Updated: September 8, 2021 9:09:20 am
Before we jump in, here’s the question: how big of a Super Mario fan are you?
It’s been just a few days since the Galaxy Z Flip 3 made its debut, and I am already sucked into the world Samsung is promising with its foldable phones. But the reason for my excitement is purely based on how the Z Flip 3 can be turned into a retro gaming machine… for that, I am thankful to both Samsung and Google.
Every Android smartphone, even entry-level ones, is capable of emulating classic game consoles — Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and PlayStation Portable. So it is not a big deal to play classic games such as Super Mario Land or Donkey Kong Country on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. There are dozens of emulators available on the Play Store; the process is legal and does not require rooting the phone. But what makes the Galaxy Z Flip 3 perfect for playing retro games is its foldable form factor. That to me is a game-changer.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is already one of my favorite smartphones of 2021. It’s compact and has the flip-style design of yesteryear’s clamshell phones yet offers an all-screen experience, thanks to a foldable screen. I love to hold it, and the experience is surreal. It’s a different type of phone, and the form factor along with the graphical fidelity made me rediscover classic games that I have not played despite owning the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Color.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is cool, hip, and might be aimed at fashion-conscious consumers. However, for me, the most interesting potential of foldable screen technology is the way you play games on these devices, especially retro titles. Things change suddenly when you lift up the top of the phone and bend the screen to any angle. In the case of the Z Flip 3, the phone can be left open at a 90-degree angle as a kickstand, which splits the screen vertically into a top and bottom display.
What brought me back is the memories of playing games on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP, one of the best handheld game consoles of all time. The main selling points of the GBA SP were its folding design, the backlit screen, and the simplistic controls. If you download the right emulator, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 can mimic the Game Boy Advance SP and one can expect the same kind of experience of playing games.
I have tried installing an emulator on Android smartphones but I never got the pleasure of playing classic games on those devices. But the Z Flip 3 is the closest device I can think of right now that is phenomenally close in replicating what the Game Boy Advance SP stood for. I can snap the clamshell-style phone close and enjoy the nostalgia of playing GBA games whenever I feel it. It’s just about the foldable screen that does the trick, which I believe will become the foundation of the next generation of smartphones.
As I have mentioned at the beginning, today’s smartphones are quite capable of running all kinds of games. But the Z Flip 3 populates the idea of how a foldable screen tech can add the element of fun to phone form factors. And not just old retro games, devices like the Z Flip 3 or Z Fold 3 prove that there are ways to exploit the power of foldable form factors.
Now it’s up to the developers, especially those who develop and create games, to tailor games that take advantage of new foldable smartphones. To me, the Z Flip 3 introduced me back to my love for retro games. Last week, for the first time, I gave my PlayStation 4 some breathing space and played a lot of classic games on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. I realised that I already had fun, reliving memories of the Game Boy Advance SP.