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Meet Giovanni, The Apple Watch Game Boy Emulator

Corazon Victorino

Looks like Game Boy fans haven’t seen the last of the games for Nintendo’s ’90s to early ’00s portable gaming devices. A developer has recently introduced an emulator that enables Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to run on Apple’s second-generation Apple Watch smartwatches. 

Over the weekend, Gabriel O’Flaherty-Chan launched an emulator called Giovanni for the new Apple Watch. The iOS developer admitted that he created the software out of his disappointment over the lack of content for the Cupertino giant’s smartwatch. He shared that he previously launched his own game for the device a few months ago, but emulation made more sense since it would allow him to port more games to the wearable. 

Giovanni is named after O’Flaherty-Chan’s favorite super-villain in the Game Boy game “Pokemon Yellow.” To be exact, Giovanni was the leader of Team Rocket in the original Pokemon games. Based on the images O’Flaherty-Chan shared online, the emulator he made can run “Pokemon Yellow.” However, he did indicate that since this is still a prototype, the game is still sluggish and, at times, unresponsive on the Apple Watch. 

In creating Giovanni, the iOS developer used the existing Gambette emulator. He then added controls for the emulator when it is running on the Apple smartwatch. For example, touching the right side of the device’s screen simulates the A button. The B button, select and start, on the other hand, are placed at the bottom of the timepiece’s display. The Digital Crown also simulates the up and down buttons when it is turned up and down, according to Ars Technica

The only thing that’s keeping Giovanni from performing well on the Apple Watch are the “constraints of watchOS” and the lack of support for OpenGL and Metal. Nevertheless, O’Flaherty-Chan has made it available to the public, as per MacRumors. For those who are interested in learning more about the emulator, here’s O’Flaherty-Chan’s blog post. And for those interested in testing out the emulator for themselves, click here for the source code and instructions on how to download games.

Apple Watch

The second-generation Apple Watch now runs Game Boy games thanks to a new emulator. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev

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