Product Watch: Sony Playstation Games On Your Mac Redux - Virtual Game Station Revisited

11/28/99

Connectix Virtual Game Station

Virtual Game Station FAQ
List of compatible games

Connectix's Virtual Game Station (VGS) has sort of disappeared from the radar screen since a court injunction banned Connectix from pushing more product into retail channels and also prohibited Connectix itself from selling the software online. However according to Connectix CEO Roy McDonald there is still plenty of the product in the retail channel. Because we think Virtual Game Station might make one great, inexpensive holiday gift, we thought we would take a second look at Virtual Game Station.

What is it

Virtual Game Station is a software program that enables popular Sony Playstation games to run on G3 Macintosh computers. It does this by emulating the Playstation environment. It support many input devices such as your keyboard and mouse but also game pads, joysticks and other game controllers. The user has the ability to define the functions associated with various buttons and keys. VGS is compatible with most native G3 Macintoshes, including desktops, PowerBooks and iMacs. However Connectix does not recommend VGS for G3 upgraded PowerMacs.

In MacReviewZone's review of VGS they said this: "I would strongly recommend Virtual Game Station to any gamer with a G3 machine. It opens a whole new world of game options especially in the sports area where Mac development has been dismal. By the way, even though it's not listed as an approved game Speed Racer works just fine. Go Speed Racer go! If you are planning on doing some serious gaming on your Mac do yourself a favor and buy this program. Make sure you have a set of good speakers with a sub-woofer."

You will find more reviews of VGS here

Connectix Virtual Game Station MSRP: $49 .......... Check for lowest price

Contact:
Connectix Corporation
2955 Campus Drive, Ste. 100
San Mateo, CA 94403
800-950-5880
info@connectix.com


Virtual Game Station Questions And Answers

What are the system requirements for VGS?

VGS minimum requirements are:

  • Power Macintosh computer with "Factory Original" G3 processor**
  • Mac OS 8.0 or later
  • Apple CD-ROM drivers (included with the Mac OS)
  • 10MB of free physical RAM
  • 3.5MB of free hard drive space

**Non-G3 Macintosh systems that have been upgraded with G3 daughtercards do not have the higher-speed 60/66 Mhz system bus and may not have the ATI RAGE 2/RAGE Pro video hardware required by VGS. For these reasons, VGS is not recommended with non-G3 systems that have been upgraded to G3 processors. Connectix has not tested VGS with these systems and they will not be supported at this time.

For improved game play flexibility, Connectix recommends using a multi-button game controller. VGS supports any input device that is compatible with Apple's Input Sprockets, including:

  • Gravis Game Pad Pro USB
  • CH Product's Flight Stick Pro
  • Top Gun Thrustmaster USB
  • CH Product's Pro Pedals
  • Fusion Thrustmaster Game Pad
  • Ch Product's Game Pad Pro
  • Ariston Technologies' Hermes Gamepad

Are There any Apple "Factory Original G3s that are not compatible with VGS?

There are two PowerBook models that are not VGS compatible:

1) PowerBook G3 introduced in October 1997 (PowerBook 3400 form factor). Family number M3553, Gestalt 313.
2) PowerBook G3 233 Mhz model, 12.1 Passive Matrix model introduced May 1998. Family number M4753, Gestalt 314.

Will VGS install on Macintosh systems that are not "Factory Original" G3s?

VGS will install on any Power Macintosh. However, the VGS application will refuse to launch if any of the following items are not present:

  • ATI RAGE 2/RAGE Pro video hardware and related software Extensions
  • QuickDraw 3D
  • Apple CD-ROM Extensions
  • At least 8.5 MB of free physical RAM

In addition, if the installed CPU is slower than 233 Mhz, is not a G3 or newer processor, or if the system bus speed is less than 60 Mhz, a warning dialog will be displayed each time VGS is launched stating that game performance will suffer due to the slow hardware.

Is VGS compatible with "My" 3D-accelerator card?

VGS is designed specifically for the ATI RAGE 2/RAGE Pro video hardware that is included with every "Factory Original" G3 system. Third-party accelerators - including Voodoo cards - will have no effect on VGS performance and will not be used by VGS.

Is VGS compatible with OS 8.6?

Yes VGS is compatible with all versions of the Mac OS from 8.0 to 8.6

What input devices can be used with VGS?

VGS supports any input device that meets the following conditions:

  • Includes a Mac-compatible ADB connector or USB connector
  • Supports Apple Input Sprockets

This includes input devices from Gavis, Ariston

Can I use real Sony PlayStation controllers with VGS?

