I know, right? A few years back I was interested in the concept of PS2 emulation until I found out that games only ran (if at all) at 1-2 fps and a 2 minute demo recording took hours to make.
Fast forward 2 years and the emulator furthest down the line -PCSX2- is doing very well. So much so in fact that some games are running full speed with a respectable compatibility list to boot. Of course the nature of the beast is that your favourite game probably doesn't run properly yet, and for me that's Ace Combat 4 and 5. The exception being if your favourite game starts with Final and ends in a number..
There are some other downsides; you'll need a fairly beastie PC and at least windows Vista (Slowsta more like) or win7 for directX 10. XP and DX9 is supported but the emulator is is optimized as DX10. On an AMD 7750 dual core running at 2x 3ghz with an Ati 4850 I get around 75% of full speed in a demanding game like Gran Turismo, in some areas it briefly smooths out to 100% but drops in an open area. You can expect more fps for most games, Seek and Destroy for example runs at constant full speed.
As you can see from the screenshots, when a game does run without graphic glitches it looks gorgeous. Controller functionality is good and its fairly easy to setup a joystick; the prospect of using my Saitek X52 stick/throttle in Ace Combat is positively drool worthy. In a cruel twist of fate, the mediocre Rebel Raiders runs quite well and is almost enjoyable with a joystick.
You can get PCSX2 from here. Check the PCSX2 forums for the latest (unsupported) beta and plugin versions if you have problems with a game. Definately one to keep an eye on.
And heres why:
Cruisin USA is arcade racing in its purest form and carries all the genre's trademarks, such as catch up (aka rubber banding), exaggerated vehicle performance, and of course, big jumps!
Winning a race rewards you with a free race (on arcade default settings) and a babe with a trophy. Score!
It runs great in MAME on an Athlon X2 7750 + Ati 4850 with a MS sidewinder wheel (10 years and still going strong, shame about the drivers).
On my usual trawl through the massive trays of Playstation 2 games I was intrigued and a little bit creeped out to find this:
White Van Racer is a game for the adrenaline junkie that also happens to drive a white -probably windowless- van. Hit the streets in a wide variety of white vans, from Ice Cream vans to plumbers Vans or even cable repair van.
Im not sure if I regret leaving White Van Racer on the store shelf or not. Sure its creepy, and just owning it might get my working with children licence revoked, but to own one of the kookiest games out there maybe its worth it.
You never know what budget publishers will put out. Also available on PC!
I, need another Freespace :(
The space-sim/shooter that was once a mainstay of PC gaming is today a sorry shadow of it's former self. Don't get me wrong, I am more than grateful of the small low budget releases like Spaceforce: Rogue Universe and Dark Horizon. As enjoyable as afformentioned titles are they struggle to capture the spark that made space combat so exciting in games like Wing Commander, Starlancer, and the legendary Freespace series.
One of my biggest complaints of the genre in recent years has been the emphasis of Privater type trading depth. What was once a very small sub-genre of games like Elite and Privateer now seems like a requirement for any space sim, which has led to the problem we have now in that the rest of the game suffers as a result.
While space trading does have its charm, it tends to drag down the pace an awful lot which is what made games like Darkstar One and Spaceforce so average. This no-mans-land between X trading depth and Freespace action is not a good place to be. Put the budget from the trading aspect into the writing and voice acting and who knows, we could finally have a challenger to the Freespace 2's 10 year throne.
Hardcore Gaming 101: Sega Ages The first is brought to you by Hardcore gaming 101; a complete review of all 31 Sega Ages remakes released for the Playstation2 a couple of years back and in a collection outside japan. Complete reviews of the individual games on the discs and how they compare to the originals they were inspired by, with lots of pretty pictures. Very comprehensive and a good read (all 8 pages).
Bob's Space Invader: An Australian MAME cabinet There is something about the games you played as a youth in an arcade that can't be reproduced. I don't know if it wires your brain chemistry, Pavlov style, to induce adrenalin when you hear the music and read "PLAYER 1" on the screen, but whatever it is I get a kick out of it. There aren't many Australian MAME cabinet writeups around the net, so this was a nice surprise.
Retro/Active: PS1 Fighters from 1up.com I rather like 1up.com, it is my current 'goto' modern gaming site, but theres a good chance I'll stop going once It sinks in that PC gaming news is a bit pedestrian (unless you like screenshots of Spore.. again). Regardless, theres some nice Retro gaming features on the site and this particular piece on the Playstation's early 3d fighters is a nice example. A look back on some of the games that wooed everyone 12 years ago
Thats all for now, but don't worry there is plenty left in my 'stuff to post' bookmarks folder and I may just be lazy enough to post it..