Retro gamers who use Android devices to play classics from old-school systems like Atari, Nintendo 64, and Sega took a hit this week when emulator apps for those consoles and a handful of others were removed from the Android Market.
Yongzh's (also known as Yong Zhang) emulators have been among some of the most popular and highest rated in the market, but the emulator creator reports that his developer account has been terminated without warning.
The removal of yongzh's account comes just weeks after PlayStation emulator PSX4droid--the work of another developer--was also deleted from the market in the lead-up to the release of Sony's Xperia Play. Yongzh, who lives in China, took down his Genesis emulator last month after receiving a complaint from Sega, but apparently it wasn't enough to placate Google and/or those console makers who may have lodged complaints with Mountain View.
In response to a query, Google said that it does not provide comment on individual apps or developers, but added that it could "confirm...that the apps that were removed were in violation of Android Market policies."
While emulators on their own are not necessarily illegal, using the game ROMs that give them actual value apparently is, at least that's what Nintendo's lawyers claim in a company FAQ.
Yongzh says he's now out one of his main sources of income; he's posted the emulators on alternate app market SlideMe, where he's made them available for free so existing customers don't have to re-pay for the apps. N64oid alone has already registered more than 23,000 downloads from the site since Sunday.
Of course, if you've really got a hankering for Tetris, you could just head outside, get a little exercise, and build a brick wall.
Updated June 1 at 8:32 a.m. PT: Added response from Google.