Wednesday, March 6, 2019

GameClub Plans to Resurrect Abandoned iOS Games

Mitchel Broussard:

As Hodapp explained on TouchArcade, Apple’s frequent updates to the iPhone have caused ongoing problems for iOS developers on older App Store games. The first of these major issues hit during the release of the iPhone 4 in 2010 and its introduction of an increased resolution, which meant all developers needed to update their games with higher resolution textures.

While some developers decided to do this, others couldn’t justify spending time and money to modernize their games. Of course, this issue grew exponentially worse with the introduction of iOS 11 in 2017, bringing with it the removal of all 32-bit apps from the iOS App Store. TouchArcade kept an ongoing list of every 32-bit app that was no longer supported with iOS 11, including the TouchArcade app itself.


Now, Hodapp is leaving TouchArcade to address this issue with GameClub, a developer with the intent to bring the best of these forgotten and unplayable iOS games back to life. To achieve this, GameClub will handle all of the updates, ongoing maintenance, and support for each game, in essence becoming the new developer of the game.


7 Comments RSS · Twitter

Nice if it works. Have lots of games I wish were playable. Hopefully they add controller support to some games if they're fixing them by taking over the source code. There are some I suspect they'll not be able to take over such as Midway Arcade that had numerous games like Joust. (The alternative is to try and install a MAME emulator through some shady side loading or if you have a developer account try and get it to build and install yourself)

You seem to indicate there are emulators available on iOS, so I encourage you to build your library of ROMS by looking for trustworthy sites (hint, the wayback machine has some) and then reading a few emulator walkthroughs to get going. Essentially it took me a day or two of testing (i.e. playing games all day long for a couple days) and I found a setup that works pretty well for me. I'm on Android so everything is so much easier really. I'm using RetroArch from the Play Store right now with a front end app, Dig (also from, the Google Play Store), to make it look pretty. My playback machine is a 10" Fire 10 tablet with a couple Bluetooth controllers for multiplayer games. My daughter loves it and has stopped talking about a Switch, which I refuse to buy. Hardest part was figuring out controller binding and the best way to make the changes. I'm still fiddling, but it's coming together pretty well.

To be fair, I'm not sure how advanced of a system one can emulate with a cheap Mediatek based tablet, but I'm thinking Atari, NES, Gameboy, SNES, SMS, Genesis, Game Gear, Sega CD, 32X, and probably Saturn, and PS1 will all work fine. I've testing some of that already, but am working on PS1 and Sega Saturn games at the moment. I'm guessing Game Boy Advance will work, possibly even Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast might also work. PS2 and GameCube might be too much too ask, but even still, that's a lot of fun games to play through. Shoot, even getting to PS1 and Sega Saturn is just dandy.

I have no faith in apps on closed platforms like iOS sticking around for the long haul. I'm not optimistic at the success of the discussed endeavor in the original post, but wish Hodapp all the luck in the world. It's a worthy and fun effort.

Niall O'Mara

Yeah I'm with you there on Midway Arcade - kinda wish I didn't sell off my iPad 1 but instead kept it as an arcade machine for use with the iCade.
If only to have the superb Defender - So sad to have lost that.

Luckily the Atari Greatest Hits app has been kept up to date so still have Asteroids, Missile Command etc ;)

> To be fair, I'm not sure how advanced of a system one can emulate with a cheap Mediatek
> based tablet, but I'm thinking Atari, NES, Gameboy, SNES, SMS, Genesis, Game Gear,
> Sega CD, 32X, and probably Saturn, and PS1 will all work fine

The Saturn is notoriously difficult to emulate, but all of the 8-bit and 16-bit consoles, including the 32X, and probably also the PS1, which has pretty straightforward hardware and lots of work put into optimizing its emulators, should work.

And yes, the long-term way to preserve these old iOS games has to be though emulation, not through picking them individually and porting them to new OS versions. That just doesn't scale.

You weren't kidding. That sucker is moving at like 10 FPS if I'm lucky. Maybe 4 or 5 actually. I now have PS1, Dreamcast, and I think Nintendo 64 working (still tweaking controller settings on that last one). Genesis, Sega CD, and 32X are all working fine. Haven't done much with Nintendo yet besides the N64 setup, but it's all coming together as I get ROMs together.

I do agree, porting apps forward to new versions of iOS is just dandy, but the ability to simply keep existing apks running would be great since the task of one-offing these game updates seems positively herculean.

Yeah, turns out I misread your comment, iOS doesn't just have a limited selection of emulators, they might actually be banned outright!!!! I vastly prefer when my personal computing devices actually serve my needs and not

Wait, I just deleted the end of my sentenceā€¦to reiterate, devices need to serve our needs and not a faceless multinational monolith.

Tangent time,
Many years ago, I made the argument, regarding the Mac, that easy to use, simple out of the box to setup, and overall user friendliness did not make the platform a toy. No, instead, the platform was empowering. The Mac had the headroom to grow with me as my own personal knowledge base expanded. Look, Sane defaults that err on the side of simplicity are perfectly fine, but a walled garden that can't be breached? That's just a recipe for the user losing control. Yuck! iOS is not an empowering platform, not in the same way the Mac, at least not for me. If there was a "pro mode" for the iPad Pro maybe I would feel differently, but I don't. Sorry.

Old man rant over.

Leave a Comment