We always associate the love of retro with consoles and computers from past decades, but we tend to forget the times before the arrival of Android, when we used to download a lot of games in Java format via paid SMS. It’s time to do a bit of digital archeology and recover those gems from ancient times.

Java game being played on a smartphone

Thanks to J2ME Loader you’ll be able to reinstall those games that were buried in your old Motorola and discover a lot of titles that you probably missed out on back in the day. This J2ME (Java Micro Edition) emulator for Android will let you install and run apps and video games designed for devices that haven’t been around for decades.

The big problem back in the day was that each manufacturer, and each device, had its own architecture, which limited the compatibility of some titles. This is something that you’ll have to keep in mind when searching online for the JAR files (games and apps) that you’ll have to get on your smartphone in order to run them from the J2ME Loader.

Bring back classic Java video games

The app doesn’t include any JAR files by default, but it’s not hard to locate packs with games in Java format. Here’s a tip: search archive.org, the massive digital repository where all kinds of documents and archives from ancient times are preserved, for example, this pack with 1000 java games. That, or even a quick Google search will lead you to huge compilations made by fans and software preservation enthusiasts.

Prince of Persia and Doom: RPG in J2ME

Given the enormous catalog of titles that some of these compilations can hold (with more than 800 and up to 1,000 games each), it’s best to download them to your computer, select the ones you want and then send them to your Android device.

Once you have a game installed, it comes time to tinker with the numerous parameters J2ME Loader offers to adjust the screen size and resolution of the original titles for the screen of your Android device. At first, it’s a bit overwhelming, and in many cases you’ll have to resort to the old “trial and error” method until you find the right settings for each game.

Two screens showing Doom: RPG and J2ME settings

Rarities that can be played with J2ME Loader

The good news is that all this effort will pay off in the end, since J2ME Loader lets you enjoy rarities by the likes of Doom: RPG along with nice conversions of classics like Bubble Bobble, Castlevania and Prince of Persia.

The app lets you play with the screen both vertically and horizontally, and you can use the digital buttons that appear on the screen to emulate the physical keys of the phones of yesteryear.

If you love all things retro and miss those modest but charming games, with J2ME Loader you’ll have enough fun to last you for a long, long time.


Translated by Sarah Odebralski


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