Emulators

Great Playstation emulator FpseCE 0.10, finally, released! + video

We emulator freaks have been waiting for version FpseCE 0.10 for at least two and a half years. Back in May-June 2007 when I published my (almost) all-in-one article series on emulating other computing platforms (see THIS) on Windows Mobile, everyone was already waiting for FpseCE 0.10. This is why, back in 2007, I chose not to publish a PS Emulation Bible back in 2007, by the way – I didn’t want to end up having to (completely) rewrite it after the imminent release of the brand new version.

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Brand new version of MS-DOS emulator DOSBox out!


Unfortunately, lately, there was almost nothing to report on when it comes to gaming and running emulators on Windows Mobile – most game / emulator developers have switched to the iPhone. The latter sees several game releases a day (including really high-quality titles like UniWar, Wolf 3D and so on); in the meantime, WinMo is pretty much abandoned.

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Internet Explorer Mobile 6 - Check it out!

Topics:

There is an emulator and documentation for Internet Explorer Mobile 6 for Windows Mobile that you can check out to see what the experience will be like. 

emulator


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New version of best, free arcade emulator, FinalBurn, out!

Another GREAT piece of news for you emulator fans after the recent release of Pocket Commodore 64 3.0 (see review HERE): version 0.14 of FinalBurn, without doubt the BEST arcade emulator, has just been released with many optimizations (most importantly, the CPS-3 core has been rewritten) and compatibility enhancements.


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REVIEW: Pocket Commodore 64 3.0 released with multiplayer (!), VASTLY improved core and VIC-20 support!

A major breakthrough in C64 emulation: the long-awaited version 3.0 of Pocket Commodore 64 Plus Vic 20 has just been released!

If you’ve read the Commodore 64 Emulation Bible (make sure you read it; in this article, I will NOT elaborate on how you can import / run games under the emulator), you already know that Pocket Commodore 64 has, apart from the CPU usage problem, always been the best C64 emulator for the platform.


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Gaming & emulator news (04/20/2008)

1. One of the best Pocket PC games of all time, Orions: Legend of Wizards (along with its expansion pack Orions: The Second Age) is sold with a 40% rebate HERE. Definitely worth purchasing it if you already haven’t done so. See my two Orions Strategy Guides for more info (Pocket PC only).


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Miscellaneous hardware & software news; my plans for the near future

1. Hardware

a. HTC is going to introduce some new devices in early May – at last! While I certainly consider HTC’s models boring, unimaginative and far from multimedia- and gaming-friendly, I really hope they will, at last, come up with something more appealing for the generic users. I recommend THIS thread for more info; particularly my post posted at 04/10 15:36 CET, where I explain why I don’t consider HTC’s current lineup imaginative or even interesting and what functionalities I find the most lacking.

HowardForum's related thread is also worth checking out for other rumors / guesses. Hopefully, one of the forum members who has contacts at HTC and has always provided us with some rumors will fill us in with some insider info again ;)

b. at CTIA Wireless 2008, there have been several new devices at Microsoft’s booth, all with the new, just (at CTIA) announced 6.1 version of Windows Mobile:

Amoi 6711: a simple Smartphone with GPS:

A newcomer to Windows Mobile, Velocity, has announced two new models:

Velocity 103: a VGA Pocket PC model
Velocity 111: a QVGA Landscape Pocket PC model

Both Velocity models come with 128M RAM / 256M ROM, GPS and HSDPA. They have no goodies like 3D hardware acceleration, FM radio or TV receiver. HowardForums has a VERY long and interesting thread on these devices.

There also was a working (at MWC, it still didn’t work) prototype of the E-Ten (now: Samsung) V900, one of the most interesting VGA handsets because of its digital TV receiving capabilities. (I only wish it had a slightly bigger screen – it’s suffering from the same problem as i-mate’s new phones.)

(See for example THIS for more info & shots.)

c. AximSite has allowed discussing the (cooked) WM6 upgrade for the Axim x50/x51 series. This is certainly very good news and may also mean I also seriously rethink my not discussing these questions at all to be on the safe side. After all, it’s time to install (and, probably, report on) the latest WM6 upgrade on my HP iPAQ hx4700, which is still probably the best bed-time e-book reader.

