'Pokémon Yellow' Now Playable on Apple Smartwatch

A new Game Boy emulator now lets tech enthusiasts play "Pokémon Yellow" through their Apple Watch.

Facebook/PokemonPromotional photo for "Pokémon"

On March 18, iOS software developer Gabriel O'Flaherty-Chan released an emulator for Apple's wearable device, porting the popular game to the Apple Watch and allowing gamers to play it on their wrists.

After being underwhelmed by the lack of games available on the device, O'Flaherty-Chan began working on his emulator for the Apple Watch by trying to port an existing game to it.

The software developer calls the new emulator "Giovanni," named after the supervillain and head of Team Rocket in the original game. According to O'Flaherty-Chan, this Game Boy Color emulator includes photos and GIFs of the port in action.

O'Flaherty-Chan also shared on his blog some of the issues he encountered while developing the emulator, including the need to find the right balance between framerate and performance so as to make the game look good on the smartwatch without sacrificing its playability.

"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?'" he wrote. He said it took color correction and a bit of experimentation but he ultimately managed to figure things out.

He added that one of the major hurdles he had to overcome in developing the emulator was how to make "Pokémon Yellow" playable on a device as small as a watch, specifically its controls. Since the game requires just a bit of input on its tiny, touch-based interface, O'Flaherty-Chan asks players to be patient in playing the game.

The software developer said he would revisit the project as soon as watchOS 4 or the next-generation Apple Watches are available so he could see if there's a chance to get a higher framerate for the emulator.

"Pokémon Yellow" is not the only game that has been ported to the Apple Watch. In 2005, some Facebook developers also brought "Doom" over to the device.