Monday, January 08, 2007


Upcoming goodness

I think I'll soon be releasing a new version of JEmu2 now that I finally found the (incredibly silly) bug which prevented a number of MSX2 disk games to boot, which include Konami's Snatcher and SD Snatcher (both early Hideo Kojima games of Metal Gear Solid fame).
Both these games are feature more or less the same fantastic cyberpunk story in a 'Blade Runner-esque' setting but are both completely different games: Snatcher is a menu driven adventure game, SD Snatcher is an action RPG game. The rich story really has that Hideo Kojima trademark; thought provoking, intelligent and emotional. People who have enjoyed the Metal Gear games (especially the later Metal Gear Solid games) will know what I'm talking about.

Snatcher has been released on a number of platforms, the most well known (outside of japan) is probably the Sega CD version as that version was the only version to be released outside of japan. To be honest, that version was really much better as the MSX2 version had a few problems: Due to a rushed release, it was actually incomplete; Act 3 was completely missing, making the ending much darker and ambiguous. Because of the rushed release, the MSX2 version was also suffering from long loading times, reportedly partly because of inefficient programming of image decompressing.
On the other hand, the Sega CD version was slightly toned down on violence and some nudity was removed. The MSX2 version can thus be seen as a raw 'uncut' version, which is still worth to be experienced.

SD Snatcher on the other hand more suited the MSX2 and was actually never published on any other platform. It's a unique action RPG game which has some nice surprises in the plot for people who are familiar with Snatcher. Really a forgotten gem! SD stands for 'Super Deformed', which refers to a japanese drawing style where people have strange child-like proportions featuring huge heads and small bodies (see screenshot).

Also a cool game in the upcoming release is Aleste 2, a cool shoot-em up which was also unique to the MSX2 system. JEmu2's MSX emulation shows some minor bugs in this game, fortunately only visible in the introduction sequence. The game itself runs perfect.

Finally, JEmu2 will feature ZX Spectrum emulation in the next release. It's as of yet a fairly simple Spectrum emulator only emulating the 48k Spectrum, but able to run many games pretty well. It does feature emulation of the sound speaker (which sounds quite horrible, to be honest) and Kempston Joystick interface.

The spectrum was a popular home computer from the eighties, which made up its audio visiual limitations (compared to it's more expensive main contender, the C64) with performance: The spectrum was often able to run games at better speed, especially 3D games. Although many spectrum games don't look like much (especially nowadays), there are still many great and very playable games produced for this little machine.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Happy 2007

First of all, happy new year!

Looking back, 2006 has been a good year for with many new games and exciting new hardware emulation in JEmu2:
* For the first time in java, Sega X-Board and Y-Board emulation (the most complex hardware emulated in JEmu2 yet, with up to 4 CPU's, math chips, zooming & rotating sprites, FM sound, 16 channel PCM etc).
* The introduction of VirtuArcade, the first ever true virtual arcade emulating 20 arcades at once in a hardware accellerated 3D environment.
* The introduction of pretty accurate emulation of the Sega Master System console.
* The introduction of MSX1/2 emulation with support for Konami SCC and Pana FM-PAC sound add-ons. The SCC emulation even improves over the original, creating a nice stereo output.
* A new homebrew game 'Hyper Blazer', a fast 3D action game. Think of the game as 'Trail Blazer' on steroids, adding many gameplay features to the original.

Special mention should go to Stephan Dittrich, who donated his Motorola MC68000 CPU emulator for use with JEmu2. This CPU is used in systems such as X-Board (After Burner), Y-Board (G-Loc, Power Driver etc), CPS1 (Street Fighter 2) and Snow Bros. Nick & Tom.
Check out his website featuring his project jEnesis, a great emulator of the Sega Genesis with 32X add-on. For the first time in java, running at good speed.

For 2007, the following is in the pipeline:
* Atari ST emulation. I still got a long way to go with this; it's now booting about halfway to TOS 1.02.
* ZX Spectrum emulation. I got a 48k speccy driver working okay, with support of it's 'beeper' sound output and Kempston Joystick. Okay, it's been done numerous times before, but it was a nice little system in it's days with many great games made for it.
* Disk support for MSX. I had this working great before I lost my latest sources. I got it mostly working again, but am running into a problem which prevents it from running the great 'SD Snatcher' (a fantastic 3-Disk cyberpunk action RPG made by Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame). I remember having this problem before, but don't remember how I fixed it before losing sources...
* More homebrew games? Hyper Blazer ranks up high in the top 10 of most popular games on
* .... who knows? My plans tend to change a lot :-)

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