back to article Commodore 64 emulator hits iPhone

A Commodore 64 emulator - complete with 64 retro titles - has gone on sale for the iPhone and iPod Touch. And it's official. Well, as official as its gets when it comes to Commodore these days - the original company went bust in 1994, and it exists as little more than a brandname today. Commodore 64 on iPhone C64: old …


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  1. Dan 10
    Thumb Up


    Kung Fu Master anyone? Maybe a spot of Outrun, or Double Dragon?

    Not forgetting a key advantage - no biscuity crumbs getting into the keyboard!

  2. Symball
    Thumb Up


    If they ever put paradroid on it I'm going to have to buy myself a black polo neck and an iPhone!

  3. Annihilator Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Not forgetting..

    Dizzy!! I want!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    how long till you can get 8 bit booby photos :D

  5. Stef 4

    Good idea, but...

    I have only a single game on my iPhone, and I can't play it because of the touch-screen. The screen doesn't really allow the sort of thumb movements needed (continuous thumb contact as if you are using a Nintendo DS directional pad). A lubricated screen is needed. (Unless some of you out there are using special stick-on smooth coatings?)

  6. Lee Taylor
    Jobs Horns

    Wheres the BASIC?

    The BASIC rom has been disabled, would it be Apple have a problem with running emulated Microsoft code on the Jesus Phone?

  7. Aron
    Jobs Horns


    The games are legally free from so why should iPhone users have to pay for them?

  8. Richard Porter
    Thumb Up

    How about a BBC B emulation?

    complete with Chuckie Egg of course.

  9. David Mayne 1

    Please please please please

    Put Elite on there!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe some clever bofin can combine that with the tilt/rotate option so you don't need a joystick to fly it?

    I'd possibly salivate on the screen of course if they did that.

    Yes, I am geek enough to buy an iPhone, if it had Elite on it... o.0

  10. RichyS

    +1 for a Beeb emulator

    I agree with Richard Porter (are you the Richard Porter that writes Sniff Petrol? If so, get back to it. The gap between editions seems to be getting wider!).

    Hours spent on the Tube would disappear with a copy of Citadel or Repton 3 on my iPod Touch.

    Ah the joy.

    Grammar Nazi icon (can I be pedantic and say that the tool tip text for the icon should really have 'nazi' with a capital 'N'?) 'cos we had Beebs at my school.

  11. Paw Bokenfohr
    Thumb Up

    add my vote...

    ...for Paradroid, but also register one each for Bounder, Bombjack and Sanxion...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @Wheres the BASIC?

    It's probably Apple has issues with people writing their own programs and not giving them a cut.


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Aron

    "The games are legally free from so why should iPhone users have to pay for them?"

    As far as I'm aware, it's because Apple's policy on iPhone apps prohibits offering products that can run arbitrary code, even if that arbitrary code is running on something as limited as a virtual C64.

    This was the reason given for it being banned first time round, and it's notable that this time it comes with a fixed set of games and BASIC disabled. This (presumably) is also why you can't download free apps (i.e. arbitrary code) from elsewhere.

    'Course, the fact that Apple will probably make more money from selling a restricted set of games through their own store is some nice icing on the cake for them, I'm sure.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Chuckie Egg on PC

    Nice Windows version that I've used for years - seems to completely emulate all the original quirks I can remember on the BBC version.

  15. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Paradroid FTW!

    Best game ever for the CBM 64.

    I wonder if the iPhone could cope with MAME as well, anyone?

  16. Sebastian Brosig
    Jobs Horns

    echo Apple | sed s/pp/na/ | sed s/e//

    this is terrible... how paranoid can you get about others wrinting non-authorised apps: Do commodore basic offerings really have a chance as anything but geeky novelty ./ nostalgia?

  17. The Indomitable Gall

    Legal stuff...?

    " And it's official. Well, as official as its gets when it comes to Commodore these days - the original company went bust in 1994, and it exists as little more than a brandname today. "

    Read that as *nothing* more than a brand name. The C64 ROM images were never sold by CBM's liquidators, and are now mostly orphan works -- this includes the character set ROM (which you can clearly see has been included in this bundle), BASIC and the KERNAL routine code.

    While most coders eschewed KERNAL routines in favour of writing their own specialised code, I'm pretty certain that at least some of the games included in this bundle use them.

    So the app is technically infringing, and while no-one's quite sure who is legally entitiled to sue, it would appear most likely that the rights have reverted to the original coders. In the case of BASIC, that's Microsoft. I'm guessing that the solution coming soon is a separate abstraction layer emulating BASIC in the app, rather than running BASIC in the emulator. BASIC being so slow on the 64, there aren't many BASIC progs out there that really need accurate timing. A non-cycle-exact emulation would be sufficient for most purposes.

    Oh, and @Aron... isn't any more legal than any other so-called "abandonware" site. They've not sought permission, so they ain't got no permission to distribute the games, which means they're basically operating illegally.

  18. Richard Cartledge

    The Last Ninja

    Paperboy, Green Beret.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Don't despear... may need your spear for attacking the morons at Apple who don't let you enter data (in the form of BASIC programs) into the application you paid for.

  20. Slackness
    Thumb Up

    Llama Time

    I might even get one if there is any chance of some Jeff Minter stuff (4 the win).

  21. richard 69

    little computer people!!!!!!!

    but the disc version NOT the tape version.....and commando, last ninja 3 and then get the proper cartoon'ed dragon's lair....please...

  22. Joefish

    @The Indomitable Gall

    "World of Spectrum" does actually have permission for the games and the Sinclair ROMs (permitted by Amstrad, the legal owners) for all that they distribute for free. They also don't copy new games that are still being distributed, nor ones where the rights holders are still in the business (Rare, Codemasters) and have denied permission.

    Of course, Apple wouldn't touch anything they can't monetise. This 'Commodore Gaming' lot have been 'licensing' stuff to plug-in TV games and Wii downloads for a while now, but I too wonder how much they really own...

  23. Alex 32
    Thumb Up

    Nice, but..

    not liking the idea that I would have to BUY the games I have again. Would prefer to get them off tape (...erm...) and then synch them to the iPhone accordingly..

    ...actually, hang about... nah, forget it. Sounds like there's too much development envolved.. especially as it's a bit of fun. Time to dust off the C64 from the loft!

    So, yeah, nice :o)

  24. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Since we're talking C64 games...


    Anything with a Rob Hubbard soundtrack.

  25. Aron

    @ The Indomitable Gall

    As far I know has been operating for several years without being threatened. With that in mind I see no reason why we can't load d64 and t64 images ourselves with a a C64 emulator.

    The other thing that perplexes me is why I am so shit at playing those old classics now that I used to play so well when I was a kid :(

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Since we are now talking Rob Hubbard....

    It's got to be Thing on a Spring - I still remember being in awe of the sound track at a computer show somewhere, sometime....

    And games...yes comrades Paradroid but all hail the mighty D R OP Z O N E.

  27. foo_bar_baz
    Thumb Up


    Wizball! Wasn't that an Amiga game? I doubt I've had more fun with a multiplayer game. Probably the 1st game I finished, too. Thanks for the memory.

    Other titles that make me feel warm and fuzzy: The Way Of The Exploding Fist, Racing Construction Kit, Winter Games ...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    No, do not put bloody Elite on there, please..

    I am hopelessly addicted to the GPLed remake ( - for mac, windows and linux). Elite on my iPod touch would be just a step too far.. :D

    "Right on commander!"

  29. David Webb


    Everyone knows the Speccy > C64 any day of the week! Even Thursday.

  30. Richard Porter


    No, I'm not the motoring journalist whose name I share.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not sure about the fake screen glare effect though!

  32. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Anything copyrighted can still not be downloaded free legally unless the author has made the software available for download.

    Of course, it can be hard to find the originals now and I would argue that sharing the games at least prevents them from disappearing due to bit rot.

    The iPhone C64 emulator seems very lacking in games. I think the modplayer for the iPhone has the right idea, build in a web browser so you can download the files into the software.

  33. Jason Hall


    If Paradroid is your thing - have a look at Androidz (Droidz) - just search the App Store for paradroid

    £1.19. Nuff said.

  34. Richard Sloan


    I'll have to try this after I finish playing megadrive games on my android phone... oh wait...

  35. Stephen Dooley

    Anyone actually look at the app?? - there are only 5 games included..

  36. Kimberly Burgess

    Mail Order Monsters

    Bring back Mail Order Monsters please.

  37. Myopic Aardvark

    How long?

    No application on there called C64 yet.... I want :(

    Now if they'd just do a Speccy emulator, then we'd have proper 8 bit gaming available to us....

  38. Joe Cincotta
    Jobs Horns

    APPPLE: Have a roast chicken dinner. Did I mention you can only lick it?

    Talk about a tease. Yes it's 'technically' a Commodore 64 emulator, but until its running our favorite CREST and CAMELOT demos in full no-sideborder multiplexed sprite glory, it's just 'licking the chicken'

  39. SynnerCal

    Re: Llama Time

    "I might even get one if there is any chance of some Jeff Minter stuff (4 the win)."

    I'll second that - some Mutant Camel goodness would be great. While we're talking about Yak, could someone please, please, please try and persuade him to do a version of one of the Lightsynths for the iPod (and iPhone) - if there's a C64 emulator then surely Psychedlia might be possible?

  40. Paul Hates Handles


    Hacker 2!

  41. Lloyd

    Alan Minter games

    You can never have too many Llamas.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Cannot find it in the app store...

    I cannot see it, I searched on C64 but cannot see it. Anyone know where it is?

    Paris - cos I'm being dumb...

  43. Lloyd


    Jeff Minter not Alan, I'm getting my boxers mixed up with my programmers, easily done.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I may be wrong, but I think it WAS in the App store, and now it isn't. Maybe something to do with the hint that Basic may be put back in, in an update?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    nice but..

    the iDiots from Apple did it again... there is no BASIC or the ability to use your .D64 images...

    just compare this with the PocketCommodore (for windows mobile)

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has been pulled again...

    Here is the text from their site:

    Unfortunately Apple this night pulled the C64 App from the App Store. We had agreed with Apple to remove basic from the application, but as we believed it would be possible to convince Apple to let it in later on, we left it in the app to be activated remotely by us when we had “go” from Apple.

    Due to the extreme publicity the app has received over the weekend and the fact that several users found a way to enable the basic back, Apple decided to remove the app from App Store until we have solved the issue.

    This is very frustrating as we had no intention of tricking basic into the app and the fix was done in a few minutes the moment we found out - a new version has been submitted to Apple, and we can only hope Apple will appreciate our efforts to apply the changes they need in order to put it back on.

    Until now - thank you so much for your overwhelming support, it´s a pleasure to read all your kind mails and suggestions. If we´re unable to answer all mails please understand, we do our best!

  47. RefriedNoodle

    @Anonymous Coward

    "As far as I'm aware, it's because Apple's policy on iPhone apps prohibits offering products that can run arbitrary code, even if that arbitrary code is running on something as limited as a virtual C64."

    Actually, not true. There are several other games in the AppStore that run inside an interpreter, such as a few Sega games.

    The reason for this app to be rejected the first time however, if i remember correctly, was that the app allowed executable code (the games) to be downloaded and run (inside the interpreter/emulator) outside of the appstore.

    This basically bypasses the appstore. In this case it would probably only be used for games, but if this business model was allowed by Apple, it would allow one to write a framework with its own downloadable utilities, bypassing the AppStore's business model entirely.

    And also Apple could not guarantee the performance and/or security issues if downloadable executable code would be allowed without their approval.

    Of course, you can take this any way you want (personally i *think* the businessmodel-implications would weigh heavier than the performance issue). But it's Apple's ballpark.

  48. Dave 135

    ..and don't forget...

    Lazy Jones! If just for the music.

  49. Andrew Parsons


    Are you thinking of Wizkid? The sequel on Amiga and Atari ST.

    Wizball was mainly on 8bit systems I think.

  50. davefb


    it may be the case that the sega games run thru emulation. I suspect that if this was given the same publicity and the fact that you can just download megadrive bin's and load them, then perhaps this will be pulled as well.

    Apple may be after getting money, but it's the developers who get the bulk of the monies from appstore, much more than most delivery systems.

  51. The Indomitable Gall


    Yeah, but I wasn't talking about World of Spectrum -- a better retrogaming resource you will never find. 100% legal and the work of a very dedicated, hard-working bunch of people. Sadly I never did find anything from the MIA list in my cupboard, but it was fun looking!

    WoS, we salute you!

  52. Anonymous Coward

    I despair

    In the screenshot it says "DON'T DESPEAR". Do they mean "DON'T DESPAIR"?

    (I suppose we should be grateful that they got the apostrophe right!)

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