Apple should counter its emulation stance by adding retro classics to Apple Arcade

9to5Mac reports iDOS 2 is to be pulled from the App Store. This isn’t the first time the app’s been removed, and probably not coincidentally comes hot on the heels of news posts showing people using it to get Windows 3.1 running on an iPad. (With a bit of effort, you can get classic Mac OS running too.)

Apple, naturally, cites that its rules have been broken:

Executing code can introduce or changes features or functionality of the app and allows for downloading of content without licensing.

Presumably, Apple reckons the ‘executing code’ bit is the main issue; after all, kicking an app for running illegal content would be a touch hypocritical, given how many book readers and audio and video players are on the store. Ahem.

This also points to shoddy App Store review. It’s not like iDOS 2 snuck through. It’s been back on the store with this exact same functionality for a while now, and received several updates. I’d hoped this was a sign Apple was changing its tone on retro gaming and emulation, but feared it was not. And Apple’s seeming distaste for emulated classic games feels further cemented by it not approving entirely legal retro-gaming streaming service Antstream Arcade for the App Store.

So what now? If you like emulators and want them on your phone: Android. Sure, there are workarounds on iOS, but they’re more hassle than they’re worth. But if Apple was canny, there would be another way — a very Apple way: add a retro arcade to Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade is oddly lacking in arcade games. Apple likes doing things by the book. Plenty of companies are happy to license out old IP. So alongside Arcade Originals, App Store Greats and Timeless Classics, let’s have Arcade Classics. Get fully licensed Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Robotron, Bubble Bobble, Dig Dug and loads more — an actual old-school arcade — on to Apple Arcade. It would be a great way to show off iOS 15’s new virtual controls overlay system, along with simultaneously dealing with the bizarre lack of arcade games in Apple Arcade and the paucity of classic games on the App Store as a whole.

July 23, 2021. Read more in: Apple, Gaming, Opinions, Retro gaming

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Unboxing like it’s 1982. Screw Apple, it’s ZX Spectrum day!

I must admit that I was a C64 boy. I loved the colour, the arcade games and the sound. The SID chip, in capable hands, was a thing of pure joy. By comparison, the ZX Spectrum seemed a little prehistoric, although it was admittedly a lot better for certain games, such as anything involving vector graphics and isometric design.

Two other things the Speccy had going for it over the C64 were its Britishness (it was made during a time when, amazingly, the UK was one of the biggest manufacturers of home computers, before everything went horribly wrong and the Americans took over entirely) and it looked beautiful. Only stalwart, stubborn Commodore fans would argue the C64’s beige box was anything other than an ugly breadbin, but the dinky Speccy still has an almost Apple-like charm.

I’ve been after one for the office for a while now, to happily display as a reminder of solid, beautiful British retro design. However, getting a Spectrum in good condition and for a reasonable price isn’t that simple. Luckily, I won an eBay auction at the weekend and my parcel arrived today. The anticipation of unboxing the thing, I’m sad to say, beat unwrapping my iPad. Yes, I’m old and sad, but what can you do?

Anyway: PICS!

Speccy box

Here’s the box. It’s a wee bit tatty, but, to be fair, the seller said this was the case, and it’s 30 years old. Man, I’m old.


Speccy in box

In the box. All is looking good. That polystyrene’s seen better days, but the unit itself is looking very good indeed. HURRAH!


Speccy and Apple

Old vs. new. That the Speccy doesn’t look idiotic sitting next to a year-old Apple keyboard says a lot about Sinclair’s designers. I wouldn’t argue the same about a C64!


August 25, 2011. Read more in: Retro gaming


NES emulator blocked from Windows Phone 7 reports that a NES emulator has been blocked from Windows Phone 7‘s store. Matt Bettcher ported an open-source emulator to the platform, but Microsoft advised him it won’t be allowed on Marketplace.

Bettcher has started a campaign on YouTube, but good luck in changing Microsoft’s mind. Not only is Nintendo notoriously litigious, but Bettcher admits the current code is “unoptimised” (running as low as 10 frames per second), and so it’s hardly a shock Microsoft’s taken the decision it has.

The article points to Apple allowing a number of emulators on its App Store, which include Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, along with Sega’s own Mega Drive single-app ‘ports’, but these are fully licensed and released with the blessing of the IP owners. By contrast, Nintendo’s already feeling the strain in the handheld market, with the DS losing marketshare to iOS devices. Nintendo’s hardly likely to allow the dark horse in the smartphone race (backed by Microsoft’s gaming network) to release NES IP when it can do so itself (again and again) for its own mobile gaming systems.

Hat tip: iPhone Games Bulletin

January 4, 2011. Read more in: News, Opinions, Retro gaming

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You know it’s a bad sign when your game looks like a rip-off

Being Contributing Editor, Games for Tap!, I have to keep an eye on all the new iOS games coming out. I’ve therefore got an AppShopper RSS feed that spits all new iOS games into Google Reader. This morning, I discovered uninspiring word game Letter Labyrinth. It looks OK, if a bit rough, and I was thinking “not another Pac-Man IP rip”.

Turns out it isn’t another Pac-Man IP rip, because the game is by Namco. And if the game’s description doesn’t get you thrilled and excited, well, you’re in agreement with me:

As only he can, PAC-MAN has gobbled up your old and tired iPhone anagram games to create Letter Labyrinth: a new, addictive puzzle game chock full of words, phrases, proverbs, and even calculations!

Translation: “We’ve gobbled up all the old and tired iPhone anagram games and crapped out an old and tired iPhone anagram game, STARRING PAC-MAN”.

Don’t all rush at once.

November 10, 2010. Read more in: News, Opinions, Retro gaming


Self-pimp: Retro Gamer 82 and Leather Goddesses of Phobos

Retro Gamer won a GMA last night (‘Best Games Magazine’), which is rather nice. Since it’s the only games magazine I write for, I’m going to take all the credit.

Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of Infocom, Steve Meretzky, leather goddesses, Phobos, or Leather Goddesses of Phobos, buying the latest issue of the mag (complete with flying Mario advent calendar cover—I kid you not) would be a good idea, since it includes The Making of… Leather Goddesses of Phobos (by yours truly).

October 15, 2010. Read more in: News, Retro gaming, Stuff by me, Writing


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