Isn’t a Chromecast just for streaming and casting media like Netflix? You probably didn’t buy a Chromecast with Google TV for games… but you might be curious what it can do.
As it turns out, there are actually lots of ways to play games on a Chromecast with Google TV. I’ll explore some of those options in this article.
Can You Play Games on Chromecast with Google TV?
You can play games on Chromecast with Google TV by downloading compatible games, using Steam Link, or retro emulators. A gamepad is required.
What You Need:
Types of Games:
Quick reminder, these are options for Chromecast with Google TV, older Chromecasts might not support these options. Wondering if you should buy the new Chromecast? Read our detailed review here or skip to the store listings.
1 – Compatible Android Games
Open Google Play on Chromecast with Google TV and search for games. You should see a number of games that are compatible with your device. These are the easiest games to play because you only need a controller and no extra steps are required.
Tip: An easy way to access games is to hold the voice assistant button and say a command such as “racing games” and it will show you a list of available games.
Here are a few games that are compatible with Chromecast with Google TV:
- Bomber Squad
- Bomber Friends
- Beach Buggy Racing
I tested those three, and the performance was great, with no stutters or weird glitches. I played them with a PS4 controller. Most Android games will warn you that a gamepad needs to be connected. You can’t play games with the remote.
Once again, remember the new Chromecast has very limited storage space, and some of these games can take up a lot of space.
2 – Game-Streaming
We talked about game streaming a lot on this website. The method I discussed for playing games on a Chromebook work here too. The good news is Chromecast with Google TV supports Steam Link and Moonlight. These apps allow you to stream games from a computer to Chromecast.
The performance will vary depending on the speed of your WIFI network and router’s capabilities. In my opinion, Moonlight works better than Steam, but Moonlight only works with Geforce, while Steam Link is compatible with any computer. Steam Link is easier to set up too.
In my case, the performance on Steam Link was really bad. That may have been due to my crappy router though. Moonlight allows you to adjust the bitrate, which can help improve performance.
Did you know you can play Steam games on MacBook Pros too?
Can you play Stadia on Chromecast with Google TV?
Stadia is not available on some Chromecast’s with Google TV depending on your region.
3 – Air Console (Easiest)
Air Console is an app that runs a game on the Chromecast and lets you use phones as a controller. It’s fun because you don’t need to create an account and there are lots of fun little mini-games for parties, including drinking games.
It’s also the easiest to set up because you don’t need to connect controllers and everyone who has a phone can connect to the Chromecast.
There is a noticeable lag because the commands from your phone are being sent over the internet, but it’s not that bad. I like the retro pack and the drawing game is fun too.
4 – Retro & Emulator Games
Now, this is where things start to get more interesting! Are you feeling a little nostalgic? Want to relive some childhood memories?
Well, with the Chromecast with Google TV you can install emulators for retro games. The most popular emulator is SNES9x EX+ which is free. There are PS1 and other emulators too.
Quick reminder, a gamepad is required to use these emulators, and most emulators are compatible with popular controllers. My PS4 controller worked perfectly with the SNES9x EX+ emulator.
How to Install ROMS on Chromecast:
The problem is setting up emulator games on the Chromecast is a little tricky. Luckily for you, I’m here to walk you through the process. Bear in mind, you can also play retro games on a big screen using Samsung Dex from your S series phone.
Download a ROM on Computer
First, you’ll need to download the ROM of the game you want to play on the Chromecast. These are tiny installation files. It’s easier to download them on a separate computer and then send them to Chromecast.
Here’s one website that has a list of popular game ROMS. Download the ROM on your computer and extract the zip file.
Open File Commander on Chromecast
Sometimes it’s installed automatically, but double-check if it’s on the device. Open File Commander and locate the PC File Transfer option.
From there, you’ll see an IP Address, type that into your computer’s web browser, and a box to upload files will appear. Next, upload the unzipped ROM file, and send it over. It should appear on your Chromecast, the default folder is Downloads.
Open Emulator & Load ROM
Note: If you downloaded this on your phone, and you connected the same account, Chromecast will show a list of apps from other devices.
Open the emulator on Chromecast with Google TV, tap on “Load ROM”, browse to the folder directory, and load the file. The emulator should be able to load it and the game will start.
If your controller is connected, you’ll be able to jump right into the action. I tested a few games with this method and the performance was really good.
I tested these games:
- Donkey Kong Country
- Mega Man X
- Super Mario World
And they worked flawlessly!
Can You Play Two-Player Games on Chromecast with Google TV?
If you pair two controllers to the Chromecast, you can play games that support two players. SNES games that support two players work too. It’s a lot of fun.
So now you have some more things to try on your new Chromecast with Google TV. I think it’s really cool that the new Chromecast supports emulator games.
I’ve been playing Chrono Trigger on my phone, but now I can play it on my TV while I use my phone for something else. Very cool.
Did you also know you can use a browser with Chromecast with Google TV?
Have you tried playing games on the Chromecast with Google TV?
Leave a comment below!