Stepping back and looking at what we are about to discuss almost becomes quite unsettling and makes you realise how quick technology is advancing. Exactly 10 years ago, Nokia released a mobile phone that would forever change gaming on the go, the Nokia 3310. Mention 'Snake' to anybody and they will most likely recall their old mobile phone and the constant battling of high scores between friends on their old monochrome screens.
While other phones at the time were beginning to introduce games as an extra feature, the simplicity and addictiveness of Snake really set the standard from here on. Shortly after followed the birth of Java J2ME games that could be bought via texting slightly fishy numbers from the adverts in magazines. And of course, the (awesome, but unfairly treated by game journalists with no taste) Nokia N-Gage, a true gaming phone only flawed by the unfair press it received before launch. (An article for another time)
Fast forward to 2010 and we arrive at the most fierce battle of all regarding mobile phones, Apple iOS Vs Google Android. Two powerful platforms, both well suited to gaming, one exclusive to the iPhone, the other available on a wide range of phones. But we shall leave that there as we're not a mobile phone website. Onto the gaming!
Let's kick off this new feature with focus on Sony Playstation 1 emulation on both these platforms.
Sony Playstation 1 emulation on the Apple iPhone
psx4iphone is the only PS1 emulator available on the iPhone. It has been developed by homebrew mastermind; ZodTTD, the one behind many of the iPhone emulators (someone we will be referring to again shortly).
Unfortunately though, the emulator most likely breaches a good 99% of the rules set by Apple, so it can only be acquired via a Jailbroken phone. We will not be providing a guide on jailbraking your iPhone, but there are plenty of guides out there.
As of writing, the emulator still suffers rather badly from slow down and bugs. While you might jump to conclusions here thinking that the emulation is pointless, think about it outside the box... Playstation 1 in your pocket, on a mobile phone. Not bad eh?
The main criticism would have to be the (lack of) controls on the iPhone. Anyone who has played games on the touch screen will no doubt have encountered troublesome control methods and frustrating moments on the iPhone. So to prevent those issues, we will show you a video with the iControlPad, an add-on controller in development for the iPhone.
ZodTTD has begun compiling a psx4iphone compatibility list which will no doubt continue to grow. But stand out promising features offer a fully playable (at around 80% speed) Final Fantasy VII and almost full speed Dino Crisis 2 & Gran Turismo 2 Arcade.
We can't deny that the emulator has it's weaknesses, but it's more the proof of concept and ability to play some low-end Playstation games on the go.
Still not impressed? Read on...
Sony Playstation 1 emulation on Android Phones
Here is where the real power comes into play. Unlike the Apple iPhone, the Android phones offer much more access to the hardware allowing them to really push the phone to it's limits. Some users have even managed to program new firmware for their devices and other interesting adjustments that iPhone users can only dream about.
However, despite this great power, the pull and marketing power behind Apple has left a rather large shadow over Android and it hasn't really been given it the praise it deserves. While the iPhone has had psx4iphone for nearly a year now, psx4droid was only released last week.
ZodTTD teamed up with one of the most prolific Android emulator developers, yongzh (who has brought us full speed Gameboy Advance, Super Nintendo and many more emulators) to deliver the same experience iPhone users have been enjoying. The advantage here for ZodTTD is that there are little restrictions on the Android App store and users can freely buy the application for a small $5.99.
And with that power described earlier, comes a much more advanced (and faster) version of a mobile Playstation 1 emulator. The video below can do the talking.
psx4droid offers incredible speeds for mobile emulation and is well worth a purchase for quick gaming sessions. But it's impressive features don't end there. Remember how we mentioned that the developers have much more control over the hardware on Android, well, it's now possible to sync up a Wii Remote Control Pad to an Android phone and use it as the primary controller for your emulators.
Conclusion / Round up
As we continue to write these short articles on Mobile Gaming 101, you might begin to sense a bit of bias towards the Android phones, but having experienced both for a good while, I can easily say that the Android phones are the perfect phone for any Retro Gamer.
In the upcoming articles we will take a look at the Commodore Amiga, Gameboy Advance, Sega Megadrive and many more emulators that are out there. In the meantime, go sort out a new phone contract and get gaming!
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