The iOS Game Emulator To Get

Delta set the standard long ago and is now in the App Store for playing old school Nintendo games on the iPhone
‎Delta - Game Emulator
‎Delta is an all-in-one emulator for iOS. Delta builds upon the strengths of its predecessor, GBA4iOS, while expanding to include support for more game systems such as NES, SNES, N64, and DS. FEATURES Supported Game Systems • Nintendo Entertainment System • Super Nintendo Entertainment System • Nin…

Since I linked to the first (ultimately pulled) Game Boy emulator the other day, figured it was worth linking to Delta, by developer Riley Testut, who created GBA4iOS back in the day, which the aforementioned emulator ripped off, which is the reason it was pulled.

Juli Clover has a good overview/walk-through for MacRumors:

With official support available for emulators, Testut this morning released his latest emulator, Delta, on the ‌App Store‌. Unlike the other two emulators that have been released in the last week, Delta is incredibly polished and provides an all-around pleasant gameplay experience.

Delta supports game systems that include the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. Skins for the different systems load automatically depending on what's being played, and the app does an excellent job making you feel like you're playing on a retro Nintendo device.

It is worth noting that Delta is such a great emulator because it is not, in fact, new. It has been able to be installed on iPhone using alternate installation means, but the ‌App Store‌ is a much more streamlined way to get it. Delta is the must have emulator, at least for NES content.

I'm happy to report that while the pulled emulator was pretty good, Delta is great. It's polished, easy to use, and well, let's you play Game Boy, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Nintendo DS games on the iPhone – and, iPad, Mac, and even, it seems, the Vision Pro (I haven't tried this just yet).

Delta's on-screen controls work flawlessly for games, but it is also compatible with a wide range of retro and modern game controllers. It supports save and load states, and content can be synced between devices. There are also advanced features like support for Game Genie and GameShark cheat codes, a hold button, and fast forward for speeding through slow parts of games.

I was mostly impressed that they got Nintendo 64 controls working well in such tight screen real estate. Players of that old system will recall how large that controller was – the trident! – and amazingly, Delta squeezes all those buttons onto a surface roughly the size of a Game Boy. I was playing Goldeneye 64 last night just like I was 16 years old all over again.

All that said, I found the joystick of the N64 controls a little hard to get use to for constant movement. The buttons are all great thanks to haptic feedback, but the joystick makes it hard to orient yourself when you're constantly using it. The good news is that Delta works with a wide range of physical controllers via Bluetooth.

When you import a game, Delta automatically detects the appropriate box art, and there is support for 3D Touch and app icon shortcuts for accessing recent and favorite games.

The box art element works less well in my experience. At least automatically – but Delta makes it super simple to pull box art from other sources, including a games database they link to in the app. As for importing:

There are no games included with Delta when you install it, but it can open zipped files that are uploaded to iCloud Drive, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Apple's ‌App Store‌ rules permit "retro game console emulator apps" and Apple says that developers are required to ensure that their software complies with "all applicable laws."

I'm still sort of surprised that Apple reversed their stance on such software, but I'm certainly happy about it! And I'm quite certain Nintendo is not. So I'd suggest you download Delta now, just in case.