Update: That didn’t take long. Apple has already pulled it from the App Store. Apple said, quote: “it will never be allowed back into the App Store.” Follow the developer, Jonathan Zdziarski on Twitter for more. /Updated bu Jeff Scott

nescaline_1Nescaline is an emulator of the old Nintendo Entertainment System for the iPhone/iPod touch platform, meaning that it can play copies of games almost like the real system would. Incredibly, it’s made it through the App Store approval process, but it likely won’t stick around for long. Most iDevice emulators are only available for jailbroken devices, and those that do make it through the official channels are often plagued by Apple’s displeasure even after they’re approved.

Nescaline is currently available in the App Store and comes bundled with five free games (Chopper, Grave Digger, Headbounce, Lex and Grim, and Sack of Flour), all of which are open-source. If you want more games, you’ll need to find a URL for their ROMs, as the app can download files once pointed to a specific URL. (If you don’t know what a ROM is, this probably isn’t the app for you.)

Given the limited know-how required to use Nescaline and its asking price of $6.99, this probably won’t be a smash hit. Still, it looks like a decent app. It uses multitouch on-screen controls: a D-pad, A and B buttons, and Start and Select are all present. Sadly, the controls aren’t what I would call “responsive.” As is the case with most emulators, you’ll be fine with slower-paced games but lag will interfere with faster ones. Switching to landscape mode gives you larger buttons, but it’s still not a perfect solution.

I honestly don’t know how Nescaline got through, though I’m thrilled that it did—there’s nothing illegal about the emulator itself, except perhaps for its icon, and it’s a huge dose of awesome for the iPod/iPhone platform. There’s nothing quite like nostalgia to enhance a gaming session, and the NES had plenty of great games. Unfortunately, Nescaline downloads and executes unauthorized code from an outside source…something that Apple firmly forbids. It’s highly likely that it’ll be pulled soon, so if you want some real retro gaming, grab it while you can.

Or you could just jailbreak…but, hey, this is easier, right?

Released: 2009-12-21 :: Category: Games :: Action

Posted in: Blog

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