Just install and play the games of yesteryear directly on your phone! Also, did I mention that there's no rooting required for these apps to work?
|Retroarch||Multiple||A single app to emulate several systems: PlayStation, NES, SNES, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, Virtual Boy, arcades (Final Burn Alpha), Neo Geo Pocket, Master System, Game Gear, Mega Drive, Mega CD, 32X, TurboGrafx, WonderSwan, Atari 2600, and Lynx; it also has ports of ScummVM, Quake, Doom, and Cave Story. Of course, it is quite complicated by design. There's also RetroidNetplay, a fork that adds an online multiplayer function to it.|
|V Android's emulators||Multiple||Free builds of Robert Broglia's emulator ports. Haven't been updated since 2013.|
|Gameboid||GBA||GameBoy Advance emulator.|
|Mupen64+AE FREE||N64||Nintendo 64 emulator.|
|MyBoy||GBA||GameBoy Advance emulator.|
|PPSSPP||PSP||PlayStation Portable emulator. While still a work in progress, it runs decently to really well on mid to high end devices respectively though it can only run a handful of games. Check it out.|
|Reicast||Dreamcast||Dreamcast emulator. Still in an early stage, glitchy, but can run many games pretty well.|
|Snes9x EX+||SNES||Super Nintendo emulator.|
|Robert Broglia's emulators||Multiple||Broglia's emulators are fast, reliable, and very authentic to the original systems. He is a fast developer, and likes talking to customers first hand if you throw him an e-mail.|
|DraStic||Nintendo DS||Runs at full speed and with multiple screen layout options. Definitely worth checking out, especially for touch-based games such as Animal Crossing.|
Useful apps and software Edit
|Chrome||Web||Google is pushing for Chrome to now be the default browser for Android. Supposedly this means they're improving it. Extra features if you use Chrome on PC, like syncing your bookmarks and sending pages from one to the other.|
|Dolphin HD||Web||Dolphin HD is a great browser, Opera Mobile is pretty cool too. I find the default browser perfectly acceptable though. Find what suits your taste.|
|Dukto||File Transfer||Run this on your phone and another phone or PC to simply transfer files over wifi.|
|Firefox||Web||Still the only mobile browser with extensions. This means it's still the only complete, non-deprecated mobile browser. Supports many larger firefox extensions including uBlock Origin(even the element hiding tool!), Stylish, Greasemonkey... Chome for android deliberately refused to include this crucial, non-optional functionality.|
|Web||Newbs won't know this, but Opera is the most renowned mobile web browser from ye olden days. If you've unfortunate enough to be on a network that limits your data, try the Mini version, which relies on Opera's servers to compress webpages, saving you data and long loading times.
Opera was recently sold to a Chinese company, and launched a "free" VPN service (read: your data going through Chinese servers).
|Chant||4chan||Even if 4chan has a mobile site now, a 4chan browser can be a lot more handy than relying on your web browser. Chant is a good free option, but sadly no longer available on Google Play because Google threw a fit about the adult boards. Grab the APK from the dev's Bitbucket (linked) instead.|
|Mimi||4chan||An excellent 4chan browser. View GIFs and images in the app, scroll to read through more pages, favorite threads, save images to a folder, and the keyboard doesn't block the Captcha if you've got a longphone.|
|Clover||4chan||The best 4chan browser right now. Smooth UI, lets you post, view webms, change color theme and watch threads in background.|
|Google Now Launcher||Google's official "fuck manufacturer customizations" launcher: it restores Android's interface (mostly) to a "stock" state, like what you'd see on a Nexus.|
|Google Pixel Launcher||An unofficial port of Google's new launcher that was supposed to be for Pixel devices only.|
|ADW launcher or Launcher GO are both good homescreen replacements, or LauncherPro if you have a low end device. These allow for tons of customization, such as resizing widgets, icon packs, dock background, gestures to do certain things, and so on.|
|Zeam Launcher||If you're getting bored with rice shit or your default home screen just isn't that great, this could be a great launcher for you. Unlike 3 other launchers mentioned here, this app follows the KISS principle and so it's resource usage is the best out of the lot.|
|ICS style launchers with lots of customization. Nova Launcher has certain features removed from the free version (resizing widgets etc).|
|Smart Launcher||A vastly different approach from every other launcher. This is a minimalistic launcher that cleans up your home screen, leaving only the most essential apps always available, and automatically organizes everything else into category drawers. The kind of thing you'd not imagine, but after using it for five minutes, you think: damn, this makes perfect sense.|
|ZenUI Launcher||What you'd get if you had an Asus phone. Quite fine-looking, customizable without getting overwhelming.|
|MX Player||Video||Great video player that suports hardware decoding, subtitles and whatnot.|
|Poweramp Music Player||Music||Hands down the best music player on the market. Buy it and never look back.
v3 beta has many improvements.
