If you’ve been craving the obsolete games of yesteryear, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several programs that let you play old console games on your Nokia cell phone (called emulators). Actually, you can run these programs on most Symbian phones, but compatibility is always an issue with non-Nokias.
So here’s a little breakdown of the emulator scene…
A Side Note About Controls
Let’s face it – cell phone keypads don’t exactly make the greatest controllers out there. To remedy this, you’ll need to either change the default configurations, or buy a bluetooth gamepad controller.
These things have dropped down in price significantly, but the downside is you’ll get less battery life since it requires bluetooth. With that in mind, let’s get to it!
Ah, one of the greatest systems to grace the gaming world. If you’re expecting full speed SNES games with sound, you’re going to have to look elsewhere (like investing in a REAL portable console). So far, the only known Super Nintendo emulator is called VSun. (you’ve probably also heard me mention it a couple of times before) The speed isn’t bad. Without sound, many Super Nintendo games run at about 25 fps (frames per second). With sound, expect something like 10-15 fps. Bottom line: if you don’t mind losing the oofs, unhhhs, and other grunts from Street Fighter 2, you should be satisfied. Bigger games like Chrono Trigger run fairly well too.
VSun is available as a trial on the Vampent web site. Vampent is the company that makes many of these emulators. Unforrtunately they’re based in China, they tend not to update their emulators (considering most of their emulators aren’t really finished), and generally they suck at customer support.
I bought vSun thinking that it would only get better – but I haven’t seen any updates since I’ve bought it so…yeah. I don’t recommend buying their emulators. Trust me, if you look hard enough you can find it “somewhere else.”
There’s a couple decent Nintendo emulators. Vampent again takes the #1 spot with their vNes emulator. This is a practically perfect emulator with full speed and excellent sound. I really can’t complain – before I got my N90 I used to pass the time attempting to play Contra on my Nokia 6260 (which is one of the worst phones to play games on emulator-wise) . Sadly, I couldn’t even pass the third level…
Other emulators include YewNES and NesGam, but vNes is clearly superior to both.
I’ve never liked the Genesis system. Mostly because it was a crappy version of SNES with horrible colors and horrible sound yet it was so POPULAR. Good thing everyone agrees with me – there’s only one emulator and it’s sort of in an alpha stage. It’s called PicoDrive, and if you can’t respect the system, respect the creator – the original programmer was the same guy who made the Capcom CPS2 FinalBurn emulator.
Sound is horrific when it actually does work (and most of the time it doesn’t), but PicoDrive plays pretty well without it.
There are a couple Original GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Advance emulators out there too. Note: they’re all made by our infamous Vampent. (check out vBoy and vBag)
Here’s what you need to start playing:
If you download a trial version or buy it or you just buy it off the mean streets of Chinatown, you’re going to have a .sis file. A .sis file is similar to a PC .exe file – it’s a Symbian executable install file.
You’ll need either a USB data cable, infra-red or Bluetooth adapter, or my personal favorite, USB card reader/writer. Data cables are too proprietary and Bluetooth and IR are just plain SLOW. I would opt for the USB reader. Newegg.com has some cheap ones, or you can buy a SanDisk for a little less than $20 bucks at a local Best Buy. If you have a Symbian phone, you’ll need a decent sized memory card anyway for mp3s or games or what not.
Once you get the .sis files transferred (any directory is fine, I usually put it in an APPS or OTHER folder), run File Manager on your phone (for Nokia cell phones) or the equivalent and select the .sis file in the appropriate directory. Your phone will probably tell you that the software is untrusted or something silmilar, just say yes to the prompt.
Roms for emulators come in the following file formats:
SNES – .smc
Genesis – .sms, .smd
Nintendo – .nes
You can find these files using your favorite P2P sharing program or on various rom sites around the web.
Certain emulators use certain directories for rom files. Vampent creates their own directory (aptly named Vampent) in the root directory of wherever it was installed. Just put the correct rom files in the correct rom folders (for vSun I think it’s the sfcroms folder).
Now go to your application menu and run the emulator!
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