Productivity

How To Play SNES On Your iPad In Four Easy Steps


The iPad’s capable of 3D games and complex mobile applications, but if you’d rather go back to a simpler time, you can install an emulator (or three) on your iPad for some serious classic gaming.

Note: You can follow all the instructions below, or just watch the video walkthrough above.

What you’ll need:

  • iPad (obviously)
  • Wiimote
  • iPad/iPhone/iPod Sync Cable
  • A Mac, Windows or Linux Computer

Step One: Jailbreak!
First things first, you need a jailbroken iPad. To do that, grab a copy of Spirit Jailbreak. It works for iPads running iOS 3.2, runs on Mac, Windows and Linux, and requires just a single click.

Before you jailbreak, however, you should know two things: first, you could potentially mess up your iPad irreparably (although that’s pretty rare), and second, you should sync and back up everything first in case you have issues.

Once you’ve done all that, quit iTunes and open Spirit Jailbreak. It’ll let you know in its tiny little window that an iPad is connected. If it is and Spirit is ready, just click the Jailbreak button. When it’s finished it may turn into a close button, but clicking that close button may restart the jailbreak process. It’s okay to quit at this point.

If everything went well, you should now have a jailbroken iPad with Cydia installed (it should show up somewhere on your home screen after you jailbreak). Pretty easy, right?

Step Two: Download snes4iphone

With Cydia already installed, you should find it somewhere on your home screen. Launch it and click “Cydia Store: Products” once everything has loaded. This will give you a screen filled with popular for-pay apps. Lucky for us, snes4iphone is one of them and you can get it for $US6. Click on snes4iphone and then click “Purchase” in the upper righthand corner. Once you do that you’ll be prompted to authenticate using your Google or Facebook account, and then to pay using your Amazon or PayPal account. How you do it is entirely up to you. Once you’ve paid, snes4iphone will download and you’ll be ready to load up some games.

Step Three: Installing ROMs

There are a couple of ways to load games onto your iPad for use with emulators. The first way is to SSH into your iPad and copy the ROMs over. Your ROMs are stored here:

/var/mobile/media/ROMs/

For SNES there will be another directory inside of ROMs called SNES (assuming you’ve launched snes4iphone already). If you have other emulators, it’s likely their ROM directories will be here as well.

Alternatively, you can browse for ROMs online (or upload yours and put the link into snes4iphone) and download them directly onto your iPad by going to the Browse section of snes4iphone and clicking Search in the upper righthand corner of the screen.

Step Four: Syncing the Wiimote

Syncing the Wiimote is pretty easy. All you have to do is open up snes4iphone, go into the options panel, and turn on Wiimote Support (it’s the last option). Once you do that, relaunch snes4iphone and you’ll see it searching for a Wiimote. Grab your Wiimote and hold down both the 1 and 2 buttons. Fairly quickly snes4iphone should find the Wiimote and you’ll be all set to go.

If you find you’re running into problems you should turn off your iPad’s Bluetooth in your iPad’s settings. This may seem counterintuitive, but because snes4iphone uses another method to connect to Bluetooth devices (btstack) your iPad’s Bluetooth software may interfere.

Alternatives: SNES HD
This isn’t the only method for playing SNES games on your iPad, and you also aren’t limited to just one console. Cydia has other emulators (NES, N64, etc.), many of which contain Wiimote support, that you can download. If you have an iPad or iPod touch and would prefer to use that as a controller instead of a Wiimote, you can do that with SNES HD (follow the instructions on that page for adding the necessary source to Cydia to download it). Be aware that you’ll need a to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod touch in order to use it as a controller. Spirit may be able to take care of that for you as well, but it doesn’t support every iPhone and iPod touch so be sure to check before you dive in.

Got any fun iPad/iPhone/iPod touch jailbreaking tricks? Share ‘em in the comments!