From an idea conceived by Neil Bradley, Retrocade was first mentioned at the beginning of 1998, with its claims that it would be able to run Star Wars at full speed with sound on a p60! Many didn't believe these claims, but Retrocade arrived to prove itself! With Neil Bradley of EMU fame being the primary instigator of the Retrocade project, he was joined by Mike Cuddy of KEM fame, and together they advanced Neil's work on an emulator for the games players. Indeed, Retrocade was the reason for the discontinuation of KEM. Many other well-known emu authors contributed to the project, and some of them also worked on the MAME development team. The main project co-ordinator of Retrocade was Brian Stern, with Neil having taken a back seat to gain time to concentrate on programming.

It can therefore be said that Retrocade was not in competition with MAME, and was not out to kill the MAME project, but is another great emulator primarily for those who wish to play the arcade classics at home. MAME has done much of the groundwork in arcade emulation, achieving many firsts in its field. Retrocade simply takes that one step further; playability. MAME is never going to be a playable concern for all the games it supports on anything other than a very high-end processor. Retrocade concentrates on the playability factor, rather than documentation and the result is 110 games which are all immediately playable.

Retrocade v1.2b was released on May 24th 1999, and this was the first time a public beta has been released. The processor cores for the emulation are coded in asm rather than 'c', and are have been optimised and re-optimised many, many times. This means that many of the games are playable at full speed on much lower-end spec systems than MAME for example; for some games a 486 is sufficient, and a P166 should be adequate for almost all games supported. On higher-spec Pentium II and III class machines you can see Pacman whizzing along far in excess of 1,200 fps! That's not all, the sound emulation is also extremely high quality; Gyruss has to be heard to be believed for one.

All this is not simply available from a simple DOS command line. No, there's also a GUI game selector for Retrocade. This is in the form of a cool futuristic game console complete with animated controls, mini-screenshots of the games, a dotmation info panel, sound effects, a comprehensive game history inbuilt and with all the configuration options to hand.

There are also game backdrops available, which mean you get to play the game with their original background graphics, for example Asteroids Deluxe. Game sounds are provided by way of emulation or from a .pak file containing samples. All of the required Retrocade files are provided in single .pak files, which mean if you don't want a particular option, just don't install the .pak file. Retrocade will run games directly without the need to go via the GUI, and there are all the usual options for frameskipping, sound quality, gfx depth, and joystick support etc.

There are even antialised graphics for the vectors, and asteroids adds imitation monitor burn-in for added authenticity. Retrocade is truly the games players emulator.


Go to the Retrocade games pages for games supported by Retrocade.