One of my favorite features on my Dell Streak has been the ability to play retro games via the countless emulators in the Android Market. However, much to the dismay of retro gamers everywhere, some of the most popular emulators were recently purged by Google, along with the Market account of the developer who made the apps, Yongzh.
Emulators have always been in a sort of legal gray area—in that emulation itself is legal, but the distribution of copied video game ROMs is not—on grounds of copyright infringement. While this possible illegality seems like a decent reason for the mass extinction of the emulators, it does not appear to be the reason for the recent deletion of Yongzh’s emulators, as other emulators are still in the Market.
It turns out that Yongzh was using code from snes9x, a SNES emulation project started in the 90s. The snes9x code is under a license that allows it to be used by others, as long as it’s not for profit. Yongzh used the code to create his SNES emulator, SNESoid, and then sold a paid version of it, which violated this license. This could have led to the removal of the emulators, too, but as Google will not release their reasoning behind their removal, we can’t know for sure.
With the removal of these emulators from the Market comes the removal of one of the best gaming solutions on Dell Streaks. Fortunately, all of Yongzh’s emulators are now available online for free for a limited time.[Android Community via Reddit]