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Apple Pulls C64 Emulator From the App Store 580

Rob Hearn sends in a piece up at on why Apple suddenly pulled Manomio's C64 emulator soon after finally approving it. (El Reg has coverage too.) "It was a glorious few moments for retro gamers when Manomio's C64 emulator was finally approved by Apple and released to the eager, nostalgic iPhone public. Then, calamity! It was gone again. Apparently some wily users figured out how to access the Commodore 64 BASIC system that was originally packaged with the emulator — something that Apple wasn't too happy with, given the nature of the interpreter's code. By setting the keyboard to 'always on,' launching a game and restarting BASIC, players got into the 'empty shell' of their C64 emulator."
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Apple Pulls C64 Emulator From the App Store

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  • The n900 cometh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kirin Fenrir ( 1001780 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:30PM (#29353725)
    For technophiles, the iPhone is dead. The n900, with it's Debian-based-OS and open platform, is our new lord and savior. []
  • Imagine a future.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:33PM (#29353791) Journal

    Where the C64 emulator becomes THE preferred programming environment on the iphone as Apple neglects to understand the nature of the threat...causing a renisannce in C64 programming; catapulting a once dead platform from the grave back into stardom...

  • Re:And then what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:37PM (#29353877)

    The point is you arent allowed to have any sort of dynamic, interpreted code at all. No java, no .net runtime, no assembly interpreter, no scripts, no nothing.

    You see, it opens the door for people to write their own C64 basic phones and run them on the iPhone, without - gasp - Steve Jobs approving, or getting paid! I could write my own "lemonade stand" game, and distribute it, OUTSIDE OF APPLES OFFICIAL CHANNELS?


    BTW, you can do a whole lot from a c64 shell when you're clever.. You're obviously too young to know.

  • by chriso11 ( 254041 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:41PM (#29353933) Journal

    Maybe they are coming out with a Apple ][ emulator, and it represents too much competition...

  • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:54PM (#29354135) Homepage Journal

    Or the Android platform, it's definitely getting interesting with the Sprint offering coming next month and a whole slew of phones hitting Europe and the US.

  • by cirby ( 2599 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:09PM (#29354345)

    Commodore's BASIC was licensed from Microsoft with a one-time fee. If I were Apple, I wouldn't let Microsoft BASIC anywhere NEAR this emulator until I got a signed legal document from Microsoft saying that the license covered all derivatives of the Commodore device, or that Apple had a free and clear right to use it.

  • Re:And then what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:12PM (#29354383)

    Okay, treating this whole story more seriously than Apple's stupid deserves:

    The evil they fear is user generated content that bypass the app approval process. Like shaking a baby to death with giant flying dongs while 'Heil Hitler Satan' scrolls in the background. Or worse, writing a clone of some copyrighted game. Or even worse, using emulated SID to play copyrighted music. BASIC would let you do that. This is presumably what they fear.

    Now there's nothing to stop you from writing this game on your C64 without BASIC, creating an image, and then just running it in the emulator, as far as I can tell. Other than needing to know 6502 assembly, which is no big deal. But nobody ever accused the App Store monkeys of consistency.

  • Re:And then what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Evro ( 18923 ) * <> on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:18PM (#29354467) Homepage Journal

    Radio Shack is where you do a "format c:" on whatever computer they have on display... then get banned from the store. :(

  • Re:And then what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:34PM (#29354721)

    Format c: didn't apply to the TRS 80 (aka the "Trash 80" as it was often called :)).

    Interestingly enough "way back in the day" when I had my own C64 my aunt had a TRS-80 that she'd bought for my cousins to use. They were older than me by a ways (and only 1 year apart from each other), so they both graduated shortly after the computer was purchased. She ended up just giving the thing to me since I'd been over there to mess with it quite a bit. To a young kid who was already well into geekdom just getting an extra computer back then to play on was just awesome.

    Looking back, no, I didn't like it as much as my Commodore, but it was still fun. One of my best pranks as a kid was to write a BASIC program for that TRS-80 and left sitting in memory. Somehow I coaxed my cousin to run it later and it printed out a nice connection string about connecting to a classified DoD computer and after the two of us spending 10 minutes trying to guess the password (after which I let the correct out just slip out :)) it logged in and started displaying "top secret documents" on how they'd really found aliens on the moon during the Apollo missions. She got freaked out for a while before I finally let her in on the joke. It was kinda fun to live in that age when people were gullible enough to accept ANYTHING that popped up on screen.

  • POKE and Sandbox (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mistapotta ( 941143 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:35PM (#29354725)
    I remember using PEEK and POKE to manipulate the memory on the C64. Is the emulator sufficiently sandboxed or could you use POKE outside of the conventional memory to brick^H^H^H^H^Hfree your iPod?
  • Re:Apple Hates Geeks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AP31R0N ( 723649 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:53PM (#29354983)

    (This reply is not for popo's benefit.)

    You're right about the control. That's how they shape the "Apple Experience". i despise Apple and it's products, and most of their fans. But i can tell you this from my conversations with Mac Heads on /. and Fark: Apple is all about the experience of a system that is hard to mess up. They trade freedom for security. Apple's control is about giving you a standard issue item. "You'll have it our way and like it". Not out of meanness or just to make more money, but so that the users have that sense of "everything is going to be ok and just like it was yesterday".

