If there ever was a new story worthy of a sad trombone, it'd be this one. The absolutely fantastic Game Boy Advance emulator GBA4iOS has been removed from its home on GitHub following a DMCA takedown request by Nintendo. GBA4iOS creator Riley Testut mentions on Twitter that the emulator will still work for anyone who has it installed, and that downloads will be "temporarily suspended."

gba4ios

I guess it's not much of a surprise, considering how ridiculously easy it was to load ROMs in to the emulator, but really sucks for the DMCA takedown to hit now. I was talking to Riley not more than a day ago on Skype and he was telling me how he has multiplayer working between two of his devices, and had plans to implement the feature as soon as he could speed it up a bit.

A DMCA takedown now puts the entire project in jeopardy, as Nintendo is a legal beast few people want to tango with. The sad part is, the insane demand for GBA4iOS just goes to show that there's a market for these kind of games on iOS. The only reason I emulated the games I did was because it's impossible for me to buy them and play them on my iPad- And I'm guessing many folks out there feel the same way.

It was good while it lasted! If you've got GBA4iOS on your iOS device, I'd never delete it.

  • steviebwoy

    The total lack of support for emulation is the reason I switched to an Android phone rather than persisting with Apple. I have my iPad Air for iOS games, and a Samsung S5 for emulation. Sad times.

  • Obidab

    Very sad day. But will ROMs still be available for those who do have it?

    • djstout

      Just tried to download, it works

    • Smaug

      Nothing changed. The website is just down. You can still download it from GitHub but since most people are lazy they probably won't.

      • Matt

        How do you download it from github?

      • Zerol3onheart

        There's a website that has pretty cool roms.

      • Matt

        Anyone know of a backup way to download the emulator itself? Or how to download from GitHub?

      • xzeldax3

        "Cool roms"

      • Matt

        Sorry lol didn't know coolroms had the emulators themselves, got it downloaded now, much thanks!!!

  • spader623

    I mean, I guess this is sad, but it's not at all surprising.

  • Poo

    Have it on my phone and ipad .

  • Kane

    Nintendon't... I swear I will never buy your hardware now! Wasn't worth it, was it? Smh

    • nini

      Not sure if you're serious or not but the irony is hard to ignore.

    • Galenmereth

      As if you'd buy their hardware at all.

      • Kane

        I've bought the GBA before..

      • Benjamin S.

        That's a device from 13 years ago, their current ones have been out for 3 and 1.5 years respectively. It's likely you swearing to never buy their hardware changes nothing(heh other than the fact you can't pirate GBA on iOS).

      • Themostunclean

        And 1/2 year for the 2DS. Just got one, hadn't bought a Nintendo product in years and I didn't realize how much I missed it. Great device for the price ($120) and games available. Plus the virtual console and DS backwards compatibility provides a HUGE library of games.

      • Kane

        Well, I'm jailbroken so I'll carry on playing GBA.

    • London-SV

      I'm sure they'll miss your custom....

    • gryphonofmight

      You weren't giving them money anyways............

      • heresandypandy

        It's a weak assumption to make that people who use emulators don't already own the hardware... Sometimes it's just more convenient. I have a gameboy and a gameboy emulator on my phone. I don't want to carry my gameboy everywhere so it's more convenient. I have a mega drive but I have a mega drive emulator on my pc, because, again, it's more convenient to not have to set the mega drive up sometimes... So threatening to not buy the hardware could easily be a legitimate sale lost, little impact though that may have.

  • Galenmereth

    Buy Nintendo hardware, get Nintendo games with controls that work properly for the games. Is it really that hard to grasp? 3DS and 2DS are pretty cheap now.

    • the_rebel14

      But these were GameBoy games. Not exactly something that you can buy new.

      • gryphonofmight

        Gameboy and Gameboy color games are available on the 3ds eshop/ Gameboy advance games are available on the Wii U eshop

      • the_rebel14

        Ah, true. Nvm!

      • Smaug

        There are GBA games not on the store....

