How to play Nintendo games via mobile Safari no jailbreak required

By , Feb 15, 2014

webNES

This is downright amazing. Somebody has put together a website that allows you to play NES ROMs directly from Mobile Safari, no jailbreak required. The website, which is called webNES, allows users to link a Dropbox account to load their favorite NES ROMs and play them right from the browser.

I’ve tested webNES with a handful of ROMs, and most of them play decently, but there is some definite choppiness and slowdown. The emulator features a built in soft-controller, and the games can be played in either portrait or landscape mode.

The great thing about webNES is that it runs totally in your browser. This means that there’s really no way for Apple to shut it down, since it doesn’t require any apps or downloads from a jailbreak source like Cydia. Check out our full video walkthrough inside as I show you how I play a few of my favorite NES games directly in Safari.

To use webNES, you’ll need to go to webn.es via your mobile browser, as it won’t allow you to use a normal desktop browser (though I’m sure that can be easily worked around). There are a couple of built-in generic games, but you probably don’t care much about them. Once at the main webNES interace, you can tap the ‘+’ sign in the upper right-hand corner to link your Dropbox account. Your Dropbox account will need to contain an NES rom to add to webNES. Once you add your NES rom, simply tap on the name of the game to play.

Resized webnes interface

You can link your dropbox account to load ROMs for games that you own

The experience is very jittery at times, but for a game running in the stock Safari browser, it’s still a sight to be seen in person. I highly recommend that you try this out if you have any legit NES ROMs laying around.

As far as sound goes, you won’t get any sound out of your iPhone’s speaker, but sound does work when you hook up a pair of headphones. Like the gameplay itself, sound was a bit choppy, as the games don’t exactly run at 100% speed.

webNES games

Super Mario Bros and Rad Racer—two of my childhood favorites

You can even rotate your iPhone into landscape mode, and games will play in landscape mode with an overlaid soft controller. Games are a bit more difficult to play in landscape mode since the controller is overlaid on top of the playing surface and can interfere with your sight.

Rad Racer

Rad Racer in landscape mode

Apparently, webNES works with any mobile browser, not just Safari, so  if you’re running an Android device, you can join in the fun as well. Ultimately this won’t be something you can use to really play games due to its choppiness, but it’s a cool technical demo nonetheless. Hopefully whoever is behind the project will continue to improve it, and make it into something that’s useable long-term. What do you think about this awesome browser-based emulator? Pretty cool, no?

Shoutout to Conrad Kramer for turning us on to webNES.

webNES iPad SMB

Oh, and it looks good on iPad, too.

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  • http://www.tekshock.com Jonathan

    Thats awesome! Simply genius

  • Marcus

    This is awesome! Thanks Jeff :D

  • Jonathan Liu

    This is awesome, but doesn’t work on desktop.

    • Marcus

      Why would it? ;D

      • Jonathan Liu

        Why wouldn’t it? :P

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        I don’t see why it wouldn’t be able to, but according to the creator of the site, they have only enabled it on mobile devices.

      • Cool

        Just change your user agent.

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it!

      • Cool

        No problem!

  • Jonathan

    You had me at no jailbreak.

  • Micaiah Martin

    ha ha I had this idea awhile ago, never got around to it. College got in the way. I must say the devs did way better than I could of. DropBox support??!? FTW! Totally legit. Kudos to the devs. Hit these guys up and let them know they did a good job!

  • Hansana Weerasooriya

    Where can get the NES ROms?

    • on3simpleclick

      you may not google for a site that isn’t called CoolRoms. ;)

      • ConduciveMammal

        I see what you didn’t do there :P

      • Eni

        i dowload the files and upload them in drop box but they dont work :/ what can i do?

      • Eni

        it downloads like this, help pls

    • Dan

      :::coughs::Piratebay

  • Victor

    A better easier way with out a jailbreak exists.

  • abdullah575

    I love it! thanks!.

  • tstsr6

    Any tweaks to add controller support to safari?

  • ConduciveMammal

    It seems to have killed all system audio on my phone “/ no keyboard clicks, no music, what the hell?

    • XboxOne

      Yeah on my iPhone too. Just reboot and audio will return.

  • G-HaB

    IT IS SUPER GLITCHY

    • GreenD00r7

      It has just gone on ;D it’s perfect for an emulator just developed!

  • Mario

    There is a website that does this on a desktop browser. I have to look it up then I get back home.

  • karlfromdxb

    Created at PennApps! :)

  • GreenD00r7

    but you can’t get 2 of them together

    • R4

      Only one at a time :/

  • lemonhead

    Well GBA4iOS from Riley Testut drops in 4 days, this ios 7 optimized emulator is gonna be the shit compared to this. haha
    I do realize that it’s not for NES ;-)

  • Dan

    This is pretty cool, but I’ve never been able to enjoy playing roms on a touch device imo.

  • Thomas Hurley

    is it just for ios because it dosen’t work on my htc one, and not to sounds stupid but your coment said “so if you’re running an Android device, you can join in the fun as well.”

  • Thomas Hurley

    when will it work for android :)

  • Thomas Hurley

    when is the ETA for android devices as it dosn’t work on my htc-one? :)

  • bearmon2010

    Nice but I am skipping it. The emulators for computer works best! :)

  • Hotrod

    Does anyone know of an actual NES emulater that works on iOS 7?