First iPhone Game Boy emulator quickly disappears from App Store


Game Boy
iPhone users have to keep waiting for the Game Boy emulator of their dreams.
Photo: Caleb Oquendo/Pexels

A Game Boy emulator appeared in the iPhone App Store over the weekend. This might be proof that Apple really has removed restrictions blocking retro game emulators.

Trouble is, the iGBA app has already been kicked out of the software store. But it was a very dodgy app that allegedly ripped off the work of another developer. So its removal may have nothing to do with recent changes in Apple policy.

Hurray, the first Game Boy emulator on the App Store!

For many years, Apple prohibited developers from listing retro game emulators for download on the App Store. It actively took down any such that have slipped through its review process.

But in early April, the company updated the App Store guidelines to allow this type of software. It was part of Apple loosening previous rules forbidding developers from making applications that are bundles of mini-apps.

iGBA: GBA & GBC Retro Emulator is apparently the first application introduced after the change. Its appearance on Saturday ordinarily would be a cause for joy — people have wanted a Game Boy emulator for iPhone for many years.

And while the software was loaded with advertising, that’s typical of free games. Users also complained that it was tracking their locations, which is also not that unusual for free games — more people should check how they’re being tracked by “free” apps.

And it’s gone

But then on Sunday, developer Riley Testut complained that the first Game Boy emulator was a rip-off of his own app. “So apparently Apple approved a knock-off of GBA4iOS — the predecessor to Delta I made in high school — in the App Store,” Testut wrote on Threads. “I did not give anyone permission to do this.”

GBA4iOS is a Game Boy Advance emulator Testut released many years ago. He’s also the developer of AltStore.

Testut’s complaint appears to have been what it took to get iGBA: GBA & GBC Retro Emulator kicked off the App Store. It was reportedly removed because of copyright violations and spam.

So those looking to see whether Apple really, truly means it when it says retro game emulators for iPhone are now allowed still don’t know for sure one way or the other.


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