Geardome has just released their free Chip-8 Emulator [App Store] for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pretty much one for hardcore retro fans only, Geardome's offering emulates the CHIP-8 virtual machine, initially released in the late '70s on the COSMAC VIP and Telmac 1800 8-bit machines. CHIP-8 is an interpreted programming language developed to facilitate the easy creation of video games.
Chip-8 Emulator comes bundled with 30 very-low-res public domain games, among them: a Space Invaders clone, a Breakout clone, a Tron lightcycles clone, a Tic-Tac-Toe game, a Joust clone, and a Pipe Dreams clone. The games play rather slowly and are about as pixellated as you could imagine. But it isn't the games that make this title truly noteworthy.
Chip-8 Emulator is the first "game console" emulator we've seen appear in the App Store. (Frotz was the first ever game emulator in to appear in the store.) While many emulators exist in the jailbreak world, by our count there are now but two in the App Store. It is known that Apple is not highly anxious to allow the use of foreign executables (which is what emulators do, by nature) on the iPhone.
But, first Frotz, and now this. Does the arrival of Chip-8 Emulator betoken the arrival of emulators of more complex computers and consoles in the App Store? Let's hope so. A number of oldschool game publishers have released the rights to their aged wares.
We'll keep an eye on the emulator situation and bring word of any future release in the App Store.
App Store Link: Chip-8 Emulator, Free