Tomorrow: NiGHTS into Dreams on the N64
January 15, 2013 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Remember playing Super Mario World on your Sega Genesis? Probably not, considering it's a rather rare bootleg. Well, thanks to the efforts of some determined gamers, you can now play it at home, although only on the Gens Plus GX emulator on the Wii (or through the Gens core via RetroArch.) [via]
posted by griphus (35 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
So you play a Sega-capable bootleg copy of a Nintendo game on a Sega console emulator that's run on a Nintendo machine.

Sounds perfectly practical to me, unless I'm missing a detail as to why it wouldn't be.
posted by item at 7:50 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The reference in your title made my day. I own a Dreamcast but maybe I should look into picking up a Saturn as well for some Virtua Fighter action.
posted by Loto at 7:59 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers and (for some reason) Sonic the Fighters are all on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live, if you have either a PS3 or 360.
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on January 15, 2013


The reference in your title made my day.

Let me make it even further then.
posted by Talez at 8:11 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


*squee!* NiGHTS is so wonderful. Is there a more psychedelically happy game? Sega/Sonic Team used to be so positive and so colorful.

Goodbye, Ten Dollars.
posted by byanyothername at 8:28 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


As much as I love that these games are getting ported to modern systems there is just something immensely satisfying about playing them on the intended system; that is partly the reason I collect older consoles.

That said, I'm still buying all of these. Thanks for the heads up, tonight is going to be a good night.
posted by Loto at 8:30 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still have my Sega Saturn specifically to play NiGHTS. And I considered buying a Wii for the sequel before I read it was terrible. I'll brake for any post referencing that game.

Bought it day 1 on the PSN Store.
posted by ChipT at 8:31 AM on January 15, 2013


Game Console Boot Screens. One of the better collections of modern console boot screens that I have seen; seems like an appropriate post for it.
posted by Loto at 8:35 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


OH GOD THE ENDING SCREEN MUSIC THO
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is something about the original Nintendo music and sound effects that really makes the game work.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:02 AM on January 15, 2013


Why did they import the graphic assets from the SNES, but not the sound effects?
posted by uncleozzy at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2013


Why did they import the graphic assets from the SNES, but not the sound effects?

Probably because the SPC700 is a masterful piece of audio DSP engineering years ahead of any competition and the YM2612 barely has a PCM channel.
posted by Talez at 9:45 AM on January 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


That and rather than having to port the sound over from the SPC700 to the YM2612/SN76489 -- which I can only assume is both more difficult and less necessary than the graphics -- they just ripped it from a couple of other Genesis games and called it a day.
posted by griphus at 10:01 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now that I think about it: would they actually have to split the sound over the two chips if they wanted to port it accurately? I'm not entirely sure what the SN76489 does, outside of noise generation, or why Sega would be paying for two sound chips on each unit instead of an integrated one. Although, I guess that might be the same architecture design philosophy that gave us the Sega Saturn, which had over ten thousand separate processors.
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on January 15, 2013


Loto: "Game Console Boot Screens . One of the better collections of modern console boot screens that I have seen; seems like an appropriate post for it"

Never had seen the 3DO or the Jaguar and holy shit are they weak.
posted by wcfields at 10:39 AM on January 15, 2013


Beep!
SN76489 is what makes the three channels of square waves AND the pseudorandom noise, which extend the polyphony of the Genesis, allowing it to play more simultaneous voices than even the SPC! Granted, they don't sound the same, but it's my opinion that sound effects are often dark and "blurry" sounding on the SNES due to its filtering / compression. So there are still some big advantages to FM in terms of dynamic character and brightness. Something like Red Zone or Streets of Rage wouldn't sound nearly as good on the SNES!

Further beanplating / dipping / chipping: Recreating the SMW sounds on the Genesis would not be much more difficult than writing whatever graphics routines are necessary to simulate the visual effects -- that is to say, extremely difficult. At best a disassembly/reinterpretation of the SPC instructions, which are probably consistent enough to parse into new sequence data. It's just that nobody gives a flying fuck about sound, so they had no desire / ability to make custom patches and fine-tune things.

