If you ever wondered to yourself which developers and technical tinkerers would put the time and effort into building, developing, and publishing software for modern devices which essentially emulates the experience of hardware of yesteryear, then you really may scratch your head at Giovanni.
One extremely talented and dedicated developer has built an emulation experience called Giovanni for Apple Watch, allowing old-school Game Boy games to be ran and played on the tiny wearable when paired alongside an iPhone.
Spurred on by the lack of games to play after purchasing an Apple Watch 2, iOS developer Gabriel O’Flaherty-Chan decided to put his abilities to good use by putting together an emulation experience for watchOS which would allow a list of iconic games to be played on the small-screen, such as the wonderfully nostalgic Pokemon Yellow.
Rather than taking an existing game and make a clone of it specifically designed for watchOS, O’Flaherty decided to get an existing classic running on Apple Watch by making an emulator. As you do.
One of the wonderful things about the existence of Giovanni – named after the head of Team Rocket – is not that it actually does exist and allows Game Boy games to be played on Apple Watch, but the developer has also published the project onto GitHub for access to all, as well as going to the lengths of writing about the experience in great detail for others to learn from.
This actually gives an interesting insight into the development of Giovanni, including a number of the issues encountered due to limitations with the watchOS platform:
One of the big challenges was to find the right balance between frame rate and performance. As you can see, it’s a bit sluggish and unresponsive, but as a prototype, I think it answers the question of ‘is this possible?
The developer has also used the official GitHub page to welcome any improvements from other developers, as well as to answer any questions that users may be having, such as explaining that watchOS is extremely limited from a graphics perspective, meaning that visual glitches are likely, and that “this project likely does not align with what Apple expects from the platform.”
Still, if you want to re-experience the wonderful Pokemon Yellow on your Apple Watch, then now you can. For further details, head over to the developer’s page here.
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