I’m not unfamiliar with video game emulators. I’m not endorsing them, mind you, but I’m not unfamiliar. So my curiosity was piqued when I heard tell of a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone, one that had managed to gain official sanction and was being sold in the App Store.
I didn’t get to it fast enough. Nescaline, as the app was called, not only allowed you to play some built-in homebrew games, which probably would’ve been fine all on its own, but provided a way to download additional ROMs remotely. In effect, you could import any copyright-violating old-school NES ROM that you could find on the web. Such an ability was bound to get the app pulled, and pulled it has been.
While it lasted, it sold for $6.99 and boasted many features like “multitouch” control, full-screen mode, tap-to-shoot light gun emulation, save-state writing and retrieval — even support for Game Genie codes.
While the feature list may sound fairly impressive, user reviews from people who did manage to get their hands on the game were less than stellar, though not entirely negative. Commenter TokyoDisco at Pocket Gamer had this to say:
I spent far too long trying to add my own roms though. I know where to get them and everything, but I’m obviously entering the URL in wrong.
The five included roms are a bit rubbish to tell you the truth. The controls can be pretty unresponsive and the audio is jerky. Portrait and landscape modes are a nice touch.
If you’re still interested in Nescaline, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a reprieve from the App Store reviewers, like the one recently given to a Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone platform. In fact, it was probably just the fault of someone asleep at the switch that it managed to make it in to begin with at all. Shouldn’t be too hard to get it up and running on a jailbroken device, though, or to use one of the other emulators available for those devices.