As we reported on Saturday, Gridlee is a freeware arcade game from 1982 which was re-released on the iTunes App Store by David Loureiro. This would have been unremarkable, if Gridlee was a straight port from the source code and if it wasn’t actually powered by an up-to-date and fully featured version of MAME4iOS Reloaded.

This means if you have a program capable of tunneling into the iOS file-system through USB, you can once again have a working version of MAME on a non-jailbroken device, complete with your own ROM images. As I can’t think of anyone who would legitimately want to play Gridlee on an iPad, this was likely an intentional attempt to sneak the emulator back into the App Store, so we’re guessing Apple won’t be hosting the file for too long. Grab it while you can…

How to install MAME roms into Gridlee

Step 1: First you need a program capable of tunneling into the iOS’ filesystem, even on a non-jailbroken device. For this guide we’re using iFunBox, a free app for Mac and PC. You can find it on our downloads page.

Step 2: In iFunBox navigate to iFunBox Classic → Connected Devices → [your device] → User Applications → Gridlee → Documents → roms. In this folder you should see already installed.

Gridlee rom folder

Step 3: From the roms folder, you can just drag your collection of zipped MAME roms over to your device. For legal reasons, we can’t tell you where to get commercial ROM images, though they aren’t hard to find. We recommend using ROM images for games you already own.

MAME Gridlee

Step 4: Once you’ve dragged more zipped files into Gridlee’s ROM folder, open Gridlee. Instead of automatically opening Gridlee’s rom, you’ll see the standard MAME4iOS Reloaded selection screen. Choose the game you want to load, and enjoy.


If you were looking for an even easier method of copying files over, iMAME4iOS Reloaded 1.3 supposedly includes support for copying zip files through iTunes File Sharing, but I wasn’t able to access that option through iTunes with Gridlee.

This is a port of MAME 0.139ul, so ‘Gridlee’ should be compatible with most 2D games as recent as the late 1990s. Gridlee can currently be downloaded from iTunes for free, so if you don’t have a jailbroken device, get it while you can.

What games are you planning on playing in iMAME4iOS? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • jose castro

    That’s awesome…

  • Julian Poyourow

    Sweet, just got it. Thanks for the info. Always love to get these apps before Apple removes them.

  • Marshall

    nice post ^.^v

  • Stefan

    i don’t see grid installed in the documents folder, am i doing something wrong?

  • Great stuff. Now, does someone know how to get Neo Geo games like ‘Metal Slug’ working? I have put the Neo Geo bios rom with the other roms, but this doesn’t seem enough. Please help!

    • Thanks for all the help! Fortunately for me, I found out what the problem was… I had the wrong neo-geo bios rom.

      • care to share exactly how you fixed it?

  • TJ Jang

    Is there anybody know where I can download Roms for the iPhone gridlee emulator?

    • Tom

      There is this AMAZING website called Google that will give you links to exactly what you want. It works with links to almost anything!

      • TJ

        Everyone knows Google :P. I’m not asking about search Engine.

      • Are you stupid?

  • Tom

    I have been playing Double Dragon on my iPhone. Awesome! :oD

    • What did you do special to get ROM working. I have D&D, but get the CHD images error.

      • TRoN MCP

        Yes, how? Do wee need to install some bios files in another folder?

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    “The selected is missing one or more required ROM or CHD images. Please select a different game”… can anyone help..

    • Be nice if someone answered this question. He is not asking where to get ROMS, but what are the steps to correct the error message received when a ROM is question requires CHD images.

    • phildapunk

      The reason you are getting that error msg is because you have the game ROM, but it is not compatible with the version of Mame, in this case, version 0.139ul. There are tools out there that can help you convert ROM between the MAME version. Apologies but I just cant think of the name of one at the moment.

      • DoctorJJ

        Thanks!, 5 years ago??? xDDD

  • I think it is interesting that the game used in the tutorial will not run without getting the “The selected game is missing one or more required ROM or CHD images. Please select a different game.” error, but the writer doesn’t provide the work around. Apparently we have the ROM without being told. The answer to this issue is much harder to find than the ROMs themselves. I have plenty that work, but no one that an online tutorial writer had provided as an example has work straightaway.

    • You’re likely not using a complete rom image. Try finding an alternate version.

  • MJ

    In order to see the roms folder, you have to run Gridlee one time for it to be created.

  • hellac00l

    Hows the speed on an iphone 5? Last time I had mame on my iphone was on 4S. This is great! I’d always needed a jb to play mame.

  • RayLau

    where can find the rom? Please

  • randyest

    Anyone know how to force it to show 2 joysticks for robotron instead of a stick and 4 buttons? I got roms on fine and can edit cfg and ini but not sure how “gridlee” decides which controls to show for each game.

  • what was the device you were playing the games with at the end of the video – 2 white buttons, 2 black and the joystick – was that an iCade or soemthing else? thanks – g

  • It’s been deleted 😀