iPokédex update

Back in early 2008, I set up an iPhone-optimized Pokédex web app. I pulled information from some of the usual suspects in the online world of Pokémon compendia.

A few people have asked me why I didn’t build it as a native app I could then sell in the App Store for boatloads of cash (because, you know, there’s a huge untapped market for… this).

Well, that’s a good question. A few answers:

  1. The App Store didn’t exist at the time I created it, and I had no interest in either jailbreaking my iPhone nor in supporting the jailbreak “community.”
  2. I didn’t (and so far, still don’t) have a developer account with Apple, and I didn’t (and so far, still don’t) know how to build a native iPhone app. Web apps, though, are second nature to me.
  3. It seemed clear to me that Apple wouldn’t (or, more accurately, shouldn’t) approve such an app. The entire contents of the app would be in violation of copyright, and there’s no way (that I could see) that Nintendo would license the content under the circumstances.

As far as I was concerned, that was pretty much it. The only way a Pokédex could live on the iPhone was as a web app. I’ve since learned that, whatever criteria they do employ in approving apps, copyrighted content does not appear to be a “dealbreaker” for Apple. I think it’s safe to say that Apple wouldn’t approve an unauthorized Pokémon game for the iPhone, but there are currently four Pokédex apps in the App Store.

Anyway… my iPokédex web app lives on. I just finished some updates: mostly some minor bug fixes, but also some visual refinements. Overall the improvements are slight, but I’m still pretty pleased with how well it works and how useful it is, especially considering that I essentially created it in an evening.

If you haven’t checked it out (ever, or lately), take a look now… especially on an iPhone!

http://pokemon.room34.com

Reason enough (for me) to install Windows (and Google Chrome)

Sure, I own a real NES. Two, in fact. I also own a GBA Micro, Nintendo DS, and a Wii, with emulated versions of all of my favorite NES classics. And then, of course, there’s emulation.

But as a web developer, I just have to geek out on this: the very idea of a working NES emulator running entirely in JavaScript… wow. I’ve known about JSNES for a few months, but I hadn’t had the time and/or inclination to fire it up in Google Chrome (still Windows-only), the only browser so far that has a JavaScript interpreter efficient enough to run it at a decent frame rate.

The last time I tried running it was on the iPhone. Yes… it did run… at about 1.5 FPS. And, of course, there’s no way to access the controls. But in Chrome… it’s actually playable. A smidge slower than the real thing (which would be at 60 FPS), but as you can see, I got it up to 46 FPS. Not bad. Especially considering that I was running Windows 7 with Parallels Desktop on the Mac. Nice!

JSNES

The iPokédex is here!

iPokédexYes, I am into Pokémon. Way more than any 34-year-old could possibly justify. At least I have a kid I can use as my excuse. But it’s getting pretty serious. First the DS video games, now the trading card game, and of course I will sometimes watch the TV show and DVDs with him.

If you know anything about Pokémon (or, for those of you over the age of 10, who don’t), you know there are a lot of them. In fact, the sheer, staggering proliferation of them seems to be the main point, or at least a shrewd marketing tactic. As a result, there’s a lot of information to know about them, and thus arose the idea of the “Pokédex,” or Pokémon Index. The Pokédex is both an element in the games and the TV show, and a tool for fans, to store and retrieve information about all of the various Pokémon.

That’s all well and good, but what I really wanted was a version that was always at my fingertips, i.e. a version that works on my iPhone. Strangely there seemed to be no iPhone-friendly Pokédex out there. I can understand why an official one wouldn’t exist, what with Nintendo’s reluctance to license their brands to other hardware manufacturers (a smart move when you consider the disaster that resulted the one and only time they tried it), and especially when you consider that the iPhone is now essentially a competitor to the Nintendo DS.

Anyway… the point of all of this is that I’ve built my own iPhone-friendly Pokédex, which I am oh-so-creatively calling the iPokédex. Don’t bother going to ipokedex.com though. (Yeah, I have no idea either.) I may eventually register a unique domain name for it (assuming I don’t get sued in the meantime), but for now you can find it here at this relatively pithy URL:

room34.com/pokemon

Enjoy!