Getting the Most from Classic Gaming on a Modern Phone

Mobile Laptop gaming devices

When we think of gaming we tend to confine our thoughts to the last couple of generations. This does a disservice to the wealth of opportunities on offer, where some of the best experiences out there can date back decades. Whether looking at games that were released back in the 1980s or modern titles that embrace classic appeal, the retro style is one of the most endearing. It can also be one of the more difficult to engage with as it was meant to be played, especially on mobile, where game availability and input concerns can create challenges.
With all that in mind, we’ve created this guide to help players figure out what they need to know to enjoy classic gaming experiences on their modern mobile devices. From contemporary retro-inspired games and industries to the oldest hits, keep the following in mind, and you’ll have access to thousands of titles from dozens of console and handheld systems.

Starting Easy

The most streamlined examples of classic entertainment that can be enjoyed today come from those which have been the best adapted to the modern age. A great example could be board games like chess, Monopoly, and card games like poker. These will offer modern incarnations of services like the Google Play store, with control and gameplay simple enough that no modern equipment or special work is needed.

Building on this idea are services in the casino environment, which have always stuck to classic ideas and gameplay. Reliable and popular platforms like offer hundreds of games, they also operate these games with deference to classic slot appeal. Backed by welcome bonuses and deposit matches, these games illustrate a level of accessibility to which many can only aspire. Of course, even the games which aren’t so simple to run can be just as enjoyable…

The Hardware Equation

Turning back the clock to a classic console on mobile means facing one hard reality – a touch screen will often not be enough. Though a touch approach might work for the oldest and simplest console titles, like many of the Atari 2600 games, a lack of a tactile feedback option will be limited in the later generations. Addressing this challenge can mean investing in a gaming control to pair with your smartphone.

Exactly what controller you should use will depend on your wants and needs, and while cheaper Bluetooth options can be viable, we’d recommend mid-range if possible to avoid ergonomic issues. Console owners can also consider using one of their existing controllers like Sony’s DS4, which works perfectly well and is of high-quality construction.

As for hardware performance, mid-range mobiles within the last few years should be able to handle up to the PS1 generation of games. With North American release PlayStation games numbering at least 1300, just this system alone will provide entertainment to last. Fast and more modern phones could even expect flawless PS2-era games to run, though going further generations ahead, at least for now, is more difficult.

Getting Gaming

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to look at how to get it. Console games can’t run on mobile natively, they require programs called emulators to manage the gameplay experience. Whether on Apple or Android hardware, we’d recommend RetroArch as a starting place. RetroArch acts as a kind of framework for other emulators, allowing you down them, modify settings, and manage games all with one overarching (get it?) system. Download this on your phone, pair your controller, and you’re most of the way there.

Game Boy Advance

The final step is to find and download the games you want to play. Old console games exist as what is called ROM files. ROM files for specific consoles can be found with simple Google searches. ROMs will often need to be unzipped, after which they should be transferred to an easy-to-find location on your mobile.

Before looking for ROMs, remember that the only ones that are legally okay to download are those which you own already or those which are no longer being sold by the official developers/publishers. If the people who made the games no longer have a way to profit from them, then you’re not doing anything wrong by downloading these titles.

If the above seems too simple a way to enjoy tens of thousands of games, that’s because it is. Gaming exists in a weird space, where some of the best fun you can have is with classic titles, whether playing alone or with friends. Whether you’re a slot fan looking to take a few spins or a console gamer tracing their favorite series and genres back to their roots, you’ll never run out of options in what modern tech can offer.