Someone has created a Game Boy emulator for the Apple Watch

To be exact, Giovanni was the leader of Team Rocket in the original Pokemon games.

On March 18, iOS software developer Gabriel O'Flaherty-Chan released an emulator for Apple's wearable device, porting the popular game to the Apple Watch and allowing gamers to play it on their wrists.

A previous effort to bring more games to the Apple Watch saw Facebook developers run a barely playable Doom in 2015.

Giovanni is based on an existing Game Boy emulator called Gambatte, but producing a version that worked with the Apple Watch wasn't easy. With this emulator, you can run Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games on the Apple Watch.

He then decided to make an emulator, which would make a lot more games accessible on the watch.

The Game Boy, and the Pokemon games, were already designed with portability in mind, but Gabriel's hack means you can secretly battle Pikachus and Charizards in the middle of a meeting, under the guise of checking a work email on your watch. But if you want to tinker around and get it working anyway, the source code is available on Github for anyone who wants to build it and sideload it onto their watches.

This project demonstrates how far portable gaming has come over the past two decades, from dedicated hardware to an emulator running on a wristwatch.

The bulk of the display to the right is reserved for an invisible, virtual D-Pad, while the right portion is occupied by an also invisible A button. The digital crown can also be used for scrolling through lists, and the whole thing actually looks fairly usable for controlling a game. The remaining space was dedicated to extremely tiny Start and Select buttons.

O'Flaherty-Chan said he had to make some trade-offs between performance and framerate, which resulted in a somewhat slow but fairly useable result.

The image above is of Pokemon Yellow running on Giovanni. As well as the revamped control scheme, O'Flaherty-Chan had to work around the fact that the hardware doesn't support the graphics APIs utilized by iOS and MacOS.

  • Arturo Norris