Play Nintendo Games on the iPhone from Safari & Web NES Emulator
iPhone and iPad users have long wanted Nintendo games to come to the iOS platform, but thus far Nintendo has stayed away from releasing native games for any Apple hardware. That hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from figuring out ways to play Nintendo classics on their iPhones though, which typically that entails jailbreaking a device then installing an emulator from the Cydia store, but WebNES is different. Instead of requiring any downloads, messing with jailbreaks, tweaks, or apps, WebNES runs entirely in the web browser as a full-fledged Nintendo emulator. That means there’s just about no setup required. It works surprisingly well on the iPhone, though it’s slightly laggy sometimes, and should work just as well on the iPad, iPod touch, or any Android too. (Sorry desktop OS X users, but you can use the excellent OpenEMU instead).
To get started playing Nintendo on your iOS device, just head over to the appropriate page on a mobile device:
- Open Safari or Chrome browser in iOS and visit http://webn.es/
The emulator loads rather quickly, with five games that are pre-bundled to choose from. Controls are built directly into the web emulator, with the simple four-way directional pad, A, B, Select, and Start buttons that work with taps.
The bundled sample game choices aren’t the Nintendo classics like Mario or Zelda you’re probably hoping for, but as TouchArcade points out, you can tie WebNES to DropBox, which allows you to play your own NES ROM files from Dropbox through the web emulator. Of course, you’ll still need the ROMs and you’ll need a Dropbox account to do that, but the process is super simple:
- From Webn.es – tap on the [+] button alongside the WebNES logo to log into DropBox
- Navigate to and tap on the ROM file you want to play and select “Choose” to load it
This approach should work with any Nintendo ROM, TouchArcade demonstrates this with a screen shot of The Legend of Zelda playing natively in Safari on an iPhone 5s:
If you try to load the WebNES site in your desktop browser you’ll find it won’t work, but with the excellent emulator apps like OpenEMU available freely to desktop Mac users that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Having fun with WebNES? Bookmark it to your iOS home screen and it’ll be ready to play anytime you want some retro gaming action on the go.