Yesterday, a game that was developed in 1982 for arcade hardware, but never officially released, quietly landed in the App Store. Gridlee [Free] is a simple game where you maneuver a little green fellow about a grid that stretches off into the distance, blasting upwards at bouncy red figures that try and squash you. That's Gridlee, but that's not the crux of the matter with this app.

As developer David Loureiro explains, Gridlee was developed for the Bally/Sente SAC I cartridge-based arcade machine. It has been brought to iOS devices by way of an emulation wrapper...namely MAME4iOS.

When word of this hit our forums, readers were quick to pull out iExplore (iFunBox also works [Free]) and begin digging about the app's directory structure looking for a ROM folder. Well, it's in there, and sure enough, if one copies other MAME ROMs into that folder, the Gridlee app starts up with the standard MAME4iOS ROM listing, allowing for a great many games beyond just Gridlee to be played on the iPhone or iPad in this Universal app.

Some will recall iMAME landing in the app store -- briefly -- back in late 2011. iMAME came with a small bundle of obscure little games, but allowed additional ROMs moved into its app folder to be played through the app...and Apple pulled it a couple of days later. At the heart of Gridlee sits MAME4iOS v1.3 (MAME 0.139u1), which is much more advanced and feature-rich than the version of iMAME4ALL that powered iMAME. The MAME4iOS settings include advanced visual filters to enhance games' renderings, support for MAME cheats, and support for external controllers such as the iCade, among other features.

There's more to Gridlee than meets the eye and, because of this fact, we feel that its stay in the App Store may be rather brief, indeed. Those interested in a MAME experience for iOS had better act while they can... See the aforementioned forum thread for more details and discussion.

  • JRaynor

    with this now is going to get pull quicker

  • Aventador

    Get it while you can simple as that

  • elmazzer


  • .Asa

    Yeah! I just got it. I wouldn't be surprised if this is gone tomorrow.

  • pxl

    Thanks for the notification TA, I would have hated to miss this!

    • Breinstein

      Damn I hope this is still in the AppStore tomorrow. I am on 3G and the app is bigger than 50 MB so I cannot download it

      • numanair

        Get yourself to some wifi! Pronto! I hope it stays for a while so that more people can get it.

      • Adams Immersive

        On my wishlist: Apple ought to let you "reserve your purchase" for any size app when you're on mobile data. Then it would sit "paused" and the download could be done later on WiFi.

      • pheraph

        Agreed. But wouldn't help here if the App was pulled from the store in the meantime.

  • GubbyMan

    Can someone explain this to me?
    I need to have a jailbroken device to access the file system and copy a ROM file into the folder, so how is this new? Isn't MAME4iOS already available for jailbroken devices?

    • Jesper Eriksson

      No, you can go in the backway trought a file explorer trought the datacable on a pc/mac.
      and yes this is avalible for ages on jailbroken phones,

    • Jesper Eriksson

      No, you can go in the backway trought a file explorer trought the datacable on a pc/mac.
      and yes this is avalible for ages on jailbroken phones,

    • jakewastaken

      You're mistaken. You do not need to be jailbroken to have access to the file system and copy a rom file into that folder. Not only that, but this is actually a newer version of the emulator than people previously had. It's new for a couple of reasons. You sound an awful lot like you think you know it all for someone so misinformed.

      • GubbyMan

        I was asking because I didn't know that I could modify files in iOS without having a jailbroken device. Sorry if I sounded like an idiot. πŸ™‚

      • jakewastaken

        I'm sorry if I came off as overly hostile there. Let me be a little more helpful - the ideal rom set for this is .139u1
        Happy googling.

  • Gregz0r

    Get this naaaaow

  • nuno2k

    Where is the iexplore app?

  • nuno2k

    Where is the iexplore app?

    • Daman2u

      It's not an app. It's software for your computer. You have to plug your phone in via USB and you can then access the files on your iPod through iexplore

  • Spudboy

    Thanks TA, gonna spend sometime messing around with this.

  • vicsark

    Thks for the news guys! Downloading asap πŸ™‚

  • B30

    Instant-Download, MAME4iOS v1.3 is way more advanced than the iMAME4ALL 1.10 from 2011, so download it while you can!

    • jakewastaken

      What kinds of advancements are we talking about? Can you clarify a little more than the article did?

    • REkzkaRZ

      Yeah, like Jake said -- way more advanced ... HOW?

      • B30

        Improved iPad touch control layout and ROM manager (menu were you pick your game, it was a bit clunky in iMAME4ALL), now you can change the button layout of your D-Pad, added a resolution selector to improve the rendering, added missing options like frameskip or a snapshot-feature, save and load state and so on.

      • GiHub

        It supports more games πŸ™‚

  • derkoi


  • Eric Harris

    Nice, this will be the first time I get a taste of emulation on my new ipod touch. I'm still waiting for a jailbreak so I can do SNES and GENESIS. But adding some arcade files will be awesome in the meantime.


