Sure, you can buy Pac-Man for your phone, but finding other old-school games is trickier. Here’s how:
Format: Play classic Atari arcade games with updated graphics and sound.
Plusses: Enjoy all your beloved '70s and '80s classics like "Pong," "Missile Command," "Combat," "Lunar Lander," "Asteroids," "Yars' Revenge," "Super Breakout" and "Centipede"
Minuses: Up-to-date visuals and sounds will leave purists disappointed.
Verdict: Good for a quick 5-minute arcade-esque time-killer
Format: Free emulator for a whopping 20 retro consoles — all the biggies, from NES to TurboGrafix 16
Plusses: Plethora of titles (5,697); Save option
Minuses: Clunky website interface that truly mimics your PCs of yesteryear
Verdict: Not the friendliest to dip into, but the best to bury yourself in hours of retro gaming – and try out some esoteric consoles (who remembers the Neo Geo?!)
NESbox.com & SNESbox.com
Format: Free Nintendo Entertainment System & Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulators, built on Adobe Flash technology.
Plusses: Slick, clean interface, oodles of your favorite Nintendo titles, and each has 1,810+ games. Upload your walkthrough to the server and take part in the rankings, two-player via internet.
Negatives: Can only be played in your web browser’s window
Verdict: Most user-friendly emulator
Format: Emulator at $3.99 that scans your phone to view and play installed ROMs (emulated games).
Plusses: Cheats: Access huge database of Game Genie and Pro Action Replay codes, Mouse: Mouse support for games like Mario Paint, Multi-player: Network multiplayer using WiFi or Bluetooth
Negatives: Extra work: Go to websites like http://coolrom.com/roms/snes/ to download ROMs to your device.
Verdict: Nifty emulator for the savvy gamer itching to play games on the commute
Format: List of emulators for your iPhone / iPad
Plusses: Follow a few weird installation steps — found easily on the website — and turn your phone into a Nintendo. You’ll have to download the ROMs yourself
Negatives: Trickery may go against your morals of tinkering with your pricey, beloved device; controls difficult for games like "Super Mario"
Verdict: Fine-working emulator but controls regrettably awkward on touch-screen