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Kombalar

Your reactions to MAME & emulators in the early days?

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As I kid and teen I was into cartridges. As an adult I'm into emulation. With the changeover happening in the 1990's.. Having experienced both camps for a significant length of time I tend to prefer emulation.

 

With emulation I get to experience unrivaled reliability and versatility. No more using shitkickers to beat the TV set into staying tuned with steady colors. And savegame features let me complete a game without leaving a console on all the time. Makes it easy to break a long game into several sessions. Or more importantly it eliminates grinding to get to upper levels.

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In the mid-to-late 90s, I was a fledgling musician playing in various punk rock bands. Along with some of my other musician friends, we started to become interested in producing our own weird (mis)interpretations of hip-hop and we gradually moved from hardware samplers and drum machines to computers when they became somewhat affordable for us. I got my own PC in about '98 and my friends who were a little more advanced helped get me going with producing and multi-track recording on the PC. I think they also introduced me to emulation, as we were all into games and it was incredibly exciting to think that we could play real arcade games as well as older console games on our PCs. (This was my first PC and I remember at the time feeling giddy that it was fun to use in so many ways.)

 

I remember early on using Genecyst and revisiting lots of Sega Genesis titles, and also indulging in playing a bunch of games that I was never able to previously. In particular, I remember Road Rash at that time had some intensely glitchy graphics, so the screens were covered in electric-colored patterns, but it was still playable, so in my imagination I re-titled it "Hunter S. Thompson's Mescaline Road." 😁 I was both happy and slightly disappointed when a later version, or maybe a later dump or another emulator like Gens or Kega Fusion, perfected it and the crazy patterns were gone. Now I've got nostalgia for a particular era of emulation, I guess!

 

Aside from that, I stumbled my way into MAME and it was just astonishing and so gratifying to be reunited with old favorites like Joust and Gyruss. Sometimes I would just sit and watch the attract modes of games and just have this cool mixture of nostalgia plus the increased appreciation of the art and technology that comes with experience and learning. I guess it's been many years at this point that I've used emulators, but it was only just a year and a half ago that I finally built a MAME cabinet and now it's on to a whole new dimension of enjoyment. Blessings, beers, and gratitude to the brilliant people who have made emulation possible!!

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There was another emulator back in those days... maybe Starcade or Sparcade or something like that?

 

It emulated Gyruss and other games with that chipset. 

 

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2 hours ago, Kombalar said:

There was another emulator back in those days... maybe Starcade or Sparcade or something like that?

 

It emulated Gyruss and other games with that chipset. 

 

Sparcade rocked! I loved that emulator.  As said there were a number of arcade emulators that were around before Mame became a thing. If I recall there was one called "KEM" for example. There are others.. but you'd have to dig around everyone's memory hole.

 

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Sparcade by Dave Spicer is the one I remember, it might have been the first for me.  It was very exciting playing the real pacman and galaxian on my computer but I really wanted to play my favourites.  I still have these emulators on my computer.  There's a standalone missile command,  MCEmu c1997 by Patrick J. Maloney.  A standalone donkey kong c1996 by Gary Shepherdson.  And Retrocade, Replay, Emu, Mulator, Magex, and others.  The oldest mame I have is 0.21.5.

 

Then Keith Robinson put up free emulated intellivision games on his intellivisionlives web site for download. That was awesome.

Edited by mr_me
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1 hour ago, mr_me said:

Sparcade by Dave Spicer is the one I remember, it might have been the first for me.  It was very exciting playing the real pacman and galaxian on my computer but I really wanted to play my favourites.  I still have these emulators on my computer.  There's a standalone missile command,  MCEmu c1997 by Patrick J. Maloney.  A standalone donkey kong c1996 by Gary Shepherdson.  And Retrocade, Replay, Emu, Mulator, Magex, and others.  The oldest mame I have is 0.21.5.

 

Then Keith Robinson put up free emulated intellivision games on his intellivisionlives web site for download. That was awesome.

Yes,  Sparcade was the first free one that I remember (The Williams CD-Rom predated it).   I also remember the reaction from the online community to his emulator-   Instead of being grateful, many were getting angry with him for not adding new games to it fast enough for their liking.

 

I also remember those standalone emulators.   Didn't they get absorbed into Mame?

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Yeah, I remember a lot of ungrateful snots that had to have a talking to. People always bitching that somebody wasn't giving them all the cool free stuff they wanted when they wanted it or the way they wanted. There was a glut of roms circulating that weren't emulated, but always ungracious mooches outnumbered them.

