I guess I missed all the excitement of the new DooM whatever, but Bethesda decided to dig up that N64 ‘DooM 3’ aka DooM 64. It’s a unique game unlike all the other console ports that were straight ports of the original DooM, although some like the 32x (Mars) or Jaguar versions that had a bunch of details removed from the levels to either spare the limited processors, and/or save precious cartridge space.
At $39 HKD, it’s $4 USD, so it’s a bit ‘pricy’ for something that is a 23 year old game, but at least I guess it’s out in the wild in a legal format. No idea if it made it to Bethesda.net as that whole thing collapsed quicker than Fallout 76 became a meme riddled disappointment.
Anyways I know I’m late to the party, but it’s all new to me.
On one of my later trips I picked up this fun title, Lemmings!
And looking at the back of the box, what fun it contains!
One interesting thing about 1995, is that with the rise of Windows 95, this marked the end of the specialized PC market in Japan. Just as WING/Direct X basically killed off the DIY driver/extender environment on MS-DOS, by being able to abstract the hardware it removed any meaningful difference between an EPSON PC vs a PC-98, FM Towns, or even the lowly IBM AT/386.
This being a Win32 includes both WING & Win32s. A perfect snapshot of an early Win32 commercial game circa 1995, as you needed to cater to that massive Windows 3.1 install base, although so many were rushing to Windows 95. Naturally this also means that the setup program is a Win16 app, once more again to preserve that bridge of the Windows 3.1 & Windows 95 world.
Well the obvious thing to do is just install it on a legacy 32bit OS, and what better than Windows XP?
Now to run it on something like Windows 10, it’s just a matter of copying the WINLEMM.INI into %sysroot%, along with placing a copy of WING32.DLL into the %sysroot%\SysWOW64 directory and you are good to go!
Sadly the character encoding in Windows is still really lacking and doesn’t render all that great. However that had me thinking as almost a decade ago I did find a demo of Lemmings for Windows. Could it be possible to just overlay the executables & DLL’s to produce an English commercial version?
Surprisingly the answer is yes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s as simple as that!
The game is mostly playable, some parts are just coded to run as fast as possible, as no doubt nobody was imagining 1+ Ghz machines. So the intro, warp & suicide are almost instant.
It’s something to keep the kids entertained for a day in recent events. It’s been a LONG CNY.
So I was lucky enough to get to Beep before it close, and I picked out a couple of FM Towns titles (and a junker!), and I thought ‘Return to Zork’ would be a good title, something to compare the MacOS & MS-DOS versions against.
Although slightly faded, it does come in this nice box, which reminds me of the NEOGEO… which is probably an apt comparison.
The artwork has faded, although the CD-ROM inside was still sealed, never before opened. I picked this up for an eye watering ¥3,480 but flipping the box over revealed the launch price of an astonishing ¥12,800! I’m not sure what the exchange rate from 1994 was, but even at a generous 100:1 JPY to USD that’s half the price of the old multimedia kits which included the drive, sound card and so many came bundled with Return to Zork.
Another random title I grabbed was even more insane!
¥ 14,800 for Silent Möbius: Case: Titanic!
I need to get a RGB monitor & keyboard to see if this thing even works, meanwhile I fought with UNZ to get it running, and the mouse tracking is totally broken unless you change the DPI scaling, credit to this post in the UNZ ‘BBS’.
One thing is sure, the voice acting in the Japanese version is so terrible.
As people complain about ‘AAA’ games, and paying $60, just look at this! $134 USD for some cartoon boat game thing.. Although I’ve never heard of Silent Möbius or played it, I just saw it was available for the x68000 and PC-98. So I guess it’s one of those Lowest Common Denominator games.
One interesting thing about the FM TOWNS is that they have that ROM DOS with CD-ROM drivers, and their apparently blanket licensing for PharLap 386. Although while I was wasting time looking at cartoon rabbits, someone else scooped but the 386 BASIC kit. Darn.
But in the Return to Zork world, the ‘made.exe’ is in fact a Pharlap 386 EXP, meaning that it runs in 386 protected mode, so you don’t have to struggle with emm386, himem.sys and trying to get a ludercus 580-600kb of conventional memory. Seriously it was such a chore to get this running the manual has a big section on setting up a boot disk. It’s a shame they didn’t license a DOS extender for the US PC platform, although I can see why they chose that route on the FM Towns (and I believe PC98), as there is a RTZ9821 directory there which includes an EXP. Shame it was never relased state side as a patch, as it would have been a GREAT user change. Well that or a Win32 executable.
