The Nintendo Entertainment System, stylized as NES, is one of the most iconic game consoles of the 1990s. It had a lot of popular games with a simple controller and plenty of family-friendly content. The system is obviously no longer active, but many remember the great games there. NES emulation is fairly stable and most of the options on this list are rock solid. Most of them work extremely well, have high game compatibilities, customizable controls, and very few bugs.
However, we’ll let you choose the one that works best for you. Here are the best NES emulators for Android! You can double up on the nostalgia and grab one of these NES style Bluetooth controllers if you want to. They are surprisingly cheap with good reviews.
There are many other NES emulators for Android. You can get them from third party websites and there are a few others on the Play Store. However, many of them are riffs on these emulators and many more are just ad bait. We don’t recommend using any other emulators than the ones on the list. Have fun!
The best NES emulators for Android
Price: Free (with ads)
EmuBox is one of the newer NES emulators on the list. It’s also an all-in-one concept. It includes emulators for Nintendo DS, PlayStation, SNES, GBA, and GBC along with SNES. It supports the basic features like save and load states along with some extras like fast forward, hardware controller support, and various performance settings. It’s easy to use and it’s one of the few emulators with Material Design support. There is even support for cheats. You need to bring your own ROMs to the party, but it’s otherwise a great emulator with very few issues.
Price: Free / Up to $4.49
John NESS is a dual emulator for both the SNES and NES consoles. The developer is very talented and has apps on other best lists as well. It covers all of the bases, including cheats, save and load states, hardware controller support, customizable software controllers, turbo buttons, and even slow motion support. You also get optional Dropbox syncing with the John DataSync plugin app if you want it. This is a full-featured emulator without any real problems. Most of the negative feedback are from folks who purchased previous John emulators and don’t like buying this one again. In terms of pure functionality, this one is a slam dunk.
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
NES.emu is an NES emulator from Robert Broglia, developer of several really good emulators. It’s open-source software based on the FCEUX project. The app features save and load states, support for FDS files, and support for peripherals like Zappers and hardware controllers. Additionally, the app works with FCEUX save states from other platforms. That makes it a good solution if you want to switch back and forth between mobile and PC. It’s a solid emulator and an easy inclusion onto this list.
Price: Free / $4.99
Nostalgia.NES is another solid option in the NES emulators space. It uses the famous FCEUX emulator for other platforms. That gives it a good pedigree. Some of the features include the usual stuff like save and load states, hardware controller support, turbo buttons, and even a WiFi controller mode. You also get support for all available regions, Zapper emulation, cheat codes, and a super unique rewind feature in case you messed something up. It’s one of the most expensive on the list for the premium version, but it does have some unique features to help back up that price tag.
Retro8 is one of the newest NES emulators on the list. It’s from the same developers of SuperRetro16, one of the best and most successful SNES emulators. This one looks great on paper. It boasts thousands of cheat codes, support for Bluetooth controllers, in-game guide integration, a turbo mode, and Zapper gun support. There is also cloud syncing for various devices. The game guide integration is new to us, we haven’t seen that feature before. However, this is still quite new and there are some bugs, especially with wireless controllers and some ROMs. We know for sure that this is going to get better over the next year so keep an eye on it.
RetroArch is arguably the most powerful multi-console emulator on Google Play. It can emulate a ton of devices and, of course, that includes the NES. This one has a bit of a learning curve, though. You must use the official website and download cores. These cores open up emulation for a specific console. Thus, it doesn’t run any games out of the box and requires some extra setup before it can function and it works with tons of consoles so it’s not strictly an emulator, but rather a framework for one. The app is also entirely free, open-source, and you can get plenty of other cores for other consoles as well. It’s a solid option if you don’t mind the extra work. Lemuroid (Google Play link) is a RetroArch competitor and uses a core system as well.