Play Nintendo Games on the iPhone from Safari & Web NES Emulator

Feb 17, 2014 - 4 Comments

WebNES for iPhone plays Nintendo games

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:

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.

Play Nintendo games on the iPhone

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:

  1. From Webn.es – tap on the [+] button alongside the WebNES logo to log into DropBox
  2. Navigate to and tap on the ROM file you want to play and select “Choose” to load it

WebNES Nintendo emulator for iOS runs in a web browser

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:

Playing Zelda on the iPhone with WebNES

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.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Games, iPhone

4 Comments

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  1. MacTech says:

    Nice concept! There are a few bugs, and no sound 99% of the time. Also a bit laggy. Was able to successfully load and play a few ROM’s, but with the lag, made it hard to play anything seriously. But it has great potential! It’s a nice alternative to emulation without Jailbreaking.

  2. Rb says:

    Probably not a good idea to condone (first) and advertise for (second) playing pirated and emulated games on your site. Just…not a good idea. Want to play NES games? Great! Nintendo happens to have hardware currently available at retail to play legitimate copies of these games. Don’t want to spend the money on a 3DS or Wii U? Fine. Go to a swap meet (or craigslist, or ebay, etc) and buy either a bona fide NES or one of the third party clones that will typically allow you to play games for NES, SNES, Genesis, etc all in one.

    • Tom Scott says:

      The five bundled games are creative commons, not “pirated” and not under a copyright. Did you even bother to look at WebNES? They’re just a few games that are knock-offs of originals, Tetramino is similar to Tetris, etc.

      Anyway, there’s no issue with emulators.

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