|Neutron Music Player||Music||Poweramp competitor. Geared towards audiophiles. Commercial.|
|DroidsoundE||Music||Excellent music player that runs just about every major game system's emulated music format (NSF, SPC, GBS, VGM, PSF, so on). Small tip: If your music's on an SD card, you may need to add its directory to DroidsoundE manually as a FileBrowser.|
|Beautiful Widgets||Clock / Weather widget||Paid app. Lets you download tons of skins to customize your widget all you want.|
|SiMi Clock Widget||Clock widget||A pretty and minimalist clock widget, and somewhat customizable too.|
|UCCW||Widget||Amazingly customizable widget with a nice WYSIWYG editor. Can be used for clocks, battery, weather etc, sky's the limit. Lets you import/export skins so you don't have to do all the dirty work yourself.|
|DashClock||Widget||Highly customizable weather/news/alerts widget creator.|
|Google apps||All of them||Get everything that's applicable to you. They all pretty much work great. Besides, these are probably pre-installed anyway.|
|TubeMate||Downloader (YouTube)||If you want to download YouTube videos to your phone, try this app out. Since YouTube's terms and conditions forbid saving videos on their site, TubeMate is not available on Google Play.|
|Solid Explorer||File manager||Probably the best file manager currently on the market, but recently switched from free beta to a trial with a $2 paid version.|
|Amaze||File manager||Open source Android file manager.|
|Dropbox||File storage||Dropbox. Who doesn't use Dropbox? Save a file on your PC, get it on your phone seconds after. They kinda fucked it up recently when they made it so fucking difficult to save files to the SD card, but it still works.|
|Gboard||Keyboard||Keyboard by Google. Supports many languages, has Google Search built in GIF integration.|
|Google Drive||File storage / Google Docs||If you don't use Dropbox, maybe you use Google Drive. Comes with the extra bonus of Google Docs, as long as you're hooked up to the internet.|
|QuickPic4.5.2||Gallery||I cannot stress this enough, if you have the 3D gallery and hate it as much as I did, go get this app. It runs great, no gimmicks, good overview of your photos, it just works.
Recently sold to CM of Clean Master infamy. Get the 4.5.2 version instead of the one on PlayStore.
|IMO Messenger||Instant messaging||Client that works with pretty much any service imaginable, msn, facebook, skype, even steam.|
|SwiftKey||Keyboard||SwiftKey X is a downright amazing keyboard replacement with astounding prediction accuracy. The only two (immediately) noticeable downsides are the pricetag ($5) and that the "learn from your messages/etc" menu is set to automagically post bullshit to your Facebook and Twitter pages.
It is now free.
|Thumb Keyboard||Keyboard||Simple keyboard with a good amount of customization, and CURSOR KEYS which if your keyboard doesn't have you will wonder how you ever lived without.|
|Swype||Keyboard||Slide your finger across all the letters of a word to spell the word. Uses a good error-correction method, so you don't have to be super accurate. Will sometimes auto-correct you in odd ways. TouchPal works with a similar method, and so does the default keyboard in Android 4.2.|
|WidgetLocker||Lockscreen||For ricers that absolutely must customize EVERYTHING, WidgetLocker lets you add widgets, apps and custom unlocking mechanics to your lockscreen. Not free though. If your device is going to get 4.2 and you can wait for it, 4.2 lets you put widgets on your lockscreen without any extra program.|
|Gmote||Media control||Control your PC's media software from your phone.|
|Handcent SMS||Messaging||Replace your default messaging app with Handcent, it's pretty neat. Looks pretty iPhone-ish. Think other messaging apps have been catching up to it lately, so maybe your default is just as good.|
|Barcode Scanner||Scanner||QR codes, yeah? This scans them. Now you'll know what all those barcode squares are secretly saying.|
|Screen filter||Utility||This applies an overlay which darkens the screen, if you need to make it really dark for whatever reason. (Like being an asshole and texting during a movie.)|
Root required Edit
1337 hackers only
|Kingo Root||Rooting||The easiest way to root your phone. Almost automatic, just follow the on-screen instructions. (Note, you will need a PC too.)
Known to install a Chinese superuser manager. Since root tools have complete access to your device, choose one you would trust.
|AdAway||Ad blocker||Simple and effective system-wide ad blocker.|
|Titanium Backup||Apps and settings backup||Lets you backup all your apps, along with app settings, phone settings and so on. It's a must have for any root user.|
|SetCPU||Overclocking||Paid app. Get some more juice out out of your shitty wildfire by overclocking it! Or alternatively underclock for less battery consumption. SetCPU lets you make profiles for when the screen is off, when the phone is charging, low battery etc.|
|Kernel Adiutor||System tweaks||Basically makes the app above obsolete. Visit the PlayStore page for full feature list.
Some custom kernels will let you change more settings.
|screenshot||Screenshots||Although this one says it only works on rooted phones, it might also work fine on unrooted ones.
Only for ancient phones. Android now has screenshot built-in.
|Root Explorer||File browser||Paid app, and not for the average user. Lets you mess around in the system files. Can be used to remove THE FUCKING 3D GALLERY or other useless system apps, change the boot animation (download one from deviantART you pony-loving faggot), or just completely break your phone if you don't know what you're doing.|
|LCDDensity||Fucking around||Change the density of your screen just for shits and giggles. Lower density makes everything tiny, high density makes everything huge. Too low density makes your phone crash if you're unlucky, so don't just tick off the set on boot option without testing first.|
|GameCIH||Cheat Engine||Allows you to mess with game values, set 9001 p2p coins, get max everything, and shit like that, also can speed up\slow down games. Don't bother with the play store version, it had memory hacking removed to comply with the terms.|
|GameKiller||Cheat Engine||Almost same as GameCIH but sometimes works better. Don't bother with the play store version, it had memory hacking removed to comply with the terms.|
|GameGuardian||Cheat Engine||Another cheat tool. Has a nice static overlay button to bring it up from in-game.|
|Lucky Patcher||License Remover||Allows you to block ads and remove license verification on apps that use it. Can also spoof the Play store's payment intent to get many in-app purchases for free, disable permissions in apps(can break them) and many, many more things. Works well most of the time.|
|Freedom||IAP spoof||Lets you perform In-App Purchases for free. Does not always work. Requires Internet to be disconnected.|
|Viper4Android||Audio Enhancer||Remember DSP Manager? This is basically an audiophile's dream. Lots of Audio-FX, Dual-Core device recommended.|