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Everything you ever wanted to know about Emulators but were afraid to ask!

[ Article by Henry Kong, 13/5/01 -- Page: 1, 2 ]

When I first migrated from Palm OS to the Pocket PC world, I imagined how nice it would be if I could run a DOS emulator on the PPC and use it to run all my other DOS emulators. Little did I know after registering for PocketDOS that there is a limit in the size of the program. Also this emulator runs only in CGA (Colour Graphics Adapter) mode, without sound. Not to worry, I was able to get Nimbus (a great slot machine collection), Volley Ball and a number of programs to work.


When Atari went bust with poor management in spite of a popular product, Nintendo quickly muscled in with their Entertainment System, providing better graphics and games. A 'Nintendo Seal of Approval' weeded out many a useless game, one of the reasons for Atari's downfall. I consider the PocketNES emulator as the best PPC emulator as all ROMs work flawlessly, with good speed, sound and gameplay. 5 Stars, no less.


Not content with the NES' success, Nintendo later released the Super NES console. This is a great machine with very nice games like Bust-A-Move, Shanghai, Sister Pinball etc. with very large ROMs. There are a few SNES emulators for the PPC, the one that I liked best, is PocketSNES which comes with a nice virtual keypad.


PalmGB was the first emulator I purchased (along with PocketDOS) on the same night that I got hold of my first Cassiopeia, a Palm-sized Windows CE PDA. After struggling for months to get Liberty to run to speed on my Sony Clie, what a joy it was to see it running normally and with colour for colour cartridges. I am glad that it has now been updated for the Pocket PC.


I could not decide whether I liked PalmGB or PocketGB better, so I purchased both of 'em. That was a wise move because those cartridges that I could not get to work on one seems to work on the other! PocketGB has a nice virtual keypad, something that is always welcomed with iPAQ's much-to-be-desired buttons.


This past week I have just downloaded the Game Gear/Sega Master System emulator. I have not taken it through its paces, but as a first version, it is running OK. There are lots of medium-sized ROMs for this emulator and I do enjoy games like Halley War, Monaco Grand Prix, etc. There is also a nice keypad on this first release.


Neo Geo is a great console that is still fun after all these years. I love the Bowling game as well as the car Rally. Now, there's a hand-held, Pocket Neo Geo. Its emulator, Pocket NeoGeo, runs rather slowly, does not have sound but do have great possiblities. The homepage tells us that an update is coming soon. ROMs are very big, though. However in computer gaming, the unwritten rule is, "the bigger the ROM, the better the game."


MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), is indeed the mother of all emulators. If you need a quick blast, from Space Invaders to virtually most games on the Arcade, you'll find it amongst the thousands of ROMs that it runs. There are several good MAME emulators, but my vote goes to MAMECE. Pity that the iPAQ's clumsy keys spoils much of the fun.


The last of the emulators on my favorite screen is another MAMECE, this time the large built. It is similar to the above MAME emulator, although even on the superfast iPAQ, takes a few seconds to load. If you have an extra large CF, this is THE emulator to keep in it. For some games, you will need a sample folder for its unique sounds. I wonder if the PPC version will someday include the ability to run real NeoGeo console ROMs like the Windows PC version of MAME?


A beta version of the long looked forward to, Sega Genesis emulator by Domenico Dato has just been released. In the gaming arena, the Genesis stands head to head with the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), with as many games. Like the SNES emulators, the PPC Genesis emulator is still (at the time of writing) without the all-important sound. Only about half of the available games actually work (it is very difficult to emulate scrolling games like automobile and cycle racers), but those which do work run adequately fast, and are perfectly playable on the iPAQ by using the invisible virtual pad. Hmmm... great possibilities for this one, especially with Jimmy Software's support.


This write-up would not be complete without mentioning emulators running on the Aero PPC. You will be forgiven if you are wondering just what could a puny 70 MHz B&W PPC could hope to emulate. There are in fact a few emulators that will run on the Aero, but the only one worth mentioning is the Aemu for Aero Emulator. In my humble opinion it runs Space Invaders at its perfect speed. There is no sound, but as you can see from the snapshot, it runs a good number of arcade ROM's.


If I have whetted your appetite with this sampling of emulators, please check out my write-ups on emulators at these top web sites:


Many thanks to Henry Kong for this article. Be sure to check out his excellent website on the 3 C's: Computer, Church & Cuisine. Don't miss his Windows CE section for plenty more Pocket PC related stuff!

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Many thanks to Henry Kong for this article. Be sure to check out his excellent website on the 3 C's: Computer, Church & Cuisine. Don't miss his Windows CE section for plenty more Pocket PC related stuff!

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