AirPlay turns the Delta emulator into a full-on retro console


The launch of the Delta emulator on iPhones is a big deal in a lot of ways. But for users, it’s also just really cool. Here’s an excellent piece of software that can emulate the NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, GBA, and Nintendo DS so that you can play classic games on a device that’s always in your pocket. Even better: even though there’s no Delta app for the Apple TV (yet), it’s still really easy to use it to play games on your television.

This is because Delta supports AirPlay so that you can stream video and sound from your phone to another Apple device, like an Apple TV or computer. For Delta, this means that the game itself plays on the bigger screen while your phone becomes a touchscreen controller. Or, if you connect a Bluetooth controller to your iPhone, you can use that to play.

I tested the setup using an iPhone, Apple TV, and the PS5’s DualSense controller, and it was incredibly straightforward. (The longest part of the process was pairing the controller to my phone, which takes a few seconds.) From my experience — which included playing a handful of NES, SNES, and GBA games — it just, well, worked. The games looked great, and there was no noticeable lag for the controls. I also did a quick test on a MacBook Air, and the process was similarly straightforward once I had the correct permissions set.

For most games on these platforms, it’s also just a more natural way to play. In part, that’s because they were originally designed for a TV, but also because a real controller is almost always preferable. Delta’s touchscreen controls do a serviceable job, but they just aren’t the same as real buttons.

And that’s it, really. That one easy-to-miss feature makes Delta a lot more useful than it might seem at first, opening up the possibilities for what you can do with the app, particularly when it comes to multiplayer. And considering how early we are in the life of iOS emulators, it’s exciting how good things are already.

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