The short explanation is that Nintendo's case was mostly built around the emulator linking directly to websites that would allow users to download ROM files, and this latest release circumvents that by linking to Google instead. Tricksy Hobbitses...
Gizmodo recently reported that Sega will be releasing an official Sega Genesis emulator application. The Genesis, or Mega Drive outside of North America, is Sega's legendary 16-bit console. Sega has previously ported individual games to the app store, such as Golden Axe and Streets of Rage, with mixed results. The Genesis Ultimate collection will act as a single entry point with an in-app store, functioning essentially as a virtual console. The app is scheduled to arrive sometime in February, and is planned to be free of charge. Space Harrier 2 will come with the base app as well, and the initial list of purchasable games are as follows:
• Sonic the Hedgehog: $5.99
• Golden Axe: $4.99
• Ecco the Dolphin: $2.99
• Shining Force: $2.99
Apple is notoriously cautious when it comes to emulators, making sure that everything is properly licensed and 100% legal. Just ask Manomio, who had to comply to Apple's understandably strict regulations to release their Commodore 64 emulator, C64. As the console manufacturer and publisher of the titles in question, Sega should have a lot less of the same concerns.
What remains to be seen is how these older titles will hold-up when making the transition to iDevice, with updated virtual controls, etc. The value proposition is also something to consider, as my local Gamestop carries console and handheld versions of Sega Genesis Ultimate Collection for $19.99 new, $10 used. These versions include 40+ and 30+ of the best Genesis titles respectively, making the price of some of the initial titles look steep in comparison. You can't argue with the base price of free though, and the ability to pick and choose what you'd like to buy. I'd be interested in some gems like Ristar or Streets of Rage 2 myself, Altered Beast definitely not!
Jailbreaking can give you access to some awesome things. I've been holding out—it's such a hassle to do all the requisite research and retrieve my Sync cable from under the bed—but this latest announcement might push me over the edge. Developer ZodTTD is working on an N64 emulator for the iPhone 3GS and 3rd-gen iPod Touch!
ZodTTD has quite the resume: he's already created a few App Store games as well as a number of ports for the iPhone, including original games like Quake and emulators for the GameBoy Advance, Sony PlayStation 1, and Super Nintendo. Porting the N64 seems like a logical next step. Apple needed to produce better hardware, however, before the programmer decided to tackle the system. Speaking of the iPhone 3GS and the 3rd-gen iPod Touch, he wrote, "They're the fastest Apple handhelds in term of raw CPU performance." There are also a few other technical details that make the 3rd-gen iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS superior to their cousins, and thus the emulator is designed to work for them alone. (Note that the current 8GB iPod Touch model is apparently equivalent to a 2nd-gen iTouch, while the 16GB and 32GB models sport the faster performance.)
Needless to say, there are plenty of iPhone users who'd love to get Mario or Link in the palm of their hand, but since Apple and Nintendo are nudging closer and closer to direct competition for the handheld gaming market, any official ports of Nintendo titles are highly unlikely. The reason why I talked about jailbreaking? The N64 emulator isn't headed into the App Store, as both Nintendo and Apple are likely to frown upon it. Instead, it will likely be released through App Store competitor Cydia. Non-jailbroken iPhones can't access the unofficial store.
Details on ZodTTD's emulator are scarce—he says he wants to "balance the hype" and won't promise top-notch game performance—but excitement is building nevertheless. "Things look good for this project," he writes in his post, and "you may soon see N64 on your favorite Apple device."
There are still some caveats to be worked out. Controls, for example, will be a tough nut to crack correctly—while the GameBoy's controls make sense as on-screen overlays, the N64 had many more buttons, as well as the joystick. Check out the original post for more information or to suggest solutions to the problem of controls.
Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don't think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.
New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions
Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an "energy pack" using real money. So what's the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn't abuse this, nothing. Here's the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won't win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn't that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.
C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple
After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won't appeal to everyone, but if you're one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it's worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it's apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you're SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!
This week's sign of the apocalypse
Smule's "I Am T-Pain" is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.
Contest! This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we're holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that's right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.
Apps of the Week
Modern Combat: Sandstorm
Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.
Samurai: Way of the Warrior
Samurai is one of the coolest games I've played on the iPhone. It's a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic - you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or "dojo" mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it's too easy - there's an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.
That's it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!
Manomio, developers of the fully licensed and super fantastic Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone have made an announcement on their Twitter stream that they have been contacted by a senior director at Apple and have some good news coming. We can only guess that this means that they have gotten the go ahead from Apple and will be getting the C64 emulator approved!
This is exciting news and, quite honestly, somewhat unexpected. Emulation is one of the things that while explicitly against the rules for app store approval, has been approved in such cases as the classic Sega games recently released. But emulation apps by smaller developers have been rejected in the past. It's most likely the huge grass roots effort by Commodore 64 lovers that has gotten this effort moving, and we presume now, approved.
Until it's available, which will hopefully be soon, here's a short video that shows all of the fantastic work they have done to give you an idea of what's to come.
It looks fantastic, I can't wait to grab it when it hits the app store. We'll let you know as soon as we see it in the app store or hear more.