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