I don’t know about you, but I still remember the excitement of receiving a copy of Super Mario Bros 3 for my 7th birthday.
And you know what? It’s still a great game! Let’s take a moment to think back on the great games of yesteryear… Sonic 2, Contra (ahem), Legend of Zelda, Altered Beast… but why leave those games unplayed? With advances in mobile hardware over the last few years, it’s become possible to have every single childhood video game you ever played available in your pocket. Cool, yes, but it’s not the same as playing it like you used to: on a TV, greasy controller in hand.
So, let’s recreate that old-school video gaming feeling, only with less tuning of channels and blowing into cartridges.
The first thing to do is (assuming your tablet supports HDMI out) purchase a micro HDMI to HDMI cable or adapter to hook your console up to your jumbo TV. Mario never looked so good. Or at least large.
Android 3.1 introduced the ability to run your tablet in USB Host mode. This means that you can plug all manner of USB peripherals into your tablet. The boring options include a keyboard and mouse, but we know better: you can also plug in a USB gaming controller!
To check if your tablet is running 3.1 or above, click on the clock in the bottom right corner, then the switches icon, then ‘Settings > About Tablet’. If your clock isn’t in the bottom right corner, you’re pre 3.0.
What controller you use is, of course, your own choice. If you really want to go old-school, you can dig your old console controllers out of the attic and purchase a Sega/Nintendo to USB adapter online. I’ve done this before, but I found it limiting (in that my SNES controller was missing buttons needed for PSX games). My preferred option (if you own an Xbox 360) is to go purchase the official Xbox Controller Wireless Receiver. This way you can just leave your tablet sitting next to your TV when you play.
You then also need to purchase an “OTG Cable”. Which is just a cable that turns your micro USB port into a normal one. Some tablets already have full-sized USB ports on them, so you obviously won’t need the adapter for them, but I purchased one for my Xoom for about $2 off eBay.
Alternatively, you can hook up Wii and PS3 controllers over Bluetooth (search for wiimotecontroller or Sixaxis Controller, respectively, in the Market), meaning you don’t need Android 3.1+ or the USB OTG cable. Note that not all emulators support two-player, as there isn’t yet a standard for two controllers over a wireless connection. And, finally, pretty much any USB controller will work, so if wireless isn’t important to you, keep that in mind.
Next, head on over here
and pick out your emulator of choice.
Now just throw your ROMs into a folder on your device, open an emulator, assign the buttons on the gamepad, and start gobblin’ those mushrooms.