An iPhone emulator is a software or an App that fools the iPhone into thinking it is another computer, machine or
game console. Then it allows you to run the emulated machine's programs and/or games on your iPhone.
For example, when you run an iPhone NES emulator on your iPhone, the iPhone can then run old Nintendo
. Similarly, when you run a
or a Mac plus emulator on an iPhone, you can make the iPhone run Palm and Mac plus application.
A whole new archive of games and applications will immediately be available to you besides the thousands of other iPhone apps. This area of the iPhone is expanding quickly in Cydia and as the iPhone hardware improves, the iPhone becomes more and more powerful to emulate other machines.
It is difficult to release those types of apps on the App Store though. Different licenses might be required from the emulated machine manufacturer and/or software owners. And of course you must own the games, cartridges or applications you want to run on an iPhone emulator. Check pure-mac.com for good information about iPhone emulators.
Many emulators run at full speed on iPhone 3GS, but might be a little slower on iPhone 3G because emulators use heavy processing power. Also, you might be interested to read about iPhone game controllers to control games with a bluetooth device like the Wii Remote.
The advantages of iPhone emulators:
Running applications or games designed to run on other machines is fun to some people like me. Some times you might just want to experiment with a new
operating systems, or you want to try an application from a different platform. It can be completely just for fun.
The other reason can be need. Imagine being able to play the old game you used to spend lots of time when you were a kid. Maybe you have a big collection of ROM files that you can easily play on your iPhone. Or maybe, you mastered a piece of software on another platform and you want to run it on your iPhone.
Most of the the following iPhone emulators are available for free on Cydia. However, some cost $3 and more. Others are available from the App store and allow you to buy games within the emulator app itself like the
What iPhone emulators are available?
The following is a list of all available emulators for the iPhone in both the jailbreak community from Cydia and from the App Store. Please feel free to add more in the comments area at the bottom if you know other ones.
This is a Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone. It is an official iPhone emulator from the App Store.
It allows you to play some free
games and also allow you to purchase some other games within the app itself.
This a point and click emulator for the iPhone. It allows many other Operating System games to run on the iPhone at full speed. You can find Atari ST, Amiga and other old point and click games that are compatible with ScummVM.
How to install emulated games or applications?
In most of those iPhone emulators, once you install the emulator, a directory called ROMs will be created in var/mobile/Media/ROMs/ on your iPhone file system. You can then copy rom files to that directory for the specific emulator. Other emulators use the web to install applications on the iPhone.
Rom files are images of games or applications for different platforms. Therefore, each platform has its own rom files which store the game. Those rom files come in a form of compressed zip file, img file, iso file or other types of compressed formats.
You must have a jailbrocken iPhone in order to connect to your iPhone and be able to copy files to those directories. Read more about iPhone jailbreak to learn more.
After you copy the rom file to the right directory, you can start it in the emulator and play it on your iPhone. The results with most emulators are very good except for the controls.
Since the iPhone has a touch screen, it is very difficult and less enjoyable to play those classic games without buttons. Therefore, some companies are working on solutions to control those classic games using an external iPhone game controller.