What follows is a report for a long series of news occurred in the emulation world during the last period, and by “last period” I mean the latest months before the beginning of the new year at least. For this reason, in some cases I can’t exactly talk about “news”, but it felt right to me to emphasize them considering that these are already established advancements that will be the foundations on which to build the future ones. After all emulation is an ever-evolving world, and I want to start over to tell its progressing without losing too much important things along the way 😛
Like the nachzehrer which lives a half rotten life chewing its own shroud in the grave, during the last six months Sir Arthur’s Den has been a half-dead blog – no “status update” or new post, but a non-stop attention by the owner to static management of the (few) legit comments and the (too many!) spam comments collected daily by Defensio quarantine. As 2012 comes, Sir Arthur has finally decided to come out of the grave – shroud or not – and try to put his hands on these pages again hoping to succeed.
Followers of the VOGONS board and DOSBox official forum are already aware of this: one of the forthcoming versions of the best PC-with-DOS emulator out there should include a very important architectural novelty, ie the software implementation of the historical Voodoo Graphics chipset created by 3dfx Interactive in the Nineties. “Kekko”, the programmer working on the project with the aid of the DOSBox crew and the coding-capable VOGONS users, says that his aim is the complete and faithful emulation of SST-1, the first Voodoo chipset marketed in 1996 inside the first 3D graphics accelerated cards on the PC.
Despite it offers a service aimed at a very selected public of video games fans, in the latest weeks Good Old Games has been the most discussed topic on-line. “GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form“, an unexpected message on the retrogaming store homepage stated, and many believed that the service had shut down for financial issues or who knows what. The truth was, it was discovered some days later, that the GOG.com management had decided to close the long beta phase of the site with a shocking marketing stunt.
October 2 and 3 are red-flag days for Italian retrogaming fans: in those days Monza will host the fourth edition of Video Games History, “the landmark event for retrogaming and more generally video games fans“. Organized by GamesCollection in partnership with retro-stores, associations, hardware manufacturers and games developers, the exhibition will be held in the Lombard city Urban Center and will provide the opportunity to go back to the past of video games without ignoring to glance at the present and the future of the medium.
During the past few days two important facts happened in the emulation world: DOSBox, the virtual machine that accurately replicates the PC world obsolete hardware has been updated with a new version release, while the Dreamcast emulator nullDC has found itself at a crossroad in its erratic history. Both cases concern software that are almost unique in their kind, and both the news are worth being told for the practical effects they have on the many fans using them.
After having reached its “full maturity” with version 1.0.0, celebrating the occasion with a significant amount of improvements, the old-times adventurers beloved virtual machine updates itself once more. ScummVM release 1.1.0 (code name “Beta quadrant”) brings some new features, squashed bugs, support to seven new games within the compatibility list. And some annoying regression defects too that should anyway be worked out “in about four weeks” with an upcoming release.
The funny thing of Internet is that you can get into everything, even what you expect less: in the past days I have been interviewed by Swiss newspaper laRegioneTicino on abandonware, retrogaming and related topics. The resulting article, available in PDF format in the technology section of newspaper’s site or here on Sir Arthur’s Den as well, is a reduced version of the interview made via e-mail. Nothing particularly impressive, actually, but surely it’s something I had pleasure to do 🙂
It isn’t exactly the end of the world as we knew it, but the dynamism of adventure games publishers and developers in the summer of 2009 seems to have a weight in the great order of things anyway. The fact is that years after their (alleged) commercial and creative death graphic adventures continue to come out, and in some kind of reboot effort the genre noble fathers try to suggest the way for a possible new renaissance of “point and click” games through the marketplace of digital stores already projected into the future.
Lord Pall, administrator of the spiritual heir of abandonware site Home of the Underdogs, sent me an e-mail in the past days letting me know that works for pushing forward the almost-dead project of Sarinee Achavanuntakul continue at full pace. “We’re still alive with most of the games listed, a semblance of a community, and a nice chunk of user added listings and reviews“, Lord Pall writes, saying that there is still a lot of work to do but the site development goes on as expected.