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Android Emulation - What Emus Are You Running?


Jagosaurus
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Well, I've been meaning to do this for some time & the recent PSP "vs" Android emu thread over at Racketboy pushed me over the edge. I officially have Nostalgia.NES & RetroArch running on an Android phone (my backup device).

 

I have a Bluetooth controller on the way from Amazon that can function standalone or cradle a phone. This one here, by recommendation of a community member:

 

Beboncool B02 controller. Nice deal for $25.99 shipped.

 

51t2dYuhGnL._SY400_.jpg

 

51nmQS7wv-L._SY400_.jpg

 

I'm likely going to be purchasing a MXQ Adroid TV Box as well so I can enjoy these emulators (and Google Play titles) on the go or on my game room TV. I digress...

 

What Android retro emulators are you running?

 

I'll be looking mostly at Atari 7800 through end of 4th gen (Sega CD, PCE CD, etc). 5th gen is a bonus, but I know it's spotty.

 

Controller support highly preferred. I saw SNES9x supports joypads but is extremely laggy. Nostalgia.NES runs great with a Bluetooth controller per reviews.

 

I started up Dragon Warrior IV to test it... 30 minutes later and 2 level ups later :), I'm very impressed with how sharp it looks on the small screen. Nostalgia runs great & the save state options are clean. Keep in mind I haven't tested a controller yet (will do soon, reportedly handles well). RA is a bit cumbersome as advertised. I did get the FCEU NES core running. I'll lean more on RA if there isn't a good a la carte option available. I think playing these retro games, especially RPGS, in bite size chunks, on the go with save states, will be great for me with 2 kiddos & little spare time.

 

Any suggestions are appreciated :).

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Can you link to the Racketboy discussion? I'd like to check it out.

 

I've been thinking about what I like(d) about Android emulation (cheap devices, sometimes with controllers) because I've been moving away from it in favor of Pi and Windows, which are more versatile. I wish I liked my GPD XD more, but it's kind of lame next to even a cheap plastic netbook that can emulate old computers, too.

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Sure, here you go below. I've been wanting to try more Google Play games but I guess the "pull" wasn't there with those alone. Couple that library with retro emulation & Android TV options to go along with portability on phones/tablets... & now you have my attention!

 

Here's what I'm most interested in:

7800

SMS

GG

GB/GBC/GBA

Lynx

NES

SNES

Genesis & Sega CD

TG16/PCE & CD

 

Bonus (realize it won't be perfect):

PS1

N64

Saturn (0% hopeful here)

 

This thread started off as "Is the PSP still the best bang for your buck portable emu..." but slowly moved to PSP vs Android regarding features and portability:

http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=51288

 

I also started an analogous thread to this one at RB of you'd like to see other folks responses here:

http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=51368&view=unread#unread

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Retro Arch is inscrutable on Android -- at least it was last time I checked -- so I generally prefer the Robert Broglia emulators (md.emu, 2600.emu, etc) for their easy configuration and similar front end.

 

Both of the leading PlayStation emulators seem quite capable and compatible. That system emulates pretty well.

 

What I said about Android emulators being a pain to configure? That goes triple for PSP. I like being able to throw stuff in without needing to plug in.

 

I'll check out the thread later, thanks for the links, but now you've got me wanting to try some old Genesis games on handheld soon.

 

I wish AtGames would sneak a Lynx emulator into one of their handheld toys. ;-)

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Looks like some of the Broglia emus cost 5 bucks. Worth it? I'll try out the corresponding system cores on RA first. Seems some of those are based on his source codes.

 

Yeah, I initially was going to do RPGs/SRPGs only with touch.controls, but I decided to buy a controller & deep dive in!

 

I'm actually pretty surprised emus on Android TV haven't taken off in popularity similar to the pi scene. They're very easy to set up with the a la cart emus. You have a small form factor box, around $40, & HDMI out. You can then use it for other entertainment mediums as well (youtube, netflix, sling TV, etc).

 

Now, RA required some tinkering. I understand there, but seems similar to setting up a pi.

Edited by Jagosaurus
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I tried Retroarch a few months back for android and I'm in agreement, goddamned pain in the ass. I removed it. Tried to go with it do mess with both SNES and Neo Geo arcade and it didn't play nice at all, so then I paid Broglia for Neo.EMU and shock surprise, my stuff ended up working immediately without any bitchy pissy emulator issues not wanting to load or find things. Retroarch is so overrated and overstated by it's core base of fanboys but really I think it plain well sucks. I'd rather not go big tent if I can find 5 other emulators that get the job as well if not better with far less pain in the ass problems, obtuse errors, or silent treatment errors with no idea why it's doing nothing when it should.

 

You wrote this same post over at racketboy, if you hadn't seen my response already there, I did one on stuff I've attempted between the shield tablet and the google nexus 7 before it. You kind of just need to figure out your budget and go as best you can, but if you're thinking N64 and PS1 a Shield tablet maybe something you should just save up into as they're only $200 new.

