Whether youíre a hard-core video game enthusiast or just a casual gamer, chances are you have at some point been exposed to the wonderful world of video game emulation.
Generator - A Genesis Emulator
Even if you havenít experienced emulation personally, youíve read about it in a recent gaming article, like IMGís Mac Emulation: Sixtyforce, The N64 Emulator, by Chris Noble,
on an emulation website like Classicgaming.com, or in a technology article like this one on Salon.com.
Even a cursory review of popular culture quickly reveals that emulators have become extremely popular. And if youíre like me, you understand intuitively the demand for a means to revisit past gaming glories. After all, who among us hasn't at one time or another yearned to re-experience the joy of a favorite legacy game from back in the day? In case you are new to all of this, emulators are software applications which create a virtual game console on which virtual ROM cartridges can be run. The ROMS are actually the code from the original game cart transferred onto a computer in software form. The emulator software acts like the original game console, and the ROM image replaces the original game cartridge.
By playing a ROM image with a piece of emulation software, you can virtually re-create almost any classic gaming system. The catch is that in most cases you must own the original game to legally use the game ROM. Bottom line: if you own the original game cart, it is (probably) ok for you to have the ROM living on your Mac.
And given the statistical evidence, an awful lot of people have ROMS living on their Mac!
In any event, it is easy to see that computer gaming emulation is becoming extremely popular in a way which transcends the core gamer demographic. According to a recent Salon.com piece:
Today, almost every piece of computer hardware -- from obscure products like the Nintendo VirtualBoy, which flopped in the market, to the Palm platform -- has been emulated, or is about to be. And an expansive scene for emulators has emerged on the Net.
Unfortunately, many popular emulators were originally available only on operating systems like Microsoft Windows 98 or XP. Although things have improved of late, any long time Mac user knows the sting of port and development lag only too well. Happily, the Mac emulation story includes a real hero, whose work has enhanced the Mac emulation experience.
Recently, IMG got a chance to sit down and talk with one of the kings of Mac Emulation, Richard Bannister...
The InterviewWhether itís the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Atari 800, or Neo Geo Pocket Color, chances are you have played on an emulator ported to the Mac by one special man: Richard Bannister. Mr. Bannister has ported over an amazing number of emulators to the Mac, all of which you can check out here.
Mr. Bannerís contribution to the renaissance of emulation Mac users are enjoying is readily apparent. So, who is the man behind the emulation? Inside Mac Games was lucky enough to catch up with him one night, and he was kind enough to share his thoughts on a variety of subjects.
IMG: According to your biography, you live in Ireland. Would you mind telling us a little about your home? What is cool about it, and are there a lot of game developers in Ireland?
Bannister: I was born in Ireland at a very early age, and have never felt a compelling desire to move anywhere else. My home is in Dublin, the capital city, home to more than a quarter of the people in the country. For the benefit of that friendly girl I met in Raleigh/Durham Airport earlier this year - Ireland is not in North Carolina.
The country is home to European offices for a lot of the major computer companies, including Apple, Dell, Google (across the road from my house), eBay, and more. Part of this is to do with the tax system, which has worked out pretty well for American companies (though the IRS is now trying to fix that up, bless their hearts).
As for game development in this country, the best known Irish company in the industry now is Havok, founded by some lecturers from the Department of Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin. Beyond that, Vivendi Universal does some localization work here. Oh, and Funcom used to develop Playstation titles here, such as Championship Motocross and Speed Punks. They're gone now, though.