For example, the cooked version of Windows Mobile 6.1 has just been released for the Dell Axim x51v, sporting a lot of niceties. See the related thread HERE and HERE for the WinMo Professional / Classic versions, respectively. (Yes, the former is a PPC Phone Edition version so that you can run by default PPC PE-only software like Esmertec Jbed without additional hacking - that is, copying the "placeholder" SMS.dll and phone.dll files to \Windows, as is explained in the MIDlet Bible.) I'll soon test and report on it.

You can only hope that the current (!) HP iPAQ lineup also receives cooked 6.1 (and, in the future, later) OS ROM versions - HP has just announced they won't release any WM6.1 updates for their current devices. I don't want to comment on HP's decision because I don't want them to make angry with me - you surely know what I think ;). Currently, there're no HP 6.1 ROM cooking-related threads at the, say, iPAQ 210 forums of BrightHand or AximSite. THIS and THIS threads may be of interest.

d. There is a brand new article on the S-E Xperia X1 HERE.

e. i-mate's new models, the 8502 and the 9502 (see my review & remarks HERE) have started shipping and are available in Europe as well (through Clove). The related HoFo thread, packed with shots of the new models (on, for example, page 15), is worth checking out, along with a brand new review of the 8502 HERE. The reviewer, generally, likes it very much, except for the lack of microSDHC support. The latter is quite a letdown if it can't be fixed...

2. Software

a. CorePlayer 1.2.2 has been released for Windows Mobile; see THIS for more info (and also my multimedia-related articles / Bibles). (For Symbian, after the already-released 1.2.0, 1.2.1 is promised in the near future)


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Misc news: MWC, GREAT rebates, new devices, new games/emulators/CorePlayer version

1. App news / rebates:

a. (still a preview, but still much more advanced than version 1.1.3 released a month ago) CorePlayer 1.2, finally, released for Windows Mobile. See THIS for more info. The Symbian version, as opposed to what was announced a month ago (then, the CoreCodec folks only promised a Windows Mobile release for February), seems to hit the shelves very soon too - see THIS thread. It, among other things, promises hardware acceleration. I'm really looking forward to the dramatic speed / efficiency increase this could mean on current high-end Nokias like the N95 using the latest TI OMAP & PowerVR-based chipsets.

b. ALL of VITO Technology's products are available for $7 (!!) only: go purchase them while the offer lasts! (I'm pretty unlucky, it seems: it was just before MWC that I purchased their AudioNotes for Symbian S60v3 for some $25... should I have known this GREAT rebate beforehand... :) )

2. Gaming & emulation news:

a. Creatonia made free!

Insenic, who, in the past, have already made two of their previously commercial titles free, decided to do the same to their pretty nice RPG title Creatonia. While the biggest problems (for example, the lack of in-game music, the dull graphics etc.) are still present, it's really worth getting for free. See THIS for a review (frontpaged on several sites).

b. a new version of Commodore 64 emulator for both the MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) and Pocket PC (WM6 Pro / Classic) platform, PocketHobbit, is released, with a lot of niceties like native QVGA support (remember? It was me who wrote an extended, QVGA-enabled Smartphone version of the original) and frame rate settings. See THIS for a generic overview of emulating the Commodore 64 under Windows Mobile. It's available HERE (NOT on the old links).

c. Astraware has released a fully-fledged, very interesting strategy game Westward, which is certainly worth checking out. There is a great Just Another Mobile Moday review HERE. It runs on both Pocket PC's and Smartphones (and even Palm OS devices).

d. Beijing Huike Technology, the developers of Dark Street reviewed HERE, have released four additional games for both the Pocket PC and MS Smartphone:


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Games / emulator news (02/06): another FPSEce 0.010 video; 40% Revival/ Spb AirIsland / etc. rebate!