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Broglia does decent work (aside from Neo. Emu, which has noticeable lag), but I tend to default to cheaper emulators if the option is there. John emulators are a no-frills but effective means of playing games for Nintendo systems. They're also compatible with Android TVs, so that's a big plus.

 

The cut off point for emulation on Droid seems to be PSOne. N64 has always been tricky to emulate and while Dreamcast and PSP emus are available, they're far from complete.

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I haven't played with PSP emulation for a very long time, but I think the limitation is in he state of N64 emulation. High level stuff works great on almost everything, and gets you the best of the library with Mario 64, Zelda Ocarina, F-Zero X with very few glitches. Goldeneye is OK I think. Stuff like Rogue Squadron doesn't work on high end PCs either.

 

John emulators are good. Pretty sure they're running the same software cores inside, right? Which is why RetroArch is so militant about its politics and not being used for profit.

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@Flojo: Good point regarding the KB for pi. I've only watched video tutorials of the pi setup and have no first hand experience.

 

Agreed. I don't mind spending some money to support products and software I can get behind. Thanks for the link to his site. I'm going to be purchasing Orion's Android games specifically for this reason.

 

Yeah, luckily N64 emulation (PC, not specifically Android) does well with the the handful of games I really care about revisiting.

 

@Jess:

 

Broglia does decent work (aside from Neo. Emu, which has noticeable lag), but I tend to default to cheaper emulators if the option is there. John emulators are a no-frills but effective means of playing games for Nintendo systems. They're also compatible with Android TVs, so that's a big plus.

The cut off point for emulation on Droid seems to be PSOne. N64 has always been tricky to emulate and while Dreamcast and PSP emus are available, they're far from complete.

 

Good point regarding being compatible with Android TV. I am assuming it has to support the remote working through the menus, versus touch screens. Other than that, not sure how it would differ much other than possibly not liking the HDMI video out. If the freebie apps don't like Android TV, I'll definitely be leaning towards the paid emus. I also know there are "Android TV" boxes that are really just a stock Android OS with HDMI out versus the true TV platform. I need to do some research there. The video tutorials I watched on the Android MXQ TV box had it running multiple RetroArch cores with no issues.

 

@Tanooki: I use multiple (10+) standalone emulators on my PC so the draw to RetroArch to me is not the single app. I have no issue running several, even if they are paid. Clicking a dedicated emu is not any harder than choosing a core in RA so the "all in one umbrella" app is a bit of a fallacy IMO. The draw would be if the settings offer additional benefits/customization or if there are cores available within RA that maybe aren't available for a la carte DL. RA has a huge following so I am going to slowly give it a good try and see what all the fuss is about, although I can already see myself leaning a bit towards the standalone emus.

 

Yeah, I linked the relevant Racketboy threads above :P . I'll post the following over there too as I know a few RB users have the Shield tablets:

My initial hardware budget is around $75 to test the waters. I have 2 Android phones and a bluetooth controller I purchased for $26, so that leaves me with ~$50 to spend on an Android TV box. I don't mind spending $3-$8ish on emulators if they are truly the best option. Outside of emu, I'll be picking up a few Google Play titles to test out such as Alice's Mom Rescue. Part of the draw to me is the low cost of entry.

 

It seems the jump to the Nvidia would only be necessary for the titles specially made for the Tegra K1 chip set (Doom 3, Half Life 2, Conduit 2, etc), some high end Google Play titles (that wouldn't run on my Note 4 or a middle ground Android TV box), and fifth retro gen emu. High end GP games, along with N64 & PS1 emu are only bonus at this point. I have a dedicated emu PC in my gameroom that handles PS1 & N64 just fine so it's hard to justify the $200 tablet at this point. If I absolutely get reeled into the Android gaming and emulation scene, or eventually decide I want N64/PS1 on the go, the Shield is a real possibility. I'm not against it. There are some decent ~$100 tablets/large phones that wold be nice purchases as well, but if I could get a Shield used for only $50 more with better specs, I'd maybe be more interested when/if that time comes.

Edited by Jagosaurus
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That's cool. I didn't even know that existed. Will bookmark as a possible future project. Part of my goal is to be able to play in bed or downstairs (not in gameroom) so I like the mobility Android offers. The Android TV setup is an addition for the gameroom.

 

 

Scratch the MXQ box I linked above. This one is newer, for $46. Running 6.0 OS with a quad core processor at 2GHz & 1GB RAM. I imagine it will run 90% of Google Play games just fine & run emus well, especially through 4th gen (which is my main goal here).

 

That'd put me at $72 total for hardware to test the waters. I'm not opposed to spending money here, but for my main purpose (emulators) I think this is a solid start. Google Play is just a fun addition.

 

If for some reason it's a dud for gaming, I still have a $46 device that will run Youtube, Netflix, and movies off my USB media HDD.

