back to article Apple won't let Commodore onto its baby

Apple has rejected a licensed Commodore 64 emulator application for the iPhone, citing its own rules that forbid virtual environments - something aimed more at Java developers than nostalgic gamers. Publisher Manomio thought it was on to a good thing; cashing in on all those iPhone users still desperate to hear the …


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  1. Matthew 17

    This is complete BS!!!

    No-one ever completed Impossible Mission!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about programmable calculator emulators then?

    There are a number of very good HP programmable calculator emulators for iPhone/iPod Touch. These presumably also run "executable code" yet are not banned (and some of them are deservedly quite popular).

  3. richard 69
    Thumb Up

    died and gone to heaven...


    apple, stop being a dick and get this released, they i will buy an ipod touch.

    last ninja 3 anyone?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Stupid Apple

    Yet another example of Apple's inconsistent rules.

    There are already a number of emulators available on the AppStore.

    SID Player - a C-64 music player, which downloads SID files (which often have 6502 code in them), a Chip-8 emulator, and apparently a couple of the Sega games are just emulators of one of the 8-bit consoles.

    There's probably more...

  5. Chris Neale
    Thumb Down

    Propietary fools!

    No flash, no java, no emulators, no free apps we didn't write (coz we all need an app to work out a bill for us!)

    No use for this phone!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another fail for Apple

    The Apple lock down that you get with all their devices is one of the main reasons I can never buy one of their devices. They must be one of the most restrictive tech companies out there. I'll stick with my windows machines (including windows mobile) where I can put anything on and actually do what I want to do.

    The worst thing with the Apple Store is the fact that they can arbitrarily withdraw apps in the future (as they have done before). This means that if you have a really useful app, maybe even something you use in your business, you can't rely on it because Apple might just arbitrarily withdraw the thing.

  7. Neil Spellings
    Jobs Horns

    ICA client

    How does Citrix get around this condition with their ICA client for the iPhone? That involves running other code elsewhere "outside of iTunes"

  8. Robert Synnott


    There is already at least one z-machine VM, with which one can play Infocom games on one's telephone. Which is only slightly mad :)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, that and the fact that Adobe haven't actually got a version that works on even reasonable spec smart-phones yet (blaming Apple worked until the Android phones started shipping - and where are the versions for the Palm Pre and Nokia N97).

    I suspect another problem with C64 emulation is that acting as a reseller would put Apple into interesting territory when it comes to copyright - maybe less so that later computers (the C64 operating system and 6502 not being that big a thing to reverse engineer).

    Shame really, as there's a lot of 8 and 16-bit games software that is perfect for a handheld.

  10. DZ-Jay

    Re: What about programmable calculator emulators then?


    I understand if you did not bother to read the terms of the iPhone's SDK, but did you even read this article? Quoted within it was the relevant bit:

    "An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."

    What this means is that emulation per se is not forbidden, but the allowance of arbitrary external context and code to be executed by the emulator is. It bypasses completely Apple's App Store and its validation process.

    If the C=64 emulator came with a "game pack" of sorts, allowing only the execution of that set, I see no reason why they would reject it, just like they allow for similar packages from Namco and Sega.

    However, the developer decided to include an open-ended platform which allows the download and execution of external content, and even ad-hoc BASIC programs. This is clearly a violation of the terms.


  11. John Scott
    Jobs Horns

    No Surprises

    Yet another reason why you shouldn't buy an iPhone! The control Apple have is excessive and far too restrictive. What's the point in having that massive screen and all that power when all you can do is browse a basic website and flick around some icons on your screen. Give me a Blackberry or HTC anyday!

  12. Adam Johnston
    Jobs Horns

    'There are already a number of emulators available on the AppStore.'

    Shhhhh... they'll probably wipe it by remote control if you tell them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hellooooo... Europe... Where are yooooou?

    Actually, I'd rather that europe didn't stick their oar in but... How can they batter MS and not touch apple?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    apple to control what the user experiance...

    If Apple are so keen to control the user experiance why is there an unrestricted web browser?

    Another Daft Appleism....

    seems stupid that you can browse pron or use a web based emulator but cant make use of the apple hardware to build a nice interface... fkinstupid and yet another reason try jailbreak jobbys golden cuffs.

  15. Karim Bourouba
    Paris Hilton

    Missing a trick

    Cant help but think that Apple are missing a good bit of business here somehow. Retro gaming is still going pretty strong, just look at the Wii Virtual Console, the XBLA and PSN - they are all hawking games from 25 years ago for a pretty penny.

    Is Apple unaware that a lot of people are willing to spend almost a tenner on Sonic the Hedgehog almost twenty years after it was released? i, for one, would snap up old games like this in a shot should they ever make it onto the App Store...