    Windows has to run on perhaps hundred of mother boards. OSX has to run on a handful... all of which are made by Apple. Remember, Apple is a hardware company, not a OS company. The flexibility needed in Windows to run on hundred of possible combinations of mobo, RAM, HD and CPU means that it can't be quite as tight as OSX. OSX gets part of its stability and predictability from the fact that the hardware is all known and tightly controlled. If Dell was the ONLY way to get a Windows machine you'd quickly see it become far more stable as there would be fewer variables (and fewer options).

    Console -- Mac -- PC -- Linux

    That might be the Security to Freedom continuum. Consoles are hard coded and pretty hard to mess up. A PC is easy to mess up for an incompetent user (i never have the problems people who bitch about windows seem to have). Linux might be the most at the mercy of the user. Alas, there's just not much compatible with it.

    Having an Apple product is like living with over protective parents. They love you, they take care of you and give you all kinds of treats. But ultimately you're very limited. In the case of their products, i guess it's a trade off the user must make. The warm cocoon, or the scary wilds. i prefer the scary wilds... because i can handle it.

    Also you could point out the grammatical error in the slogan....

  • Re:And then what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @03:17PM (#29355293)

    Write arbitrary code.

    Which is against Apple's T&Cs.

    Because the iPhone isn't intended to be an all-purpose pocket computer - its a phone and music player.

    Apple's fear is that people will install buggy apps that screw up the phone, and then blame Apple. No conspiracy needed. If they were purely interested in lock-out they'd never have approved Spotify.

    If Apple allowed apps that ran arbitrary code they'd have to check not just the C64 emu but every app with a macro or scripting facility to ensure that they were adequately sandboxed. That would be a lot of work.

    If you want a phone where, if you break it, you get to keep both pieces, go buy an Android phone or (if you want to lose the will to live) Windows Mobile.

    Disclaimer, I have an Android phone, and an iPod Touch (iPhone without a phone) and am looking for a sufficiently deep hole in which to cast my old WM phone. So I'm not a complete fanboi.

    Meanwhile, this guy agreed to remove BASIC but either deliberately or negligently left it in. I'd rather not install their software, in case they negligently or deliberately left anything els in, thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @03:43PM (#29355673)

    I doubt any of those games depend on the built in basic of the C64.

    Also while Balmer can be crazy he does it have right its about 'developers'. Apple is just in a hurry to tick off the current generation. They did it with the Apple II, the III, the Lisa, the Mac, the newton, etc... Charging an arm and a leg the whole time. It made them seem cool but eventually relegated themselves into 'toy' category.

    There is a reason MS is in the position it is in instead of Apple. Apple was way more closed than MS could even dream of being. Apple was too busy trying to nickel and dime everyone at every turn. Then turning around and making sure they are in control of every aspect of the 'look'.

    I gave up on Apple eons ago. The last thing I bought from them was an ipod (6 years ago). I got tired of them shifting position everytime the computing winds suited them.

    They really have better hardware. Software is hit or miss in quality.

    This is not the case anymore but it shows what Apple is thinking. Had a boss tell me a true statement a few years ago, we were writing Apple and MS software (it was our main income for the application). He said 'in a few years no one will write for the Apple anymore.' I thinking him crazy ask 'why do you think that?' 'It is simple' he said, 'They charge too much to develop for them'. 'What do you mean?' I asked. 'I can buy 1 dev kit from MS for 500 bucks, less if I get it in volume. Apple wants 50k per developer per year. I can outfit 10 developers for that price.' They do not do that anymore but it shows how they think. They lost the tinkerers to BSD and Linux and the corp app dudes to MS. All that is left were the 'we will never give it up' guys. So now they make devices for fickle teenager fashion statements. They will now have to continuously reinvent their 'look' to keep the cash coming in.

    Dont worry the iPhone is this phone gens RAZR. It will be something else in a few years it may even be another iPhone.

    Apple is a company that makes cool gadgets that are occasionally useful. The trick is sorting out the garbage ones from the ones that are truly going to stay.

  • Re:And then what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @04:21PM (#29356339)

    Disclaimer, I have an Android phone, and an iPod Touch (iPhone without a phone) and am looking for a sufficiently deep hole in which to cast my old WM phone. So I'm not a complete fanboi.

    I was close to getting an Android phone. But then I realized the T-Mobile service around me stunk, and didn't like that idea.

    Then I considered getting one unlocked (either through Google Developer or after a few months on T-Mobile) but learned that Google locked out the copyrighted apps from their store. Wasn't a major fan of that, though it didn't 100% stop me.

    The final straw was the scrollball. I had one on a Blackberry Pearl that cr@pped out and it drove me nuts. I figured it was just bad luck.

    But then the trackball on a floor model at a T-Mobile store was also screwed up.

    So between T-Mobile, Google's anti-unlocked stance, and the scrollball I decided to ignore it for now. It may sound petty, but the 3 things combined were enough to get me to stop.

    Other than that, nice phone. In the end though I went iPhone.

    Maybe the next time around.

  • Re:And then what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @07:28PM (#29359291)

    S60 r5 has a lot of the same functionality as the iPhone these days - and guess what - I can run any app I like on it including C64 emulators. Yeah the n97 is kinda expensive (599$) but 32 gigs, expandable to another 48 gigs, user serviceable battery, and freedom to use the device on ANY network I have a sim card for, and run any app I want is really quite cool.

    Oh and Symbian has always had copy/paste ;).

  • Re:And then what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @09:27PM (#29360445) Journal
    On jailbroken iPhones this emu is hackable. So far I've only been able to get Impossible Mission working fully, but Ghostbusters, Castle Wolfenstein, and a few others I threw in to the games directory in the app bundle load and are functional and nearly playable. A little more time and I'll have them working, too.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!