      • nicoper

        Buy a GameBoy one eBay or something and get some games, still much better than playing them on the new consoles, and the price probably is quite low too

      • Smaug

        Quite a bit of them can be quite expensive lol.

    • Bluellama1

      Neither of those have official support for GBA games through virtual console or the hardware to read them. I have a 3DS (and a DS for GBA games, etc) but they don't always leave the house with me, unlike my phone.

  • JJE McManus

    Seriously, in the past three years has Nintendo not made an idiotic corporate decision? This recent move doesn't add up to earth shattering but what new story have you read recently that wasn't an examination of their bonehead corporate decision making?
    Nintendo's core demographic has grown up and as a company they have not kept pace. The current young adult demographic all have smartphones now. Baring jumping into the weakening console market I honestly don't see what they can do to avoid complete dissolution. With all their cash reserves I fear it will be a painfully slow death spiral.
    I really feel sorry for Nintendo America.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Well, I mean, protecting their IP is a pretty good decision it just sucks for fans who would've easily bought all the games they're emulating if they were only available.

      • JJE McManus

        Protecting your IP is a good thing.
        If Nintendo were still on top this would be viewed as simply that. However in the current climate it will likely be spun as Nintendo refusing to acknowledge that their biggest fans want old (and new) Nintendo IPs on the devices they use for hours and hours every day.
        Consider: if you are reduced to releasing apps onto mobile to "advertise" that you have a mobile device too, there is a serious disconnect with what they think their core market is doing.
        I'd blame Iwata but I really think it goes deeper than that. In MBA 101 you learn to never fall back on the trope "That's not the way we do things like that".
        Nintendo, I fear, thinks we will all come back and play their tired retreads once we tire of 9" tablets and retina displays and full social media integration. You and I know that is never going to happen but somehow they don't see it.
        Video killed the radio star, y'know?

      • Benjamin S.

        They are available on WiiU. I bet those fans who "would have easily bought them all" are nowhere to be seen now though.

        It's easy to say "oh I'd buy them if I could" when you're stealing them and downright dishonest.

      • Galenmereth

        Currently enjoying pitch perfect audio and visual emulation of Golden Sun on my Wii U.

        I've been playing with emulators on all kinds of systems, and only the official ones are this close to 1:1.

      • EvilAbdy

        The question is do those fans own a Wii U though. ( I still have my NES ). Buying a Wii U just for the older games isn't worth while.

      • gryphonofmight

        there are plenty of other good games on wii u

      • EvilAbdy

        I personally disagree as the Wii U does not cater to my gaming tastes as a console.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        It's irrelevant to me whether or not they're on the Wii U. Here's what I carry with me everywhere I go, including wandering around my house:

        -iPhone
        -Keys
        -Wallet

        Note: A Wii U controller is not in that list. I would buy every game I emulated, even for their full original retail price, if I could play them on my platform of choice which is my iPhone.

      • Benjamin S.

        The titles are still available though, Nintendo aren't going to offer it on a platter on a platform that is competing with their handhelds and consoles.

        Also fans own Nintendo hardware they don't expect it on their mobile(which shouldn't even be for games honestly I mean how can your gaming platform of choice not have the games you seemingly want to buy but are available on another console which you seemingly don't want? answer: It's not a console it's your phone).

      • Holcman

        It's your phone: which has the potential for many quality console-like games. No matter what anyone says, I'm not carrying a WiiU around to play GBA games. I bought a GBA before, and after many years, it can't find it. The reason I use this emulator is to play those games which I can't play anymore. I shouldn't have to spend tons of money for something. I already bought before. AKA, I'm not buying these new, unnecessary consoles with few games I care about in order to play the old games I love that I previously had.

      • Tor Damian

        Ok, think of it like this: Why doesn't Apple release OSX for every PC vendor? Surely they could get rich on software sales, right? Or why not make iOS available for all mobile and tablet vendors?

        Nintendo is a hardware and software company. Not one or the other. The only way they can make sure the quality of what they release is as good as possible is to have full control over software (OS) and hardware. This is also why it would be suicide to release any of their games on any other platform than their own; just as it would be suicide for Apple to sell iOS to Samsung.