  16. A B 3
    Thumb Down

    Think Different

    I sure will miss Apple. The company famous for plagiarizing the Xerox PARC GUI. They gave the least bang for my buck (as a former mac fan) and continue to improve in that department.

  17. Annihilator

    There's an app for that...

    I thought v3.0 of the iPhone allowed for downloadable content/add-ons in the AppStore now - couldn't they just go about it that way instead?

    In the meantime, this is just Apple encouraging us all to jailbreak our phone for a bit of nostalgia.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another iPhone "news" story, more foaming, gibbering morons bemoaning the evil that is Apple. Here's an idea. If you don't like the phone or anything else Apple, don't read articles about them. Personally I'm avoiding articles about Windows 7 and Internet Explorer. It'll be better for your respective blood pressures if you do. It's a shame that this app won't get on the App Store - but there are plenty of other thing's in the world to worry and get worked up about - a piece of entertainment software ain't one of them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Since they don't ship it with any games and since downloading the roms is illegal its hardly rocket science why they decided this was a bad idea.

    The only way it would work would be if they went out and acquired the rights to the roms and shipped those with the app or as a separate download again through the store.

  20. richard 69

    @Anonymous Coward

    "they can arbitrarily withdraw apps in the future"

    like microsoft did with 'Money'...

    i'm just dreaming about dragons lair running on an ipod touch..mmm.

  21. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Up


    Users of the iPhone always get the option of jail-breaking them which is a simple few clicks in some Fisher-price easy GUI software. I think this gives the best of both worlds: A simple and safe platform for your Aunty Mable and a flexible one for our lot.

  22. g e


    I shall now go look for C64 emu's for my Android-based HTC Magic ;o)

    Imagine how I shall cackle should I find one!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @"This is complete BS!!!" By Matthew 17

    >" No-one ever completed Impossible Mission! "

    Complete walkthrough from the C64 game "Impossible Mission":

    (I haven't watched it yet myself ... spoilers, you know.)

  24. TeeCee Gold badge

    @richard 69

    Apples and Pears.

    Your existing copy of "Money" will not suddenly uninstall itself and remove all its data without warning.

    Sometimes software houses cease support for obsolete products. Who knew?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...they were worried that someone would run 'Custer's Revenge'.

  26. WhatWasThat?

    @DZ-Jay; Re: What about programmable calculator emulators then?

    Thus spake DZ-Jay: "I understand if you did not bother to read the terms of the iPhone's SDK, but did you even read this article? Quoted within it was the relevant bit:"

    "... However, the developer decided to include an open-ended platform which allows the download and execution of external content, and even ad-hoc BASIC programs. This is clearly a violation of the terms."

    Exactly. Entering code that is executed by the "emulator" is verboten... Which is what the "programmable" calculator emulators allow. This is, presumably, why Vladan Dugaric brought it up - not because he didn't "bother ... yada yada"

    And before anyone screams, "You can't download and execute...", note that the "relevant bit" includes the term "otherwise", which includes hand-typing in through the keyboard, ya'll.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A B 3

    "The company famous for plagiarizing the Xerox PARC GUI"

    If by "plaigarising" you really mean "licensed*" then you are spot on the money, good job.

    *OK this is a slightly esoteric interpretation of the word "licensed" but in effect Xerox swapped a good deal on Apple shares for allowing Jobs to have a look round PARC** and take whatever he wanted away with him. They did a similar deal with MS at about the same time, it was just that Woz was much better than Gates at writing software.

    Anyway, due to this deal, when the LISA and mac went live Xerox immediately made about $15 million dollars out of the deal. Which was about $15,000,000 more than they'd have made otherwise.

    **PARC was a research centre that was never designed to make money, they also developed ethernet and email and could have made bucketloads if they'd patented them

    Oh, I am not a fanboi, I like the iPod and am considering buying an iPhone 3GS but I would rather attach angry rats that have been starved for a week to my peanut-butter coated testicles than use a Mac.

  28. Nick L
    Jobs Horns

    Three little words...




    I've got an original 2G iphone bought when o2 flogged them off for 169 quid. It's a great bit of kit, especially with OS3 unlocked and hacktivated.

    People (well, geeks) will jailbreak their phones to get this. Silly apple.

  29. Alex 3

    iPhone emulator

    I'm very happy using my iPhone emulator using Windows Mobile.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Blackberry? :)

    If they make a blackberry version of this app (curve, bold, whatever as long as it has an actual keyboard.. like a real c64 :D) I will buy it without hessitation.

    charge whatever you like ;o)

  31. Andy Bright

    Game Pack

    It wouldn't be possible for them to release a game pack built into the emulator unless they were able to verify the games were now public domain or freeware and not many are. To get licensing for C64, BBC Micro or Speccy games is hardly worth the bother.