1. There’s another, new demo video (thanks to the PocketPlayers Reloaded folks) of the forthcoming, kick-butt FPSEce 0.010 Playstation emulator:

Coolboarders

(See THIS and THIS for the earlier videos)

2. Mobile2Day.de has some GREAT game rebates until 02/10; most importantly, the brand-new Revival (see reviews linked from HERE), Spb AirIsland and the great multiplayer title Explode Arena. You can save about 40% of their price – don’t hesitate to go and purchase! (I’ve already purchased Revival for Pocket PC in there: yes, I’ve saved some 7 euros compared to, say, the current ClickGamer price.) Note that the portal is German-only; please see THIS for more info if you don’t know the language.

The titles offered:

Revival: 11,95 euros (PPC version) / 7,95 euros (MS Smartphone version)

Mahjongg Deluxe 3D: 5,95 euros

Explode Arena: 5,95 euros

Spb AirIsland: 12,95 euros

Chess Professional: 5,95 euros

(news source: PocketPlayers Reloaded)

Note that the pretty much recommended Arcade Park 1.4 (from the same folks as Revival) is also sold at a some (8,88 euros instead of 10,45) discount – it’s also worth at least giving it a try.


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Games / emulator news (02/02/2008): new FPSEce 0.010 videos; new Prowler Studios games

1. Yesterday, I reported on the new FPSEce 0.010 videos. The Pocketplayers.info folks have just uploaded two, brand new FPSEce 0.010 videos well worth checking out:

Rayman
Wipeout XL

It seems FPSEce 0.010 will indeed be a BIG hit, particularly for 3D game fans with a Dell Axim x50v / x51v: it’ll really be able to run the well-known PlayStation classics without any problems. Make sure you donate to the developer (I’ve already done so) :)

2. A quick overview of Prowler Studios' games

Prowler Studios is a newcomer to the Windows Mobile gaming scene but has already released several titles. Of these, I review the three most expensive ($12.95 each) one (assuming most expensive means the best). Note that they're all Pocket PC only (not compatible with MS Smartphones - I've tested) and support all operating systems starting with WM2003.

a. Toe 2 Toe Boxing Championship is (or, at least, tries to be) a 3D boxing game. I don’t recommend this title. While it tries to be 3D, it in no way utilizes existing 3D acceleration hardware (tested this on the Dell Axim x51v). The in-game sprite animation is also VERY bad: it only has TWO phases. Taken the high price of the title into account, I in no way can recommend this game even for a quick try. I know there aren’t any boxing games for Windows Mobile (quickly checked this at Clickgamer in addition to the Sports category of the PPCMag encyclopedia). Therefore, I recommend going for emulation. The home computers / home consoles had WAY better boxing games; for example, Boxing Legends of the Ring for Mega Drive/Genesis and SNES; George Foreman's KO Boxing for the same two consoles; Riddick Bowe Boxing (which is very similar to Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing for Genesis and GG) for SNES, Gameboy and GG. Make sure you check out my emulation-related articles / Bibles in the Emulators category of my blog. Or, if you don’t necessarily want boxing, just a very similar arcade game, give a try to, for example, Garou (Fatal Fury): Mark of the Wolves under the excellent NeoGeo emulator FinalBurn Alpha. (Note that I haven’t tested the title under FinalBurn. It may NOT work. If it doesn’t, you can still look for another action game to run.)


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Games / emulator news (02/01/2008): some GREAT, new FPSEce 0.010 videos; Dark Street etc.

1. Some GREAT, new FPSEce 0.010 videos released!

I’ve long been waiting for the long-announced, 0.010 version of FPSEce, the one and only PlayStation emulator for Windows Mobile, which will deliver MASSIVE optimizations and GREAT speed enhancements, especially with PDA’s with the Intel 2700G 3D graphics accelerator.


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Misc news: the HP iPAQ 21x; new apps, games & emus; anyone coming to Barcelona?

  • As many of you already know, the long-awaited, high-end, albeit “disconnected†HP iPAQ 21x series is out - currently, the only (standalone) PDA to have a 4", good-quality (if they use the same, excellent screen as in the predecessor, the hx4700 – that is, not a cr*ppy one, heavily suffering from severe polarization issues like the one in the Dell Axim x50v/x51v) VGA screen – at a pretty nice price point, compared to the high-end PDA phones of, say, HTC.