      Woah, is your name really Eric Harris? I'm sorry, bro

  • MaXXiS

    can anyone pls explain me what is this all about? πŸ™‚

  • MaXXiS

    can anyone explain me what is this all about? πŸ™‚

    • Ryan Bach

      This game is actually a MAME client, meaning it can emulate a ton of different arcade games. By using a utility like iExplorer, you can copy ROM files from your computer to an iOS device and play them with this app. So, instead of just the game Gridlee, this becomes a way to play a whole ton of different games.

      Apple does not allow emulator apps, so this will likely get pulled very soon. People are excited to have found it before it got pulled.

      • Craig Grannell

        Untrue: Apple allows numerous emulators on to the App Store, including a ton by Sega, various Spectrum emulators, and also C64 emulators. What seems to piss Apple off is when something is not correctly licensed (hence why you will not see a NES emulator any time soon) or when you can sideload content. The iMAME incident was particularly curious, given that the reasoning for Apple pulling the app was to do with IP infringement within the code. Last I heard (a long time ago), Apple was combing through the code, looking for said infringement, which, naturally, the dev noted it didn't have.

        My guess: Gridlee will be pulled. However, Apple will have to provide some kind of spurious reasoning if it does so, because it cannot simply ban any app that allows sideloading (given that, ultimately, they all do) nor emulators (since that would require some pretty major names to pull their apps).

      • Werner Ruotsalainen

        "Untrue: Apple allows numerous emulators on to the App Store, including a
        ton by Sega, various Spectrum emulators, and also C64 emulators. "

        None(!!) of those emulators are offered as open ones with, say, iTunes File Sharing support. They ALL need to be manually hacked requiring at least(!) some knowledge of iExplorer and, consequently, ruling out a lot of Average Joes.

      • Craig Grannell

        So? The point Ryan made was that Apple does not allow emulator apps, which is patently false. It just doesn't allow ones that enable you to easily add your own games. In that sense, Gridlee is no different from iMAME or, for that matter, a number of other emulation apps that still exist on the App Store, but presumably aren't angering big companies competing with their own software.

  • german103

    Requires 5.1... Too bad.

    • jakewastaken

      You should at least be on 5.1.1 - what the hell OS are you on? I have an iPad 1 64gig3G on 5.1.1, which is the best possible it can be on (and is also jailbroken). My phone is on 6 because it has too many features for me to ignore and runs great, but I do miss the JB. There's really no reason to be on anything earlier than 5.1.1

  • Illuminerdy

    It was giving me the Over 50MB warning even on WFi. Thankfully a restart fixed that. I hope iCloud shoots it to my iPad Mini at home. I have that feature on but it seems to be hit or miss.

    • Zakoth Xard

      I downloaded via iTunes and it looks like it's not universal.

      • darkcrayon

        It's definitely universal... Running on my iPad 4th gen.

  • EpicGamerDude

    Awsome! Downloading de app right now!!!!

  • Adams Immersive

    Hope iCade is functional! Will test later.

    • js

      it is at least for me

  • themostunclean

    So far I have Altered Beast working (with no sound) and Golden Axe. That's 2 of the approximately 75 mame ROMs that I have. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, they all work on the emulators on my PC though.

    Oh well, not a huge arcade style game fan. Big news for me would be NES/SNES/Gameboy on iOS. Arcade games were the equivalent of today's IAP-centric titles. The aim of sucking quarters out of your pocket was always so blatantly obvious that I couldn't enjoy the game.

    • VirtualBoyFreak

      You need the correct ROM sets. The iMAME ROM sets are not the same as the ones used in this MAME. Google a bit and you will find the correct sets.

  • JackMule

    Haha, iMAME and now this? Just simply sweet. Somebody needs to do this with other emus.

  • Sean Lee

    Does this have wiimote support like the jailbroken version?

  • VirtualBoyFreak

    Thanks TA! Finally able to play Gaelco's World Rally on my iPhone!!! πŸ˜€

  • winosrus

    Working a treat. Puzznic, puzzle bobble and even pang. Thanks TA as I missed out on iMame. I will play with the TV out setting tomorrow!

  • Anthony Rodriguez Jr.

    I very new to mucking about with the guts of Apps. Exactly where should I drag a ROM? I don't want to blow anything up. Thanks.

    • REkzkaRZ

      Yeah, I wanna know, too! err, how to drag the Rom as well?

    • basshead27

      Hi, download iexplorer, when open click on apps, Gridlee, Documents, Roms and add the roms you want, Done.

  • DotComCTO

    Nice job, Blake. Now this will be pulled by Monday. Awesome. 😐

  • REkzkaRZ

    Got it. Now how to get them ROMs in...?
    Anyone posting that info in here?

    • basshead27

      Hi, download iexplorer, when open click on apps, Gridlee, Documents, Roms and add the roms you want, Done.

      • REkzkaRZ

        Basshead, thanks 2x. (You posted 2x.)

  • basshead27

    Thank you very much toucharcade for letting everyone know about this app, downloaded, added roms, now working great.

