How to Download and Play NES Games on Android Using NES Emulator

Remember when there was never anything quite like the intricate open worlds, fast-paced shooters, and authentic graphics we see today? Just the frustration of a Super Mario level, or the satisfaction of shooting through enemies in Contra. This level of handling and playability is hard to find in today’s gaming world. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was one of the most popular consoles for it. In this article, we cover absolutely everything you will need to do, in detail, to set up how to play NES games on an Android smartphone for free.

Released in 1983, the NES is the primary source of gaming for many people today. Wouldn’t it be so great to go back to that time and relive those memories? Fortunately, it is possible! All it takes is an Android smartphone and some time to set up the system. Nothing here should cost you a dime, and the end result will be an app right on your phone that can easily load NES classics, like Super Mario Bros, Contra, Tetris, Mega Manand more.

How to Play NES Games for Free on Android

An emulator is simply software that allows one device to act like another. In this context, we are looking for an application for Android capable of simulating the Nintendo Entertainment System. It will have no impact on the device, as it is like any other mobile application.

Step 1: Download an NES emulator

Picture via Google Play

To find an NES emulator, simply search for one on the Google Play Store. The one shown in the image below (Nostalgia.NES) is a popular and reliable choice. There will be advertisements in this app, however, these can be removed with a purchase.

Step 2: Download NES games

Once the app is downloaded, the next step is to search for games that will work on the app. This can be a little trickier to do, due to the large number of sites on the internet, and there is a chance of entering a site that is not safe. Do not worry, because there are reliable sites, such as EmulatorGames.Net. This one has a bunch of different games listed, and one can easily choose one and click the save game button.

Android NES Emulator: ROMs Website
Picture via

There may be slightly new terminology on the website. A ROM is a name commonly used to refer to games running on emulators. Literally, ROM means Read-only memoryand in this context, a ROM is a copy of the read-only memory of a game. Simply put, a Emulator ROM is just a digital version of a game cartridge. These games are usually quite small since the NES is a fairly old console. With every ROM taking a few KB of spaceit is possible to set up a huge library of games.

Step 3: Extract and organize the game files

From the website used in the previous step, the downloaded files arrived as ZIP files. The first task is to extract them, which is a fairly simple task. For those who are not so experienced with this stuff, just open the Android phone file manager and find the downloaded file.

It should be in the Downloads folder, but just in case, using the search bar is another way to find the file. Once located, select the file and click Extract. The result should be a file with the name of the game and “.nes” at the end.

In the application downloaded from step 1, file organization is not necessary. The app will automatically find the downloaded ROMs on the phone and list them. However, sometimes it can be a good idea to keep things organized by copying all the “.nes” files in a folder and labeling them as something like NES Games. Again, it’s not necessary and it’s just a way to keep things a bit tidy.

Step 4: loading games

Once the “.nes” file is extracted, go back to the emulator we downloaded earlier. It doesn’t matter if the files are in dedicated folders or lying around somewhere. In the app, games should just be listed here.

Android NES Emulator: Application Main Menu
Image via Nostaliga.NES

Otherwise, make sure the games file is in an open folder, i.e. the one that is not locked or in a ZIP file. Now just click on the game you want to play and start playing! The main menu is pretty self-explanatory and downloading new games will easily add them to the list.

Step 5: Familiarize yourself with controls and settings

The controls replicate the classic NES system, there’s the directional pad, buttons for A and B, as well as Start and Select buttons. There are also a bunch of different settings and features on the emulator that wouldn’t have been possible with the real thing.

Android NES Emulator: App Games Screen
Image via Nostaliga.NES

Most of them are pretty easy to figure out, and in-game settings are just ways to fix serious issues, and it’s probably best not to mess with them unnecessarily. Otherwise, the game should work perfectly!

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