(sorry, I'm bitter, I'm late for work and have a milestone due Monday and I'm moving so my studio is in complete disarray, there are like a thousand cables strewn everywhere ugghhhh)
posted by jake at 10:48 AM on January 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would also like to mention that in the "Related Posts" is xoc's SMW album, which is still available, still free, and still among the best game arrange albums of all time.

ALL TIME!
posted by jake at 10:53 AM on January 15, 2013


I'm not entirely sure what the SN76489 does, outside of noise generation, or why Sega would be paying for two sound chips on each unit instead of an integrated one.

The SN76489 was a carryover to do near-perfect hardware emulation of the Sega Master System. The SMS power base converter you could buy was, for all intents and purposes, just a connector that ran the SMS cart directly to the Z80 instead of the 68K.

Although, I guess that might be the same architecture design philosophy that gave us the Sega Saturn, which had over ten thousand separate processors.

The Saturn was a hurried alteration of a design when Sega realised the next generation wasn't going to be 2D like they planned. The Genesis was built to be backwards compatible to take advantage of the squillions of (cheaper) SMS games out at the time and were still being released. Land of Illusion, one of the finest SMS games ever made, was released in 1992 (!) for instance.

SN76489 is what makes the three channels of square waves AND the pseudorandom noise, which extend the polyphony of the Genesis, allowing it to play more simultaneous voices than even the SPC! Granted, they don't sound the same, but it's my opinion that sound effects are often dark and "blurry" sounding on the SNES due to its filtering / compression. So there are still some big advantages to FM in terms of dynamic character and brightness. Something like Red Zone or Streets of Rage wouldn't sound nearly as good on the SNES!

Wow. It's like I just stepped out of 1991 and picked up a new issue of MMS.
posted by Talez at 11:01 AM on January 15, 2013


Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers and (for some reason) Sonic the Fighters

I think it's because Sonic the Fighters (with Bean the Dynamite, don't forget!) runs on the Virtua Fighter engine.

And I considered buying a Wii for the sequel before I read it was terrible.

It had really excellent boss fights, but the story itself went overboard with the Peter Pan-style fanciful androgyny, which was kind of off-putting. I've yet to play the original game, only read about it, so I can't say if it's really any different. The whole pre-flight sequence on the ground is technically still in each level, but rarely amounts to more than run to the capsule to release Nights and get to the real game.
posted by JHarris at 11:02 AM on January 15, 2013


something immensely satisfying about playing them on the intended system

The control just isn't the same.

Most old games just seem tuned to their particular controller setup. Even first party licensed ports, such as Super Mario Bros 3 on Game Boy Advance or Virtual console feel sluggish compared with loading it up on the NES. Similar issue with

Nevertheless, I am still a fan of having great games from the past ported and updated to new systems. I would have missed out on Chrono Trigger if it had not made it to the Nintendo DS.
posted by Hicksu at 11:03 AM on January 15, 2013


For anyone interested, this is probably the SPC700 being run at its absolute limit and this is the YM2612 being run way past its limit.
posted by Talez at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm...

Actually that's the thing about sound chips. Just because a piece is musically interesting doesn't mean the hardware it's being played on is anything special. The music being played in Talez's first link isn't really pushing the sound chip in any way except maybe the vocals, and yet because all the sound on the SNES is sampled it's not really all that special. (And the song itself is pretty standard JRPG material, I rather prefer more ingenious music myself, like the soundtrack to the greatly underrated Q*Bert 3, to that kind of standard, soaring, manipulative stuff.)

Likewise, the Sky Sanctuary music from Sonic & Knuckles isn't nearly as technically complex as Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic, which is one of the most impressive pieces for the hardware.
posted by JHarris at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Both amazing soundtracks technically. Regarding Tales of Phantasia: past the excitement of pushing hardware limits (and relevant to the challenge of porting between platforms), I tend to most enjoy the soundtracks that really focus on the distinctive sound of the chip, such as Earthbound on the SNES. Perhaps more than any other game, it made unique instruments out of the rounded-off timbre that the filtering/compression imparted to samples, rather than rapidly stuffing streams into memory like ToP, not that that wasn't impressive.

In the end, though, what really matters is what you DO with those crazy technical hacks, and (this is likely just a coincidence) in almost no cases is the composition for these "gee whiz technology" drivers really outstanding -- ToP is pretty generic (as is most of Sakuraba's work, SICK BURNNN). I can't even imagine what a Genesis port of EB would sound like, though, because it uses the SNES as a unique synthesizer, rather than being "fit" to it from external compositions.

(or, for that matter, SMW, and my curiosity remains unsatisfied because these guys didn't bother, damn it!)

A friend of mine wrote a driver that plays 4-channel MODs at a decent sampling rate on the original NES. It took the yearly Famicompo contest by storm, because holy shit. But .. there's a point where you push the hardware so far past its limits that it becomes just a poor imitation of something else, and loses its own personality.
posted by jake at 12:01 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually that's the thing about sound chips. Just because a piece is musically interesting doesn't mean the hardware it's being played on is anything special. The music being played in Talez's first link isn't really pushing the sound chip in any way except maybe the vocals, and yet because all the sound on the SNES is sampled it's not really all that special.

The Tales of Phantasia voice track is streamed from ROM. Each sample is decompressed on the fly and streamed to the SPC so that it doesn't overwhelm the 64KB sound RAM available. It's probably one of the most technically complicated things ever achieved on the SPC.

Likewise, the Sky Sanctuary music from Sonic & Knuckles isn't nearly as technically complex as Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic, which is one of the most impressive pieces for the hardware.

Sky Sanctuary's music uses all six FM channels. When it has to bring in another FM or PCM sound effect (remember that the YM2612 runs PCM in place of an FM channel not in addition to it) it has to drop one or more of those FM channels to let the sound effect run. A few of the S3&K soundtracks are similar. I'm pretty sure I remember Hydrocity and Sanopolis will do the same thing if pushed but Sky Sanctuary is the one where this limitation sticks out like a sore thumb.

It wasn't supposed to be a subjective "this is the best" music though.
posted by Talez at 12:05 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Agreed generally. I had a Commodore 64 growing up, and it's amazing how nice music on that platform sounds different from nice music on other systems from around that time.

Technically the SNES can reproduce any of them because its sound is all sampled, but you have to store all that waveform data, and separate data for each instrument, where music chips that create sounds based on parameters are able to produce nice results with much less memory.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 PM on January 15, 2013


Sorry about that Talez, I didn't really mean to put a gun to it. Really I was probably just taking the excuse to mention Q*Bert 3. (Psst, it really does have awesome music.)
posted by JHarris at 12:11 PM on January 15, 2013


Besides. Everyone knows the best music on the Genesis is Streets of Rage 2.
posted by Talez at 12:13 PM on January 15, 2013


Yuzo Koshiro (SoR 1,2,3) played live at Magfest last week.

I missed the show. I was sleeping.
KOSHIIIIIRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


I did get to see him warming up from backstage, though. I went over to say hi, but I got cold feet and retreated. I don't get starstruck often, but jeez.
posted by jake at 12:15 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shinobi, ActRaiser, 8-bit Sonic 1. It's alll good with Yuzo.

Incidentally ActRaiser also featured a crude sample loading system similar to ToP to overcome some of the SPC's limitations.
posted by Talez at 12:23 PM on January 15, 2013


Aquatic Ambience from DKC is probably one of the reasons I kept playing the game far more than I should have.
posted by Talez at 12:41 PM on January 15, 2013


NiGHTS story time. The setting? Seoul, Korea. 1996. My gaming magazine of choice for a while, Game Players, mentioned that for its December issue it was going to include a special gift. CHRISTMAS-THEMED NiGHTS!!!! Free with that issue! I lost my goddamn mind because holy shit YEEESSSSS. I wasn't super game-obsessive or much of a collector growing up or anything like that, but I had a weird thing where I'd get really into certain specific things. NiGHTS was one of those things.