  • Perhentian

    Doens't work for me πŸ™ I have copied the zipped roms as downloaded into the Docments/Roms folder (Gridlee Rom was also in zipped format). Restarting Gridlee, but the menu doesn't show up, only the Gridlee Game screen. Anyone can help?

    • B30

      Most likely you got the wrong ROMs (google!).

    • GiHub

      Most likely you need the bios rom such as and/or, some roms require those. Just dump these in the same rom directory.

      • nuno2k

        Where can I get ?

      • GiHub

        I don't think I'm allowed to say here but there are a ton of MAME rom sites, just google it, I'm sure you'll find it.

  • Breinstein

    When I start gridlee I do not see the mame options for controls,resolution etc. when I put other roms in the roms folder I will also get the mame option menu ?

    • B30

      Yes, then you can choose which game you wanna play.

  • Chrimlee

    Only Mame rom's that work ? No chance for Super Mario Bros to play in this app ? Right now I play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on it πŸ™‚ yeay!

  • xmike17

    Every rom I drop in says it has files missing and stuff. I'm sure they're from the correct rom set also... I need to mess with it more when I get home

  • js

    ICade Jr. works. Glad I pulled the trigger on the $10 sale.

  • yeahx

    If a game lags is it because its the wrong rom set or are there settings to help fix that? Its pointless if sound has to be disabled but I can't think of anything else that is making it lag. It seems silly that there would be lag at all. Thanks!

    • jtfields

      What device are you using? This version of MAME is more processor intensive than iMAME. Really needs iPhone 4S and up or iPad 2 and up. Works great on my iPhone 5 and iPad 2. Too much stuttering on my iPhone 4 to be playable. Haven't tried my original iPad yet.

  • jharperweb

    Does anyone have a list of FREE and LEGAL ROMs (rather than those that run afoul of copyright laws?)

  • Kim Slawson

    Totally works! Awesomesauce! Now loading my MacMAME roms and seeing which are compatible... seems like it's roughly 50/50 so far.


    I have a 273 GB MAMEUI folder that says I have no interest in MAME emulation on ios, but I love what the dev is doing here and I support it 100%

  • Headcase Games

    Is that Time Pilot '84? Kudos to you, TouchArcade,.. you know what's good

  • Handsom

    i don't get it is downloading ROMS that are not yours illegal...because i heard its illegal and if it is then how can i get ROMS.someplease reply

  • vic_viper_001

    Gridlee's one hell of a game. It has an insane amount of gameplay variety, endless replayability, and the depth of several hundred games... all at once!!

  • ridiculocity

    Works great. Also if you own C64 emulator you can do the same thing. Obviously you just can't add c64 roms as they won't work but with a little google search c64 iOS games plist you will find a link to a zip file someone has make which all work perfectly. Nothing like reliving Ghostbusters on iOS.

  • James Kochalka

    I wish you could adjust the buttons for individual games. For instance, it would be great if the 3 fire buttons for Missile Command could all be in a row.

    • James Kochalka

      I figured out how! Start a game, then press coin and start at the same time to configure that individual game.

      Combined with an iCade... my nostalgia is through the roof!

  • dephanix

    Hi guys, bit new to this. Can Mame emulate master system games? Cheers

    • Sokurah


      • dephanix

        Damn! Was hoping to finally play Alex Kidd in Miracle World on iPad πŸ™

      • roguewaver

        There are jailbroken sega emulators however.

  • Laszlo Tuss

    Nice,i will put it next to my App Store approved iDOS!
    Too bad iDOS stopped working after 6.0 update πŸ™

    • Gregz0r

      iDOS works for me without issues on 6.1

  • zhouyichong


  • mehdi

    i have gridlee, but the problem is that no rom work on it

  • mehdi

    Can some one help me with that? plzz

  • Francis Guidera

    Still there...

  • DB

    I have been searching on and off for 2 years to find an emulator to use without having to jailbreak my iPad. What are the chances another one might come out in the future? Is there any way I can get Gridlee now even though it has been pulled from iTunes?

  • Kane Resurrected

    Happily running Killer Instincts & Killer Instincts 2 (ARCADE version) on Gridlee! just need a 64-Bit chip-set idevice to run them smoothly, so won't be playing at full speed until iPAD 6 is released πŸ˜‰

  • Medusa

    Gridlee still available so get it asap (while u still can)! Jus put it on my non jailbroken 4s this mornin & it's running as smooth as the arcade itself. Playin TOO MANY classics to name lol

    • Kane Resurrected

      you must have installed it from a chinese appstore, it was pulled from apple's store 2 months ago.

  • yepi

    hehe. ilike this :X

  • Romel Adison

    How can i play by external ps4 controller in gridlee.. Is there any way to make it paired with these .. I can play other games using this ps4 controller like gta sandreas , asphal 8 etc . But i cant play with this gridlee emulator ... Plz help .. If there is any way plz tell me .. Or if there is no way .. Then plz add this ps4 & ps3 controller like icad which is already in list ..