Even though the Wanle Gamers Console case adds a bit of bulk to an iPhone—specifically, the iPhone 6 on up—it’s a clever way to protect your device and give you a great Game Boy emulator you can carry around. I mean, the case even looks like a Game Boy. That’s going to make for some interesting bar conversation when the people sitting near you watch you Face ID into your device, flip it around, and start throwing down some sick monochromatic Tetris moves.
At $80, the Wanle Gamers Console commands a pretty steep price for nostalgia—more than the cost of a typical Game Boy or Game Boy Advance on eBay, and even a brand-new Nintendo 2DS. Luckily, if you just care about some authentic retro gaming on your smartphone and don’t need a fully functional piece of hardware to take down memory lane, you have a few other options. (Unless you score the Game Boy iPhone case for its sale price of $25, which isn’t a bad deal for its quirkiness.)
One of the best-in-class Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for the iPhone can be a pain in the butt to install, seeing as Apple isn’t going to let GBA4iOS anywhere near the sacred halls of the App Store for some odd reason.
If you also have a Mac, you can try sideloading the app onto your iPhone, but it’s a long, convoluted process that requires you to pose as an Apple Developer and re-sign the app’s certificate every seven days—unless you’re a paid member of Apple’s developer program, which then bumps up that re-signing hassle to only once a year.
You’re probably best off paying $10 annually for a Buildstore account, which gives you a much easier way to install GBA4iOS (and other useful third-party apps and emulators, including the almighty ScummVM).
And be sure to keep an eye out for Delta, a follow-up to GBA4IOS—currently in beta testing—that should allow you to play ROMs for even more game consoles.
As our friends at Gizmodo put it, the modified emulator Giovanni allows you to “turn your Apple Watch into a Game Boy that sucks.” Though more a proof-of-concept than a high-performing emulator, Giovanni is at least an option if you crave the ability to fire up classic games wherever you go. And it’s a smart project, too—fully integrating the Watch’s digital crown as a controller input and using a tiny virtual keyboard to display the Game Boy’s full, albeit limited range of buttons.
That said, get ready for less-than-stellar frame rates—which feels a bit odd, since you’re playing not-so-demanding Game Boy games. And installing Giovanni is a bit of a process, too.
Abandon iOS Entirely: Go Android
Let’s face it; jailbreakingused to be the super-cool, not-that-difficult thing to do with an iOS device. While you can (and should) jailbreak an older iPhone to turn it into a handy handheld for retro gaming, this at-home hack has lost its luster for newer devices, and we wouldn’t recommend doing it for any iPhone you’re using as your primary smartphone.
(I stopped jailbreaking my iPhones once I realized that getting new features and security updates was more useful than all the headaches and stress the jailbreaking process typically created—not to mention, the hits to performance from all the weird third-party apps I’d stuff on my device.)
If you don’t mind moving platforms, or picking up a cheap Android smartphone, Google’s rival OS makes gaming emulation super-easy. In fact, you can grab greatworkingemulators from the Google Play Store right now—no hacking needed. Throw some ROMs onto your device via your computer’s file manager and you’ll be shuffling around fast-moving blocks and tossing papers at mailboxes in no time.