Internet Defense League script

25 March 2012

How to run Wordfeud and other Android Market apps on your desktop computer

Recently, I got rather hooked on the Wordfeud game, like so many others. Unfortunately, they don't offer any desktop version for either Windows, Mac or Linux -- it's strictly handheld-only, and it has to be installed from the Android Market (now Google Play). And unfortunately, my "smartphone" is one of the last Nokias to carry the now obsolete Symbian system, so no luck getting Wordfeud to run on that.

But, there is a solution to those ill-fortuned, like me. It is possible to run an (official) Android device emulator on your desktop computer, load Android onto it, and install your favourite Android apps, like Wordfeud, on this emulated phone. It requires a few ninja tricks, but here's how I did it on my Ubuntu Linux system. There are several guides on how to get it to work on Windows out there, but you can probably use this guide to extrapolate directions on how to do it on Windows and Mac, too, since it's shouldn't be too different a process.

How to set it up on Ubuntu

  1. Install Java, if you don't have it already. I use the official Java from Oracle, but the OpenJDK Java Runtime should be fine, too. Install it from e.g. the Ubuntu Software Center.
  2. Download the Android SDK which contains an Android device emulator.
  3. Unpack the downloaded file to somewhere of your liking, for instance on the Desktop, in your user directory, or whatever you prefer. Go to the "tools" subdirectory, and start the "android" program by double-clicking it and selecting "Run".
  4. Tick the "Android 1.5 (API 3)" item (and thereby every subitem) and click "Install x packages..."
  5. Accept licenses by clicking "Install", and wait a good while. Then exit the Android SDK Manager.
  6. Go to Tech Droid and download the 1.5 image.
  7. If you aren't able to open .rar files, do
    sudo apt-get install rar
    in a terminal window, and you'll be able to extract it from your file manager.
  8. Copy the contents of the .rar file (a file and a directory) to ~/.android/avd/ (create the directory, if necessary).
  9. Open the AndEmu.ini file in a text editor (e.g. gedit) and change the path to
    where "yourusername" is your system user name. Note, the line already shows a Windows path with backslashes (\), so make sure to only use forward slashes (/).
  10. Start the Android SDK Manager again (the "android" program in the "tools" directory of the Android SDK download).
  11. Select "Tools" and "Manage AVDs". Then select the "AndEmu" line. If it has an icon which implies that it's "repairable", click "Repair". Then start it by clicking the "Start" button, then "Launch". A virtual phone will now appear on your screen.

  12. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the setup of the "phone". One of the steps is to connect it to your Google account (or create a new one), which is vital for connecting to Android Market. I had problems when I had to type in my details, since the Android system asked me to slide the phone open (and the emulator didn't seem to have a way to emulate this), so I chose "Skip" and then entered my details upon the first run of Android Market instead.
  13. Select the "Market" icon on the desktop of the emulated phone, search for your favourite app, and you're good to go.


  1. I've almost completed the whole process described above, but when I'm trying to download the Wordfeud app, I get a 'Download Error' with the message: 'Download was unsuccessfull, please try again.'
    I don't understand what causes this error. my internet connections works fine in the Android browser. Please help

    1. Are you able to download and install other apps through Google Play? Did you set up your Google account succesfully on the virtual phone?

  2. Howdy,

    I try to install "wordfeud" on my laptop with running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    After run "android" I see the error message.

    How to repiar these.



    Stopping ADB server failed (code -1).
    Unable to run 'adb': Cannot run program "/home/spidey-westland/Downloads/Android/adt-bundle-linux-x86_64/sdk/platform-tools/adb": error=2, Bestand of map bestaat niet.
    Starting ADB server failed (code -1).

    1. Hmm... I haven't seen that error before. Someone at (StackOverflow) seems to have the same problem as you. Perhaps one of the answers there will help you? Or, perhaps the suggestion at (also StackOverflow) will help (scroll down a bit on that page for a *nix answer)? Hope that helps!

  3. So... First thing's first: Thanks for doing this. Awesome initiative, and you describe exactly what I want to accomplish so I could not be more excited :-D
    But something's not right since I can't access google play at all, and I did everything "to the T" and can only feel that step 8 is the only thing that could be... well... something...
    You didn't specify as to where to create this .android-folder (in step 8.) -also "if necessary" implies that the folder may already exist, but still no mention of -where-. Either way I just created it directly in my home-folder, since you don't say for example; in the SDK-folder...
    what is the correct location for creating this folder (going on the information in step 9 I'd say I got it right already, but I am desperate to play wordfeud and need to know)?
    Thanks again!

    1. Ok, to your first comment: You're welcome! I hope it works, still, though. It's been a long time since I last tried it out -- I got my first Android phone not long after writing this :-)

      Anyway, as for step 8: You're correct in creating the directory in your home directory. In fact, the ~ (tilde) is a shorthand for a user's home directory. So, if you're logged in as user "paul" and you type the command "mkdir -p ~/.android/avd", you will create a new dir with the complete path /home/paul/.android/avd .

      Remember to not only create a dir ".android" in your home dir, but also create a dir "avd" in the ".android" dir, and extract the files to the "avd" dir. I think the screenshot accompanying step 8 illustrates this well, if I'm still being unclear.

      If you did this, and it still doesn't work, well... Am I correct in assuming you're able to boot into the Virtual Device called "AndEmu" (the Android 1.5 image downloaded from Tech Droid), but just not able to access Android Market / Google Play? Then perhaps, something was broken at the point where Android Market changed into Google Play. If that's the case, there's probably not much to do about it, other than go out and get a real (old, used?) Android phone :-)