    Amiga Emulators fell foul to the same issue, with the corporates that grew from the garage-based coding businesses now interested in grabbing licensing fees even from the worst and oldest of games.

    I think the terms are pretty clear, and if anyone is going to understand these sorts of things it ought to be coders. They live and die by legalese even if they despise it. Also I would question why anyone would be happy with apps that 'phone home', updated versions to clean up sloppy coding should and could be released through iTunes. Nothing good can come of allowing a 3rd party control of your phone.

  32. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't see the problem...

    Well, I don't see the problem.. a machine emulator does nicely fit the definition of a virtual machine, which is forbidden -- if it was bundled with a fixed set of games, that'd be one thing, but installing your own disk and rom images? That's general-purpose.

    Of course I would not agree to this restriction, this is one reason I have not even considered getting an IPhone -- I won't get a product that by license restricts my usage of it so heavily. If you want to be able to control your phone, get a smartphone. (IPhone doesn't let you install apps outside of a fixed app store, so it is by definition NOT a smartphone, as much as people like to call it one... by that definition every phone Verizon's sold for 10 years would be a smartphone.... a jailbroken IPhone is, but out of the box it is not.)

  33. Adam Johnston

    Emulation library v Emulator

    Seems to me, knowing nothing about the Apple SDK that the easiest way around this is to bundle the emulator with the game and submit each game to the app store. Means you can't charge money via the appstore for the emulator (or for the games probably) but I suspect that was never the point. Don't know whether the SDK would allow the emulator to be included as a DLL, but even if it doesn't, why not a static library?

    The app can then say 'Powered by iVice' or 'iFrodo inside' or just 'C64 Game - Jobs is an Arsebiscuit'. No Ts & Cs broken.

    I'm off to play 'Paradroid' on my netbook.

  34. Mike Powers

    Actually, I don't think this is such a bad thing.

    Would you be happy with the notion of everybody's iPhone getting stuffed with viruses, the same way PCs are these days? I'm *glad* that apps aren't allowed to do very much, and are so tightly controlled. It means that I don't have to worry constantly about whether the app I'm running is in fact screwing up my iPod.

  35. darrin allen

    VIC 20 / Comm 64

    Yes. I am also trying to interface my VIC 20 with the IPHONE. It is a special project

  36. sun_god
    Thumb Down

    C64 and Woz

    Should I know uninstall my VNC app on my iPhone? Or do I now need to be a lawyer to understand what Apple will and will not allow me to do with the hardware that I paid for and own?

    >Woz was much better than Gates at writing software.

    Woz wasn't involved in the Lisa or Mac OS development; he was all about the Apple I and II hardware and OS.

  37. Jay Jaffa

    The workaround ...

    is called ANDROID.Apple didn't learn in the 90s when Microsoft kicked them senseless. Now watch Android do the same thing. User's like choice & control - Android's got it all

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Alan L


    Where are u now Atari?

  40. Adrian Esdaile
    Jobs Horns

    What a choice!

    If given a choice between an iPhone and a pristine (or even in need of TLC) SX-64, I'll take the '64 every time!

    As for beating 'Impossible Mission' - you're just not trying. Learn the 'leap of faith' sprite error and allow 2-3 hours. Being good at 'Simon' is a help too.

    Now 'Paradroid' - there's a challenge! I've only ever beaten 3 out of 8 ships in that one. And yes, that's on my netbook too, for bemusment of the younger set while on long distance flights. As is 'Impossible Mission', 'Elite', 'Mercenary', 'International Karate', 'Thing on a Spring', 'Head Over Heels', 'The Last Ninja', you get the picture.

    Aren't emulators wonderful?

  41. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    If people want C64 games, there's a workaround

    The rules forbid a C64 emulator which will load code, but would permit a "C64-emulator-with-one-game-preloaded", which could be done on a game-by-game basis.

    That said, surely 6502 code ISN'T executable code to an iPhone, any more than a JPEG is.

  42. Tim Miller

    Paying for games

    The easiest way around this would be for the emulator authors to enable in-app purchasing, so you could buy games to play on the emulator. There's two main issues with that:

    1) Finding who owns the rights to the games.

    2) Getting people to pay for them, when piracy means people expect them for free.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Just another reason no apple product will come under my roof ;)

    enough said

  44. Scott Mitchell


    I bought an IPod Touch ages back, never use it now. Bored with it. If a C64 emulator and a source of games was around I might have kept using the thing.

    Apple can go suck my hairy root!!

  45. Simon Langley

    I like most Apple products but...

    I have a MacBook Pro and it is easily the best computer I have ever had. I also have an iPhone but I haven't even considered upgrading to the 3GS. Apple does control this excellent device far too much and this is the main reason why I probably won't buy another Apple phone.

    I can install anything I like on my Apple laptop. Why cannot I do the same on my Apple phone?

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