Returning here and finding a forum dedicated to online play and quite a bit of interest regarding emulator replays, I just wanted to get a little rant off my chest thats bugged me since I first discovered Emu gaming and the SF community.
Anyone who has been a part of the online SF community since before the current goforbroke, sfChina leeching age_of_plenty, when emulators were just starting to bring home cps1 and neo classics home at an affordable price will remember the years we waited for decent amounts of street fighter footage to surface. Even a game as universaly played and highly regarded as ST didn’t have decent Japanese tourney footage until a couple of years ago, for fans of non KOF NeoGeo games the situation was even worse and fans of niche classics like Fatal Fury Special were totaly in the dark until 2004 (thats 7 years on since it first became playable on emus!). Even today unless you have a home (broadband @ very least) internet connection and cd/dvd burners/ huge harddrive capcity, you will miss out.
Thing is it could have all been so different. From the earliest days of CPS1 and Neo emulation we could have all been sharing matches, combos and even huge superplays using files small enough to dld on a 56k modem and transport on a floppydisk.
The benefits of this would have been huge for the SF community. Standards of play would have advanced years ahead of thier time as tactics crossed over the Japanese-English boundary. Ranks would swell as players in remote part of the world and/or poorer players with outdated PC’s and limited internet access could keep pace with the ret of the scene. Popularity of online play would have prompted emulator programers to better overcome problems with lag, as in zsnes etc. etc…
The emulator that prompted me to buy a PC was called Callus, a dos emulator I’d seen in a friends PC magazine. All the way back in 1998, this made the (non rich pcb collectors) dream scenario of having Capcoms CPS1 games at home a reality (Neogeo emus like NeoRage soon followed, who remember playing neo games with no sound?). Not only did this emulator play well on an entrylevel pc, but you could record and playback entire movies lasting upto an hour on files smaller than 50kb! This made footage of top level Japanese players available around the world to anyone with a basic pc and even very limited access to the internet. The very fist site containing replays I found is still online and is a treasuretrove of amazing CPS1 superplays
Player ‘Landy’s’ Knights of the Round superplay is probably still my alltime fave.
So why didn’t emu replays really take off? To me, its purely down to Mame. As it assimilated primitive CPS and Neo emu’s it also enveloped the bourgening replay scene with superior choice of games and greater audience potenial.
But not only does mame constantly change its romsets, even for the same game, but the replays are also version specific! Meaning if you had 10 mame SF2 replays you might need 10 different versions of mame and 10 vesions of that one single romse to watch them! This killed things even before they really got going. In effect the replay scene was stllborn onto the world stage created by winmame’s fantastic accessability.
The scene (that didn’t recover until broadband iternet, cd/dvd burners and modern video compression codecs bacame commonly available in the last few years), could I think, be viewed as several years behind where it should be. Not only was this, in my view, a massive setback to the online SF scene, but a great loss of thousends of amazing_never to be repeated replays.
The single thing I would love to see developed most is a generic mame replay ini converter, that allows you to watch old replays on new versions of mame. I dont know why the replays have to be version specfic, I mean its only joick inputs isnt it? Doesn’t Kawaks have generic replay files?
Grrrr. stupid mame, Oh wel.
Finaly, does anyone have any good links for replays. Would love to get hold of the sort of stuff mame killed like CPS2 sidescrollers like alien vs predator or battle circuit shown tantalisingly here: http://cps.hp.infoseek.co.jp/cp2/index.html
Havecome accross a few packs containing mame+replay+rom for R-Type and R-Type2, anyone know you can get these for cps1&2 sidescrolles?