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volume 1, issue 23

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

T-Shirts: Stylin' loonygames t-shirts from Berda Compugrafix!

Artwork: Hey, dig the artwork on loonygames? We're selling some of the original art.


You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

User Friendly: the comic strip for geeks. Updated every day, right here at loonygames.

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The "emulate THIS, bad-boy" dept.:
MailBag for Issue #23



Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman

Every week our associate editor takes on the big ol' pile of mail for your reading enjoyment...got something to say? Send it in. You just might win a swanky loonygames t-shirt. Letters are presented exactly as they are recieved.

Oy, when I was your age....

Subject: crusty gamers

I gotta say, I may not be crusty at 24, but I definitely related to everything in that article. I remember when my dad brought home the first pong clone, and started hooking it up to the TV. We played that game, and it seems like everything changed. That first Atari 2600 at Christmas as the best, Defender was the source of my angst and frustration for months, until I got Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just thinking about a game like Raiders for the Atari 2600, and thinking about the upcoming Indiana Jones action game from LucasArts is a little weird. The 8-bit era was a blast. A friend of mine down the street got the NES, while I got the Sega Master System. We played those things into the ground. Some of those master system games were the best! I still think Phantasy Star beats the hell out of Zelda any day of the week. Unlike Mr. Svehla, I was firmly entrenched in the 16-bit wars. Logically upgrading my master system to a shiny new Genesis. We must have played Altered Beast into the ground. I was amazed at how much like the arcade game it looked. Then we found the cheat codes and played Altered Beast some more. I quickly became enamoured with the Genesis and with the games for it, and when Super Nintendo disciples came at me with, "But look at all the colors!," I answered, "Yeah, but look what they did with them! It looks like friggin' Rainbow Brite!" For me it was in games like Strider, Sword of Vermillion, and of course, Phantasy Star II, III, & IV. Although I will admit, I loved Metroid on the SNES (sneeze).

After the flop of Sega CD, I thought console games might be done for, but then, along came the mother of all console games! Earthworm Jim totally floored me. My first year on college was torn between Doom and Earthworm Jim, who the hell needed Calculus??!? Sega CD almost redeemed itself, in my eyes, with Sonic CD, probably the best game made for Sega CD, until they made the Earthworm Jim Special Edition ("You are the BEST!!, just remember, when you're feeling down, when someone calls you a loser, that Shiny said, 'I'm the best.'," or something like that). Alas, my days of console gaming are pretty limited now, life rushed forward pretty quickly through Doom,

Dune 2, Doom 2, Heretic, Hexen, Command & Conquer, qtest!!, and finally Quake came out. I did find time to play a few games, though I never owned a Playstation I got through most of Resident Evil, played alot of Loaded. I have to say that Gran Turismo has to be the best console game of all time.

That game totally rules. While I was home for Christmas, I rented and beat Metal Gear Solid, and thoroughly enjoyed it, at the expense of my relatives. Lately I've been consumed with Fallout 2 and Baldur's Gate, with Half-Life just waiting for me beat BG (almost there!).

Well, I guess I'll finish up this long-winded walk down the gaming memory lane. That article just touched off a babbling streak I guess.

Jeff "SMiLEY" Hunt

Editorís note: Yeeehaw! Sega Master System owners unite! Phantasy Star is one of the best, and most underrated RPGs of all time. :)

Subject: crusty gamers

Just wanted to thank you all and Brian for the article on Crusty Old Gamers.

At 27, I can relate. 3 years ago I even found myself driving an hour down the highway to buy River Raiders for a buck off some guy I found on the net.

>>pretty crusty<<

Anyway, keep it up.

Demon Attack rocked.


I can relate as well...I giggled like a goofball when I played Frogger on the Playstation last month. (Activisionís 2600 Arcade Pack...so cool!) I loved those games, and I love the games now. I donít think I can compare them though. When I first tried Frogger, the concept of graphics on a computer was unthinkable to me..drawing a line on a screen was hard enough. Imagining 3d graphics...naaah. Couldnít happen. :) Theyíre wonderful, but I have a horrible feeling us crusty folks may be the last to remember them.

loony has such a way with words. "Mario 64 at 1024 x 768" anyone?

Subject: I think you're an alcoholic overweight looser with nothing better to do.......... wait, opps.....

