Really, all the hard work was by neko68k, I just mashed enough old GCC to get something to do something.
So the first thing you’ll need is Neko Project II. It can be a little hard to track down downloads, but there is a whole slew of them here:
So for now this link, is the latest build, you’ll need to enter a password to download the file, it’s 9801.
Extract that, and you’ll want to configure the sound.
If you choose to use the MIDI you’ll have to map them to a MIDI-OUT port, and I used the default Microsoft GS Wavetable. Of course you could use MUNT, or any other MIDI mapper or port. Also you may want to setup the serial port MIDI as a backup plan.
The sound effect settings work best for the PC-9801-86 audio board.
I’ll save installing MS-DOS, and installing DooM for another fun episode, but to configure DooM.
Run setup.exe to setup DooM!
The menu is simply:
- 1 graphics
- 2 Background Music
- 3 sound effects
- 4 not sure
- 5 controller
The PC9821A driver works best from what I’ve done in my limited testing. I guess if you had a different emulator, or a real PC-98 you’ll get more out of this.
Next is the BGM or music
You really have 2 options here, #3 for the PC9801 driver which uses the YM2608 chip. Or the General MIDI either option 4 or 6. I didn’t notice any difference between the two of them, they both sound kinda slow, but workable.
Now for the audio board, select the PC-98
The PC-9801-86 is what you want here. Now with either a 100% PC-9801-86 config, or a 50/50 of the MIDI/PC-9801-86 we are ready to run DooM! Selection option 6 and away we go!
And all being well you’ll get the start of DooM!
Otherwise you’ll get this fun error:
In this case I had emm386.sys in my config.sys which conflicts with the dos extender DX386.
Personally I find it easier to boot off the #1 install diskette which will automatically start DooM!
If you are feeling brave, listen!
So I apparently have more time to spare, so lets get this one out of the way, the Retro Freak!
I saw these originally for demo during an Electronic and game show in Hong Kong. A vendor in Taiwan who claimed to be the manufacturer was willing to sell the units to me (in bulk mind you!) these units for $160 USD in qty 15-100. So it was a LOT more than I was willing to spend as this is no doubt an expensive retro console to device. And much to my surprise I’ve seen them out in retail world for sale with prices ranging from ¥18,000 to ¥24,480. And that was a major surprise.
So I bought one retail for the price I had been quoted back in the autumn.
As you can see this is the box. And yes that is the bed in the house I’m currently renting. Such a festive background.
And for those who love this kind of thing, here is the back of the box:
Once I purchased it, and they counted the cash it was opened up, and they put their store chop on it. Unfortuantly they used crap ink, and I have to dig out the receipt. But it was the cheapest price, which put it at $150 USD (before the 8% tax).
Opening the box, and we get that made in China feel. The box is cheap, but hell I didn’t pay for a box, I paid for…
The most utterly dull and uninspiring console ever. The plastic feels VERY cheap too. Holding something like a Mega Drive (Genesis), or a Super Famicom feels so solid. And the SONY gear is top notch. This is just featureless dull soft gray plastic. And not even a logo, or any real surface features save a power LED. It just feels cheap.
Now one interesting thing, is that the majority of the body is actually the cartridge reader. You have the ability to flip it over, and slide out the actual console, which is much smaller, and cast in the same dull and cheap plastic.
The console has 2 USB ports for 2 controllers. I haven’t seen any USB SEGA controllers (what the hell are they doing? Is there that much money in Gundam VR, and Pinchino?) But there is lots of knock off Nintendo USB controllers. I have some to test later that I scored for 700 YEN.
Flipping it over, reveals that it is made in China, and it is made by Cyber Gadget, out of Japan.
Turning the unit on, doesn’t reveal any fancy startup screen or logo, just a language selection. There is online help, but of course its in Japanese.
I am still not sure if you can just plug and play cartridges at will. It also doesn’t like it if you just power it off abruptly.
Because it was getting late, I slapped in the only Mega Drive game I bought so far on this trip, Air Diver
It detected just fine, and I was able to play without issues.
Playing the game was much like the real thing, and you can add all kinds of screen filters, and other things to make your LCD TV behave like a CRT including overscan, and some saturation if you go further into the video settings.
The bundled controller is more SNES+WiiU feel to it. Again I am just bummed out there is no SEGA knockoff stuff.
The good part is that it supports a crazy amount of formats!
- Mega Drive
- Super Famicom
- Game Boy
- Game Boy Colour
- Game Boy Advanced
Which is pretty cool. I always wonder why nobody has approached SEGA on licensing the BIOS for the MEGA-CD, or the 32x. Naturally SONY wasn’t too thrilled about emulation of the Play Station 1 from a long time ago.
So the plus is that this does a LOT of emulation for the buck, if you want to read your own cartridges. The practical side says that they have all been downloaded and converted ages ago and are trivial to find online. It isn’t as cool as the actual hardware, but considering it is new it is much cheaper than buying and recapping a bunch of machines.
And honestly, you would probably prefer the retrode 2, which is a USB peripheral to read Mega Drive, and Super Famicom (Gensis and Super Nintendo).
While the Retro Freak does read many more formats it is better suited to someone who “just wants the damned thing to work!” And it succeeds in being a magical box you can slap the cartridge into, and start playing.
And regarding what is under the hood, regarding the software license:
RetroFreak uses source code from the following open source projects:
- VBA-M (both primary SVN and VBA-Next fork)
- Genesis Plus GX
- FCEU (FCEU-Next fork)
- SNES9x (SNES9x-Next fork)
And of course a fork of the Linux kernel.
So yeah, I’ve been crazy busy this holiday season, between work and vacation so updates have . well not been forth coming.
I wanted to touch on old StarWars games for the new movie, and even got to play Star Wars on a x68000! If it were the 80’s I would super recommend one. But in this day/age it’s plagued by poor draw distances, poor wire frame 3d, and just poor game play. It is probably more of a fault with the arcade version that was revolutionary for it’s time, then it rotted and was ported out. Something like Frontier puts Star Wars to shame on low grade 68000 based hardware.
But the sound, sure was awesome!
I also want to do some passable review of the retro freak! I picked up one for about $150 USD. It is expensive, there is no doubt about that, and it is emulation. I also picked up a NES on a chip console clone for about $13 USD. At the same time I can score a MegaDrive for about 30-40 USD, and 25-30 for a SNES. Which brings me to an interesting observation:
There is next to NO Mega Drive stuff. There is far more Saturn, and very few Dreamcast, but I’s seen maybe 15 Mega Drive carts. Meanwhile I’ve found Famicom/Super Famicom stuff almost everywhere I look. My favorite is the local chain “Book Off” that almost always has a nice retro section, along with used PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 stuff.
Otherwise, I have horrible to non existent internet in the house I rented (it is like the yacht in Hong Kong from a few years back), so I’ve been forced to spend my time in internet cafes for 12+ hours a day.
Oh yeah, Tokyo is just like London. After 6pm, everyone goes home, the stores close, and there is nothing open. After 10 the trains stop and that is that.
While I’m on the subject of living in the future, and working physically wherever, the Microsoft Surface is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE thing. Granted I didn’t pay for this one, but it’s wifi chip is utter crap, it is prone to locking hard, and the kickstand and detachable keyboard is a JOKE. I know Balmer wanted in on the iPad action, and then the Surface RT, eventually became just another PC, but damn a laptop this is not. The only nice thing I can say is that it boots fast. Which is something you’ll be doing lots of. The fan is noisy and distracting, the display is OK, but nothing fancy in this modern age.
I currently had to go out and buy 2 USB Ethernet adapters and bridge the cafe’s internet so I could connect this POS. I give the Microsoft Surface Pro v3 a 1/5*. AVOID DO NOT BUY.
In the “neato” section, I did find an eval copy of Citrix. And a NIB quality box of Postal 2! I didn’t know there was any updates so that was a surprise. But now I see it is on sale over on Steam, for $7.50 Hong Kong Dollars. I would do some give away but I also found out that my account got converted. YAY.
Which means I cannot give anything away as apparently I now live in a poorer area and get subsidized games. I guess that is to make up for censored and restricted catalogs.
So yeah, I am alive.
And MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
Crazy to think that 2016 is literally around the corner!
I have only seen one NEC PC-98 in my life, and naturally it was in Japan.. Wiki has a great article, (naturally), basically it was an intel powered IBM incompatible system, that ran an adapted version of MS-DOS localized to Japanese. It wasn’t until the introduction of Windows 95, did these machines die out, as 95 could be localized pretty well..
Anyways, after googling around to see who linked my builds of Qemu, I found this site, by Takeda Toshiya that includes patches and binaries for PC-98 emulation via Qemu!
I understand the PC-98 had quite a following for all kinds of games as people shifted away from the Sharp X68000.. Who also announced last week that they would exit the PC market all together.
Well I ordered the Asian version of Windows 95 from
retrosoftware.com . And the best part was the cover for the Internet Explorer 3.0 update:
Say what you will, but there is no doubt the Japanese always get more… interesting looking versions of our software…
Check out the additional pictures from the manual:
Other then that, the box looks somewhat boring…
Anyways I thought it would a good time to see if Qemu 0.10.5 can install Windows 95. So I started with a simple MS-DOS / Windows 3.1 install on a 1GB disk. Then I just mounted the CD-ROM (remember on a Win32/Win64 host to access your ‘D:’ drive you use the -cdrom \\.\d: to get access…)
Now the setup was SLOW, it reminded me of an old Pentium while it grinded away.. But the plus is that it actually WORKS… Unlike some other emulators with FAST machines.. I know it’s a trade off between slow emulation, or just not working at all. But Windows 95 will NOT run on physical machines with a faster then 1.5Ghz clock. (or so I remember).
Anyways with a little work you can come up with this:
Ok the good news is that it works, the ‘bad’ news is that the video & networking require drivers to run properly. Thankfully Natalia Portillo has provided all of this stuff on ONE EASY TO FIND SITE!!! I’d highly advise downloading a copy of what you need, using bzip2 to re-compress the files, and emailing them to yourself… That way you won’t lose them time & time over again!… As I just have.
Although to be honest it works better in ISA mode.. Remember the ne2000 is set for 0x300 IRQ 9 in the ISA mode.
If you want to try the PCI route, you’ll need an updated PCI driver which you can find on intel’s site here.
And one last thing I’d like to leave you Ted Stevens fans with. According to Microsoft Japan, the internet is NOT a series of tubes, but actually a bunch of trucks…. All labeled TCP/IP.