DIG is a one of the best emulator frontends for Android devices. DIG makes categorizing your video game emulators and ROMs easy provides and attractive. And thanks to a recent update, DIG now supports Android 10, meaning everyone can take advantage of this intuitive emulator.
What Is DIG and What Does It Do?
There are a ton of emulators available for Android devices that mimic the hardware of retro video game consoles. These emulators allow users to play ROMs of the games that were originally designed for these systems. Unfortunately, if you have a large video game collection, you’re stuck with downloading and launching different emulators for each system. DIG acts as a graphical user interface for all of your emulators and ROMs and works with virtually every Android device on the market.
With DIG, your game collections are organized by console. Furthermore, individual games feature metadata like box art, screenshots and even a synopsis of game play. That being said, DIG is not an emulator itself; it is merely a graphical interface that organizes the console emulators and ROMs that you already have on your device.
How to Install DIG
DIG is available on the Google Play store for free. However, some paid premium features can be purchased from within the app. The free version doesn’t limit any functionality, so for most users the free version will be sufficient.
In our tests we were able to successfully install DIG on a Lenovo tablet running Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro running Android 9 (Pie).
Where to Put Your ROMs
DIG does not provide video game ROMs. As a result, you must source your own ROMs. While video game emulators are completely legal, the same cannot be said about ROMs. The legality of ROMs is somewhat of a grey area. Where you obtain your ROMs is your business, but be aware that sharing copyrighted ROMs is considered illegal in many countries.
Once you have your ROMs, you’ll need to transfer them to your Android device. If your Android phone supports microSD cards, we recommend using one. Furthermore, we recommend that you place your ROMs into a folder labeled “ROMs” or “Video Games.” If you prefer, you could even organize your ROMs into separate folders by console. Doing so makes things a bit easier when it comes to telling DIG where your ROMs are located. Furthermore, DIG is compatible with a number of different consoles, so feel free to load your Android device with your entire retro game collection.
Scan for ROMS
When you first fire up DIG, it will ask you if you want it to scrape your device for ROMs. It will give you the option of either scanning your entire device or pointing it to a specific folder. Since you’ve already organized all of your ROMs, go ahead and choose the second option and point DIG to your ROMs folder.
Once DIG begins its scan, you’ll notice that your game lists will populate automatically. DIG breaks your ROMs down into categories such as “Systems” and “Genre,” making it easy for you to find a game you want to play. DIG will also automatically download the box art, screenshots and other metadata associated with each game from TheGamesDB.
If you add more ROMs to your device in the future, you can tell DIG to manually scan for ROMs to ensure they are added. To do so, tap on Options in the main menu. Next, tap “ROM scanning” and finally “Start manual scan.” DIG will then ask you if you want to scan your entire device or a specific folder.
Configuring the Emulators
Since DIG is merely a frontend for organizing all of your emulators and games in one place, you’ll need to download and install some emulators before you can start playing. Fortunately, DIG is compatible with a wide variety of emulators for different systems. If you already have an emulator installed on your device that DIG is compatible with, DIG will automatically recognize that emulator and assign it to be used with the ROMs for that system. If you don’t already have an emulator installed for the games you want to play, don’t worry. Thankfully, DIG makes finding and assigning emulators incredibly easy.
If you try to launch a game without an emulator being assigned to play that game, DIG will automatically go to the Google Play Store to download the appropriate emulator. Simply download and install the emulator to your device, and DIG will automatically assign that emulator to be used with corresponding ROMs.
One of the best things about DIG is the fact that you can use virtually any emulator available on Google Play. If you would like to experiment with different emulators, DIG makes it easy to switch between them. To do so, simply navigate to the game list of a console. In the top right of the screen, tap on the three stacked dots. In the drop-down menu that appears, tap on “Manage system.” Tap on the default emulator to prompt a list of compatible emulators, then tap on the emulator of your choice, and DIG will use that emulator the next time you launch a game.
How to Scrape for Missing Cover Art and Metadata
DIG automatically downloads the metadata for your ROMs when you launch the app for the first time. However, if you add games at a later date, those games will not have box art or screenshots when they are added to your game lists. To download missing metadata, tap on “Options” in the main menu. From there, tap on “Game covers -> Refresh images.” DIG will then ask you if you want to attempt to download missing box art. Simply tap OK, and DIG will do the rest.
Don’t forget to also check out some of the best handhelds for retro gaming on Android.