Emulators on a BlackBerry Curve!
Questions Shall Be Answered Here
It is highly plausible there are some of you out there right now wondering, what exactly is an emulator? What does it do? What is its purpose?
Have no fear, those questions shall be answered here.
An emulator is simply a program or simulator that allows users to run a program on one type of device that is normally run on another device. For example, there are many Playstation and Xbox emulators available which allow users to play older games on a PC even if they do not have one of the aforementioned consoles. In some cases emulators help developers or designers by running a program that is being built on a hypothetical device. An example of this type of emulation is if a developer is creating a BlackBerry application, in order to test its proper workings they run it on a BlackBerry device emulator on their PC.
These days gaming enthusiasts utilize emulators like I mentioned in my first example above; to play older games that were available on an old style console on a new device. That is exactly what we will be discussing in this article; gaming emulators that are available for the BlackBerry Curve and their uses.
The purpose and reasoning behind using an emulator varies; one main reason could possibly be that the user no longer owns the original gaming console or device or even games they wish to play and the emulator allows them to do so. Another simple reason is that the older consoles tend to be very bulky in size and are most definitely not portable like a BlackBerry Curve. In some instances the user just wants to be able to play their favorite games, on their favorite device such as a cell phone.
Is a BlackBerry Curve Game Emulator Legal?
There are legal ramifications that should be outlined here. In all cases where users do not own the original console or gaming software then it is illegal to download or even keep certain games and their respective ROMs. The reason for this is because all games are compacted into a file called a “ROM” which is simply an image file of the game or program they are wishing to use. The emulator then takes this ROM and correctly runs it as a game or program as if it were being used on the original device. So, basically the emulator is using a full copy of the game; the argument in question is that downloaded ROMs are basically “stolen” copies. Because the user with the ROM did not pay for the file, nor do they own the original game; this is a case of stealing much like the idea of illegal MP3 downloads. This in turn causes game emulation to fall into sort of a grey area when considering “legal” uses.
So, before continuing I should mention that the actual emulation programs are not illegal, however the act of downloading and possessing game ROMs, which users have not paid for or don’t own original copies of, is illegal.
Keep this in mind when posting comments; I can link to game emulators and their respective websites, however I CAN NOT link to sites where ROMs are readily available for download. So don’t ask.
BerryNES- The Free “No Sound” Option
BerryNES is an original Nintendo emulator that works for the BlackBerry Curve and 81xx-88xx devices. However it should be noted that the original emulator program was not designed to run on a BlackBerry device; it was ported (converted) by a BlackBerry user. Because it was not originally designed for the BlackBerry there is no working sound and some of the included ROMs run incorrectly with a very slow framerate which can even be unplayable.
The BerryNES emulator is not the best option for a fully working emulator but it does function, and as most people would not know where to find ROM files its worth noting that BerryNES comes with ROM files included. Because of this I cannot provide a link, however readers interested can do a simple web search on “BerryNES”.
The program runs well on BlackBerry Curve devices and the interface is simple, but as I said there is no sound for working ROMs which is a bit of a bummer, but since the sound would be in 8bit audio its not a killer problem. The real problem is the framerate while playing; because the emulator is a hack job conversion the games run at about 10-15 frames per second which is playable but not entirely enjoyable.
Nevertheless, BerryNES is readily available with several game ROMS and can be found free for download for users interested. It comes in a (.cab) file meaning it can be installed directly on the device or users can utilize BlackBerry Desktop Manager software to install the program remotely.
vNES- The Java “Not Free” “No Sound” Option
It seems as though the underlying problem here with most emulators is that none of them have sound options; simply because the programmers have not found a way to ouput the sound through the BlackBerry Curve internal speakers.
The next option is not free like BerryNES, but it also has no sound; this emulator is called vNES. It uses JAVA programming to run older 8 bit nintendo games on a virtual machine such as the Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry operating systems.
vNES is produced by a company called Vampent, and all additional information on the emulator can be found on their official site; it can also be purchased there as well.
It should be noted however, that there is no listed compatibility for BlackBerry Curve models, therefore vNES was not “officially” released for use with this model cell phone. Users on a BlackBerry forum, however, have found a way to get the emulator working on their devices. The forum can be acessed here.
Users will need to convert the .jar or .jad installation file for the vNES program into .alx and .cod files which are natively what file types BlackBerry models support. For instructions on how to do so and programs to complete the process see the forum thread mentioned above.
After converting the .jar files users can then transfer the program to their BlackBerry Curve device and install it like they would any other BlackBerry application.
Once installed the program can be run; however the frame rate of vNES is rather slow on a BlackBerry Curve and there isn’t much that can be done to improve the performance.
Name of the year- MeBoy Builder
The next emulator is called MeBoy Builder; I know, what a name! MeBoy is designed to allow cell phones to act as a working Gameboy emulator; it plays both standard Gameboy and Gameboy Advance ROMs.
Once again this program was not officially released for specific use with BlackBerry Curve models however users have found a way to get the emulator working on their devices much like vNES. MeBoy Builder takes ROM files and converts them for use with an integrated JAVA emulator. Users must then convert the .jar file into a .cad file for installation on their device. More in depth instructions can be found here; as well as some individual links to certain ROM files.
It is worth mentioning for all users interested in installing an emulator to their device, the process is not the usual cookie cutter procedure (install the program, run the program, it works perfect!). Users will often run into problems while installing and running the emulators; this is the beauty of emulation, it is not always perfect. The entire process is trial and error; remember before posting in forums and threads to read every post. Most of the time other users have found the solution to a similar issue and posted steps on fixing the problem later on in the thread.
I will also reiterate my earlier statement, I cannot post links to individual ROM files for legal issues; don’t ask. They are not hard to find however, a simple search on a popular search engine will turn up a plethora of results.