Remember the Game Boy? It was Nintendo’s crowning handheld achievement in the days when video games were a new and exciting medium. The Game Boy allowed us to take our video games out of our living rooms and play them on the go – wherever we went. It was the first of its kind.
Today of course the modern smart-phone has far outweighed the need for an individual portable gaming console. There are thousands upon thousands of games available for play on the iPhone alone. While this certainly suffices as means for adequate mobile gaming, there is always a certain joy to playing the games of old in their original form. Who doesn’t enjoy a round of Game Boy’s original Super Mario Land, or Mega Man? Nintendo still produces Game Boys, now in color, technologically advanced 3D graphics, and dual screens. Yet one thing Nintendo never did was strike any sort of deal with Apple, or any other platform, to sell their trademarked games as applications. Who hasn’t looked for Mario Bros. or Castle Quest as games in Apple’s App Store? For those who have the latest iPhone, is it really worth spending the money on a Game Boy just to play vintage Kirby’s Dream Land?
I have seen several examples of iPhones which are jailbroken uploaded with vintage Nintendo games. However many people (myself included) have no interest in having their phones jailbroken. Certainly not for a game.
Enter: A nifty new platform, designed for the iPhone 5. Game Play by InSeven Limited has developed the loophole that my geeky Mario-loving self has been looking for. Interested? Well, the details are very specific. But if you have what’s needed to set it up, why not give it a try?
An iPhone 5
The company has developed this program specifically for the latest version of the iPhone (iPhone only). At least for now…
A Google Drive account & iPhone App
If you have a Gmail account, you have access to Google Drive, used to save and store files online. The App (which is free) is available at the App Store.
- Step 1: Add the Program Link to your Home Page
The link must be visited on the phone so the website can be bookmarked to your phone’s home screen directly. The link is http://inseven.co.uk/apps/gameplay/app/
Press ADD button on your screen to open the options.
Step 2: If you don’t already have it, download the Google Drive App
Google Drive is free in the App Store.
- Step 3: Find and Download Game Boy ROM files
This step tends to be the trickiest one. The Game Play website cannot directly offer the ROM files for download. Instead, it is suggested that you search for the files yourself. Game Play does provide a list of games which currently will work for the application:
Adventure Island, Adventure Island 2,Bionic Commando, Bomberman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Castle Quest, Castlevania 2 – Belmont’s Revenge, Double Dragon, Dr. Mario, Duck Tales 1, Duck Tales 2, Fist of the North Star, Kirby’s Dream Land, Mega Man 1, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, Mystical Ninja, Ninja Boy 1, Ninja Boy 2, Ninja Gaiden Shadow, Othello, Ren & Stimpy Space Cadet Advenutres, Super Mario Land, Tale Spin, Tecmo Bowl, The Castlevania Adventure (’86), The Flash, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, The Pagemaster, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures – Montana’s Movie Madness, Tiny Toon Advenutres – Bab’s Big Break, TMNT – Fall of the Foot Clan, TMNT II – Back from the Swewers, TMNT III – Radical Rescue, Yoshi’s Cookie.
There are several different websites which can be used to find and to download game ROMS. The one I personally utilized most was one called DopeRoms.com. Specifically, if you search for game boy games, this page lists the games used for the original Game Boy, which are the only ones that currently work for the iPhone application:
*Note: The game ROMs will be labeled as GB, GBC, or both. (Game Boy and/or Game Boy Color) – If the file is only listed as GBC, it will not work.
- Step 4: Save the downloaded Roms to a folder in Google Drive.
- Step 5: Add artwork
The photos for the games must be downloaded and added as well. To find the artwork,
search for it. For example, for the game Super Mario Land, I Googled Super Mario Land under images and found several shots of the original cartridge artwork:
Once downloaded, add the artwork file to the same google drive folder as its game.
You then must rename the artwork file to exactly match that of the game, only changing the file type from gb to jpg.
- Step 6: Open the App!
*Notes on the application
- There is no sound on any of the games for Game Play. Do not be concerned when there is no sound for the games. It is not yet available. The application creators are working to add this feature soon.
- The games cannot be saved. If the application is closed, the game will be lost and can only be started from the beginning the next time the application is opened. If the iPhone itself is turned off while Game Play is running, the game will continue where you left off.
InSeven Limited, the company behind Game Play, has stated that they are continuously working to improve the program. They hope to bring Game Play to other platforms soon, and are seeking to expand to include Game Boy Color games in the near future.