N64 Emulator Headed for the iPhone?

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on November 6th, 2009

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.

Posted in: News, Upcoming
Tagged With: Cydia, Emulator, N64, ZodTTD
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