emulator allows you to customize its layout for easy game control. There are also speed options and support for Bluetooth controllers.
John NESS by John Emulators is free to download on the Google Play Store. If you purchase the emulator, in-app advertisements will be removed.
This SNES emulator might be the most complete one on the Google Play Store in terms of features. From all the emulator basics to the extras, the Mega S.N.E.S Rock Retro has you covered.
In fact, this emulator touts many bonus features that are not available in competitor apps. Firstly, it has thousands of cheat codes in its database. Secondly, it lets you apply shaders or visual effects to your games. Thirdly, you can access SNES game walkthroughs or guides directly from the app. And lastly, if you are more comfortable with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, then you can use peripherals with this emulator, as long as your game supports them.
With regards to the typical emulator features, the Mega S.N.E.S Rock Retro has several save and load states, the fast forward option, and a screen controls editor.
The Mega S.N.E.S Rock Retro from HeartGold Production is free to download and use on Android devices.
ClassicBoy Gold is the best SNES emulator for hardcore retro game fans because of two reasons: platform versatility and easy controls.
This SNES emulator is an all-around type that also supports other consoles, including the NES or Famicom, Nintendo GBA, GBC, SBG, GB and DS, and PS1, Sega Saturn, Neo-Geo CD, and Atari 2600 VCS. It requires you to download the necessary external plugins from the app for the SNES and Nintendo DS functions to work.
Additionally, ClassicBoy Gold can switch to gesture or sensor controls if you do not want the buttons. The latter can be adjusted to the position or size your hands are comfortable with. You can also use a compatible Bluetooth controller instead.
This best SNES emulator contender from PortableAndroid is free to download, although it offers in-app purchases. Also, it does not come with game ROMs.
If you are curious if there is a SNES emulator that is versatile yet free and without ads, the answer to this question is yes; it is RetroArch that fits the bill.
From the emulated consoles to the controls, RetroArch is adaptable. For example, it can run Game & Watch, GBA, and PSP games other than SNES, and the buttons overlaid on the app interface can be remapped completely.
RetroArch is an open-source emulator for Android phones and tablet PCs. It is developed by Libretro.
Nostalgia.NES is also one adaptable and fun emulator that runs NES and SNES games. It has a cool perk, giving you the power to rewind time in the game. To elaborate, it lets you go back a few seconds before your character was slain in the game or any action you regret.
Additionally, the emulator highlights a WiFi controller mode. As a result, you will be able to use your smartphone as a wireless host for playing games with up to four friends. Also, if you are more comfortable with a keyboard or Bluetooth gamepad than adjustable screen controls, you are free to attach one to your Android phone when using the app.
Nostalgia.NES by Nostalgia Emulators is free to download, although it contains ads.
If you enjoy interacting with other players, MultiSneS16 is the best SNES emulator recommendation to go with. The app supports multiplayer mode through a Local Area Network (LAN) or online and allows you to talk to your comrades via its Text Chat feature. The latter is useful when planning your strategies with your party members or team.
To add, MultiSneS16 can automatically load SNES games from your Android phone’s SD card. Supported formats are ZIP, SMC, SFC, and SWC files. The second player is not required to have a copy of the game on his or her smartphone.
The SNES emulator can be downloaded and installed for free from the Google Play Store.
Another SNES emulator that is free to download and use is the Snes9x EX+. Created by Robert Broglia, it is a reliable open-source app that has all the necessary features any retro gamer needs.
Snes9x EX+ features neat overlaid controls and works smoothly. In fact, it can launch a game directly from a ZIP, SMC, or SFC file. Moreover, there are also save and load state slots, so you can put a game on hold anytime and continue where you left off fast.
SuperRetro16 is the best SNES emulator pick because it brings out the best of your games’ 16-bit graphics through its visual booster function.
The SNES emulator boasts other useful functions, including the fast forward option that can aid you in your speed runs. Additionally, it features multiple saving and controller options. To elaborate, it stores your data locally or in the cloud, and you can connect most Bluetooth controllers to your smartphone while running it.
Combining game database and emulator functions, Retro Game Center is also among the most versatile apps ranked in this list.
This emulator supports 19 classic consoles, spanning the 80s to the 2000s, including the SNES. Also, it allows you to search, rank, and filter more than 15,000 titles on its directory for you to be able to purchase games easily. If you have SNES games already on your smartphone, Retro Game Center can load the files fast. In fact, you do not need to configure the app to get the best SNES emulator experience.
Retro Game Center is a free universal emulator, with optional in-app purchases.
NES.emu made it into this list of best SNES emulator contenders because it can give you a wide-screen experience when on landscape mode.
With regards to other features, it is on par with many of the previous emulators in this list. It also has various game speed and controller options, and save and load states which can be backed up locally or in the cloud.
It is available on the Google Play Store but might not be compatible with old Android phone models due to its processor requirements.
When you just need the basics and easy controls, the Kurono S.N.E.S – Classic Emulator is a free app to download.
This emulator is pretty straightforward, making it one of the best options for first-time emulator users. You can load directly the ZIP files of SNES games you own from your smartphone’s microSD card and customize your touch or button controls before you play. Also, combination button controls are possible on the app.
Additionally, the Kurono S.N.E.S – Classic Emulator has quick-save and load slots that let you back up game progress or jump back into the action with just a press of a button. The SNES emulator is free to download on the Google Play Store.
If you are finicky about sounds, go with EmuSNES XL. This SNES emulator enhances game audio via its stereo features.
Despite the focus on authentic retro sounds, EmuSNES XL won’t get left behind when it comes to graphics. It can display games with semi-transparent overlaid controls on a full screen. Supported game file formats are SMC, SFC, and ZIP. You can find the app on the Google Play Store and get it for free.
Super Emulator is a 3-in-1 app that can mimic the SNES, NES, and GBA consoles. What’s unique about it is its three modes of controller vibration that let you feel the moves you make in the game.
Additionally, this best SNES emulator supports automatic game saving and resumption. There are eight save and load state slots if you want to back up your progress manually.
The Super Emulator is from Emulator World. The app is free to download and use on Android phones.
Regardless of the debate on legality, what’s clear right now is that casual and hardcore retro game fans are searching for the best SNES emulator to use. If you’re wondering why, here are three common reasons which are also the advantages of having the said emulator on an Android phone:
1. The Best SNES Emulator Gives Nostalgia
Retro games are most likely a big part of your and other people’s good memories, so there is nostalgia in play here. For instance, playing or replaying classic games via the best SNES emulator allows you to relive the fun and carefree days you had when you were a child.
2. The Best SNES Emulator Brings Back Retro Games
Retro games are not dead. In fact, they are making a comeback. The trend is best reflected by SNES game developers and studios that continuously port, remaster, or remake the most popular titles. This is why today’s generation can enjoy the same SNES titles that may have introduced you to the world of games before. Furthermore, a SNES emulator helps fuel the trend because it puts retro games on a platform where almost everyone has access nowadays: the smartphone.
3. The Best SNES Emulator Is Within Your Reach
As already mentioned, the original and re-released versions of the SNES are already rare in the market. Even refurbished consoles that still work smoothly are hard to come across. Moreover, it is difficult to verify if what is being sold online is authentic or not. This is why using a SNES emulator is a convenient alternative for gamers.
Game consoles might get outdated, yet games are here to live on. The best SNES emulator on Android allows you to experience your favorite retro games once more and play other classics you have not discovered before. It also lets future generations enjoy the glory of old games.
Embark on an adventure now by trying the best SNES emulators from our list. Also, check out the best DS emulators for Android to try more games from another popular Nintendo console.