For a brief couple of hours yesterday, Nintendo fans were offered a fully functional Nintendo emulator on the Apple App Store.
Just as the blogosphere caught up to it, Apple realized that it was a blunder and pulled the iPhone app away from the App Store.
The iPhone app, called Nescaline offered a good slew of built-in homebrew games, and also allowed the users to download many more games by pointing the app to the URLs of ROM files.
On sale at $6.99, the iPhone app was pretty comprehensive with features like “multitouch” control, tap-to-shoot light gun emulation, full screen mode and also support for game genie codes.
It does not come as a surprise however that the iPhone app has been removed from the App Store. Apple has all along stood its ground against emulator iPhone apps because of potential copyright violations and the subsequent legal trouble such emulators normally bring. Announcing that the app was removed from the App Store, Jonathan Zdziarski, the developer of the app wrote on his blog:
“One of the more useless people at Apple called me to let me know that Nescaline was removed because it was an emulator. Ironically, Apple currently has several emulators in the AppStore, so I am going with the belief that someone (likely Nintendo) probably pressured them about this particular application. I’m rather shocked at the thought that Apple is such a pushover that they’ll cave to pressure from any third party out there.”
Zdziarski is not new to the emulator game. He is very popular in the iPhone hacking community and was the first to develop a native iPhone NES emulator application. However all along it has only been available on jailbroken iPhones. While Zdziarski is right in a way in claiming that Apple has unfairly singled him out while a lot of emulator apps still exist in the App Store, the developers of a lot of these iPhone apps, including Commodore 64 emulator C64, do hold licenses to sell these apps. In this case however, Nescaline blatantly violates Nintendo’s copyrights; something that Apple might not want.
Nevertheless, a small percentage of iPhone users still managed to download the app. We would be interested to know if any of our readers were among the lucky few. If you missed the opportunity to download the iPhone app and have a jailbroken iPhone, then you can download NES v3, a comparable application from Cydia.
[via Zdziarski blog, ComputerWorld]
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