back to article Apple yanks C64 emulator from App Store

Many Register readers seeking the Commodore 64 emulator application for the iPhone, which finally made it to Apple's App Store yesterday, were disappointed not to be able to find it. Here's why: Apple pulled it. Apple originally rejected the emulator, called simply C64, some months ago. Developer Manomio appealed against the …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. The Avangelist

    Hot Coffee 64?

    I do find this idea of developers increasingly not removing code blocks but just disabling them brilliant!

    We all do it, but if you've been asked to remove it, unless it causes the application to crash and burn, surely, you just take it out?

    I spose that in this case, it needs that, because... well isn't that what it is?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    Don't bother developing for the iPhone.

    Yeah it's doing well, but it's still small fry compared to the amount of Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Linux and Symbian devices already out there. In fact, it's not even gaining ground on the latter three.

    Despite all Apple's hype and media manipulation they're still bottom of the pile in handsets out there, and Nokia is still extending it's lead by a massive amount month on month. They're only just on par with RIM's sales.

    Ultimately the iPhone will hit a plateau though also, they only have one handset line and like the vast majority of the population worldwide if you're not in the brick sized, expensive, finger print smothered handset market then you're not going to buy one of these. Apple can sell to it's fanboys, and it can sell to the odd non-business smartphone users but then what? Just was with the iPod now, it'll start to fizzle out, people will stop caring, and it'll start losing marketshare again. Of course, the MP3 market was relatively new, so it was able to become market leader, the phone market is mature, so any decrease will ultimately lead to Apple being resigned to the history books of the mobile phone markets as their attempt to gain a permanent foothold is forgotten and people go back to worthwhile handsets that businesses and home users alike can use.

  3. Tom 35
    Thumb Down


    "Apple's logic was that this tool could allow users to run illegal copies of games, holding it open to a charge of contributory copyright infringement."

    More like someone could run software without getting the OK from Apple. Even if that was a crappy C64 program typed in from an old Commodore magazine... they can't have that.

  4. Si 1

    I love typing entire programs out in BASIC!

    Especially on an iPhone keyboard! Great work Apple you have saved me from hours of trying to work out how to program Chuckie Egg in BASIC when it was never written in that language to begin with.

  5. The Original Ash

    A quick google search....


    Haha! Stupid Apple fanboys. Get a device which doesn't cost more than your income tax per month without the draconian controls Herr Jobs imposes.


  6. Brian Miller

    Pirated games in *BASIC*???

    How many commercial games were ever written in BASIC? None? Anybody know what Apple's real hangup is about this?

    For a company that made a splash with an Orwellianesque anti-Big Brother commercial, these guys look like Animal Farm incarnate.

  7. Samuel Deakin

    Still there for jail broken phones

    You can still get it if your phone is jail broken, from Installous

  8. Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

    @Brian Miller

    You might not input a game in Basic, but you might write a game loader, perhaps.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    I think they should

    pull the iPhone's MP3 playback feature because it could be used to play pirated songs!

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I wouldn't expect them to..

    Will they relent? I wouldn't expect them to. Emulators are forbidden by Apple, I would guess it was let through to begin with by accident. Remember the IPhone (un-hacked) is not a smartphone, it's a fancy phone with an app store. A smartphone lets you install whatever software you want, a phone with an app store lets you install whatever the cell phone company and phone vendor allows.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yank Safari too then?

    Anyone care to host some copyrighted javascript and point out to Apple they're "open to a charge of contributary copyright infringement" by allowing Safari too run on iPhones.

    What a load of tosh

  12. Chronos
    Thumb Up

    @Brian Millar

    Every Napoleon needs his Snowball to keep the proles in line; in this case it's MS, upon whose BASIC implementation CBM's was based - licensed perpetually, natch.

    Nice analogy, by the way.

  13. Coyote
    Gates Halo

    Commodore BASIC

    was partly written by Bill Gates himself, and is still copyrighted by Microsoft, so there are legal issues when it comes to including it.

  14. Neil 7
    Jobs Horns

    Nokia N900 for the win

    Do what you want with your own device. How fcking radical.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Stop is a title


    YE GODS!

    ALERT ALERT! God forbid anyone doing something with their iPhone that doesn't involve paying money to someone.

    Phew that was a close one!

  16. shane fitzgerald
    Thumb Down

    What use is this?

    So if you can't use the basic interpreter than what use exactly is a C64 emulator?

    Unless you can load .C64 files using a virtual drive - but I thought thats the reason it was blocked in the first place?

    You might as well jut spend your money on an animated gif of a blue cursor....

