How To Play Console Games On The iPhone

Jackson Chung 20-02-2009

iphone-console-games We have previously covered how you can play old school console games on your computer How to Play Old School Console Games on Computer Read More . Now, what about bringing it one step further and install these game consoles on your iPhone so that you can play them while you are on the move?


While there are many games available in the App Store, some with excellent graphics and AI, some people (perhaps the older generation) still prefer to get their hands on the old console games which they spent their childhood playing.

To be able to play console games on your iPhone, there are three things that you must do:

1. Jailbreak Your iPhone

I have previously discussed how to jailbreak your iPhone Should You Still Jailbreak Your iPhone? It used to be that if you wanted advanced functionality on your iPhone, you'd jailbreak it. But is it really worth it at this stage in the game? Read More with the Pwnage tool, so this should be an easy task for you.

2. Be Able To Access Your iPhone Filesystem From The Computer

I have also discussed 6 different ways that you can use your iPhone as an external hard disk 6 Ways to Use iPhone as an External Hard Drive It's quite straightforward to use an iPod as an external hard drive, but what about an iPhone? Read More . For Windows users, DiskAid or iPhone browser are great software that you can use to transfer files to your iPhone. In Mac, the OpenSSH or Netatalk method is preferred.

3. Get working ROMs for the respective game consoles

While ROMs are freely available online, MakeUseOf can’t help you find them. Downloading ROMs for games that you don’t own is piracy, and doing so is your decision to make.


Let’s get started…

Assuming that you have got the above three steps ready, here’s what you do to install the various iPhone game consoles.

On your iPhone, load up the Cydia application. (the Cydia application will appear only if you have jailbroken your iPhone). Navigate to the Games section. This will be the place where you will find most of the emulator.

Sega Genesis Emulator for iPhone

sega games iphonegenesis4iphone is the iPhone emulator for Sega Genesis (MegaDrive) that you can use to play sega games on iPhone. It is based on the popular PicoDrive emulator.

In your Cydia, install genesis4iphone from the Games. You should see the GENESIS icon on your iPhone main screen.


Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your Genesis game ROM into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/GENESIS/ in your iPhone.

Back to your iPhone main screen, load the Genesis application and you can start to enjoy your Sega Genesis game.


GameBoy Advance Emulator

gameboy-games-iphoneTo play GameBoy Advance games on your iPhone, first install gpSPhone from the Cydia installer.


Search and download the gba_bios.bin file that is required for the emulator to function.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your GBA ROMs and the gba_bios.bin file into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/GBA/ in your iPhone.

Load the GBA application from your iPhone main screen and enjoy your game.

play gameboy games on iphone


Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME)

mame-iphoneIf you are a fan of arcade games, then MAME is the application that allows you to play all your favorite arcade game on your iPhone. The MAME version in the iPhone supports many arcade machines from the 1970’s to 2000.

Install mame4iphone from Cydia.

If you have downloaded your favorite MAME game ROMs in zipped format, do not unzip.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your MAME zipped ROM into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/MAME/roms/ to your iPhone.

Load the MAME application from the iPhone main screen. Once a game is started, it will ask you to press OK. Use RIGHT then LEFT then RIGHT then LEFT to press OK.

mame games iphone

Nintendo Emulator

nintentdo-emulator-iphoneNintendo is one of the most popular old school game consoles, so we definitely won’t miss it in this list.

Install NES from Cydia.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your NES ROMs into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/NES/ in your iPhone.

Load the NES application from the iPhone main screen.

play nintendo games on iphone


scummvmFor those who miss the LucasArts SCUMM interpreter, used in games such as Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Day Of The Tentacle and Sam and Max, here is the emulator for the iPhone.

In your Cydia, you have to first add the Scumm repositories. Go to the Repositories section in Cydia and install the package Urban Fanatics’ Source.

Next, go to the Games section, you should now find the ScummVM package available for installation.

If you have difficulty finding ScummVM files, the home page does have quite a number of games available for download.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your ScummVM files into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/ScummVM/.

Load the application from the iPhone main screen and you are good to go.

scummvm iphone

Sony Playstation Emulator

psx4iphoneThis emulator refers to Playstation 1, not versions 2 or 3.

Install psx4iphone from Cydia.

Search and download the scph1001.bin file in Yahoo (Yahoo gives better search results than Google in this case). This is the BIOS file required to play all PS games.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your PS ROMs and the bios file into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/PSX/ in your iPhone.

sony playstation games iphone

Due to the hardware limitation, some of the graphics intensive games could be slow and sluggish.

Super Nintendo emulator

snes4iphoneInstall snes4iphone from Cydia.

Using your OpenSSH (or DiskAid), transfer your SNES ROMs into the folder /var/mobile/Media/ROMs/SNES/. If you have a ROM in the zipped format, that is fine. You can upload the zipped file to the iPhone folder.

Load the SNES application from the iPhone main screen.

super nintendo iphone emulator

That’s it. Enjoy your old console games on your iPhone.

If you have installed and played console games on your iPhone, tell us about your experiences, whether it was good, bad, sluggish performance, exciting etc..

Image credit: Mustafa Maluka

Related topics: Emulation, iPhone Game, iPod Touch, Mobile Gaming.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hassan
    November 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Does anyone know if their are any iPhone app reviews on emulators? I am always afraid that doing this stuff will permanently damage my iPhone.

  2. rock
    September 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I got SNES to work, when cydia installed it a ROM/SNES directory was created.

    But when trying NES it didnt work, and it didnt create a directory. I created my own, but it still doesnt work. I tried reboot, re-installing. any suggestions?

  3. Peter
    August 16, 2009 at 6:32 am

    The only Thing Is That NES3 For firmware 3.0. and 3.0.1. Isn't for free!

  4. paul f
    April 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    can this be done for the ipod touch ??

    • Damien Oh
      April 30, 2009 at 12:56 am

      Yes, absolutely.

  5. Brainiac
    February 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Nice, my iPhone now has Mario on it!

    • Damien Oh
      February 22, 2009 at 4:46 am

      and plenty of other games too.

  6. legend of mir
    February 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    'bout time too!

  7. T.J. Mininday
    February 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Nice tutorial. Could have used this last weekend when I finally got the NES working on my iPhone. My phone just seemed being jailbroken.

    Maybe I'll try again this weekend.

  8. Me
    February 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    They actually just released a Gameboy/Gameboy Color emulator as well, just fyi.

    • Damien Oh
      February 20, 2009 at 6:21 pm

      If I am not wrong, the Gameboy emulator is still in beta and not in the Cydia installer yet. Correct me if I am wrong.

      • Me
        February 21, 2009 at 8:58 pm

        It was in my Cydia, but that doesn't mean it isn't in Beta. I have added all the repositories to mine, so it may have shown up but was under a test repository or something.

      • Damien Oh
        February 22, 2009 at 4:45 am

        I think I must have missed that one. Thanks for pointing out to me.