PCZ ISSUE 113 - MARCH 2002



The world of emulation has been a legal battleground more or less since the concept was invented. Recent changes in law by various paranoid and clueless governments (including, incidentally, the same government which recently let an ex-Eastenders actor scupper a European anti-spam bill on the grounds that lots of companies would lose the chance to do legitimate business by inviting people to visit hardcore animal porn sites and take part in worthless pyramid schemes) have made it harder and harder to emulate without falling foul of the plod.

However, even legal emulation has taken a battering from the big software corporations. Sony recently succeeded in killing the company behind Bleem!, the Playstation emulator which ran on both PC and Dreamcast. Even though Bleem! had been successful in several court cases, Sony exerted so much pressure on retailers to not stock the company’s products that they eventually gave up the ghost and closed down.

This would, of course, have been a serious blow to gamers keen to play definitive home versions of some of the classic games of the Playstation era, such as Namco’s wondrous Tekken and Ridge Racer, if it hadn’t been for the conveniently-timed release of the first alpha version of the as-yet-unnamed Namco System 11 emulator, by the people who brought you astonishing 3D beat-‘em-up emu The Impact.

System 11 was the Namco arcade technology set based on Playstation hardware, and which ran a wide variety of coin-op games from fighting and racing games like Tekken and Ridge to odd 2D puzzlers like Star Sweeper and scrolling shooters like Xevious 3D-G. The fledgling emulator initially supports seven of the Sys11 games, including Tekken 1 and 2, Xevious and Soul Edge, the prequel to the hugely-lauded Dreamcast fighter Soul Calibur.

The emulator currently lacks sound due to the authors’ lack of knowledge about the Namco 195 sound CPU, but now that the emu’s existence has been revealed and publicly released the chances are that development progress will be swift. Emulation Zone awaits the version supporting Ridge Racer with a keenness that borders on the positively indecent.




A glimpse into the minds of Namco’s coin-op coders.

Emu Zone has no idea how to play Star Sweeper. At all.

You appear to be doing a good enough job of challenging yourself, dear.



Star Wars (Data East, 1992) 

The end of 2001 saw some fairly dramatic new releases of both Visual Pinball and Visual PinMAME, but no development was more popularly-received than the latter’s new-found sound support for a whole raft of 1990s tables released by Sega and Data East. The emulation of the BSMT2000 sound chip brought a whole decade’s worth of tables, right up to 1999’s South Park, to deafening VP life, but few bettered Data East’s 1992 effort, Star Wars.

At the centre of a rich vein of fast and inventive games from the company around that time (also including the superb Lethal Weapon 3 and a bunch of other good movie-licence games like Batman, Last Action Hero and Jurassic Park), Star Wars is actually a fairly basic table, but so well designed that you seem to be under constant bombardment from the moment you fire the ball onto the playfield (attempting to skill-shot various Empire space fighters to oblivion in the process) until the moment approximately twelve seconds later when your game is over.

Unlike many later tables which ensured even terrible players of a chance to admire their many features (as pinball waned in popularity, it couldn’t afford to piss people off so much), Star Wars makes you earn every flashing light and snatch of sampled sound in blood, and it’s all the more enjoyable for it.



(Left) Play this whenever that Episode 2 trailer makes you want to kill yourself.


Emulation Zone is brought to you in association with the International World Of Stuart Foundation.