Running Android games on Linux with android-x86

You have an Android phone and one of your guilty pleasures is playing some very entertaining games; or it could be that there is an application that only runs on your phone.

And then you think what if you could run the same games on your desktop PC?

To simply the scenario, let’s assume the applications run on Android.

One approach to solve your problem is to run an Android emulator on your PC; But some of them like android-x86 requires rebooting your machine so they can take control of the hardware.

If you don’t mind a small performance hit you can run a virtual machine at the same time as your native operating system; Specifically on Linux there are several choices, like QEMU, VirtualBox among a few.

By the end of this article you will be able to do the following:

Basic requirements

Before you start, it assumed you have the following:

Installing VirtualBox

The first step is to install VirtualBox; For practical purposes our installation will be basic, just enough to run our games:

sudo dnf install -y kernel-devel kernel-devel-5.14.18-100.fc33.x86_64
curl --remote-name --location https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox.asc
sudo rpm --import ./oracle_vbox.asc
sudo dnf install -y https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/6.1.36/VirtualBox-6.1-6.1.36_152435_fedora33-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo dnf install -y virtualbox-guest-additions.x86_64
sudo /sbin/vboxconfig

Installing the android-x86 ISO

The first step is to download the ISO image from android-x86; This ISO contains the Android operating system that will be installed on our virtual hard drive.

After that we can set up our virtual machine like this:

A few things to note:

To start the virtual machine, you click the ‘Start’ button on the GUI, and then you will have to make a few decisions like bootable partition:

Once this is done you can choose your new partition to perform the installation:

Then installation will proceed:

After the installation is complete, you can shut down the virtual machine.

First boot

You now must go to the advanced options and select the virtual disk (instead of the ISO image) to boot:

After that, Android will ask you some basic setup information, just like it will do it on your phone. The final result may look like this:

Installing the games from the Google Play Store

In my case I decided to install a game where I can fight forces of evil as 1970 Mazinger Z/ Tranzor Z (Yes, I love Go Nagai Mazinger Z); to do that we search on the play store and install our game:

And now success, we got the game up and running

What did we learn?

Another nice feature of running the game inside a virtual machine is that you can fully freeze the game, then come back and restore it at exactly the same point where you left it.

Finally, you can do many more things with a virtual machine than just running games; for example:

Playing games on your PC is a gateway for learning more complex stuff later; also the fun factor is undeniable.