C64 emulator for iPhone approved — minus BASIC

c64

After a lengthy process that had previously met with rejection, Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone and iPod touch has finally been accepted by Apple. This marks the first time a multi-purpose emulation title has been approved by the App Store. The $4.99 C64 app comes bundled with five fully-licensed classic games, and additional titles can be purchased and downloaded directly within the application.

App Store policies prohibit software that could run downloadable code, which barred most emulation attempts in the past. A couple of Sega titles worked around this by nature of being single-purpose emulators. The condition by which the C64 title was finally approved was the removal of the BASIC programming language (though ironically it’s still shown in screen shots, even on the App Store). Since only sanctioned programs can be installed and run from within the application, no user-alterable code is present.

The C64 emulator is neat enough in itself, but the really encouraging news here is that a precedent has been set; the business model may open the floodgates for developers to bring more classic gaming titles to the iPhone platform. So download that SDK and get hacking!

[via TouchArcade]

Update: The iPhone Blog has a simple work-around for accessing BASIC!

Update 2: App pulled, no surprise. If you jumped on the opportunity while it was available, [George’s] comment might be of interest.

42 thoughts on “C64 emulator for iPhone approved — minus BASIC

  1. I cannot and will not buy an Apple product as long as this ridiculous approval process exists, as well as the idea of planned obsolescence. I cannot support a company that a) solders batteries directly onto the board of their products, never to be (easily) replaced, or b) gives developers the finger for completely arbitrary reasons. Their stuff may be sexy, but it is at way too high a moral cost.

    Plus, who really wants AT&T? Blech.

    My $0.02.

    P.S. …FIRST!

  2. “a precedent has been set; the business model may open the floodgates for developers to bring more classic gaming titles to the iPhone platform. So download that SDK and get hacking!”

    Or simply reject the closed business model. I’m with jbot here, playing a few cool (and ages-old) games on a “cool” gadget does not warrant the moral cost this company demands.

  3. This is *NOT* hacking. It’s the exact opposite of hacking. True hacker ethics are irreconcilable with Apple’s system.

    Every line that gets coded under their rules cements another loss of consumer freedom for us all.

  4. “The condition by which the C64 title was finally approved was the removal of the BASIC programming language (though ironically it’s still shown in screen shots, even on the App Store). Since only sanctioned programs can be installed and run from within the application, no user-alterable code is present.”

    Why do I want a C64 Emulator again?

  5. I’m with you, this policy is ridiculous. My Nokia may not be so sexy looking, but the ability to run the software *I* want is much more important.

  6. Apple users and iPhone users are becoming a rapidly differing group. I hate apple’s policy regarding apps, and wouldn’t buy an iPhone for the life of me but their computers are top-notch in the quality department (speaking from personal experience)

  7. I have an iPhone, I got it used with a broken touch panel for dirt cheap and that was cheap to replace. I got it so I could try my hand at getting some of the Apple ‘pie’ or app store money. Hell, even I could make a fart app. And then I read up on what is required to actually be able to do anything with said iPhone regarding programmming. Apple is every bit as bad as microsoft on this one, If not worse. I promptly jailbroke my iPhone(hey that IS a hack:lol:) and have been running all the fre open source I can handle. But I shouldn’t have had to jailbreak in the first place.

  8. I agree with jbot and pretty much everyone else…
    This is not a hack; this is just sad. What’s the point of having an emulator if we can’t even run our own software on it? This is disappointment. It’s like buying a car, but only being able to drive it to approved destinations. A hack would be if someone was able to get basic back onto the emulator.

  9. Wohoo! CrApple haters in da house! virtually all of apples products are unmodifiable(that is, if you like your warranty and the product appearance intact) and to top it off, all their shit is unusually expensive. Sure you can do all this cool stuff on macs in a cool interface, but its unjustifiably expensive when you cant f*ckin fix it yourself, let alone modifying.

    Ps… I agree with jbot and company here

  10. C’mon, Apple is charging $10 for the iTouch 3.0 firmware update- a couple incremental features and bug fixes, assuming they fixed any of them. My iTouch is <4 months old, under warranty, and the SOBs STILL want $10 for the upgrade!

    Apple is greedy, controlling, obsoletive… and not very nice!

