NES Emulation History

Discuss emulation of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom.

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noattack
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NES Emulation History

Post by noattack » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:01 am

Not strictly emulation dev-related, but close enough...

I'm researching the history of NES emulation and I thought those of you that actually develop emulators might have a better sense of what came first. On nesworld.com, I found this comment on an outdated page:
The first NES emulator ever made was coded by a Russian guy, Alex Krasivsky who let Marat Fayzullin (known for other emulators like Virtual Gameboy, Colem, fMSX) have the source code. Marat "fixed" the code and added a lot of different stuff and released in under the name iNES.
Sound accurate? Did Krasivsky's emulator have a name and was it distributed online?

Did any Famicom emulators appear in Japan prior to Krasivsky's? When did Pasofami appear on the scene?

And would everyone agree that NESticle broke NES emulation into the 'mainstream' and helped standardize the iNES format (even more so than iNES itself)? My research suggests so. I'm also amazed how long NESticle has managed to stick around...

Any info or links are appreciated.

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Post by Nessie » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:48 am

Krasivsky's emulator seems to have been called LandyNES, it is mentioned further down on that same nesworld page.

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Post by noattack » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:05 am

And here's an interview with Landy himself that predates NESticle's release by a few months. Not much info, though he does mention working with iNES's author (though he doesn't seem to think much of the emulator).

Unfortunately the nesworld links aren't working...

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Post by Bananmos » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:15 pm

I sure have fond memories of LandyNES... it was the first time I could see SMB1 running on my 486 PC, and even though it was running really slow, it was a definite high.

I actually started writing my first 6502 code for LandyNES using an MS-DOS hex editor due to lacking any 6502 compiler (this was before everybody had internet, and few PC-related BBS:es hosted 6502 assemblers :) I also remember trying hard to debug my failing "flashing screen test" until realizing that the ascii conversion of the C-64 reference manual's CPU instruction section had a typo in it, writing '80' instead of '8D' for the STA Absolute instruction:
http://nesdev.com/6502.txt

Of course, once Nesticle hit the schoolyards, everything changed. Music became the really exciting task for me. Fun fact is that the first version of NerdTracker2 actually supported volume changes on the triangle channel - as they were supported in the Nesticle emulator, due to everyone's limited knowledge about the NES hardware back then.

Those were the days... :)

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Post by noattack » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:01 pm

NESticle was my 'first', back in 97. Playing online seemed unreal at the time...

I also dredged up an emulator FAQ from 1997 that mentions four current NES emulators: LandyNES, NESA, PasoFami, and iNES. They seem to be the four earliest.

Anyone have early versions of these sitting on a hard drive (or at least Landy and NESA, since the others are technically shareware)? A thread from a few years back requested LandyNES, but nothing came of it.

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Post by tepples » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:03 pm

Bananmos wrote:Of course, once Nesticle hit the schoolyards, everything changed. Music became the really exciting task for me. Fun fact is that the first version of NerdTracker2 actually supported volume changes on the triangle channel - as they were supported in the Nesticle emulator, due to everyone's limited knowledge about the NES hardware back then.
I assume you're referring to (incorrectly) treating the linear counter load register $4008 as volume, rather than (correctly) emulating the $4011 nonlinearity that a couple games use. Am I right?

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Post by Bananmos » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:25 pm

I assume you're referring to (incorrectly) treating the linear counter load register $4008 as volume, rather than (correctly) emulating the $4011 nonlinearity that a couple games use. Am I right?
Indeed. You can imagine my disappointment when the next version of Nesticle made lots of the NT2 tunes my musical friend had composed not work any longer. That's when I set out to get myself an EPROM programmer.

Fun facts is that the used EPROM programmer I got was for a C=64, meaning lots of hours spent with an X1541 serial transfer cable, and subsequent hours of using an ancient portable tanning device to erase them (they got really, really hot in the process as I didn't dare to uninstall the heaters). Which did in turn motivate me to build an eprom emulator instead...

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Post by mic_ » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:18 pm

Pasofami appears to have been release in early december 1996. I've never used Pasofami, so I don't know if DX stands for Deluxe or DirectX (or if that means that there were earlier non-DX versions).

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Post by noattack » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:36 pm

I think there were earlier versions. This site references both iNES and PasoFami and dates to somewhere between February and August of 1996. The current PasoFami site has a hit counter dating back to August 20, 1996 - not direct proof, but evidence nonetheless.

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Post by ccovell » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:54 am

The first NES emulator I ever saw was PasoFami, called PasoWinG in some variants (WinG library?)

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Post by Zepper » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:56 am

My first emu was Nesticle, from that good (and blue!) old site "The Dump". :) I was under the impression that "images" would be like game screens... so I download it and... "What!? Is this a full game!?" :) Retro!

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Post by MottZilla » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:48 pm

I remember some site, emudx? Or something like that. My first emulators I used were ZSNES and No$GMB. Followed by RockNES and Nesticle, Callus, and Genecyst a bit later. It was very exciting early on. Had it not been for them, I probably wouldn't have used a PC as much.

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Post by kyuusaku » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:48 pm

My first emulator was ZSNES 0.400 or something, it didn't have sound yet. I had no idea a computer could interpret another computer so I thought the game (FFV) was ported to the PC yet dependent on the emulator... After downloading other emulators and games I was familiar with it clicked and I thought it was the best thing ever.

Some sites I remember:

Nailbomb
IHOR (International House of Roms)
Plasticman's?
Arcade@Home (still there)
Edge Emulation?
Cherryroms
Backyard Emulation Links

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Post by Zepper » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:56 pm

The "awesome emulator" was Callus. The idea of playing SF2 in my PC was outstanding... a big "wow". :)

I miss the Jim Pragit (?) Emunews site.

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Post by tokumaru » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:30 pm

kyuusaku wrote:I thought the game (FFV) was ported to the PC yet dependent on the emulator...
I too thought it worked like this. After a friend told me you could run video-games on your PC I went searching for "emulated games" on the internet, without knowing that ROMs were just straight copies of the carts. Genecyst was my first though.

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