The engine suffers many limitations from supporting 8bit machines, although they did uplift the graphics, music and sound although they didn’t increase the overall sizes. And the engine on the PC side was written in PASCAL of all things. I mean it was the hip language of the era, and well C is just too portable and reliable. The later SSI games were C++ apparently.
That said, for MS-DOS purists and those wanting to be legit, the old SSI AD&D games are on sale over on GOG, broken up into a few collections.
With collection 2 being the gold box editions, featuring:
POOL OF RADIANCE
CURSE OF THE AZURE BONDS
SECRET OF THE SILVER BLADES
POOLS OF DARKNESS
GATEWAY TO THE SAVAGE FRONTIER
TREASURES OF THE SAVAGE FRONTIER
FORGOTTEN REALMS UNLIMITED ADVENTURES
Which is a bargain at $3.39 USD!
I don’t know why I’m finding so much fun things on GOG, but here we are. In other news I got a new $99 USD dual Xeon board, although it seems to have some weird mystery issues including a ’99’ power issue, and when it does boot even the install media for Windows 10 bluescreens. Sad.
Also included is a bunch of concept art from the film!
Naturally it’s using ScummVM to run the game, instead of the horribly broken Windows 95 specific executables from 22 years ago.
While starting up the game it dumps this:
From the dark recesses of David Leary's imagination comes a game unlike any
other. Blade Runner immerses you in the underbelly of future Los Angeles.
Right from the start, the story pulls you in with graphic descriptions of a
grandmother doing the shimmy in her underwear, child molestation, brutal
cold-blooded slaying of innocent animals, vomiting on desks, staring at a
woman's ass, the list goes on. And when the game starts, the real fun begins - shoot down-on-their-luck homeless people and toss them into a dumpster. Watch
with sadistic glee as a dog gets blown into chunky, bloody, bits by an
explosive, and even murder a shy little girl who loves you. If you think
David Leary is sick, and you like sick, this is THE game for you.
JW: Don't forget the wasting of helpless mutated cripples in the underground.
It's such a beautiful thing!
DL: Go ahead. Just keep beating that snarling pit bull...ignore the foam
around his jaws. There's room on the top shelf of my fridge for at least one
more head... - Psychotic Dave
MG: Is David Leary a self-respecting human or is he powered by rechargeable
JM: Chrome...is that what that is?
JM: It's hard to imagine that thing on either a car or a horse.
MG: McCoy! What a witty chap...
JM: He keeps me chuckling non-stop!
JM: That McCoy--he's one funny guy! Jet-black fire truck, hehehehe...
You can find this over on gog. I remember the original that I had on the commodore 64, it was super tough (well for a kid), although I do remember chasing mutant rabbits through some farm, along with all the text being in a book, because the disks were simply too small back then.
But it was the inspiration for the later Fallout. Nice to see how it’s managed to get out from under the control of a dead & collapsed studio.
And sure enough the are the latest versions of the game files to be found according to doom.fandom.com. Great! So to further the abuse I tried them under my mutilated DooM.
Ultimate Doom seems to work just fine on it’s own I tested it briefly warping to a few levels but yeah it just works! Doom2 however bombs out that the resource TITLEPIC is missing from the wad. How disappointing!
Naturally I just took the easy way out, and basically checked for the resource, and load another if it’s missing.
@@ -477,7 +477,11 @@
pagetic = 170;
gamestate = GS_DEMOSCREEN;
- pagename = "TITLEPIC";
+ /* the Doom 3 BFG EDITION version of Doom 2 is lacking the titlepic */
+ pagename = "TITLEPIC";
+ pagename = "DMENUPIC";
if ( gamemode == commercial )
Another interesting thing is that DooM 3 BFG also includes the gravis ultrasound bank data, so you could load them up into some other emulator and enjoy that gravis experience. I don’t know if it’s licensed or what, but it’s a nice touch.
Back when OpenGL accelerated hardware became a thing at the consumer level (and even non OpenGL, like the Rendition Verite v1000E !) games like Quake suddenly took on an entirely new life, with the amazing ‘realism’ that OpenGL could bring. And what an amazing change it was from the software renderer.
I had bought the Diamond Fire GL 1000, and it honestly kinda sucked. It did the OpenGL demo’s okayish under Windows NT, but Quake, not so much. But it was a sign of things to some, as I could run the 3D pipes screensaver without running the CPU at 100% But the Fire was meant more so for ‘adult’ or productive things, not for playing a game.
