Delta is an app that won’t get taken down

Delta: An Upgraded Emulator for Switches and Bluetooth Controllers for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, Nintendo Advance, and DS

The Delta emulator is coming to Apple App Store — for free — outside of the European Union, where it’s available via the third-party AltStore PAL app marketplace that just went live.

The emulator that iGBA resembled, though, is now available on the app store: Delta, a free, upgraded version of an emulator designed specifically for iOS that supports games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and DS, making games created for those systems playable on iPhone screens. The emulator is “focused on providing a polished, easy-to-use emulation experience, with iOS-specific features like AirPlay,” says its creator, Riley Testut. It supports a variety of controllers, including Nintendo Switch Pro controllers, Joy-Cons, Nintendo Switch Online controllers, and PS5 and Xbox Series X.

It supports Bluetooth controllers like Xbox One Series S or PS5 controllers, too, and the app lets you customize their layout or set extra buttons for things like quick save states (essentially letting you pause a game whenever you want and load it up from that point later) or fast-forward through an old-school game’s all-too-often unskippable cutscenes or endless stream of startup logos.

Delta even works with some of the quirkier Nintendo input methods, like the gyroscope in WarioWare: Twisted! or the microphone controls in Nintendo DS games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (“OBJECTION!”).

Delta has other touches, too, such as automatically grabbing the box art for your games and the ability to customize that art using its built-in database or your own custom images, and users can import controller skins or make their own. It also supports both online and on-demand gaming for the N64, as well as multi-player games in the NES, SNES, and N64

Testut was shocked and disappointed that iGBA had made it to Apple’s platform before his project. He wrote on threads that he was angry because Apple took the time to change App Store rules to allow emulators, then approved a knock-off of his own app.

Notably, Testut’s app isn’t new. He released the 1.0 version of Delta in 2019 alongside the original AltStore alternative to jailbreaking. That means the app has already been through five years of feature and bug-fixing iterations, so it will likely be one of the most polished emulation experiences on the iPhone for a while.

Testut, a USC student and app developer, tells WIRED he first learned of iGBA’s existence on Discord, where Patreon supporters were talking about it Saturday night. He quickly recognized his handiwork in the emulator listed on the App Store. It was obvious that the controller skins andUI were identical and the app had a unique internal name.

The developer apologized to Testut for the mess they made and didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

Markers of Game Preservation: The Case for Legal Emulation of Classical and Classical Games – An Answer to Spencer’s Questions

Even industry leaders believe emulation could be the answer to the preservation problems in gaming. Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox company, said that he wants legal emulation for modern hardware to allow anyone to play any game. Microsoft has since set up an internal team focused on preservation of Xbox games.

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