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If you are an iOS user, chances are you know how difficult it can be running classic video games on the devices, unless of course you jailbreak the device. If you are not willing to do that to your pricey Apple equipment, it gets even harder. But sometimes, an app available on the Apple App Store that has a feature not widely known can slip past Apple’s fingers. An official app called Gridlee is currently on the list, as it doubles as a MAME emulator, bringing the power of the arcade in the palm of your hands.

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The original game of “Gridlee” was an arcade game that was never officially released in arcades, and was developed by a company called Vidla in 1982. The game is being made available via the App Store by a man named David Loureiro. It was originally made available for download on January 25th. The description of the app indicates that it uses “emulation technology”, using MAME 0.139u1. With this information, it was discovered that other arcade ROMs could be entered into the program.

Previously, there was an application available called iMAME, which was available for just about a week back in December of 2011. However it was pulled from the App Store, supposedly because of Apple’s long-standing policy of not permitting applications capable of running emulated software on its devices. Touch Arcade has reported that Gridlee is based off of the powerful MAME4iOS, which provides support for external controllers (including but not limited to the ever popular iCade system), and features advanced visual filters, cheat support. By copying individual game ROMS into a special folder, you will make Gridlee load a list of games that you provide to start once you load the program.

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The ROM folder is accessed using your home computer, and a program called iExplorer, which is a program that makes it possible to copy game ROMs to and Apple iOS hardware. iExplorer is a totally free piece of software, which will permit classic gamers to access specific parts of the iOS file system.

When you want to add a game to your library, you download the original hardware ROM to your PC, and by using iExplorer, you drag the ROM into the “roms” folder, found within the “Documents” sub folder. Be sure that the Gridlee program is not running in the background while you are doing this. Once you re-open the app, instead of running Gridlee, a listing of all installed games will appear.

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So if you have always wanted to run MAME on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you’ll want to grab a copy of Gridlee before it’s too late, because it’s assumed that it won’t last long, as soon as it’s discovered. Even if you want to play with it at a later date, grab it NOW before it’s taken off the store. (Of course, news reports like this one won’t slow down the process, so if you even have a curiosity of using the program, download it now and work on it later.) The program is currently available for free on the Apple App Store, requires about 85MB of available space, and runs on iPhone 3GS or later, iPod Touch 3rd generation or later, and iPad. The program will only run on iOS devices running iOS version 5.1 or later, and has been optimized for iPhone 5.

Note: Legally, you must possess the original arcade cabinetry in order to run the game by using any emulation method. Because of this, we at RGN will not provide any users of any online sites that specialize in downloading ROM program images.

(Update: As of 3/2/13, the app has been removed from the App Store.)

iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gridlee/id595117070?mt=8

iExplorer: http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/