Most gamers are familiar with emulators, which allow you to simulate video game consoles or computers on non-native hardware in order to play games or run specific software. Usually, however, emulators only work well for older systems, because their hardware needs to be reproduced in software. That takes a lot more power than the original system required, which often prohibits emulating contemporary systems. But, the new Box86 emulator allows you to run X86 code on modern Arm-based computers like the Raspberry Pi.
Arm processors are popular in mobile devices and single-board computers because they’re affordable and energy efficient. But their architecture is completely different from X86 processors, like what you’d find in a desktop or laptop computer. That means that most games, which are developed for X86 systems, won’t run natively on a Raspberry Pi or other Arm-based computer. That’s where Box86 comes into play, because it allows you to run X86 code on Arm systems that normally wouldn’t be compatible.
Box86 was created by PtitSeb from Open Pandora/Pyra community, which is currently developing its own Arm-based, ultra-portable mini computer. Box86 was made with the Pyra in mind, but the emulator should work on a range of ARm computers. It’s still very early in development, and is buggy and slow, but it is functioning. If you’re brave and ready to give Box86 a try, head over to PtitSeb’s GitHub page to get the code. A powerful SBC (single-board computer) like the Odroid XU4 is recommended, but you can test it on others.