Recently, Apple made a slight change to its policy on game emulation, which led to a surge in emulator apps being added and removed from the iOS App Store. One notable addition to this trend is RetroArch, a frontend app for game emulation that offers access to over 75 system emulators, including variants for various Nintendo consoles. Developed by Daniel De Matteis, this app is currently available for free on iPhone, iPad, and tvOS, with a macOS version in the works.

RetroArch is not an emulator itself, but rather a platform where individual emulator ‘cores’ can be uploaded. This allows for a wide range of systems to be emulated, with support for consoles like the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and even more obscure systems like the Virtual Boy. Additionally, the app includes cores for Sega consoles, NEC PC Engine, PlayStation, PSP, and many others, making it a comprehensive tool for retro gaming enthusiasts.

While RetroArch offers support for a plethora of systems, there are limitations to what can be emulated on Apple devices. More powerful emulators, such as Dolphin for Wii/GameCube emulation and Dreamcast cores, are not included in RetroArch due to restrictions around JIT compilation. This means that while there is a vast selection of emulated systems available, some of the more demanding emulators are currently not supported by the app.

Compatibility and Requirements

To run RetroArch on iOS devices, users must have a minimum of iOS 14.2 installed on their device. This ensures that the app runs smoothly and provides the best possible experience for users. More detailed information about RetroArch and its compatibility can be found in the FAQ section of the app’s official website.

The addition of RetroArch to the iOS App Store represents a significant step forward for game emulation on Apple devices. With its expansive library of emulated systems and user-friendly interface, RetroArch offers a unique opportunity for gamers to revisit classic titles on their iPhones and iPads. While there are some limitations to the app’s capabilities, it still stands as a versatile tool for retro gaming enthusiasts looking to relive the nostalgia of old-school gaming consoles.


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