So come December I head to the one big bookstore on the Yongsan Army Base, right next to the PX across the street from the huge food court called the Townhouse, and make a mad dash for the gaming magazines, but what's this? NO COPIES OF GAME PLAYERS. I couldn't believe it. Maybe the delivery of magazines hadn't come yet? I tried again two days later, still no luck. This was insane. I'd never seen anything like it. No copies anywhere. I even stalked all the mini PXes whenever I could. It started to sink in: Holy crap, I must've missed my chance and everyone wanted a piece of this hot Christmas Nights action.

I know what you're thinking. "Hey, kkokkodalk. You're a kid with an access to an army base. Besides the few army brats, you should've been able to nab that no problem. How does a gaming magazine sell out?" Also, economically, since game systems were regional, you'd think the local civilian black-market wouldn't have much demand for U.S. region systems/games (Small side story: They don't, that's how I ended up having the owner of one Korean shop I used to visit force a U.S.-Saturn copy of Space Jam onto me like I was his last chance at getting rid of a cursed item even though I said I had no interest in it. As soon as he heard I had a U.S.-region Saturn he practically had a stroke from pure joy because he couldn't off load it to anyone else and just wanted it out of his store and didn't care if I just took it for free).

However, such assumptions forget an important piece of this scarcity equation. Besides all the "gaming aged children" I was also in direct competition with a large population young, single army dudes who had disposable income in a foreign country where they did not speak the language and needed things to kill free time with. If anything, the competition was fiercer. The line of GIs buying game systems when they first came out would have a system (already coming in at limited numbers) wiped out before you even got to see the box. I eventually had to learn loopholes to beat the system. Like going off the military base and getting a network of local shops with a loose grasp on copyright laws and the know how for fixing ("breaking"?) a game system to play a certain way.

Anyway, getting back to the story. I was bereft. I had even stalked all the mini PXes with no luck. I was visibly distraught over this. So one Saturday morning after another round of my sighs of despair my dad grabs his coat and resolutely heads out. He came back later in the day...WITH A COPY OF DECEMBER GAME PLAYERS AND OMG IS THAT CHRISTMAS NIGHTS IN IT I CAN'T BELIEVE IT OMGGGG WHERE DID HE FIND IT? He'd gone back to the big bookstore and asked them if any other bookstores on other bases would have it and they called around and one place said they still had some copies. I forgot where he went to. He either went up to Camp Casey up in Dongducheon or Osan AB or something. Either way, it was one of the bases that was around or at least an hour's drive from Yongsan each way. He went and got it and brought it back home. My dad and I aren't the closest, but there are a small handful of moments from my childhood when he was what I used to imagine kids in American sitcoms or family movies would view their dads (the fun dude hero guy who got shit done), and this was one of them.
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:10 PM on January 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Besides. Everyone knows the best music on the Genesis is Streets of Rage 2.

I beg to differ.
posted by Diskeater at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read Diskeater's comment, thought "I can beat that, whatever it is" started entering my own comment while loading his link, but when I noted what it was I stopped, because he had linked to what I was going to.

Also, take note: Greg Johnson, one of the two guys who made ToeJam & Earl, is the guy who designed Starflight and Star Control II. (I repeat this information at random every few months or so. I can't help it.)
posted by JHarris at 2:32 PM on January 15, 2013


The music of ActRaiser was ace and the symphonic version was pretty fun too.
posted by ersatz at 5:09 PM on January 15, 2013


Everyone remembers the tornado zone theme from Vectorman 2, right?
posted by Nomyte at 6:55 PM on January 15, 2013


« Older While going through Facial Feminization Surgery, y...  |  Stunning floats from holland, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments