Apple hates retro computers

Arcade Games, Commodore 64, iOS, Video Games No Comments »

That’s probably not entirely true. But thanks to the 8.3 update to iOS we either have to jailbreak our phones or go somewhere else for our retro gaming fixes on the go. At least that’s my interpretation. Prior to 8.3 there were two important apps on my iPhone that I could use to feel like a kid again.

Gridlee, which was yanked within hours of being posted on the app store, allowed me to play arcade games in an emulator called MAME. It was basically a MAME emulator that played one arcade game, Gridlee. From what I read the Gridlee game was licensed. I am not sure if MAME was. It’s attraction was that it was leaked that if you used an app like iFunbox you could drop Zip files with MAME compatible ROM’s in Gridlee’s Documents folder and voilà, Gridlee shows a MAME front end. And the best part of Gridlee, it was compatible with the iCade, also because I liked portability the iCade 8-Bitty. That was before Apple “figured out how to do controllers”. I wasn’t aware there were technical issues that needed to be solved. Console’s had solved those issues years ago. But you know Apple, they are the only ones that can bring great tech to the masses. Did you catch the sarcasm? Anywho, Apple yanked it from the App store but as long as iFunbox had access you were good to go. Even after Apple borked other ways apps downloaded content in iOS 8 Gridlee still worked. (My other favorite game Atari’s Greatest Hits which plays Atari 2600 games fell to this issue. To their credit, they did finally fix it. Thank you Atari!) Now it looks like Apple may have permanently taken access to that directory away. Making Gridlee unusable in any other iOS device I might get in the future.

The other casualty was Manomino’s C64 Emulator. It was a great little emulator based on Frodo for the iPhone. I kept waiting for an iPad version but sadly development stopped and due to licensing hassles it was eventually permanently pulled from the app store. I say permanently because it had been pulled once before. Apple didn’t like the fact that you could program BASIC on it. That capability was supposedly taken out. However, the version I have has the BASIC interpreter as a playable “game” in the library. And even without loading any games I can program in BASIC. With iFunbox you were able to load new games into the app and even add box art. I was even able to load and play “Impossible Mission”.

Alas, the days of playing Arcade and Commodore 64 games on the go appear to be over. Thanks a lot Apple. Well to be fair thanks should also go to the owners of Commodore and to all the content owners that refuse to do anything with their IP other then sue people who want to enjoy their creations. Even licensing it so that a game or group of games is only a buck or two has got to be a better way. So I leave you with the best parting words ever written:

“So long, and thanks for all the fish” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


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