For a lot of video games fans, Nintendo’s ongoing refusal to port their games to iOS is extremely frustrating. While a handful of classic Nintendo titles like Final Fantasy and Mega Man X have made it to the App Store, other games like Super Mario Bros. and Pokemon have no official iOS release.
If you want to play Nintendo games on your iPhone, it is possible. Best of all, you don’t have to go through the process of “jailbreaking” your iPhone to play these games.
There are a variety of Nintendo emulators for iOS that can help. Here’s a simple guide to walk you through the process, organized by what type of games you want to play.
1. Do Your Research First
You should be aware of the risks before you embark on any Nintendo emulator installation. Even the most trusted of Nintendo emulators aren’t official or legal ways to play your favorite Nintendo games on your iPhone. Unless you’re buying an officially licensed game on the App Store, you should be very cautious when attempting to play emulated Nintendo games on an iOS device.
This can’t be stressed enough: CAREFUL RESEARCH is key before obtaining these programs. Occasionally, this type software can be laced with harmful malware that can permanently damage your phone. If you operate outside of the App Store ecosystem, you do some some risk of bricking your phone or otherwise damaging your device. Just because you aren’t jailbreaking your device doesn’t mean that your device is not at risk.
Trying to play unauthorized Nintendo games on an iOS device is done at your own risk. In addition to reading this guide, you might also want to ask the advice from tech-savvy friends or family who have successfully used a Nintendo games emulator on their iPhone.
2. Playing Game Boy Advance Games on iPhone
TouchArcade has an informative article about an emulator called GBA4iOS 2.0. This emulator has been praised for its iOS 7-compatible design, its iPad optimization, its array of customizable controller skins, and its in-app browser for finding game files. TouchArcade also notes that GBA4iOS supports games for the Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color, and original Gameboy.
To install GBA4iOS on your iPhone or iPad, you can visit the official GBA4iOS website. We won’t link to it here, but the TouchArcade link above will direct you to an article with a link to GBA4iOS.
Visit the GBA4iOS site from your iOS device. From the main GBA4iOS page, tap the “download” link. You will be presented with another page, where you tap “download” again. Follow the on-screen instructions to continue. You will be prompted to install “GBA4iOS.”
You may need to change the time and date on your iPhone (under “Settings”) to sometime before February 19, 2014 for the installation to complete. Once that’s done, just tap the icon to finish installing. You will be asked one final time if you want to open the app. Hit “continue,” and the app will open. From there, you can start adding games using the in-app browser. Just hit the “+” sign in the upper right to begin.
3. Playing Classic Nintendo Games on iPhone
For gamers who want to relive the glory days of the NES, TouchArcade advocates the use of an NES emulator called webNES. While there are some limitations (such as the fact that the sound allegedly will only work through headphones), webNES is a fairly good option.
To install webNES, visit the official webNES website on your mobile device. Five games will automatically appear, including Galaxy Patrol and Tetramino. These aren’t actual Nintendo games, but you can play them to get an idea of how the emulator handles.
Simply tap the “+” icon in the upper right to add game files from your Dropbox account. webNES supports .nes ROM files that are unzipped. Tap on the file in your Dropbox account, and you’re good to go.
To find ROM files to add to your Dropbox account, you can do a web search. But be careful to use your best judgement, so you don’t download a virus or malware by accident.