NES Emulator Shows Up on App Store, Swiftly Gets Removed

The first NES emulator on the App Store didn't last long.

Earlier this month, Apple lifted its ban on emulators on the App Store. One developer wasted no time bringing an option that allowed players to access games originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. The Bimmy – NES Emulator was made available for iPad as a free download by developer Tom Salvo, but was swiftly removed. While some would assume this was the work of Nintendo, it seems that Salvo was actually the one that decided to pull the app. On the Mac Rumors forums, Salvo revealed that he started to get "nervous," possibly out of fear of legal action. 

"Pulled by me, just out of fear," Salvo responded to another poster. "No one pressured me to, but I got more nervous about it as the day went on. Very sorry to get everyone's hopes up, but hopefully hopefully there will be other more brave devs than me in the future."

(Photo: Apple)

Emulating Nintendo Games

Nintendo tends to be extremely protective of its IP, so those fears might have been justified! Emulators are extremely common when it comes to older systems; NES emulators have existed on the internet for decades now. However, there's a growing battle over their availability on digital storefronts. Last summer, the Dolphin Emulator was supposed to come to Steam, and would have allowed users to play old GameCube and Wii games. Before its release, the emulator was blocked by Valve after consulting with Nintendo

Interestingly enough, this is not the first App Store emulator based on a Nintendo system. An emulator that allowed the playing of older Game Boy Advance games was added to the App Store and subsequently removed. Like Bimmy – NES Emulator, this was not a case of Nintendo requesting the app's removal. Instead, this was a circumstance where Apple stepped in, as the technology used by the iGBA app was apparently stolen from another creator, who requested the removal. 

The Future of Emulation on iOS

Emulation of older games through the App Store is basically a new frontier, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. Nintendo has thus far stayed out of the fight, but that could drastically change, especially if there are attempts at monetization. At this point, it's too early to tell how all this is going to play out, but clearly the dam has broken and developers are testing the waters to see what they can legally get away with. 

It's a safe bet that we're going to see a lot of these kinds of emulators pop up, but some might have a better chance of sticking around compared with others. Developers are going to have to make sure that they're following the App Store's rules while also avoiding any potential copyright claims. The apps introduced thus far haven't had much staying power, but that could change over time. 

Are you disappointed that this app didn't stick around? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!

[H/T: TechCrunch, 9to5Mac]