Three banned Android apps in review.

You might have heard over the weekend that Yong Zhang, an Android developer of some note, had his game console emulators unceremoniously removed from the official Market. For an obvious reason as to why this happened you need look no further than here.

I’ll be reviewing three of Mr. Zhang’s apps in this post, partly to give a leg-up to the little guy when he’s down (redacted, see comment thread below the post), and partly because I myself haven’t have a games emulator on my phone since my first Eseries Nokia.

DISCLAIMER: Though game emulators are technically legal — at least in the USA — the actual game ROMs are not, and I’m not going to tell you where to get them. So don’t ask.

SlideME

The first step is to download an alternative Android Market called SlideME — you won’t find it in the official market so grab it at the link above.

Here are the required permissions. If you’re still spooked you can always delete SlideME after you’ve found and installed the apps you want.

Nesoid

Oh boy, I’m dating myself here…

By default, Nesoid displays 4×3 NES games in portrait mode. For my 480×800 pixel Nexus S, that’s not exactly optimal…

That’s better!

If it looks like the overlaid controls are hard to see they aren’t, really. They’re also very responsive. I myself am as used to playing these games on a Nokia qwerty keypad as on anything else, but it looks like the buttons are mapped out exactly like the original controllers.

GBCoid

I was somewhat less successful with Zhang’s GBC emulator. This is supposed to be the splash screen for the Hasbro version of Q*bert, but after fiddling with frame rates, scaling and other settings I still couldn’t get it to a playable state.

Fortunately the problem seems to be isolated to this particular ROM — others play just fine:

K, shit’s getting embarrassing now…

GameBoid

Nothing wrong with this GBA emulator, though — but I did need to find a BIOS for the games to run. And no, I won’t tell you where to find that either.

Also worth mentioning is that on each of my ROMs (at least the ones that work), game progress is automatically saved to a separate file using the standard .sav format.

That same cited article from PCMag.com states that these emulators might only be free for a limited time. So if, like me, you think that paying for software to play pirated content is a bit sketchy you’ll want to grab these apps while you can.

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