Emulators: A Beginner Gamer’s Guide

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What are Emulators?

Emulators are the bridges that cross platforms, but what are they? True to their name, emulators artificially copy the operating system of a platform that you’re not using. For example, you can play Gamecube games on mobile or mobile games on your PC. Emulators require an OS that is flexible and customizable, like those found in smartphones and computers. There are no emulators for consoles because of how they’re built. Playstation and Xbox will forever be rivals, sadly.

Mobile Emulating

When looking for an emulator, only download from sites that you trust. There are dozens upon dozens of “emulators” out there that are just bait to lure people in. Trusted sites differ between devices. If you’re on mobile, only search through the Google Play Store or the App Store. You’ll find a limited selection, but that’s because smartphones don’t have enough operating power to channel all platforms. Essentially, you’re limited to the PS2 and anything prior.

Dolphin is an emulator that turns your phone into a mini Gamecube/Wii hybrid. The Wii is available, but it has motion controls that a phone can’t replicate. The games run perfect, but the sound may lag unless your device is optimized. Other emulators include MyBoy! and Drastic that run Gameboy and the Nintendo DS, respectively. A couple of other good examples are RetroArch and EmuBox, both of which are designed to emulate SNES games on Android devices.

Computer Emulating

Emulating on a computer is far simpler because of the extraordinary adaptability of a PC or Mac. Bluestacks is a popular emulator. It runs the Android OS and not only allows full access to the Google Play Store, but also has fun features like collectibles. Emulators can seem daunting to find without a centralized location for apps. However, a quick search on Reddit will pretty much get you an immediate answer. Steam also has an app called Steam Link, which allows you to stream any game on your computer to your phone. This is probably the greatest emulator you can get because it’s free, reliable, and backed by a reputable company.

Final Notes

Emulators allow devices to run games native to other platforms, but there is only one platform that refuses to play ball: Xbox. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One allow streaming to a phone, but there is no way to artificially imitate an Xbox on your phone. Other than that, there’s no limits to the freedom that emulators grant you. Once you pick out the emulator for you, Google the game you want and get a ROM of it. Go on and game without borders!


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