Windows Phone emulation fans might have noticed that three classic game system emulators have disappeared from the Store: SNES8x (a Super Nintendo emulator), VBA8 (a GameBoy Advance emulator), and VGBC8 (a Gameboy Color emulator). As of press time, the Windows 8 versions of the same apps are still available.
All three emulators came from a developer named M.k who publicly retired from mobile Windows development in August. M.k’s emulators previously vanished from the Store only to reappear shortly thereafter. Why have they gone away once more, and will they return once again? Windows Phone Central has the full scoop on the future of SNES8x, VBA8, and VGBC8. Head past the break for all the details!
The bumpy road for M.k’s three emulators started a few months ago when he pulled all three of his emulators from the Windows Phone and Windows 8 Stores. He had decided to step away from mobile Windows development for good. Emulation fans let out a collective sigh of displeasure, many taking to our comments section or emailing the developer to let him know their disappointment.
M.k heard the fan response and decided to return his emulators to the Windows Phone and Windows 8 Stores. He would not resume development on them, but he did make the apps free by way of compensation. That was a big deal because even now, no one else has created Super Nintendo or GameBoy Advance emulators for Windows Phone or Windows 8/RT.
Still, we always knew that M.k’s emulators would disappear for good once his developer account expired. Or would they?
Original GameBoy games running on VGBC8
Even though M.k has retired from the emulator development scene, he holds no ill will towards Windows platforms. He knows people love his emulators and want to see them improve. To keep SNES8x, VBA8, and VGBC8 alive though, a new developer would need to take them over.
Luckily, another programmer has stepped forward to take over development duties on M.k’s former emulators. The downside is that the apps must be delisted from the mobile Windows Stores in order for the transfer of ownership to take place. The Windows Phone 8 apps have already dropped off their Store, and the Windows 8/RT versions will soon follow.
The changing of the guard should take a few weeks at most. Once that happens, the three emulators will return to both the Windows Phone and Windows 8 Stores. The new developer will release updates for each emulator over time, likely improving their performance and UI. We can also hope for the once-promised MOGA Pro Controller support to finally materialize.
The one real downside to SNES8x, VBA8, and VGBC8 changing hands is that they will be considered new apps when they return to the Stores. We don’t know whether the new versions will be free or paid yet. If the new developer chooses to charge for the emulators, previous owners will need to repurchase the apps in order to enjoy future updates.
As for the mystery developer’s identity, M.k didn’t want to reveal it before the apps come back. Once they return, we’ll be sure to make contact and continue bringing you behind the scenes detail on the emulators’ development.
M.k has also posted the Windows Phone and Windows 8 source code to all three emulators in a public SkyDrive folder. If any aspiring developers out there want to put their own spin on an established emulator, now's your chance!