We Had A NES iPhone Emulator On The App Store… For A Short Time At Least

Bimmy NES iPhone emulator App Logo

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To say that the iPhone only opened its doors to emulators a couple of days ago, there has been a lot of drama surrounding the apps that have made it up there thus far. The first GBA emulator ‘iGBA’ was pulled from the App Store because it came to light that it had stolen its source code from Riley Testut’s GBA4iOS, leaving people wondering about Apple’s testing process and what it meant for the new rollout.

Apple has recently clarified that emulators that play ROMs of retro games are allowed on the App Store and that iGBA was pulled because it was a clone – it was a copy of another emulator and not an original program in its own right.

So what happened to Bimmy, the NES emulator that, for a short time, promised to bring Mario Bros, Metroid, and all of the classic NES games we know and love to our iPhones? Why did it disappear?

Well, Bimmy was supposed to be a NES iPhone emulator for testing and playing games as well as importing ROMs. That’s all fine according to Apple’s new rules, but the developer Tom Salvo decided that, after reading all about Nintendo’s lawsuit with Yuzu and iGBA being taken down, he just didn’t want to risk getting slapped on the wrist (with either a hand or handcuffs).

Retro Games & Emulators

We’ve covered this a lot in the past, but it’s worth mentioning again that emulators themselves aren’t illegal. An emulator program is just a piece of software that runs files; it’s like iTunes or Windows Media Player. It’s the ROMs themselves that cause the problem, illegally downloading and sharing games that you don’t own is the part that companies like Nintendo aren’t happy about.

If you own the game, rip the code yourself, and use it for your own purposes, then that’s a different matter, and that’s what Apple is counting on users doing for their own ‘retro games’. What constitutes a retro game is a topic that everyone has a different opinion on, something that I covered in my article on the Commodore 64 emulator that currently exists on the App Store, a console that is undoubtedly retro after releasing all the way back in 1982.

I can understand why Tom Salvo panicked about having Bimmy online with Nintendo’s recent crackdown, and I don’t think that we’ll have the same problems from Sony or SEGA on emulators for their older consoles. I’m looking forward to an official comment from how Nintendo and Apple will be working together on the future of emulators on the App Store, a comment that I will be sure to delve into in great detail right here on Retro Dodo once it arrives!

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