No, I think that all of you writers are very great, and I have to admit that

I've never heard of your page, until next-generation online had your link on their page. Unfortunately I can't and probably will never get the chance to play the new n64 emulator. I do have the emulator, but the extremely high system requirements will never run on my low performance Pentium 166:-(

I just wanted to say that I think that you're all completely right about how n64 roms should only be used if you own the game. And if I had the super-high performance machine you own, then I'd probably play the computer n64 roms, more than the n64. But the control thing is a problem. The n64 controller is one of the finest control units ever created! And I've seen an N64 controller, which does not connect to the N64!?! Instead it connects to a parallel port on the computer, which would be perfect for the n64, and it only costs $25!

Im still very very impressed with those super-sized screenshots, which make perfect backgrounds for me, and im sure that other n64 fans are also very pleased with those shots. I would really really love it if you would please put up more screenshots! Please!

Well, Keep up with the great work!

-Matt Lisman

(nickname: drmario)

Ick! I hate the N64 controller!! Not that playing Mario on a keyboardís any easier but...that thumb thingy...I just donít have the calluses for it. :)

And the winner of this weekís t-shirt. Just because.

Subject: ultraHLE

obviously this product is doing the rounds like a hot knife through butter.

i have been sent it by 4 or 5 different people in a matter of days (most on last friday or this monday) and i am really impressed.

I thought it would be possible - because despite what everyone thinks, the N64s graphics chipset is way behind even a Voodoo 1 in terms of fill rate - but the result is awesome, truly the two guys behind this are geniuses.

However i'd just like to reiterate what loonyboi said about it. It looks pretty for a few minutes, but after the shock of high resolution wears off (say 5 minutes) all the problems become apparent...

These games were written within a tight set of constraints, they use the fact that they are in a fairly low resolution on the N64 to make the most of low poly models and allow textures of fairly low detail to look extremely detailed.

They are also written within the N64's hardware constraints and use them to their maximum advantage - one of the most annoying things about ultraHLE for me is caused purely by a difference in the way trhat the N64 and the Voodoo chipset filter textures.

You'll notice that anything that is a sprite has an unsightly black outline effect around it in ultraHLE that wasn't there in the N64 version.

This is because texture filtering is basically a procedure of averaging the colour of one pixel with the 8 adjacent ones to 'smooth' out any hard edges between the pixel colours (kinda like the effect you get when you save a low quality jpeg from a high quality original). Sprites are stoed in a rectangular area of memory, and the part around the edge of the sprite that makes up the rest of the rectangle isn't drawn when the sprite is drawn to the screen, to do this the colour that is all around the sprite is ignored when it's drawn.

However since the Voodoo filters before texturing, this means that it averages the edges of the sprites with the colour around them that shouldn't get drawn - the colour usually used is black (colour 0) and thus they sprites get this nasty 'outlining' effect.

Coupled with this is the fact that rather than looking 'awesome' running these games in resolutions even as low as 640 * 480 brings, out all the little flaws which were completely invisible in the original N64 320 * 240 blur-o-vision of mario - you can see the joints in his limbs, you can see that the front of lakitu's camera is really square, the pipe mario appears out of right at the beginning looks even more hexagonal than it did before and all the screen fonts look blocky and badly made.

though i agree that Miyamoto San is probably amazed that someone has done it and was, like me initially wowed by the head of mario in its 800* 600 glory i seriuosly doubt he stayed that way for long.

He worked for over 3 years on that Mario64, as did his team and they worked hard to make it look as best as it could and now noiw it is suddenly possible for the visual portion vision to be viewed in a way that ruins the illusion and makes it look much less perfect than it ever was supposed to. I expect that rather than overjoyed he's probably a little pissed off by now.

In summary I say to Epsilon and Realityman: 'well done for doing this programming feat - it is truly amazing, and you have my utmost respect and admiration', and i say to the public - respect it for what it is, an experiment (a very successful and impressive one) in state of the art emulation and don't do the wrong thing and abuse it - you're SO much better off playing it on an N64 the way it was supposed to look and with a proper controller.


Alex Darby - Senior Imperial Game Designer / Programmer

Iím a hardware idiot, so Iím not going to pretend to understand all of what Alex said (I know what a voodoo card does, but not a clue HOW)..But I have to cheer on how amazing this was...sure, itís buggy, I crashed my computer trying to use it at too high of a resolution (oops..so 1024 wasnít going to work on one voodoo2), but damn itís neat.


Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1999 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.