    Some (not all – see for example THIS) of the initial discussions talked about the new, high-end, 210-series being based on the PXA320 CPU, the best of the new, Marvel PXA3x0 series. This is why I really was looking forward to this device - after all, it would have been the very first VGA device to sport a PXA320.

    Currently, there is only one Windows Mobile model out there with the PXA320, the LG KC1, but it's just an, in my opinion, pretty much mediocre QVGA phone - really nothing to write home about (no 4†VGA and it’s Korean and WM5-only – and I don’t know of “hackedâ€, “cooked†ROM’s making it English – albeit I haven’t searched XDA-Devs for more info), except for the high (806 MHz) CPU clock, which can come VERY handy when running for example emulators like Masterall's excellent FinalBurn, the various SNES or GBA emulators or Mplayer playing back HTTP RealAudio streams, all requiring as much processing power as possible.

    Using the new PXA320 instead of the 310 would have been a decent decision. Not only because of the higher CPU clock (and, therefore, the higher maximal speed) and other goodies like the large(r) cache, but also because of the seemingly superior video decoding capabilities, which help a lot with decoding for example full (not just “plain†640-wide VGA), that is, PAL/NTSC-resolution (720 pixels wide) H.264 videos (please consult the just-linked H.264 Bible if you don’t but would like to understand this paragraph). Incidentally, the H.264 PXA320 is so powerful that it’s even rumored to be able to decode 720p (that is, 1280*720) H.264 videos on even an underpowered Pocket PC (!!) without problems. Quite a feat, isn’t it? Not that there would be any point in watching 1280*720 videos on a 640*480 (or, at most, 800*480) screen – let alone the huge storage requirements of these x264 files, which, in many cases, exceed the file size capabilities (4096 Mbytes at most) of the FAT32 file system used on current cards (because, initially, they were designed for NTFS or other file systems capable of much bigger files).

    However, HP’s decision for going with the clearly worse 310 is pretty much understandable (considering the price difference between the two CPU’s) and acceptable – as long as you resize & reconvert your H.264 videos to be no wider than 640 pixels. Then, assuming CorePlayer (the premium video player for all major mobile platforms) indeed, as is promised HERE, receives support for WMMX in version 1.2, you’ll see a dramatic increase in decoding efficiency of at least inferior video formats like MPEG-1 and MPEG-4 Part 2 (a.k.a. DivX / Xvid; not to be mistaken for the much more advanced H.264 / AVC!). This subject, by the way, is also thoroughly discussed HERE – I really recommend sonichedgehog360’s posts in there.

    Note that, currently, the CorePlayer folks only promise WMMX support (which, again, doesn’t help with decoding H.264). That is, no hardware H.264 decoding support has been announced. They have stated they will announce if and, if it’s possible at all, when this kind of support is added to CorePlayer after the release of CorePlayer 1.2. This means don’t run out to purchase the new iPAQ if you’re a H.264 buff: CorePlayer may not receive H.264 hardware decoding support at all.

    Of course, even if no H.264 hardware decoding support is added to CorePlayer, the new CPU platform is still vastly superior to the old, PXA270 platform. Just take a look at THIS and THIS (the PXA310 and PXA320 specs, respectively). Note that some of the online comparisons are plain useless. For example, the PXA310 quick summary HERE doesn’t even mention WMMX2 or H.264 hardware acceleration support (as opposed to the PXA320 quick summary HERE). The above-linked PDF files, on the other hand, contain much more dependable information.

    Otherwise, the device is pretty nice and the fact that it is no longer based on a touchpad (as opposed to the predecessor, the hx4700) makes it much more usable in everyday situations (for example, gaming, e-book reading or Web browsing using the D-pad). It also sports USB host capabilities, which, unfortunately, is a very-very rare feature among current Windows Mobile models and was REALLY useful on the Fujitsu-Siemens (RIP!) Pocket Loox series (for example, the most versatilye WM2003SE device ever, the Loox 720) and some other models like the Toshiba e750+ - and some current ones like the (otherwise, isn’t that nice) Toshiba G900.