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4 hours ago, mr_me said:

Sparcade by Dave Spicer is the one I remember, it might have been the first for me.  It was very exciting playing the real pacman and galaxian on my computer but I really wanted to play my favourites.  I still have these emulators on my computer.  There's a standalone missile command,  MCEmu c1997 by Patrick J. Maloney.  A standalone donkey kong c1996 by Gary Shepherdson.  And Retrocade, Replay, Emu, Mulator, Magex, and others.  The oldest mame I have is 0.21.5.

 

Then Keith Robinson put up free emulated intellivision games on his intellivisionlives web site for download. That was awesome.

Think you could attach some of those emulators here if you have the chance? Beats googling them from abandonware sites :)

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10 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Think you could attach some of those emulators here if you have the chance? Beats googling them from abandonware sites :)

Wayback view of the old Intellivision page when they gave these away. I wouldn't expect these old emulators to work great on modern computers. 

http://web.archive.org/web/20050210092238/http://www.intellivisionlives.com/download.shtml

 

A better choice for a modern computer would be jzintv and a freely available set like

https://archive.org/details/Intellivision.7z

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29 minutes ago, Flojomojo said:

Wayback view of the old Intellivision page when they gave these away. I wouldn't expect these old emulators to work great on modern computers. 

http://web.archive.org/web/20050210092238/http://www.intellivisionlives.com/download.shtml

 

A better choice for a modern computer would be jzintv and a freely available set like

https://archive.org/details/Intellivision.7z

Thanks.. I've never been an intellivision guy though. Ever! Oddly enough. :lol: I'm more interested in the KEM, Retrocade,  Sparcade, Mulator, standalone and MC emu, etc.   There's a whole bunch of ancient arcade & console emulators I used to use and forgot about before the big players took over, and their memories have mostly faded. e.g. wtf was that Atari 2600 emulator that had the blue screen DOS interface in the pre-Stella days? Stuff like that :) 

 

And yeah of course they're not going to run on today's PCs. You can try DOSbox, or heck.. open your friggin parts drawer and piece together a Win95/98 box 😛

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13 minutes ago, NE146 said:

wtf was that Atari 2600 emulator that had the blue screen DOS interface in the pre-Stella days? Stuff like that :) 😛

I remember that. I don't remember the name either, probably just AVCS or something. 

 

I remember sticking other 4K ROMs into the early Activision emulator, good times, big hassles. Or using a utility called BIN2WAV to convert Atari ROMs into sound files, then playing them into a Starpath Supercharger on my 2600. 

 

We really have it very easy and very good nowadays. The biggest problem is finding time, not something to play. 

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53 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Thanks.. I've never been an intellivision guy though. Ever! Oddly enough. :lol: I'm more interested in the KEM, Retrocade,  Sparcade, Mulator, standalone and MC emu, etc.   There's a whole bunch of ancient arcade & console emulators I used to use and forgot about before the big players took over, and their memories have mostly faded. e.g. wtf was that Atari 2600 emulator that had the blue screen DOS interface in the pre-Stella days? Stuff like that :) 

 

And yeah of course they're not going to run on today's PCs. You can try DOSbox, or heck.. open your friggin parts drawer and piece together a Win95/98 box 😛

Bygone emulators could be a whole topic!   I remember using emulators with names like XL-it(Atari8), Pacifist(ST), Saint(ST)  ALE-C64, Bliss (INTV) that have long since died.   In those days you had to use multiple emulators for a system because each did somethings well and other things poorly.   Eventually they'd get replaced by emulators that do most things well.

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57 minutes ago, Flojomojo said:

I remember that. I don't remember the name either, probably just AVCS or something. 

 

I remember sticking other 4K ROMs into the early Activision emulator, good times, big hassles. Or using a utility called BIN2WAV to convert Atari ROMs into sound files, then playing them into a Starpath Supercharger on my 2600. 

 

We really have it very easy and very good nowadays. The biggest problem is finding time, not something to play. 

You could play other ROMs using the emulator in 80 Classic Games on Windows XP... I'm pretty sure it's the only official 2600 emulator. Though I don't know what Atari Vault uses, but that game is a POS.

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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Now we're collecting emulators like the games themselves..

 

BTW: the Atari DOS thing is PCAE.

Edited by Keatah
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3 hours ago, Flojomojo said:

Wayback view of the old Intellivision page when they gave these away. I wouldn't expect these old emulators to work great on modern computers. 

http://web.archive.org/web/20050210092238/http://www.intellivisionlives.com/download.shtml

 

A better choice for a modern computer would be jzintv and a freely available set like

https://archive.org/details/Intellivision.7z

The intellipacks use windows emulators and run perfectly fine in Win7-64.  There was an earlier edition that was for ms-dos.

I wouldn't say the rom image set is freely available but they are readily available.

 

3 hours ago, NE146 said:

Think you could attach some of those emulators here if you have the chance? Beats googling them from abandonware sites :)\

Here's a download link of several arcade emulators from the 1990s.

https://gofile.io/?c=sHG6zI

Edited by mr_me
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Mid-late 90's were amazing, and early 2000's were awesome too.  Some highlights from those amazing years for me:

 

1993 = C64S (Pre-Seattle Labs) by Miha Peternel 
1994 = ColemDOS by Marat Fayzullin & Marcel de Kogel
1995 = DASArcade by Dave Alan Spicer 
1996 = PCAE by John Dullea 
1997 = NESticle by Bloodlust Software

1998 = Genecyst* by Bloodlust Software
1999 = V7800 by Dan Boris

 

*Genecyst was first released in 1997, but the full polish/final (For its time), didn't occur until '98 for me.  It even went to some sort of odd version 'numbering'; literally something like "X.XX", I think was the last release.

 

While the single Arcade Emulators were great for the time, there truly was nothing like MAME.  Nail biting excitement hoping for a new release every week, and couldn't wait to see the next game(s) being added.

 

Of course there were other Arcade emulators too.  Retrocade was a great one, a very cool interface, and of course there was the included Retrobabe.  To ensure there were some giddy kids at 'X'mas and a adolescence that never left, the 'patches' for the aforementioned...lol.

 

But I digress...

 

It is really hard to explain how phenomenal and exciting those years felt for emulation.  If there was ever a time in my life when something could be describe as truly magical for me, it was then.

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Phenomenal is a powerful description and yet I think we should 1up it to transcendental. We are crossing the border into the nonphysical realm. A nebulous place where electron smog coalesces into something we once knew as arcade games.

 

As I've talked about before, reading the whatsnew.txt that came with every new emulator release was as exciting as getting new cartridges from the department store. And it continued on in these past few years, playing around with HLSL effects in MAME. Exciting all over again. Magic in a technical fantasyland. You've got this toolbox that can "get inside" a CRT and do things with the electron guns and change out shadow masks. You can play with the drive circuitry and adjust how hard the beam hits the phosphors and how well convergence takes place. Not forgetting the deflection coils either, tweaks there too.

 

It's a time and experience you don't want to give up.

 

Edited by Keatah
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14 hours ago, Keatah said:

As I've talked about before, reading the whatsnew.txt that came with every new emulator release was as exciting as getting new cartridges from the department store.

👍 Spot on. 

That's a great analogy and exactly what it felt like for me as well.

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I'd been tinkering with emulation on my Amiga with other systems (MacOS, MSDOS, C64, ST etc) and even had a hardware board for MSDOS emulation , so when I found out about MAME (with MAMENU) when i'd moved onto PC I embraced it as that allowed me to play my favourite old arcade games (which were vanishing from the arcades) at home and ran much better than those Amiga emulators. Back in the early 2000s I worked at an ISP that had a MAME machine set up in one of the offices with an X-arcade attached to it, this was a welcome distraction during those late night hours.

 

(Just realised, my current laptop still has Mame32 0.60 on it from 2002)

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I got into emulation in the late ‘90s while I was in college, and a large fraction of my early internet experiences revolved around it in some way.  Emulation made the internet like a candy shop.  

 

I didn’t use MAME much back in the day since I’m more a product of the NES/SNES era (Nesticle was mind-blowing) but I now have a much greater appreciation for arcade emulation.

 

I was also a staffer at Zophar’s Domain for a while in the 2000s and had a script that queried emulation sites to look for updates.  I remember announcing the first release of Nestopia in particular, that generated quite a bit of excitement in the community.

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In the 90's, emulators were one of the reasons why I got into using Wintel PC's.  I can still run my Atari ST and 8-bit games & programs, play early 80's games from my childhood, check out other systems I missed out on like the Intellivision & Vectrex, and even play any Legend of Zelda game without having to buy a Nintendo console...all on the same machine that plays the latest PC games!

 

And I had found memories of using the early DOS based emulators.  I used them for many years till I replaced got a new gamepad that didn't work with DOS games under Win98, so I replaced them with Windows native versions.

 

Even the Playstation had some cool arcade game collections like Namco Museum and Midway Arcade's Greatest Hits.  When I had to sell my PSX to pay off my bills, I missed the arcade games so I bought them back and played the "backups" on MAME.

 

Great times man...

 

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