    • EvilAbdy

      There is a reason I Stopped buying their consoles. They have quite a rabid and dedicated fan base, but after the wii, it pretty much proved to me that they are a little bit behind in the console generation, and the Wii U it's the same thing. Not much third party support, only making their own games for the systems, always a new control scheme. The thing that really kills me is the nickel and diming with peripherals.

    • Galenmereth

      I disagree, personally. I'm now 27, and Nintendo of today is very different than the Nintendo of my youth. Wii U is a result of bad marketing, and Nintendo not being prepared with good enough showcases; that's obvious. But not watering down their games by putting them on devices where they just won't play well is not a mistake.

      The 3DS was saved by software, and it's doing really good financially. Companies make mistakes, and sometimes a product doesn't work out. That doesn't mean the company is doing everything wrong, however. Just because you happen to not enjoy Nintendo games of any kind doesn't mean there aren't millions who do.

      You should be happy Nintendo is there doing their thing for the simple reason that it provides a counterweight to Sony and Microsoft.

  • DaFatCookie

    My theory is that since Nintendo is thinking of making apps they're trying to make the gameboy for the AppStore

  • Apricosomoso

    I dont see why, you cant buy gba games on the market anymore so they dont loose money on this emulator

    • sagek

      You definitely can :) The virtual stores Nintendo offers on their devices offer games that used to run on (up to) 20+ year old hardware..

      • RicoSuaveGuapo

        But you're limited to the handful of GBA games they have deigned to release on the virtual console. And they're only available on their Spruce Goose, the Wii U - not the 3DS, where they would make more sense (SMB3 being the only exception).

  • Scope_Reflex

    GBA, or life, uhh, will find a way.

  • sagek

    People that talk about how dumb it is that Nintendo does not sell its games through the AppStore, GooglePlay, and similar channels forget that Nintendo is probably still trying to find a way to make their own market places profitable. I feel 30% rev share is painful but definitely not a good reason to not partake. That said, from a business standpoint I can totally understand they would prefer to first exhaust all available possibilities before succumbing. And yes, they probably have many other additional reasons for not doing it.

    • RicoSuaveGuapo

      Find a way to make it profitable? Their VC is pure profit! The development costs for these games are far in the past. All they have to do is make sure the emulation is reasonably bug-free.

      • Tor Damian

        "Reasonably bug free" isn't the kind of quality Nintendo operates with. Also, you guys seem to forget that Nintendo – much like Apple – is a hardware /and/ software company; they produce software to sell their hardware.

      • lanedenson

        Eh, I've run into more than one big on the wii's VC emulation. Their quality bar isn't *that* high

  • Stormourner

    ask yourself, nintendo! why the people are doing this? they're giving the underrated Nintendo games lots of attention way better than you

  • Billy Ocean

    Nintendo should hire this dude.

    • Stormourner

      I wish they did

  • Kenan2000

    This is bullsh...Nintendo destroys the competition on ios by removing the emulators for their own games even though they did not even port ANY game on ios,that's like removing an emulator that supports gta 5 and not releasing it on ios,this is absurd.

    • Stormourner

      nintendo destroys itself and blaming the others for the problem. they don't seem to care about underrated games anymore, of course the remakes are fine

  • Samurai Don

    How is this "sucky" and "bad news" this was illegal and Nintendo had every right to issue a DMCA.

    • Smaug

      Nintendo had no legal right to take it down though. Making an emulator is 100% legal. In terms of roms the emulator told you using coolroms was illegal and explicitly asked you to consider it. Riley did nothing illegal, Nintendo is overstepping its power as usual.

      • gryphonofmight

        Did you honestly just say Nintendo has no legal right to protect their IPs?

      • Smaug

        Those are IP's . If they have any problems with that they should be bothering to the services that specifically *illegally* distribute these roms. GBA4iOS 2 is an emulator. Emulators are completely and totally 100% protected by the law.

      • NinjaKitteh

        Emulators are legal. You should learn to use the internet better. A simple search brought me the answer, on Nintendo's legal site no less.