No the connector cannot plug directly into the Mac. Connectix is investigating direct support for the Sony PlayStation controller.

Does VGS play all PlayStation Titles? How do I know if the game I want will work?

Connectix has not tested VGS with every PlayStation title available, and there are a number of games that do not play well or do not play at all using VGS. Connectix keeps an on-going list of games that have been tested by Connectix and are recommended by them for use with VGS. Connectix has tested over 250 PlayStation titles giving priority to the most popular games. However, failure of a game to appear on the list does not mean that it will not play well or play at all.

Does VGS Allow you to save games?

Yes, VGS allows you to save game situations and profiles to your hard drive. You can create an unlimited number of "virtual memory cards" to save your gameplay. Virtual memory cards can be shared with other VGS users.

Will VGS be faster if it is installed onto a RAM Disk?

No. The VGS application loads all necessary information into RAM when launched, making the location of the application irrelevant to overall game performance. In addition, creating a RAM disk may deprive your system of RAM that could be allocated to VGS, possibly reducing game performance.

Will the performance of VGS improve is I allocate more RAM to it?

VGS has a default RAM allocation of 10 MB. Increasing this will not improve performance. Unlike most home computers, Sony PlayStation systems have a fixed, not-expandable amount of RAM (2 MB). As a result, PlayStation developers design games with this amount of RAM, and as a consequence, increasing the RAM allocation of VGS will not improve game play.

How do I benchmark my performance?

Because VGS is a unique application, there are no existing benchmark applications available to measure performance.

A usual disadvantage of emulators is that they run slower than the original emulated platform. An advantage of emulating a PlayStation is that there is a fixed speed at which games usually play (going too fast is about as bad as going too slow). Connectix found that it is possible to make many popular PlayStation games run at this speed in most circumstances, and occasionally, "make up" the difference by skipping a video frame to "catch up."

What can I do to maximize VGS performance?

VGS is highly optimized as soon as it's installed. For example, if VGS detects that it is not keeping up with the game action, it can automatically reduce the frequency of screen updates ("frames") to maintain user control (NOTE: this can sometimes lead to choppy video). Here are some things to consider when striving for optimum performance:

1. Closing Other Apps. One of the most important things you can do to improve VGS performance is to close all open applications (everything listed under the Mac OS application menu) before launching VGS. Because of the way the Macintosh allocates system resources to open applications (cooperative multitasking), there is no upper limit on the amount of processor time other applications can take away from VGS. Closing all open applications before opening VGS will maximize the amount of processor power that can be given exclusively to VGS.

2. Reducing Extensions. Creating a custom Extension set that eliminates or reduces Extensions and Control Panels that add system overhead (especially Virtual Memory) will help to a lesser degree. The only Extensions needed are your ATI video Extensions, Input Sprockets, QuickDraw 3D, USB Extensions (if you use USB input devices) and Apple CD-ROM Extensions.

3. Color Depth. There is no need to adjust color depth ("thousands of colors," "millions of colors") to optimize performance-VGS automatically sets this to the appropriate value for each game and then restores it to the previous level when you quit the game.

4. Faster Processor. Ultimately, VGS performance is determined by the speed of the Mac on which it is running. The faster the PowerPC G3 processor, the better the VGS performance.

5. Larger L2 Cache. All Power Macintosh G3 systems include a hardware chip called an L2 cache that stores information recently and frequently used by the G3 processor. The larger your L2 cache, the better VGS will perform. If your G3 system allows you to increase the size of your L2 cache, doing so will improve VGS performance.

6. More Memory. Finally, while a G3 system with 32 MB of RAM is capable of running VGS, users with 32 MB systems may need to install Connectix RAM Doubler or turn on the Mac OS Virtual Memory to accommodate VGS and their normal collection of Extensions and Control Panels. In this case, users may improve VGS performance by increasing their physical RAM to 48 MB or more. However, increasing the RAM allocation to the VGS application will have no significant impact on performance.


