After many years of waiting, iOS game emulation is happening on computers, which is a huge win for video game preservation. Prior to this, thousands of mobile games had been lost to the aether due to aging hardware and expiring licenses but they might be saved soon.
YouTube channel Stop Skeletons From Fighting put the spotlight on touchHLE, a new emulator that can should play lost iOS games soon. Currently, it can only play the original Super Monkey Ball on iOS but it definitely opens up the possibility for more games. We can’t link anyone to this but it should be easy enough to find.
If iOS game emulation starts becoming big, we could see thousands of lost mobile games come back. Sure, we have classics like Temple Run still readily available for download but older mobile titles might not be as lucky. We already witnessed Rovio say they would be taking down Angry Birds because people are buying it more than their Free-to-Play titles.
Now that iOS games might be part of the emulation cycle soon, we wouldn’t be surprised if the original Angry Birds ends up being okay. Granted, the game did get a physical release on 3DS but most people associate that title with mobile devices.
Angry Birds won’t be the only game that will be saved by iOS game emulation. Now, historians will be able to preserve weird mobile versions of hit games like Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 4. Even the weird mobile release of Dead Space, which we recently covered, could be saved now.
Furthermore, the release of emulators have often led to the release of unfinished game builds. For example, unfinished builds of Star Wars Battlefront 3 have circulated for years thanks to the release of Xbox 360 emulator Xenia. Could we see the release of the cancelled Dragon Age Mobile?
Should this trend continue beyond Super Monkey Ball, we won’t have to hunt down old mobile phones that might have an obscure Sonic game in them. While you can argue that many of these mobile games aren’t quality, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be preserved like other classic titles.
There are hundreds of iOS games that can be played on iPhones and iPads but they could be taken away in the blink of an eye. Hopefully, iOS game emulation can fix that.