    • nicoper

      An emulator is legal, as long as no code has beeb stolen/used without permission, however downloading and using a ROM for a game you do not own is illegal. Nintendo has no right to take down GBA4iOS as it uses no code that is owned by Nintendo, one thing that actually IS strange is why Nintendo lets a site like coolrom exist, if it didnt people would have to actually but the game and get the rom out themselves (I never said that I have a problem with coolrom, I like the service, but it can be used illegally with or without the users knowledge)

      • NinjaKitteh

        It's easier for Nintendo to pick on a Highschool kid than take on an established website with adults at the helm. What's the term? Oh yeah. "Candy from a baby."

        It's a pretty despicable move on Nindy's part.

      • Smaug

        Coolroms is pretty obscure ish too. It seems like one guy running this website rather than a company. They're both just passionate people eager to share old memories lol. (Although tbh I have no idea how the hell coolroms is still up)

      • Glorkbot

        GBA4iOS links directly to GBA roms in-app, so you can download & install. That IS a violation of the law. What the law allows is making your own copies, not downloading copies that someone else made.

      • Smaug

        I don't know if linking to cool rom is necessarily illegal though.

  • jayfisch

    If I already downloaded the app but got a new iPhone or tablet, would I be able to transfer any of it over? Or are all new devices screwed from this wonderful emulator?

  • NinjaKitteh

    This is why I got a DSTwo card for my 3DS...cause GBA has some awesome games.

  • pinta_vodki

    Except I think the profile used to install the emulator will expire in a year, and then... emptiness.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Nintendo is well within their rights to take down the site, so you can't fault them at all. Still, it's a shame to see it go, because it was a great project and did a lot for iOS gaming in the short time it was around. I'm glad I got a chance to install it, and I'll keep my 5S forever just for the GBA and NDS emulators I was lucky enough to grab.

    • Smaug

      One problem- Riley did nothing illegal. Making an emulator is 100% legal. Not to mention it tells you using Coolroms is illegal. Nintendo has no legal AT ALL to take it down.

      • gryphonofmight

        It was made for the purpose of pirating Nintendo games. That gave Nintendo the right

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        That's not really how the law works.

      • Earth Vs. Me

        Well, the harsh reality is that sometimes the law is whatever a supreme court judge interprets it to be.

      • Smaug

        No not really. Riley would probably win court but do you really think he can get a lawyer? They're probably gonna come to an agreement. Also look at YouTube if you wanna see fraudulent DMCA claims, there are so many. Riley has every right to dispute this and would probably win but as I said that's not cheap lol.

      • Earth Vs. Me

        That just goes back to my point. Maybe the judge makes a wrong call, but if you don't have time or money to appeal, his or her ruling is for all intents and purposes the law.

      • Smaug

        There is no judge in this and probably won't be(they probably will come to an agreement like I said). I'd be pretty shocked if they went to a court and the judge sided with Nintendo; because then all emulators are in legal danger lol.

      • Smaug

        Yeah it is.

      • NinjaKitteh

        Except your wrong. On Nintendo's own legal site it states roms are illegal but emulators aren't. Regardless of whether it connects to coolroms or not. If that were the case chrome, Firefox, and every other site you could download a browser would fall under the same thing because you can go to coolroms on those programs as well. Research, it comes in handy.

      • Holcman

        No, that gives Riley Testut the right to put it up, and people the right to use it. When you open the emulator, you have to agree that you're only using it for games you've already purchased. Therefore, it is technically perfectly legal. If it is used for pirating, it is the player's fault, not Riley's.

      • Smaug

        Actually even if you physically own the game downloading a rom is still pirating unless you physically put that rom online yourself.

      • Glorkbot

        The law allows you to make your own backup copies of software you own. It does not allow you to download backup copies that someone else made for you.

  • Based Xatu

    Buy a GBA or DS you cheapskates.

  • anarchy in the app store

    Last time I checked, everything they did was legit and legal....

