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New app lets Android phones run PC games, but it's not perfect

The Razer Kishi controller attached to a phone

PC games are supposed to be played on, you guessed it, a PC. But if you’d rather try them on an Android phone, the Winlator app might be of interest to you.

Winlator is a new emulator, available for download on GitHub, that lets you run your favorite PC games on your Android device, even if they are not originally designed for Android (Via Android Authority).

The app does this by using Wine, a compatibility layer that allows Windows applications to run on non-Windows operating systems, and Box86/Box64, a fork of Wine that is specifically designed for running x86_64 applications on ARM processors.

Installing the app on your phone is easy. You need to download and install the APK from GitHub Releases. Once you have installed the APK, you will need to download the OBB file (main.1.com.winlator.obb) and place it into the directory /storage/emulated/0/Android/obb/com.winlator. If the folder is missing, create one manually. Once you have completed these steps, launch the app and wait for the installation process to finish.

Hadlee Simons writes for Android Authority:

I’ve tried about nine or 10 PC games, with varying levels of success. Many of these games required resolution adjustments and/or driver tweaks to run — if they even ran at all. Most titles wouldn’t run at all or would crash before entering gameplay, although I’m sure tweaks could help in a few cases.

The outlet did see some success with games like Deus Ex, Hitman 2, and Far Cry 2, albeit the frame rates were not particularly impressive. A Reddit user says they were able to get a pretty stable 40fps on most maps in Trackmania Nations.

As you may know, playing PC games on Android phones has some obvious limitations. One of the major ones could be the touchscreen controls on phones, which are not well-suited for games that were designed with keyboard and mouse controls in mind.

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