Every now and then somebody comes along with a brilliant idea that will change something about the way you use Android but, often, these discoveries are just really awesome fun stuff – that make us love this open platform even more. Something like that has been born out of the work of one Dan Aloni, who has managed to get Windows 95 and 98 games to run on Android. It’s pretty clever and it’s sort of like an emulator but not. It’s like a combination of WINE for Linux and straight up emulation however, the game is converted in order for you to run it on Android.
Aloni’s project has given birth to the Winulator. A utility that gives Windows application the necessary Direct X APIs needed for them to run. Instead of the games being emulated in real-time like they would if we were emulating Super Nintendo game they are converted, using the Winulator Converter Helper. You’ve got to convert the apps to run on Android because the games were written using X86 code for Intel-based processors whereas our phones and tablets run ARM chips, aside from the odd Intel phone like the RAZR i. The Converter app will convert both .exe and .dll files needed for the app to be run into ARM friendly apps on Android.
Dan has so far only gotten Caesar III – a Roman city building sim – to run on Android and things are still a little wonky, sound isn’t working and I assume this is down to the lack of a driver and could be tackled through some sort of wrapper. Nevertheless, the game runs and it runs smoothly, which is pretty great for me because I loved the Caesar series from Sierra, III was in fact arguably better than the fourth version which never took off. Anyway, moving on, Dan says he’s going to convert more games to run on Android and he says that the app is eventually headed for the Play Store.
Which does raise some questions about the legality of this utility but, I think there’s real potential here. Developers and publishers that still hold the rights to Windows games from the era could approach Dan in order to quickly convert some brilliant classics to Android. Personally, I’d love to be able to play F1 95 again like I did with my brother back in the day. We can dream, right?
Take a look at Dan’s video below to take a look: