The Complete Guide to SNES Emulation on Android

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System stands as one of the most iconic consoles in gaming history. Despite being over 30 years old, the system‘s legendary library of games still compels modern gamers to revisit classics like Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, and Super Mario World. Thankfully, Android offers some stellar SNES emulators to let you tap into that nostalgia on mobile.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about SNES emulation on Android in 2023 and beyond.

Why Emulate SNES Games on Android?

There are several compelling reasons behind the growing popularity of SNES emulators on mobile devices:

  1. Relive Childhood Nostalgia – For older millenials and Gen X gamers, playing SNES classics elicits that strong nostalgic joy. Emulators make it convenient to revisit those memories.
  2. Portability – Phones allow you to access these retro games on-the-go rather than being confined near a TV.
  3. Enhanced Features – Emulators often add modern features like save states, cheating, and video filters that alter gameplay positively.
  4. Game Preservation – As SNES hardware ages, emulators preserve its legendary titles for new audiences.

Google Play statistics show SNES emulators averaging over 100,000 downloads each, indicating strong interest in mobile play. But which emulator is best suited for you?

Factors to Consider When Choosing an SNES Emulator

All Android devices have different technical capabilities that impact the emulator experience. Here are key factors to consider:

Phone Specs

  • CPU clock speed – 1.8Ghz+ ideal
  • Multiple cores
  • High-end chipsets – Snapdragon 835+
  • At least 3GB RAM recommended

OS & Compatibility

  • Android 5.0+ required
  • OpenGL 3.0+ support needed
  • Verify Google Play support for device

Storage Requirements

  • App install size around 30-60MB
  • Individual ROMs 5-50MB each
  • Plan for at least 5-10 games

Controller Support

  • Bluetooth gamepads ideal
  • USB controllers may need OTG cable
  • Native touch controls usable but laggy

Ideally, choose an emulator that best matches your phone‘s capabilities from the list below.

The Top 7 SNES Emulators for Android

Here are the top SNES emulators for Android based on performance, features, and ease-of-use:

1. RetroArch

RetroArch tops our list thanks to its powerful, hardware-optimized emulation engines, stellar array of gaming enhacements, and robust community support. With customized SNESrendering and support for achievements, cloud saves, shaders and more, it‘s a pixel-perfect portal back to the 90s.


  • Performance tuned for Android
  • Online multiplayer support
  • Hyper customizable options


  • Complex interface and setup

2. Snes9x EX+

For buttery smooth SNES emulation in a friendly package, Snes9x EX+ soars above competitors. It captures that nostalgic look and feel perfectly across thousands of games with no stuttering or slowdowns.


  • Lightweight with low battery drain
  • Supports both ZIP and RAR ROMs
  • Solid feature set despite no frills


  • Lacks some advanced options

3. John NESS

Designed purely to emulate SNES hardware as accurately as possible, John NESS plays your childhood favorites with authentic precision – glitches and all!


  • Very accurate game dynamics and audio
  • Folder support for ROM organization
  • Cloud sync for continuous play


  • UI has outdated aesthetics

4. Lemuroid

As the prettiest SNES front-end around, Lemuroid makes jumping between retro games a seamless, enjoyable experience with a polished design perfect for big handhelds.


  • Slick, cohesive UI design
  • Sorts by genre, franchise, etc
  • Controller profiles for each system


  • Occasional audio glitches

5. ClassicBoy

While best known for PlayStation emulation, ClassicBoy also handles SNES with care. It‘s a stable jack-of-all-trades pick.


  • All-in-one game app
  • Dynamic touchscreen pad
  • Hardware controller vibrations


  • SNES performance lags a bit

6. SNESDroid

When a fuss-free, AD-free SNES emulator is all you need, SNESDroid delivers. Despite a barebones approach, it nails fast gameplay.


  • Simple interface, easy to use
  • Good performance on mid-range phones
  • Portrait and landscape modes


  • Few customizations or features

7. Emulator for SNES

As its name suggests, Emulator for SNES focuses its limited scope purely on great portable SNES performance.


  • Lightning fast game speeds
  • Supports both SMC & Fig ROMs
  • Controller vibration enabled


  • Crashes on some chipsets

Now let‘s walk through setting up SNES emulation on Android step-by-step using RetroArch.

How to Setup SNES Emulation on Android

  1. Download RetroArch from Google Play Store
  2. Allow requested App Permissions
  3. Transfer your SNES ROMs to your device storage via USB or cloud drive
  4. Open RetroArch and select on-screen controller or Sync Bluetooth gamepad
  5. Navigate to Load Content menu and select the SNES ROM
  6. Start gaming! Save your progress with save states.

Here are some pro tips:

  • Grant retinal permissions to run games at max fps
  • Adjust the aspect ratio if games look stretched
  • Enable VSync under Latency settings to prevent screen tearing

That covers the basics – now grab some SNES classics and start playing!

Preserving Gaming History & Enjoying It On-the-Go

For older Android users who grew up with the magic of SNES, emulation breathes new life into those nostalgic memories. And a whole new generation gets to experience these legendary games for the first time as well!

With options suited for devices both high-end and modest, there‘s never been an easier way to enjoy the masterpieces of the 16-bit era than SNES emulation on mobile. We hope this guide helps you rediscover why the SNES left such an indelible legacy.

Any favorite SNES memories or emulation tips to share? Let us know below!