c64_previewWe recently reported the existence of a full-featured licensed Commodore 64 emulator, developed for the iPhone by Manomio.  Sadly, it was rejected from the App Store and may never see the light of day in its current form.

That said, we have high hopes that Apple and Manomio will reach an arrangement such that everyone can have as much retro gaming fun as I've had with the ad hoc build of this app that the developer was kind enough to provide for review.

Commodore 64 for iPhone is an application that, well, turns your iPhone into the most popular computer in history -- more or less.  But, happily, it dispenses with all the requisite LOAD "*",8,1 command-line syntax and provides a Delicious-looking program loader to make jumping from game to game a snap.  It works like this: the emulator comes bundled with several C64 games (Artic Shipwreck, Dragon's Den, Jack Attack, Jupiter Lander and Lemans) along with standard Commodore BASIC 2.0 interpreter.  Users can purchase separately sold program packs (early prices appear to be $0.99-$1.99 each and are determined by original IP holders) from the App Store that, when launched, install a game (or games) into the main application, adding them to the bookcase-like program launcher.  It's a simple approach that works well but, as indicated, this arrangement may need to be changed in order for the emulator to ever find App Store acceptance.

C64 games

Manomio has already licensed the aforementioned games, as well as the titles that make up three different program packs: Bristles, Astro Chase and their Commodore Sports Pack I.  Some games seen in our demo video, such as Bruce Lee and International Karate, were provided simply as a demonstration of the emulator and have not yet been licensed, but the developer hopes to secure them, as well as many other 8-bit classics, for use with the emulator.

kchamp1

As can be seen in our gameplay video, Manomio has made it quite simple to jump right into a game. From the main screen, click through to the games library, scroll down the shelves of games and tap the title of your fancy.  From there, you're whisked into the emulator where the game automatically loads and the particular keys needed to start a game are presented as simple icons, removing the need to bring up the provided full keyboard in order to begin gameplay.  Once in the game, a tap on the joystick tab brings up an on-screen 8-way digital stick and button at the bottom of the screen and it's fire away...  Rotating the iPhone to a landscape orientation fills the screen with the game image, and invisible stick and button touch controls are used on the game screen itself.  It's a flexible arrangement and the controls work rather well, but we do hope that the developer throws us a bone and writes in support for forthcoming control accessories to bring players that much closer to the feel of the real thing.

I have recently spent some time playing through the bundled games and, as a gamer who still enjoys many a C64 game on my actual Commodore 64 and through various emulators, I can say that Commodore 64 for the iPhone delivers solid, accurate emulation of the classic 8-bit machine and provides the nicest program loader I've seen on any emulator.  A particular example of the attention to detail is the simulated picture-tube glare present in two of the game's three display modes -- to play without that glare is to miss out on part of the reality that was 8-bit gaming.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Manomio's slogan is "In Retro We Trust" -- this impressive piece of work proves that to be true. We'll be following this one closely.

  • http://scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    I think, for fun, I'm placing my bet on them getting accepted. Apple has caved on several applications with far less support and community clout than this App is generating.

    I probably shouldn't even say this, but I actually have an app on the store which executes code in a very similar way that this App does. I don't think Apple has realized this because it's designed to be used as a calculator. But, I made it clear that it could "execute" "code" like for-loops and such. It was available day 1 of the store, so perhaps hadn't sorted out those rules at the time. (the app is Chalkboard Calculator)

  • http://scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    I think, for fun, I'm placing my bet on them getting accepted. Apple has caved on several applications with far less support and community clout than this App is generating.

    I probably shouldn't even say this, but I actually have an app on the store which executes code in a very similar way that this App does. I don't think Apple has realized this because it's designed to be used as a calculator. But, I made it clear that it could "execute" "code" like for-loops and such. It was available day 1 of the store, so perhaps hadn't sorted out those rules at the time. (the app is Chalkboard Calculator)

  • http://www.mobstarentertainment.com mek

    I dont even want to get into this execute code debate again -lol-

    but i am looking forward to this app being released

  • http://www.mobstarentertainment.com mek

    I dont even want to get into this execute code debate again -lol-

    but i am looking forward to this app being released

  • HockyPlaya

    I want it back!!!!! Do you hear me Apple!!! :( :( :( I can't believe you Apple! You let games with Mario, Donkey Kong, Luigi, and other games with Copyright infringement and you notice a small bug with this!!!! WHAT!?!?!?! I pity you Apple, I really do. It just doesn't make sense seeing people making games with Nintendo characters and Apple approves them, but when they see a bug or problem with an SDK rule they reject it immediately! So insane and twisted...... :(

  • HockyPlaya

    I want it back!!!!! Do you hear me Apple!!! :( :( :( I can't believe you Apple! You let games with Mario, Donkey Kong, Luigi, and other games with Copyright infringement and you notice a small bug with this!!!! WHAT!?!?!?! I pity you Apple, I really do. It just doesn't make sense seeing people making games with Nintendo characters and Apple approves them, but when they see a bug or problem with an SDK rule they reject it immediately! So insane and twisted...... :(

  • LBG

    Yeah, I'm sure they will find some way of getting the app into the app store. I don't think they would give up on the app because it has so much potential for them to make tons of money. And Apple will probably give in sometime. They have already let nudity appear in apps.

