After Years of Ban, Retro Games Are Now Playable on iPhones; Here’s How

EU’s Digital Markets Act has brought a pivotal shift in how Apple operates and the ol’ days of the walled ecosystem are beyond us. In a first, Apple has now allowed retro gaming emulators on the App Store. It surely seems like a dream that you can now play retro games on your iPhone using a game emulator without jailbreaking the iPhone. While the first retro game emulator to arrive on the App Store was iGBA, it was taken down within a day as the app was a cheap knockoff of GBA4iOS.

Now, the real deal has arrived that we all were waiting for. Riley Testut, the mastermind developer behind the popular game emulators has finally launched the Delta game emulator on the App Store. For retro gaming enthusiasts, Delta has been a well-known name. It is an all-in-one retro gaming emulator that supports all the popular game systems including Nintendo Entertainment System, SuperNintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, Game Boy (Color and Advance), Nintendo DS, and more.

You can also connect controllers and turn your iPhone into a portable retro game machine. Then, there are other features like save state, automatic backup of save states, support for cheat codes, and controller mapping.

If you’re as excited as me, here’s how you can play retro games on your iPhone right now.

How to Play Retro Games on iPhones?

Download Delta and Game ROMs

  • Download the Delta – Game Emulator app from the App Store. The app is free to download and is trending on top currently!
  • Open the app once downloaded. Now, you’ll have to download game ROMs to run retro games on the Delta emulator.
  • Riley recommends using GB Operator for converting your old game cartridges into playable game ROMS. But, the tool costs $49.99 plus shipping. Alternatively, You can easily download ROMs from the internet.
After Years of Ban, Retro Games Are Now Playable on iPhones; Here’s How
  • Next, you’ll need to import the games into the emulator by tapping on the ‘+’ in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Here, you will get two options – iTunes and Files. If you’ve downloaded the ROMs on your iPhone, choose files.
  • Select the ROM (zip file) that you downloaded above by visiting the Downloads folder.

Download Missing Required DS Files on Delta Emulator on iPhone

  • As soon as you tap on the name of the game in the emulator app, you’ll be greeted with ‘Missing Required DS Files’ popup in the Delta emulator.
  • To import the missing DS files, you’ll need to download them. Visit this GitHub link, scroll down, and download these three files – Nintendo – Nintendo DS bio7.bin, Nintendo – Nintendo DS bios9.bin, and Nintendo – Nintendo DS firmware.bin. Simply tap on the file name and you’ll be prompted to download them.
  • Once a file has been downloaded, tap on ‘Open in..’ option from the notification in the browser and choose the Save to Files option.
  • When the Files app opens, tap on the three-dot button on the top, choose the New Folder option, create a new folder, and save all three files in there.
  • Once you have downloaded the files on your iPhone, reopen the Delta Emulator, tap on any game ROM, and then tap on the Import Files option from the popup.
  • Under the DS BIOS files section, tap on Required in front of bios7.bin, tap on Browse, and choose the folder where you downloaded the files. Choose the downloaded bios7.bin file from here and do the same with the other two files as well.

Play Retro Games on iPhone

  • Now, once you have imported the BIOS files, tap on any game ROM in the emulator and you will be able to play the game.
Image Courtesy: Mohit Singh/Beebom
  • You can also customize artwork and change controller skin in Delta Emulator. Tap and hold on the game ROM and choose the option as per your preference.

Now, you’re all ready to relive your childhood gaming memories. As soon as I completed the above steps, I downloaded the ROM for Super Mario Bros., connected a controller, and started playing. Playing retro games on my iPhone without having to jailbreak it is a unique experience. Riley Testut’s Delta Game Emulator is a polished app and there’s a lot you can do on it. I solely

After Game Emulators, What’s Next?

Apple has witnessed a tumultuous year so far, thanks to the EU’s DMA act. Now that game emulators are here, it gets me wondering what other ecosystem-walled features can we expect Apple to bring (forcefully) next. If there’s one thing I want Apple to add is torrent apps for iPhone. It would absolutely smash the platform barrier for those who want to switch from Android.

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