    Nintendo: the Viacom of the gaming industry since 2010

  • McBlink

    "The only reason I emulated the games I did was because it's impossible for me to buy them and play them on my iPad"

    The only reason I broke into a Best Buy and stole a Blu-Ray player was because it was impossible for me to watch movies on my TV without it.

    • Smaug

      Wrong. You can't play any Nintendo games on iOS. Another good point is that many GBA games and GBC games aren't on the Nintendo direct so you're gonna have to buy a physical copy which can get pretty expensive sometimes. Bad analogy.

      • McBlink

        What? My point is, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    • anarchy in the app store

      Except emulators are legal.... Way to over exaggerate.

      • McBlink

        The roms are.

      • anarchy in the app store

        Yes they are, as long as you own a copy of the game

  • russellkeane

    We bought a WiiU just for super smash brothers. Nintendo isn't going anywhere.

  • deathismario

    YOU CAN STILL GET THE APP ON COOLROM!! So, it's not entirely gone! ^_^

    • Zerol3onheart

      Can confirm. Dropbox support still works too. Don't delete this app!

    • pudquick

      Pretty sure that's the 1.x version of the app, not 2.0 (required for iOS 7) - unless you have a specific link that proves otherwise ... ?

      • Zerol3onheart

        I don't think I can post links here, but I'm 100% sure it's the new version. 2.0.3 to be exact. I'd attach a screenshot, but that doesn't prove anything. Google cool rom (dot) com and pick emulators, pick non-jail broken devices, and ENJOY MAXIMUM OLD SCHOOL GBA GOODNESS.

      • surirav

        Think it isn't gone.
        You can download on coolrom. And its is version 2.0.3.
        So guys get it.

  • SwithNova

    Might be impossible for some people to play these types of games I personally don't have a problem playing old games myself being that when I was a kid I was smart enough to realize that if I kept every system I grew up with as a kid that in the future like my comic books they would grow in value as time passed. I mean why emulate a sega or gba I have mine right here.

  • GenerallyEpic

    Why should the kid's product be taken down? The emulator isn't illegal, the ROMs are.

  • Goggles789

    I doubt there is a market. I think the reason this emulator is so hot is because a) all your games can go on it, making it very convenient, and b) it's free. Just because it's popular in it's current format doesn't necessarily mean that a mass market is possible. Nothing beats an actual GBA, let me tell you.

    • nicoper

      I completely agree with you, the feel of the GBA buttons are alot better than touchscreen buttons. I am using emulators only because I cant carry around a GBA and tons of game cartridges everywhere, it just doesent work out, emulation should imo be a conveniece when being away, not replacing the actual consoles

  • Vexka

    Having actually owned most of the old pokemon games, I am soooo stoked that they made this emulator so I can play on my phone.. My friend was excited to, as he's getting a new phone... But... With this... I don't think he'll be happy... Oh well, enough of that sad trombone, I'm going back to pokemon!! :D

  • Kane

    It's coming back, but changing the name completely and other works.

  • Cookies

    I'm very tempted to keep it just to spite them, ridiculous as that is.

  • surirav

    Thats why i cant install, is there an other way on non jb.

  • Glorkbot

    I wonder why it took Nintendo this long! You'd think they'd send the takedown notice the week it came out.

  • Darkenroll

    I think we can all agree that emulation is legal and that gba4ios as it is probably doesn't actually infringe any copyright. Whether a person dumps their own roms or illegally acquires them is their business. There does seem to be some grey area on whether downloading a copy of a game you own is the same as physically backing up your own copy, even though the end result is the same. Since gba4ios has a built in system to download roms(hosted elsewhere) it is harder to keep it separate from that issue, especially as the function is so convenient for piracy. I'm just surprised Nintendo didn't go for nds4ios first.

  • KusanagiShiro

    NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Gamer_Kev

    Accessing abandonware is one thing, but Nintendo still sells and makes money from their older titles. They have every right to protect their IPs. While it's true that their are companies that have abandoned their IPs for this system, there's no getting around the fact that most people are going to be using such an emulator to play pirated Nintendo games (if it's not abandoned, the it's piracy.)