The Gamma app brings PS1 emulation to the iPhone

May 12, 2024
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iPhone users without a penchant for jailbreaking can finally enjoy the blocky polygons and shifty textures of the original PlayStation with Gamma, a free PS1 emulator that hit the iOS App Store last night. Gamma comes courtesy of developer ZodTTD, which has been creating emulators for the iPhone since the earliest days of third-party iOS apps.

The app has both iPhone and iPad versions with support for Bluetooth controllers and keyboards, as well as customizable on-screen controller skins. It uses Google Drive and Dropbox syncing for backing up your game files and save states (those are the snapshots you can save at any time and reload, a little like pausing your game — great for old-school games that don’t let you save any time you want). Like the Delta emulator that ruled the App Store’s top free apps list for weeks before being unseated by free donuts, the app will also go grab game cover artwork for you automatically.

PS1, emulated.
Screen recording: Gamma

In fact, the app’s interface is nearly identical to developer Riley Testut’s Delta emulator, so if you’ve used that, it’ll be very familiar to you. The default skin for landscape orientation is mostly transparent and hard to see, though, so you’ll want to replace that when you can.

I’ve never played this game, and I probably never will.
Screenshot: Gamma

Thankfully, Gamma doesn’t require you to go find any BIOS files to run PS1 games. That said, I had trouble getting the first two games I tried — NASCAR 98 and Shrek Treasure Hunt. But that may have just been the game files I was using, as I could run Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee just fine. Third time’s the charm, right?

According to Gamma’s App Store page, it collects identifiers that can be used to track you, and may collect location and usage data. For what it’s worth, the app didn’t trigger a location data access request for me, nor did it prompt me for tracking permission.

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