 Virtual Game Station Compatible Sony Playstation Games

A

1Xtreme (aka ESPN Extreme Games)

989 Studios

2Xtreme

Sony Computer Entertainment

A Bug's Life

Disney Interactive

A-Train

Maxis

Agile Warrior F-IIIX

Virgin Interactive

Air Combat

Namco

Alien Trilogy

Acclaim

All-Star Baseball 97 Featuring Frank Thomas

Acclaim

Alone in the Dark: One-Eyed Jack's Revenge

Kokopeli

Apocalypse

Activision

Area 51

Midway

Assault: Retribution

Midway

Asteroids

Activision


B

Bases Loaded 96

Jaleco

Battle Arena Toshinden 1

Sony Computer Entertainment

Battle Arena Toshinden 3

Takara

Battlestations

Electronic Arts

Bio Freaks

Midway

Blast Radius

Psygnosis

Blazing Dragons

Crystal Dynamics

Bogey: Dead 6

Sony Computer Entertainment

Bomberman World

Atlus

Brain Dead 13

Readysoft

Bravo Air Race

THQ

Brigandine

Atlus

Broken Helix

Konami

Broken Sword

THQ

Bushido Blade

Squaresoft

Bushido Blade 2

SquareEA

Bust A Move 2

Acclaim

Buster Bros Collection

Capcom


C

Caesar's Palace

Interplay

Cardinal Syn

989 Studios

Carnage Heart

Sony Computer Entertainment

Chessmaster 3D, The

Mindscape

Circuit Breakers

Mindscape

Civilization II

Activision

Clock Tower

ASCII Entertainment

Codename: Tenka

Psygnosis

College Slam

Acclaim

Command & Conquer

Westwood Studios

Command & Conquer Red Alert

Virgin Interactive

Contender

Sony Computer Entertainment

Contra: Legacy of War

Konami

Cool Boarders

Sony Computer Entertainment

Cool Boarders 2

989 Studios

Cool Boarders 3

989 Studios

Crash Bandicoot

Sony Computer Entertainment

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Sony Computer Entertainment

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped

Sony Computer Entertainment

Critical Depth

Singletrac

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos

Fox Interactive

Crow: City of Angels, The

Acclaim


D

Darklight Conflict

Electronic Arts

Darkstalkers

Capcom

Descent Maximum

Interplay

Destruction Derby

Psygnosis

Devil Dice

THQ

Diablo

Electronic Arts

DisneyÕs Hercules

Virgin Interactive

Disrupter

Universal Interactive Studios

Doom

Midway

Dragon Heart

Acclaim

Dragon Seeds

Jaleco

Duke Nukem: Time to Kill

3D Realm Entertainment


E

Elemental Gearbolt

Working Designs

Epidemic

Sony Computer Entertainment

Excalibur 2555A.D.

Sirtech


F

FIFA Soccer 97

EA Sports

Fifth Element, The

Activision

Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball

Acclaim

Frogger

Hasbro Interactive


G

Gex

Crystal Dynamics

Gex: Enter the Gecko

Crystal Dynamics

Goal Storm 97

Konami

Gran Turismo

Sony Computer Entertainment

Grand Theft Auto

Take 2 Interactive

Granstream Saga

THQ

Great Beanstalk, The

NewKidCo


H

Heart Of Darkness

Amazing Studio

Herc's Adventures

Lucas Arts


I

Incredible Hulk, The: The Pantheon Saga

Eidos Interactive

Independance Day

Fox Interactive

International Superstar Soccer Pro 99

Konami

Iron Man /X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal

Acclaim


J

Jeopardy!

Hasbro Interactive

Jet Moto

Sony Computer Entertainment

Jet Moto 2

Sony Computer Entertainment

Jimmy Johnson's VR Football 98

Interplay


K

K-1 The Arena Fighters

Sony Computer Entertainment

Kileak: The DNA Imperative

Sony Computer Entertainment

Killing Zone

Acclaim

Kings Field II

ASCII Entertainment_


L

Lode Runner

Natsume

Lost World: Jurassic Park, The

Electronic Arts


M

Machine Hunter

Eurocom

Madden NFL '99

Electronic Arts

Madden NFL 97

EA Sports

Madden NFL 98_

EA Sports

Magic Carpet

Bullfrog Productions

Marvel Super Heroes

Capcom

Mass Destruction

BMG Interactive

MediEvil

Sony Computer Entertainment

Mega Man 8 Anniversary Collector's Ed.