But at the same time there is great value in old computer hardware.
In my opinion around 2006-2007 we basically hit peak computing. The biggest restrictions I see on older machines is memory sizes, and disk speeds. And for the most part these can be taken care of with ease, although many chipsets and formfactors of the time seem to have these incredibly tiny 8Gb/16Gb/32Gb limitations that just really are annoying in the distant future of 2019 when you may want to run a few things at once.
So I bought this used i640GA6-BDO, an i7 machine oem’d by mouse computer. Yes the name of the business is the same name as the 2nd most popular peripheral of all time. From the blurb:
From the “NEXTGEAR series” with high cooling and excellent maintainability, Intel® Core™ i7-4790K processor, dual channel 16GB memory, 1TB hard disk (7200rpm), DVD super multidrive, NVIDIA ® GeForce® GTX™ .970, 80PLUS® BRONZE certified700W power supply, pre-installed Windows 8.1 Update i640GA6-BDO” is 149,800 yen.
I paid just over 20,000 yen for this machine. So losing some 120,000 yen, or about 80% of it’s value over 5 years is certainly not a good investment proposition. It seemed like a good bargain.
Finding the corporate website was NOT easy, but thankfully they own mouse-jp.co.jp so one of those wild guesses turned out being right. They seem highly influenced by the ‘idol group’ thing that is popular and japan, and they have an extensive YouTube channel over at MouseComputer2010. And an extensive ad gallery.
They even have the making of videos. I could find so much about the advertising and various talent, but the machines… that was much more difficult than I could imagine.
The build quality however left a bit to be desired, when I turned it on and jumped into the BIOS the first thing that I noticed was that it ran HOT.
So yeah 75c in under a minute is not a good thing. The water pump was making a weird noise as the bearings were clearly shot, and it’s just not circulating anywhere near fast enough.
Although I didn’t take a picture I was able to find one online, that shows that despite the bottom of the case has a big slot for the PSU fan, but the fan was pointing up into the case, not venting to the bottom.
I guess that the original owner got rid of the machine as it was overheating, and/or thermal throttling. I ended up going back out looking for a new cooling solution, and I was torn between a cheap fan thing for $10 or another all-in-one liquid cooler for $50. I decided to go with the all-in-one, as this machine was originally liquid cooled anyways.
The machine also had no storage, so I also picked up a M.2 drive, and a spinning rust disk. I have to say that even for this ancient machine, it’s great it had a M.2 slot, and WOW I thought SSD was fast, but this positively blows it away!
While I was out I see this former holy grail of GPU’s a Nvidia GTX 980 for ¥12,000. Now granted the machine I picked up has a GTX 970, a nice touch as I wasn’t expecting anything, but I can always use another DVI capable card back at home, so I’m probably taking that along with the i5 back to my HK office.
Now the real killer is that the card is a ASUS GTX, and looking around online it’s the STRIX-GTX980-DC2OC-4GD5 model.
I look around and find it on Amazon, and if the ad thing is to be believed the new price on this thing was ¥70,900! Looking around on that part number also shows kakaku.com with a list price of ¥73,480!
So granted the card is 5 years old now, but wow what a drop in price! It’s one more stop away from the junk piles that the other 9xx’s currently are (I’ve seen boxes of Zotac 750’s and up).
Naturally of course, like the i7, this card also had issues the moment I put it into my PC. The screen was flashing with garbage, and it’d eventually lead to a system freeze after a few minutes. What a pain, bad memory I suppose. And like the PC, I took the card apart, cleaned up the old thermal compound, and added some new generic stuff, put it together, and left it running The Outer Worlds at ultra high settings just fine. Who knows, maybe it’ll break later on, I don’t know, but I now have a ‘high end 5 year old’ gaming system for about the same or slightly more than a PS4. And I could be wrong but i’d like to think an i7/980 would crush a PS4. Although I could be wrong.
Naturally running cinebench 14, basically shows that the 970 & the 980 perform so close to each-other it makes no real difference. Although the fan setup on the 980 is far more aggressive, and it runs much more quieter. So that’s a nice bonus.
And if userbenchmark.com can be trusted, the performance difference from the 980 to the 1080, isn’t all that bad. It’s unreal that now even with 2nd generation RTX 2080’s out there, the 1080 is still an expensive GPU.
So, sometimes it may be worth looking at the junk piles. Although at the same time if you have nothing, the new/lowend stuff like the 1030’s/1050’s really aren’t so bad either. But for some reason I always seem to like yesterdays powerhouse.