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Emulation / gaming news (01/20/2008): great Worms / Atomic Cannon clone NanoBotz; Realms free; ScummVM updated etc

  1. Moregames Entertainment’s NanoBotz will soon be released!

    If you’re a fan of Worms and its clones and/or Atomic Cannon (of which I’ve reviewed the recently-released version 3 HERE), or, just like the previous titles of the developer (most importantly, Enslave, Azgard Defence and


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Emulation & gaming news: SmartGear with greatly enhanced NES compatibility; a Civ clone etc.

  1. I think it was worth asking the developer of SmartGear to go commercial; his excellent emulator has been further enhanced after the major upgrades (the touch screen tap zones) in the previous version reviewed HERE. Now, almost all the NES mappers (more on this in the NES Emulation Bible) have been implemented, resulting in tons of previously incompatible games becoming playable.

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Emulation news: brand new SmartGear version; good FPSEce news

1. SmartGear updated – with great sound improvements; it’ll also receive touchscreen tap area support!!

SmartGear, which is undoubtedly the best[*] all-in-one emulator for both Windows Mobile platforms, has finally fixed the “clicking sound†problem in their new, 0.34 version

Also see THIS thread page in the official SmartGear thread at MoDaCo for more info & what people report on the new stuff.

Finally, the developer has announced adding support for on-screen tap areas, which will be a god-send for many-many Pocket PC users with touchscreens. After all, on several handsets, it’s much easier to press the virtual buttons on the touchscreen instead of the small / hard-to-press hardware buttons.


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Amstrad CPC emulator PocketCaprice 0.9 released, with many new features & bugfixes!

PocketCaprice, the only Amstrad CPC emulator for the Pocket PC (no Smartphone compliance, sorry), has just been updated with several new features, enhancements and bugfixes:

• Built-in keyboard support.
• Added disk image saving function.
• Added snapshot saving function.
• On screen buttons added.
• New assembly blit routine, may be faster depending on CPU model.
• Intel 2700g double pixel feature (Dell x51v/x50v).
• Sound buffer synchronization fixed.


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New version of great gaming console emulator SmartGear (soon) out!

UPDATE (08/18/2007): Larry has a useful post HERE, in the official MoDaCo thread. He has also made the beta public - see THIS post.
(end of update)

It’s pretty much unnecessary to introduce SmartGear for any Windows Mobile game / emulator freak. It’s a MUST for ALL MS Smartphone (both 176*220 and QVGA) AND QVGA Pocket PC users – it’s WAY faster than any other emulator on low-speed devices and has few bugs (most importantly, speed issues on (W)VGA Pocket PC’s and lack of Genesis / Sega Megadrive sound emulation), as is also pointed out in several of my previous articles.

Thanks to the courtesy of the developer, Larry Bank, I had the chance to “test drive†the new version, which will be released VERY soon. Now that he has modified the code so that audio emulation takes precedence over video emulation (even at the expense of, on VGA devices, excess dropped frames), you’ll very rarely (if ever) hear sound problems any more if you use the default frame dropping configuration. That is, you make sure both the “Throttle farmerate†and the “Skip every other frame†checkboxes are both checked in. Note that I had slight problems with the sound in GBC emulation (with 1062 - Wendy - Every Witch Way (USA)(Menace)) – I don’t know if other GBC titles exhibit the same behavior.


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Games & emulator news (07/25/2007)

This is the latest part of my Games News series; you can find the previous part HERE. The news in this part applies to both the Pocket PC (Windows Mobile 6 Pro / Classic) and MS Smartphone (Windows Mobile 6 Standard) devices - that is, no matter what Windows Mobile device you have, you WILL want to read on.

Arcade Park 1.3 out – now, with redefinable fire button!

Arcade Park is, in my opinion, a really good collection of reimplementation of old arcade games reviewed HERE (you may also want to check out the two other reviews linked at the end) containing several old subgames. It’s available for example HERE for all mobile platforms, including both the MS Smartphone (both 176*220 and QVGA) and Pocket PC (it’s even compatible with 240*240 square-screen devices; unfortunately, it doesn’t make use of high resolution on VGA ones).


(main menu on a 176*220 Smartphone; the same on a QVGA/VGA PPC / QVGA Smartphone)


In-game screenshot on a 176*220 Smartphone; the same on a QVGA/VGA PPC / QVGA Smartphone)

The biggest problem with the game, so far, have been the inability to redefine keys; most importantly, the Action button. Now, oin the new version, you can do it in the new Controls menu. Example 176*220 SP screenshots: 1 2 (on a QVGA PPC / SP)


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(Mostly) games and emulator news as of 07/21/2007

Note that the following news items apply to both the Pocket PC (Windows Mobile 6 Pro / Classic) and MS Smartphone (Windows Mobile 6 Standard) devices!

  • SmartGear, updated to version 0.27, goes official and is also released for the desktop PC!

    I’ve often elaborated on SmartGear, one of the best handheld and desktop gaming console emulators for both the Pocket PC and Smartphone. The author, Larry Bank, is well-known for his excellent knowledge of the assembly programming the ARM processor. Fortunately, this also means he’s making use of extensive assembly programming.

    Its homepage is HERE.

    Being finally formally released also means I was able to nominate it in the various Emulator categories of the Best Software Awards 2007. It certainly deserves it as it’s apart from some compatibility problems with some games, it’s easily the best emulator, CPU usage- and TI OMAP-friendliness-wise. Now, the new Emulators categories really contain the BEST emulators available today.

    I’d like to also point out that Larry is working on the brand new, speed-wise much enhanced and WM5-compliant PQV version; he’s looking for feedback HERE and HERE.

  • FinalBurn for WinCE 0.011 released!

    MasterAll, the other big name on the Windows Mobile scene that has been constantly releasing top emulators in the last few months, has just (some hours ago) released version 0.011 of his arcade machine emulator FinalBurn for WinCE.

    This emulator is a MUST for anyone wanting to play modern (NOT ancient! Don’t think of simple Galaga and Asteroids games!) 2D arcade games on his or her handheld, let it be either a Pocket PC or a Smartphone.

    As usual, the title is available HERE.

    See THIS for a complete review & tutorial on using the emulator.

  • Final version of BEST Windows Mobile Real-Time Strategy game Machines at War released!

    I’ve published a review (which was frontpage-mentioned no less than two times at PPCT!) of Machines at War (MaW), Isotope244’s brand new real-time strategy game right upon the release of the first beta version, 0.9.

    In the meantime, also based on my remarks (for example, my asking for Attack being the default behavior for units and Move + Attack being implemented, unlike in most other Pocket PC RTS games), a lot of improvements have been made to the game and a final version has been released.

    Also, VGA support has been added, which is GREAT news for all VGA users. It’s not enabled by default; you only need to rename Settings VGA.xml to Settings.xml to make it work. An example screenshot (looks GREAT, doesn’t it?):


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Playing point-and-click (LucasArts etc.) adventure classics under ScummVM

Many of you may have heard of ScummVM, THE multiplatform (including Windows Mobile) interpreter for LucasArts (and similar) adventure games.

In my emulation-related article & tutorial series, I’ve deliberately waited for the final version of the brand new and pretty much groundbreaking ScummVM 0.10.0 (AKA Tic-Tac-Toe, coming from the Roman numeral form 0.X.0) to appear so that the article doesn’t get outdated too soon. (BTW, this is the reason I haven’t come up with a FPSEce article either. I’ll only publish it when the new release, which is slated for the near future, is released. In the meantime, go give a try to the current version – it REALLY shines at emulating the Sony PlayStation!)

I think it was worth waiting: the new Tic-Tac-Toe edition is really great and indeed represents a breakthrough in interpreting many graphics adventures released in the late eighties and during the entire nineties.

Some of the adventures ScummVM supports include Adventure Soft's Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2; Revolution's Beneath A Steel Sky, Broken Sword 1 and Broken Sword 2; Flight of the Amazon Queen; Wyrmkeep's Inherit the Earth; Coktel Vision's Gobliiins; Westwood Studios' The Legend of Kyrandia and games based on LucasArts' SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) system such as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max and more. You can find a thorough list with details on which games are supported and how well on the compatibility page. (Note that the latter reflects the state of the latest nightly build. The official 0.10.0 compatibility chart is HERE. As of 07/02/2007, it’s only Sierra’s Gold Rush! that has better compatibility rate than with the 0.10.0 version).

Important note: PocketScumm used to be the name of the PocketPC port of ScummVM, but that name is now deprecated. Now, the official name is “ScummVM for Windows CEâ€. Don’t use the former to look for reviews or downloads as it will only show very old versions.

1.1 Why should you bother?

It’s very simple: no other emulator is capable of emulating these games so well. There surely are several Amiga, MS-DOS, Atari ST, NES, C64 etc. emulators out there for Windows Mobile, but none of them runs these games so well – if at all.

As far as MS-DOS is concerned – that is, the platform that both

  1. quantity (it has ALL the titles - for example, all titles released after 1994 are MS-DOS and Mac OS only and not any more released for other platforms) and,
  2. except for some VERY rare exceptions (for example, the FM Towns version of Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders because of the 256 colors and/or the CD music tracks), quality-wise (for example, games and/or remakes released for MS-DOS, starting with 1992, have native 256-color VGA support, unlike the, say, 32-color and, therefore, much worse-looking Amiga versions)

is the best, the available native emulators (see their FULL review & roundup HERE) all

  • are restricted to playing pre-1994 games (no 32-bit, Windows, 80386 and/or high-res VGA games, sorry), while many, excellent adventure games were released for platforms that, currently, isn’t possible to emulate on Windows Mobile. Examples of these games are Broken Sword I/II, Monkey Island 3, The Dig etc.
  • have mouse pointer problems (for example, NONE of the current MS-DOS emulators can emulate the cursor in DOTT – see the related info in the MS-DOS emulator article)
  • if they at all (for example, the commercial PocketDOS doesn’t emulate anything else than the beeper) emulate Adlib / SoundBlaster sound, it will most probably be stuttering, even on the fastest, 624 MHz devices
  • use the CPU excessively, meaning short battery life, device heatup and, when used together with A2DP, excessive sound stuttering and additional slowdown (because of A2DP’s being CPU intensive). In this respect, ScummVM is WAY better: its CPU usage is between 16-20% at 624 MHz and ~30% at 400 MHz XScale CPU's, even with active sound / music emulation.

In addition, there are no other interpreters at all to play these games. There is only a Sierra AGI interpreter, PocketSarien (see review & tutorial HERE), but it, if AGI games are sufficient for you, suffers from several problems (Portrait mode only; no SIP on VGA devices etc). ScummVM, fortunately, supports AGI games (while getting rid of the above-explained problems with PocketSarien) – and a LOT more!

It’s worth pointing out that FM Towns, one of the most remarkable platform having received the, technically (256-color VGA graphics and CD audio sound even as early as 1989!), best possible ports of these old games between 1988 and 1992, has no emulators for Windows Mobile. That is, you can not rely on emulating these platforms to play the games ported exclusively for them.

As far as other, in general, home systems are concerned, which also have ports of these old adventure games, they are either (vastly) inferior to MS-DOS (for example, the mouse-less NES and the C64 or, strictly as far as the visual quality of Lucasarts titles – number of colors – and emulation problems (with the Amiga emulator, lack of disk swapping capabilities; stuttering, useless sound etc.; with the Atari emulator, mouse dragging problems) is concerned, Amiga / Atari ST) or have no emulators (Mac OS). Needless to say, these emulators put MUCH more burden on the CPU than ScummVM – 100%, apart from some excellent NES emulators (for example, SmartGear).

Finally, there is only one native Windows Mobile port of the games emulated by ScummVM; that of Broken Sword. However, even with that, in cases, you will want to prefer playing the original version under ScummVM than the native one (as opposed to the general rule of native apps / games being far better than emulated / interpreted ones). I’ll elaborate on this later, in a separate section.


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