The mystery of the missing Android emulators

User guides Damien McFerran 14:46, 15 Jul 2011

Slowly but surely, the Android Market is losing one of its prime assets. We investigate the baffling disappearance of a retro-gaming treasure trove

If you’re a long-time visitor on this site then we need not tell you that we’re rather fond of the wide range of retro-gaming emulators available for Google’s Android platform. Way back when the original T-Mobile G1 hit the shelves with its slide-out physical keyboard, the ability to play old-school classics such as Super Mario World and Sonic never failed to amuse us.

These days we’re rocking the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, which boasts a dedicated gaming interface that makes it absolutely ideal for a quick game of Gran Turismo or Streets of Rage II.

The ability to download emulators without the need for any firmware modification has always been something Android fans have been able to hold over their iPhone-adoring counterparts.

If you’re on an iOS device and you want some retro gaming goodness, you have to go through the labourious, not to mention potentially harmful, process of jailbreaking your handset. Android phones on the other hand can install off-market apps quickly and easily.

However, over the past few weeks this bragging right has slowly been revoked. Android emulators are starting to vanish from the market as Google clamps down on what it sees as potential copyright infringement.

First up was the excellent PSX4Droid, which - by a strange coincidence - was pulled around the same time that Sony launched the Xperia Play. Developer ZodTTD had his Google account suspended and therefore cannot launch any more products on the Android Market, but thankfully he has made the emulator available for free from his website.

Next up was the brilliant N64oid. It’s removal sparked rumours of a wide-scale cull of emulators, but developer Yongzh insisted that the app had been withdrawn at his request in order to fine-tune its performance.

Whatever the real reason, it became a moot point when Yongzh’s account was suspended and all of his other emulators - including NESoid, SNESoid, Gensoid and Gameboid - were removed from the Android Market.

It doesn’t end there, either. We’ve also noticed that the brilliant Tiger Arcade is gone, as have all of TigerKing’s other emulators.

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