  • LBG

    Yeah, I'm sure they will find some way of getting the app into the app store. I don't think they would give up on the app because it has so much potential for them to make tons of money. And Apple will probably give in sometime. They have already let nudity appear in apps.

  • http://www.astrosaurus.com astrosaurus

    God I really hope this gets released...

  • http://www.astrosaurus.com astrosaurus

    God I really hope this gets released...

  • http://c64.manomio.com Stuart

    @arn,

    Of course, as soon as I saw the article on The Bone, I contacted them! Waiting for a reply, but we'll absolutely add support for this product!

  • Jeffro87

    I too hope that Apple chills out and lets this amazingly crafted app to make it into the App store. I see it having a lot of success and to see all the hard work the developer has put into this, you can only pull for them to make it. Cross our fingers

  • http://c64.manomio.com Stuart

    @arn,

    Of course, as soon as I saw the article on The Bone, I contacted them! Waiting for a reply, but we'll absolutely add support for this product!

  • Jeffro87

    I too hope that Apple chills out and lets this amazingly crafted app to make it into the App store. I see it having a lot of success and to see all the hard work the developer has put into this, you can only pull for them to make it. Cross our fingers

  • DotComCTO

    I really hope Apple and Manomio get this sorted out. This is too well done to fall by the wayside.

    Now...if they do get this in the App Store, perhaps they can work on the Atari 8-bit emulation! Hmmm...Star Raiders iPhone...yes...I can see it now...

    :-D

    --DotComCTO

  • DotComCTO

    I really hope Apple and Manomio get this sorted out. This is too well done to fall by the wayside.

    Now...if they do get this in the App Store, perhaps they can work on the Atari 8-bit emulation! Hmmm...Star Raiders iPhone...yes...I can see it now...

    :-D

    --DotComCTO

  • diesel

    I want the playstation emulator that was profiled, i think on gizmodo released to the app store!!!

    Thought that won't happen since it was created without sony's blessing

  • diesel

    I want the playstation emulator that was profiled, i think on gizmodo released to the app store!!!

    Thought that won't happen since it was created without sony's blessing

  • a_developer

    I hope Apple won't change his rules by a developer.

    This guys must do what Sega did for Sonic. Emulator+game in one package.

  • a_developer

    I hope Apple won't change his rules by a developer.

    This guys must do what Sega did for Sonic. Emulator+game in one package.

  • Yacko

    How about a ten year rule? If the item emulated had a release date 10 or more years back then it's acceptable for the iPhone. Less than ten and you gotta wait.

    • Jim

      Copyright used to expire after 16 years. The value of intellectual property has been inflated unrealistically. I hope that bubble will one day burst. Regardless, I don't believe that is the issue here. It is not Apple's business to vicariously interfere with others' licensing deals.

      The rejection notice suggested the execution of code is unacceptable (at least in it's current form.) I have no insider knowledge and Apple is notoriously secretive. Not to mention the conditions are intentionally vague and subjective (in true US law fashion.) All I know is that we have seen emulators in the store already. Manomio will have to do a song and dance and pull all their hair out, but I am confident both parties would like this app to see the light of day. I will not even be surprised if this is featured as a staff favorite once the holes are patched and the project brought up to code.

  • Yacko

    How about a ten year rule? If the item emulated had a release date 10 or more years back then it's acceptable for the iPhone. Less than ten and you gotta wait.

    • Jim

      Copyright used to expire after 16 years. The value of intellectual property has been inflated unrealistically. I hope that bubble will one day burst. Regardless, I don't believe that is the issue here. It is not Apple's business to vicariously interfere with others' licensing deals.

      The rejection notice suggested the execution of code is unacceptable (at least in it's current form.) I have no insider knowledge and Apple is notoriously secretive. Not to mention the conditions are intentionally vague and subjective (in true US law fashion.) All I know is that we have seen emulators in the store already. Manomio will have to do a song and dance and pull all their hair out, but I am confident both parties would like this app to see the light of day. I will not even be surprised if this is featured as a staff favorite once the holes are patched and the project brought up to code.

  • Kita

    Very cool idea but I'm going to pass on this. Old style games like these aren't really fun anymore except for nostalgic factore. I grew up with the NES and I play the hell out of the emulator and 100+ roms I packed into my gameboy micro :)

  • Kita

    Very cool idea but I'm going to pass on this. Old style games like these aren't really fun anymore except for nostalgic factore. I grew up with the NES and I play the hell out of the emulator and 100+ roms I packed into my gameboy micro :)

  • Bobby

    Man,

    I just hope that he secures the rights to release Ghostbusters for this application. Remains one of the top five games of all time.