  17. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Its about software sales

    You spend all that money, sign your soul away with the contract and be mocked for all of your 'Big Night Out' pics being lighter blurs in a big black blur and then play C64 games on it?

    You dont need an app store you need a course in common sense.

    Mine the one with the old free lappy and 1000 C64 games on cd in the pocket

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Tight Arse Control Freaks

    More paranoid controlling behavior from the anally retentive control freaks at apple.

    These pathetic attempts to enforce by hook or crook complete control over what runs on their platform are going to drive many away.

    For all the charges of anti-competitive behavior, Bill Gates never accepted a policy that all windows apps must be approved by Microsoft committee - history and their market share in desktop OS installations vindicates this strategy.

    Unless they are hell bent on being the walled-garden mobile also ran apple must change tact - these stories judging by online discussion are turning a lot of people vehemently against them.

    I for one am selling my iPhone and getting an open handset running Android cause frankly i'm sick of apple's freakish controlling behaviour.

  19. david bates

    @Brian Miller

    Did you never buy Cascades Cassette 50?

    I blame in for my becoming a tester rather than a developer, but I think I still have the calculator watch that it effectively came free with kicking around somewhere...

  20. Mectron

    and they complain About MS monopoly

    The real bad giuy is Apple. But as long as their is a unlimited supply of idiots. Apple wil flourish

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Wasn't the Commodore basic written by Bill Gates?? Don't want another homebrew club letter again ;) and i'm sure Steve doesn't want a joust with Balmer.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Fruity Excuses

    "Apple's logic was that this tool could allow users to run illegal copies of games, holding it open to a charge of contributory copyright infringement."

    Given how much Apple enjoys exercising power under the DMCA, and they probably even lobbied for it in the first place, it's amazing how they try to weasel out of scrutiny by claiming legal exposure for stuff other people make.

    Yet another case of "We were only following orders! Our orders!"

  23. Steven Hunter

    @Tony Smith

    "... but you might write a game loader, perhaps."

    What would that be then?

    10 LOAD "*",8,1

    20 RUN

    or maybe we'll get fancy:

    10 LOAD "$",8

    20 LIST

    Mine's the one with "SYS64738" on the back

  24. ben edwards

    Oooo, tall poppy syndrome

    It's an Apple product, and a luxury at that, If you don't like it...move along. Save the kerfuffles for 'need' items instead of 'want' items.

    I'm assuming if BASIC or its brethren are enabled on the iphone, someone will find a new way to jailbreak or cause other problems.

  25. cirby


    "How many commercial games were ever written in BASIC? None?"

    For the C-64? Quite a few. Even the ones written in assembly used BASIC loaders, for the most part. More to the point, most of the good pirate hacks loaded though BASIC. Copy protection often used things like custom boot loaders, which could just be replaced with a simple BASIC program.

  26. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Thumb Down

    Apple, are you bunch of wankers listening?

    THIS is why I won't buy an iphone.

    please fix.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 14:00

    "Yeah it's doing well, but it's still small fry compared to the amount of Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Linux and Symbian devices already out there. In fact, it's not even gaining ground on the latter three."

    Erm, no. You should check the sales figures for iPhones vs BBs vs WinMo devices, and you'll see that the iPhone is streets ahead of the latter, and closing on RIM.

  28. sheridan
    Jobs Horns

    Do Apple a favour & turn yourself in

    Dear Apple,

    Thank you so much from protecting me from myself. Had I downloaded the C64 app I may have inadvertently downloaded a 25 year old game without the appropriate copyright license. Leading to the collapse of the entertainment industry and hefty prison sentence for myself. If only other products that I own and have paid for would censor me in the same way.

    I'm praying for the day my iMac alerts me when I'm whistling a tune with out written consent from the original copyright holder.

  29. Nano nano


    "draconian controls Herr Jobs imposes" - pandering to UK tabloid national stereotypes, by any chance ?

  30. Cameron Colley

    Tough shit.

    I hope Apple buyers love the jail their few hundred quid and expensive tariff bought them.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue to use our phones as we wish on cheaper contracts.

  31. Horridbloke

    @Brian Miller

    "How many commercial games were ever written in BASIC? None?"

    Jeff Minter's rox64 was written in BASIC. I had a proper commerical copy of it.

    (Okay it wasn't very good, but then most games aren't.)

  32. Anonymous Coward

    yeah but....

    has anybody got doom or starcraft to run on a winphone yet?

    if not... why not...

    hurry up

    or why not any of the late 80's early 90's pc games that required naff graphics screens

    and ran on only a few meg of storage/ram.

    once ppl can run games like that apple will allow amiga games to run, if only to be able to compete with the overwhelming competition...

  33. Steve Evans

    New advert tag line...

