Tue. May 21st, 2024



Apple now allows retro game emulators in the App Store. Now the first major game emulator has been approved for iPhone and iPad: Delta.



Delta is a retro game emulator developed by Riley Testut, with the ability to play games from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. You can open games from cloud storage or your local files, and saving and loading game states is supported. Delta can even automatically download artwork for your games (or you can pick your own) and synchronize save files across your devices.

There are touchscreen controls for all platforms, but you can also connect any game controller supported by iPhones and iPads. That includes the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 controllers, Bluetooth and wired keyboards, Xbox One S and Xbox Series X controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Pro controllers and Joy-Cons. You can also remap the buttons if you want.


Delta is already feature-packed because it has been available for a few years (the first release was in 2019), but until now, it could only be installed through the AltStore application. Setting up AltStore requires a connected computer and occasionally updating security certificates, but it is also now an app marketplace in the European Union. If you don’t have the ability to install AltStore, either because you’re not in the EU or you don’t have always have a computer available to run the AltServer utility, you can now just grab it from the App Store like any other mainstream application.

Delta doesn’t come with any games. You have to use your own game ROMs, and some systems require firmware copied from the original hardware. You can also try homebrew software, like the excellent Tetris clone Apotris for the Game Boy Advance.


You can download Delta for free from the App Store. It’s primarily designed for iPhone, but it also works on iPad and macOS. Hopefully, more emulators arrive on the App Store over the coming weeks and months. I’m hoping for a DOSBox port for iPad, personally.



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By John P.

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