  11. Whoa… take it easy people. Apple approves a previously rejected category and people complain even more!

    I’m just hoping they let the NES / SNES / GBA emulators go to the app store soon.

  12. Just purchased the app. You can add my own games by uploading them to the application’s directory. A couple of simple instructions:

    1) Create a directory for the game in ~mobile/Applications/[GUID]/C64.app/games
    2) Upload your D64/T64 there
    3) Copy the gameInfo.plist and png files from another game’s directory
    4) Don’t copy a .state file. It’s not needed
    5) Edit the gameInfo.plist file to reflect the new game information. Remove the following lines:

    initialState
    the line that comes after it

    Those lines are not needed as they are more like a memory dump of the current game state. They will eventually produce a faster load time.

    Start C64 and voila your game should show up there.

    It looks like Apple has gotten wind of the BASIC hack and removed it from the store. Pity. It also looks like it has been “cracked” (if you want to call it that) already and is up on AppScene, Appulous, etc.

    Enjoy!

    – George

  13. [quote]It looks like Apple has gotten wind of the BASIC hack and removed it from the store. [/quote]

    That was to be expected. Not many people know it, but C64’s BASIC was made by Microsoft. And I guess Microsoft still owns the rights.

    We all know how much Microsoft loves Apple, and we all know that Microsoft would at least TRY to make Apple bleed for such a copyright infringement.

  14. Whoa… take it easy people. Apple approves a previously rejected category and people complain even more!

    I’m just hoping they let the NES / SNES / GBA emulators go to the app store soon…

  15. Removed basic to stop user executable code? Well, how dare people that buy (more like rent) devices from Apple should be able to use them how they please.

    I know it’s a worn argument, but it still bothers me.

  16. @George – presumably those instructions only work if your iphone is jailbroken? I just tried what you said but itunes shows an error when I try to sync the amended app to the phone. My copy of C64 isn’t a crack, fwiw.

  17. @C64 Fan – my apologies, yes your phone needs to be jailbroken in order for the instructions to work. But it will work with the App Store purchased app (which is what I have too). What I have yet to test is what would happen if you delete or restore your phone. I believe it will wipe out the changes. Some further experimentation is required to see if these can be added you the Documents area of the app instead, which would be the best way to handle it.

  18. Big deal anyway, I was running a virtual C64 years ago on my Tungsten E (with no restrictions on the games I installed), and playing Oregon Trail on the Apple II emulator. So the iPhone is finally (almost) as good as a 2003 PDA.

  19. There’s a lot of hate here. The iPhone is a great platform, and conscientious objections over the app approval system seem ridiculous to me. What must-have app do you need that isn’t on the App Store already? I have the C64 app, and I’m enjoying the hundred-odd games I put on it last night by jailbreaking the phone and SSH-ing into it. Both trivial achievements. The touchscreen controls are a great idea on the C64 app. I’m constantly surprised by the vehement comments about the iPhone by people who don’t have them. I don’t hate Android phones, because I’ve not used one. I doubt the user experience is anywhere near the iPhone, but I wouldn’t foist that opinion on the world as an unassailable fact.

  20. PRINT “Hello World!”

    I have created a patch for the C64.app to provide the COLON and SEMICOLON Keys. I created two keyboard layouts so you can pick the one you like best. More layouts and other mods to come soon :)

    Check my website for details, and to download the latest version of the patch.

    Click on my name to visit my site.

    – Enjoy!

  21. Basic works, you just have to like reset from inside a game and you get to the basic screen. People have already found how to add games too, really easy to do. Already have a few more on my iPhone and some guys are making compilations^^

  22. Jailbreak solves all the problems, easily, neatly, and without any fear of retribution from AT&T or Apple.

    The key is responsible hacking. DON’T ABUSE IT. Use your jailbreak to bring in applications that should never have been barred, not for network busting P2P, not for distributing viruses and trojan horses, not for stealing people’s data or violating other laws.

    Plenty of emulators are running on the iPhone without limitations. Jailbreak is cheap, easy, and proven to be safe. The iPhone can be had for $300 by anyone at any time on eBay… less than that with a new account.

    Android, though, looks amazing. Saw one today at Sprint. The screen is just as sharp and touch-responsive as my iPhone (the Instinct is horrible). When apple blocks jailbreak, i’ll dump the iPhone and switch to Android. I have service with both companies anyway!

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