  • Bobby

    Man,

    I just hope that he secures the rights to release Ghostbusters for this application. Remains one of the top five games of all time.

  • http://rpg-fanatics.de crishnak

    Turrican FTW! :D

  • http://rpg-fanatics.de crishnak

    Turrican FTW! :D

  • dragons lair

    Apple has really disappointed me on this one, publish it for gods sake, it will be a great attractionto buy the iphone!

  • dragons lair

    Apple has really disappointed me on this one, publish it for gods sake, it will be a great attractionto buy the iphone!

  • Commander Jameson

    Do what you have to do to get this on the app store but can you please also put this fantastic unrestricted up on cydia store. I'll buy it :)

  • Commander Jameson

    Do what you have to do to get this on the app store but can you please also put this fantastic unrestricted up on cydia store. I'll buy it :)

  • Klaus

    I like to have Commodore Basic V2, thAt would be great!

  • Klaus

    I like to have Commodore Basic V2, thAt would be great!

  • bap

    The issue here, I believe, is the ability of the emulator to download new software directly. This may seem nice at first, but could lead to security or stability breeches, or from Apple's other standpoint, revenue breeches.

    This will likely be released later with emulator + game, or with Apple licensing the emulator and wrapping it and the games by the company.

  • bap

    The issue here, I believe, is the ability of the emulator to download new software directly. This may seem nice at first, but could lead to security or stability breeches, or from Apple's other standpoint, revenue breeches.

    This will likely be released later with emulator + game, or with Apple licensing the emulator and wrapping it and the games by the company.

  • Jim

    As for the app itself, the drop-anywhere-D-pad controls are just like the kind I dream about: the kind we have yet seen only in Edge and Duck Hunt. I am really looking forward to trying this out first hand.

    • http://c64.manomio.com Stuart

      Our other product, Flashback uses the drop-anywhere controls and works really well. I've played through 70% of the game and others have completed it many times, so we're confident they work well :)

  • Jim

    As for the app itself, the drop-anywhere-D-pad controls are just like the kind I dream about: the kind we have yet seen only in Edge and Duck Hunt. I am really looking forward to trying this out first hand.

    • http://c64.manomio.com Stuart

      Our other product, Flashback uses the drop-anywhere controls and works really well. I've played through 70% of the game and others have completed it many times, so we're confident they work well :)

  • Adams Immersive

    I'd rather have 3.0 in-app DLC, just because I'm a little nervous about having a non-standard (but clever) way to buy additional content. But either way, I want the app and would buy "stuff" to add to it I'm sure!

    I want Castles of Dr. Creep, Lode Runner, Adventure Construction Set, and two of my personal firsts:

    1. first "real" GUI: KoalaPaint!

    2. first first-person 3D game: WayOut!

  • Adams Immersive

    I'd rather have 3.0 in-app DLC, just because I'm a little nervous about having a non-standard (but clever) way to buy additional content. But either way, I want the app and would buy "stuff" to add to it I'm sure!

    I want Castles of Dr. Creep, Lode Runner, Adventure Construction Set, and two of my personal firsts:

    1. first "real" GUI: KoalaPaint!

    2. first first-person 3D game: WayOut!

  • dave

    How about an amiga emulator that would be the best! Think of games like Zeewolf 2, Hunter, Sensible Soccer and Zool, it would be great :)

  • dave

    How about an amiga emulator that would be the best! Think of games like Zeewolf 2, Hunter, Sensible Soccer and Zool, it would be great :)

  • TKO

    Yeah, if the extra content is being purchased outside of Apple's new 3.0 content-purchase model, I suspect that's what's really causing the delay. Keep at it guys! Will be nice to be able to give this a go when it's finally approved. (So many cool games to hope for: Dino Eggs, Park Patrol, and H.E.R.O. are top of my list.)

  • TKO

    Yeah, if the extra content is being purchased outside of Apple's new 3.0 content-purchase model, I suspect that's what's really causing the delay. Keep at it guys! Will be nice to be able to give this a go when it's finally approved. (So many cool games to hope for: Dino Eggs, Park Patrol, and H.E.R.O. are top of my list.)

  • DaemonSword

    Zorro and Goonies were better than Bruce Lee. The Last Ninja and Summer Games are going to be hell trying to play by touching the screen. Seriously need a exterior analog stick already. There's always M.U.L.E. and Boulder Dash, I guess.

  • DaemonSword

    Zorro and Goonies were better than Bruce Lee. The Last Ninja and Summer Games are going to be hell trying to play by touching the screen. Seriously need a exterior analog stick already. There's always M.U.L.E. and Boulder Dash, I guess.

  • Webringer

    Man I hope they can get Project Space Station, Elite, the Bards Tale, Gunship, Silent Hunter, Airborne Rangers, F15 Strike Eagle. I wore my floppies out.

  • Webringer

    Man I hope they can get Project Space Station, Elite, the Bards Tale, Gunship, Silent Hunter, Airborne Rangers, F15 Strike Eagle. I wore my floppies out.