Yes, you can play PS1 games on an iPhone, here's how

Emulators are hitting iOS big time

Gamma Emulator
(Image credit: Future)
Quick Summary

The floodgates have seemingly opened now that Apple has started to allow emulation software on iOS.

The latest, Gamma, enables emulation of PlayStation 1 games on the iPhone.

Ever since Apple publicly loosened its rules around game emulation on the App Store, there's been a trickle of successful emulator additions to the platform.

After the major spike of interest in Delta, an emulator that can handle a range of games from older systems, there's another hit emulator climbing the charts this week – Gamma.

The Greek alphabet naming coincidence is an odd one, but the real point is that Gamma is specifically aimed at PlayStation 1 emulation, meaning a whole host of classic games are now playable on your iPhone.

The likes of Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill and many more graced the original PlayStation, and it seems like they'll all run really nicely on recent iPhone models using Gamma.

Installing the app is a simple matter of finding it on the App Store by search or with a direct link and from there, it's easy to get gaming.

Of course, this also brings the most complicated step into focus - you can only legally play emulated versions of games you already own officially. So, for titles that applies to, you just have to convert them to a ROM file.

Connecting your iPhone to a computer should let you drop a folder of game files into the Gamma app's storage, although getting your file-sharing permissions right can take a little bit of fiddling. 

Usefully, though, YouTube is already filling up with video guides to the process, including this one, which is nice and exhaustive. 

Gamma works with a bunch of Bluetooth controller options, although it has full touch controls as default - these work well enough, although they're not the most satisfying to use in the long run. 

Since the PS1 was also one of the last mainstream consoles to release without analogue sticks on its controller, it's also one of the last with games that feel genuinely simple to play without an external controller, after all. 

With Apple making it clear that these emulators are okay under its new terms of service, this doubtless won't be the last time a new app shoots up the charts by offering clean emulation of a popular platform. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.