Capcom

Mega Man X4

Capcom

Metal Gear Solid

Konami

Monkey Hero

Take 2 Interactive

Monopoly

Hasbro Interactive

Monster Rancher

Tecmo

Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub Zero

Midway

Mortal Kombat Trilogy

Sony Computer Entertainment


N

Namco Museum 2

Namco

Namco Museum 3

Namco

Nanotek Warrior

Virgin Interactive

Nascar 98_

Electronic Arts

NBA Fastbreak 98

Midway

NBA Hang Time

Midway

NBA Jam Extreme

Acclaim

NBA ShootOut '98

Sony Computer Entertainment

NCAA Football '99

Electronic Arts

NCAA Football 98

EA Sports

NCAA GameBreaker

Sony Computer Entertainment

NFL Gameday 98

Sony Computer Entertainment

Nightmare Creatures

Kalisto Entertainment

Ninja: Shadow of Darkness

Eidos Interactive

Nitrous Oxide

Fox Interactive

No One Can Stop Mr. Domino

Acclaim

Norse By Norsewest

Interplay


O

OddWorld: Abe's Exodus

GT Interactive

Onacho

Psygnosis

OverBlood

Electronic Arts


P

Pandemonium 2

Crystal Dynamics

Pandemonium!

Crystal Dynamics

Parasite Eve

SquareEA

PGA Tour 97

EA Sports

PGA Tour 98

Electronic Arts

Philosoma

Sony Computer Entertainment

Pitfall 3D: Beyond The Jungle

Activision

Point Blank

Namco

Power Serve

Ocean

Psybadek

Psygnosis

Punky Skunk

Jaleco


R

Rally Cross

Sony Computer Entertainment

Rally Cross 2

989 Studios

Rampage World Tour

Midway

Rayman

Ubi Soft

Reloaded: The Hardcore Sequel

Interplay

Resident Evil (Greatest Hits)

Capcom

Resident Evil: Directors Cut

Capcom

Revolution

Acclaim

Ridge Racer

Namco

Ridge Racer: Revolution

Namco

Risk

Hasbro Interactive

Riven The Sequel to Myst

Sunsoft

Road & Track: Need For Speed

Electronic Arts

Road Rash 3D

Electronic Arts

Robotron X

Midway

Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012

GT Interactive

Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV

Koei

Rugrats

THQ


S

Shell Shock

US Gold

Sim City 2000

Maxis

Skeleton Warriors

Playmate Interactive Entertainment

Small Soldiers

Electronic Arts / Dreamworks

Soviet Strike

Electronic Arts

Space Jam

Acclaim

Spawn the Eternal

Sony Computer Entertainment

Spot Goes to Hollywood

Virgin Interactive

Spyro the Dragon

Sony Computer Entertainment

Star Gladiator

Capcom

Star Wars: Dark Forces

Lucas Arts

Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi

Lucas Arts

Steel Reign

Sony Computer Entertainment

Streak Hoverboard Racing

GT Interactive

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Capcom

Street Fighter Alpha

Capcom

Street Fighter Collection 2

Capcom

Striker 96

Acclaim

Suikoden

Konami

SwagMan

Eidos Interactive

Syndicate Wars

Bullfrog Productions


T

Tales Of Destiny

Namco

Tecmo Stackers

Tecmo

Tekken

Namco

Tekken 3

Namco

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Activision

Terry PratchettÕs Diskworld

Psygnosis

Test Drive 5

Accolade

Test Drive: Off Road

Accolade

Test Drive: Off Road 2

Accolade

Tetris Plus

Jaleco

The Game of Life

Hasbro Interactive

The Need for Speed

Electronic Arts

Thunder Strike

US Gold

ThunderStrike 2

US Gold

Tigershark

GT Interactive

Time Crisis

Namco

Tobal 1

SquareSoft

Tokyo Highway Battle

Jaleco

Tomb Raider

Eidos Interactive

Tomba

Sony Computer Entertainment

Top Gun: Fire at Will

Spectrum Holobyte

Treasures of the Deep

Namco

Triple Play 97

EA Sports

Tunnel B1

Acclaim

Twisted Metal 2

989 Studios

Twisted Metal 3

989 Studios


U

Unholy War, The

Crystal Dynamics

Uprising X

3DO


V

Vandal Hearts

Konami

Viewpoint

Electronic Arts

VR Baseball 97

VR Sports

VR PowerBoat Racing

VR Sports


W

Warhawk

Sony Computer Entertainment

WCW Nitro

THQ

WCW Vs. The World

THQ

Wheel of Fortune

Hasbro Interactive

Wild 9

Shiny Interactive

Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits

Williams

Wipeout XL

Psygnosis

Worms

Acclaim/Ocean

Wrestlemania The Arcade Game

Acclaim

WWF: Warzone

Acclaim


X

X-Men Vs. Street Fighter

Capcom

Xenogears

SquareEA


Z

Zero Divide

Time Warner

Zoop

Viacom



External Links

Cross-Platform Software Reviews
Virtual Game Station.com
All Online Macintosh Hardware and Software Reviews



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