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home : reviews : VGS Review

Joe Glass
May 13, 2000

Virtual Game Station Review
Is VGS good enough to dethrone bleem!?

It was bound to happen. PC emulation has tackled almost every popular console ever created such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, SEGA Genesis, TurboGrafix-16, Gameboy, ATARI 2600, and many others. It was simply a matter of time before PC emulation programmers attempted to recreate the Playstation experience on PCs. Early grass root efforts such as PSEmu Pro and Psyke games people that Playstation emulation was possible. However, these programs were created to serve a hobby. They weren't governed by commercial interests thus the quality of these programs was less than perfect. Then suddenly bleem! hit the emulation scene. The bleem! programmers spoke of full commercial emulation and near perfect recreation of the Playstation experience. For several months, people couldn't believe the level of emulation that bleem! could achieve. When bleem! was sold retail however, bleem! was really put the test. With the program doing all the talking, bleem! version 1.0 couldn't emulate many Playstation games correctly. The games that were playable typically had problems such as misrendered graphics, missing menus, disproportionate characters, choppy movie playback, and slow performance. The only saving grace for bleem! was hardware accelerated graphics rendering. The current version 1.5b has fixed many problems with bleem!, but it still has a LONG way to go reach full consistent compatibility and performance.

bleem! left a bad taste in many PC gamers and hurt their faith in Playstation emulation. Could there ever be an emulator be created that would be a compelling alternative to a SONY Playstation console yet be able to play Playstation games?

Quietly in the Apple world, bleem!'s Macintosh counterpart Connectix's Virtual Game Station was causing a stir. Using a modestly equipped Apple computer (iMac with G3 processor), Macintosh users could tap into the huge Playstation software library and play them on their G3s. If your consider the state of the non-existant Macintosh gaming market, Virtual Gaming Station really made a difference for Mac gamers. Even Apple's Steve Jobs gave VGS game time in one of his key note addresses.

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