    The new iPhone

    You'll forget who actually owns it.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lawyers are dawn

    Seems the lawyers run the apple show.

    How many older games developers would be affected by this and how many of that small number could have done a deal with apple or the c64 guy to play nice and possibly cross promote or profit share...

    perhaps in a world where the first 10 numbers on your speed dial are lawyers we are losing site of the other businesses and opportunities that DONT involve lawyers.

  35. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    What a load of crap

    Using the same logic any text editor or similar is forbidden - after all, I may use the application to type in some song lyrics or other copyrighted material. Oh and the built-in phone book - after all an entry may contain a trademark used in an improper fashion. I know Apple have made some dodgy app store decisions in the past but this one really takes the biscuit.

    Now is the time for iPhone owner to start returning handsets as defective. There's nothing physically wrong with them but Apple's policies are now removing capabilities that it has been promoted with. "More or less anything" it ain't.

    Of course it won't happen. Your typical iPhone owner is so far up the arse of Jobs they can't see shit even when completely surrounded by it.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Come on you lot, use your noggins!

    I've no idea what the "exploit" was, but if knowledge serves me right about C64 emulation, if the emulator can read the binary disk/tape dumps and BASIC interpreter can take the command:

    load "*",8,1

    Then you're sorted for bucket loads of free stuff, some good, some bad and some that might upset your granny, even in cruddy C64 resolution. Basically Apple can't control the sub-content, if you like.

  37. Player_16

    @ AC 14:00

    Where are you getting your info from? Surely not this site. How much % do the others pay for your apps? This company wants eyeballs and cash NOW not dreams and hopes. And Windows Mobile? Gawd; where do you get off? You've completely forgotten about the iPod Touch! The publishing company Kiloo also develops games for Hands-On-Mobile™ and they too make games for iPhone, Android, RIM, Java, BREW, Windows Mobile, etc.

    Sorry, but it's not 1996.


    ...I've just realised... I fed a troll!

  38. Mad as a Bat

    @AC "Simple solution"

    Apple aren't making it easy to love them as a developer. Yes you can easily get an SDK for the iPhone from Apple but it only runs on Leopard and Snow-Leopard. So if I want to develop for the iPhone I have to shell out for an overpriced iPhone contract and buy an overpriced Mac. On the other hand I could just continue to use a free Symbian SDK and have a larger target market. If I really feel the need to expand to another market then the Windows Mobile SDK is readily available and also gives me a much larger market than Apple.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Ah ha!

    Glad I grabbed it yesterday., and the truly obvious RESET "hack" worked perfectly.


    20 GOTO 10

    Worked perfectly and I can see why Apple would want to prevent me from doing this. I'm now going to type in a game from an old edition of Commodore User.

  40. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    @ Simple solution

    Depends. If there's any truth to the iTablet rumours there may be some mileage in it yet.

    Speaking of iWhatsits, it IS September but it has gone astonishingly quiet. Almost as if there is embargoed news around the corner. Anyone?

  41. Albert Gonzalez

    Poke, Poke, Poke

    Yup, you can write an app loader in basic that will be able to load apps and execute them, in binary form.... that will access the filesystem, and possibly other phone resources.

    Also, there MAY be a way to use a buffer overflow inside the emulator to execute some code natively in the iPhone, so a malicious program may:

    1 - Load a payload inside the emulator and break it to execute the payload as an iPhone program, and NO as a C64 program

    2 - Once the payload is executing as an iPhone app, it may do a lot fo nasty things, only limited by the ability of the iPhone Security ( ehem ... )

    So yes, may seem an overkill, but the emulator MAY be a vector to the phone.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Bill Gates

    @Brian Miller "Anybody know what Apple's real hangup is about this?"

    Bill Gates’ Personal Easter Egg?


  43. Billy 8
    Jobs Horns

    Why don't Apple...

    ... Just start selling DRM'd Commodore 64 games via iTunes? ;-) Everyone's a winner ;-)

  44. Red Bren

    @Tony Smith @@ Brian Miller

    "You might not input a game in Basic, but you might write a game loader, perhaps."

    So where do you plug in the tape recorder?

  45. Juan Inamillion

    @Simple solution

    The trolls are out in force I see. Still don't let the truth get in the way of 'facts' as you call them. This chart from Gartners, one of the largest analysts on the planet should educate you a little.


  46. Herby

    @Brian Miller (again)

    Apple's hangup on Basic being included in the C64 image is probably due to the fact that some company in Redmond Washington (USA) holds the copyright to the Basic interpreter. They supplied almost all the Basic's for 8 bit machines (there were exceptions, but VERY few). Of course they don't supply Basic interpreters any more, but they STILL hold the copyright!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turing Machine emulation...

    ...and if I write one for the iPhone would it be pulled to because you can run any computer programme on it...

    On the other hand, I could just write for Nokia's Linux phone ....

  48. This post has been deleted by its author

  49. jake Silver badge

    @Brian Miller & @Tony Smith

    "How many commercial games were ever written in BASIC? None? Anybody know what Apple's real hangup is about this?"

    Gut feeling is it has to do with who owns the copyright on Commodore's version of BASIC ...

  50. ThomH


    If you assert it, it will be true.

  51. peter tomlinson
    Paris Hilton

    fool me once

    bunch of weiner brains.

    she knows what weiners are for.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    It may just be their "no emulator" policy

    3.3.2 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).

    I expect this was really put their to prevent Java from showing up on the phone but it applies here as well. Jobs certainly would want to support running any apps not under his complete control :)

  53. MeRp
    Thumb Down

    @Juan Inamillion

    Not that I really care, but how does a chart showing a breakdown of smartphone sales in a single quarter by manufacturer show anything relative to the breakdown of mobile phones (not just someone's classification of smart) with given OSes in use?

    Your chart gives very little, even for that single quarter, WRT Windows Mobile and Linux. effectively only relating a combined total, in effect of about 9 thousand in 'sales' - it in unclear whether this is in units of currency or individual handsets.

    Looking at the more obvious OS comparisons, the chart gives the extremely mistaken impression that there are 'only' (roughly) 3.5 times as many Symbian S60 handsets out in the wild than Iphones.

    I think your argument would be better served by producing sources that show things like Iphone users tend to spend more on phone applications than other phone users, or somesuch.

  54. Adrian Esdaile

    So, the Ocarina should be banned too right?

    Isn't there some Ocarina thingy for the iPhone?

    Something you can play music on?

    Clearly it has internal code set to explode* the iPhone if you attempt to play a copyrighted tune.

    Such as "Happy Birthday" (C)1990 Warner Chappel Music.

    Could a Lawyer please explain the difference between this and the C64 app?

    * AH! So that's why iPhones have been exploding!

  55. David 141


    @Anonymous Coward

    I had had a port of Doom running on an old windows smartphone years ago, back in the day when it was still called Pocket PC phone edition. And there are versions of Doom and Wolfenstein for the iPhone:

  56. B00ze

    Define Basic.

    Basic, as in the language, is not exactly crucial.

    Disabling the ability to run Basic tokens/commands is trivial. Besides some very good but very old games, few used Basic to even load themselves - they might be calling rom I/O routines like $FFBA to select a drive, but they wouldn't have a need for the basic interpretter.

    Basic as The Problem is poorly defined.


  57. Futumsh


    That I downloaded the emulator in time. The only problem now is that I have paid for an emulator with only three crappy games circa 1982. Do you think that Apple will give me my money back - thought not.

  58. Richard Kettlewell

    odd policy

    A BASIC interpreter is not allowed but a 6510 interpreter is? Something doesn't quite add up there.

  59. Annihilator Silver badge

    re: Doom

    Never mind Doom, I had a weird version of Quake running on an iPaq almost 7 years ago. I can only imagine it's come along since then.

    The reason I abandoned it? How on earth do you control Quake with a stylus? Not easily is the answer. But fun for 5 minutes to find out.

    The reason Apple don't want this is purely because it's the thin end of the wedge. Allow a C64 emulator, allow an Amiga emulator, allow a Game Boy emulator -> Megadrive/Genesis -> Saturn -> N64 -> PSP etc - Wii??

    OK there will likely be a natural hardware barrier at some point along the chain, but you can bet that Apple have shot themselves in the foot by being guardians of the software gate, and therefore leaving them open to the inevitable lawsuits. I suppose it's also a revenue loser - you need to get a special "licence" (read money for Apple) to develop for the iPhone. This C64 emulator technically means anyone can be a developer.

    Granted, as mentioned above, I doubt you'd get many people relishing the prospect of digging their software out the loft, seeing if the C90's have stood the test of time, and typing it on an iPhone keyboard. Frankly I struggle to write a medium-length email on one. Just tried it:

    10 GOTO 20


    10 GIRO 20 with the helpful autocorrect

  60. jai

    @ Red Bren RE : where do you plug in the tape recorder?

    you don't - you convert the tape to mp3 and then load those whistles and beeps in that way :)

  61. Player_16

    @ MeRp - @ Simple solution needed educated.

    @ Juan Inamillion was referring to the troll, 'Simple solution's' comment towards the top of the page. He thinks it's 1996 so a little education was administered.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022