Edited by Jagosaurus
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Post is a year old, good links, and a good start.

http://dayoftheouya.com/a-list-of-all-known-emulators-for-ouya/

 

You can buy a second hand Ouya for under $50, probably even likely get it with 2 controllers within the $50 cap.

 

It's not great, it's not a beast, but it is an nvidia tegra3 in there if I recall correctly and it can run quite a lot of emulators well. I would advise against N64/PS1 and beyond, but your usual pre-3D systems, handhelds, arcade stuff should be fun.

 

Then again maybe more...that link states with tweaking a little N64 and PS1 works right. Go figure. The company and system Ouya due to the lies and changes from the kickstarter era garnered such hatred people were just getting rid of them to get away, seems to have bottomed out the price pretty low. I know the Ouya store is dead, but if you just sideload anything you want plus the google play and amazon stores for the free surveys for cash, and daily freebies you'll be set.

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@Tanooki, I'm not against tinkering or an Ouya. I almost bought one on launch. I have completed quite a few soft mod projects recently and would rather stick to a plug and play scenario at the moment as free time is short on my end with the new kiddo & a toddler.

 

Alright, I've had a few hours of testing time. I have to say, what I'm most impressed with so far is the quality and no noticeable lag when displayed on a TV :D. I've had a lot of issues trying to get my aging ATI video card & fairly new laptops to display NES games properly on my HD TV in 4:3 (although it looks fine on laptop screen itself). This method just worked and there were no "rippling" scrolling effects or direct draw errors I often get from several NES emulators. NES emu seems to be the only culprit for me on this. Genesis, TG16, etc all work fine. I had resorted to being tethered to the laptop screen or breaking out the modded oXbox for 8 bit Nintendo. I was surprised to find out Android may be my go to NES emu method moving forward for both on the go and on the big screen.

 

This is very convenient when traveling because I'll already have my phone with me. The controller is roughly the same size, but lighter, than carrying a 3DS. Once I get to my destination I then have the option to throw on the TV. Pretty slick 8).

 

Nothing ground breaking here but wanted to share the B02 controller in action. The phone display shown is a Razr Maxx 4.3" and my Note 4 5.7" fits fine also. What do you guys think?

 

Standalone:

20170530_162939_zpswply2kgt.jpg

 

Docked:

20170530_162852_zps5xn9hdnn.jpg

 

To TV in 4:3 1080p via HDMI:

20170531_083316_zpszbvi0u88.jpg

Edited by Jagosaurus
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I see the Razr Maxx for under fifty bucks on eBay ... you're making me think I want an "iPod touch" Android device, just for games!

Exactly! I wanted the option of having a standalone device for emulators & non high end Google Play games that wouldn't be ringng or receiving texts while I was gaming.

 

I've been looking at new Android small tablets & large phones... you won't make me say "Phablet" :lol: ... for the same reason.

Edited by Jagosaurus
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I wonder if there's a nice Google Play compatible device that resembles the 6" Kindle Fire HD? I like the feel of that thing but the Amazon store is too limiting -- and rooting is a bit of a pain.

That's about what size I'm hunting as well.

 

I actually rooted... well technically it was a dual boot soft mod but effectively the same end result... an original Kindie Fire, and it was a cool device. Even then though, once modded it was still A PAIN to get the Google Play store on it. Maybe it's gotten easier since 2013 or so when I went through it. Amazon basically gives those tablets away to make money on software and encourage Prime streaming.

 

I might result to a cheapo Asian knock off as a tester.

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On my phone(HTC 10) I just have JZINTV. Though I can't find the options to use overlays and turn off vibration, it runs fine. On my 1st gen Nexus 7(rooted) I have NES Nostalgia and SNES 9x+EX. I use my DualShock3 for both of them.

Jzintv4droid was designed for android phones with a menu button. Press the menu button only during gameplay to get those options. You can access android menu on some phones by long pressing the recent apps button. Some phones have a setting to turn on a "menu" button. Check with your phone for "menu" button access.
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On my phone(HTC 10) I just have JZINTV. Though I can't find the options to use overlays and turn off vibration, it runs fine. On my 1st gen Nexus 7(rooted) I have NES Nostalgia and SNES 9x+EX. I use my DualShock3 for both of them.

No noticeable lag with SNES9x & controller? That was one of the downfalls of 9x I've seen folks mention.

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No noticeable lag with SNES9x & controller? That was one of the downfalls of 9x I've seen folks mention.

I got the Sixaxis app for the PS3 controller and I didn't notice any lag.

 

Jzintv4droid was designed for android phones with a menu button. Press the menu button only during gameplay to get those options. You can access android menu on some phones by long pressing the recent apps button. Some phones have a setting to turn on a "menu" button. Check with your phone for "menu" button access.

Found the menu button and turned it on. I assume the overlay pics go in the rom folder.
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