PC-98 emulators

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The PC-98

The NEC PC-9801, also known as the PC-98, were a family of computers made by NEC throughout 1982 to 2000. They were not released or marketed outside of Japan, but still useful for playing early Touhou games.

Emulators[edit]

Emulator Operating System(s) Latest Version Accuracy Active Recommended
PC
Neko Project II Windows, OS X (PPC) 0.86 Mid
Neko Project 21/W Windows, Linux 0.86 rev43 High
Anex86 Windows e1 Low-Mid
DOSBox-X Windows, Linux, macOS 0.82.8 Low
SL9821 Windows 0.3.0.3 High
MAME Multi-platform 0.200 Low
Mobile
Neko Project II Android 20120217 Unknown
J98 Android J98-b Unknown

Comparisons[edit]

Neko Project II
The best PC98 emulator out there that's still under active development. Its major drawback is the non-remappable controls.
Neko Project 21/W
Based on Neko Project II but focus on simulating PC-9821 with support for LAN board, PC-9801-96 expansion board, various Window Accelerators, additional disk image format and so on.
Anex86
Another decent PC98 emulator, but is older and less powerful. It allows key rebinding.
DOSBox-X
A very active fork of DOSBox that, among other things, adds support for the PC-98 as a target system. While it's very easy to setup, its PC-98 compatibility is still in its early stages.
MAME
It has drivers for various revisions but as of version 0.189, all of them are reported as Not Working.

Playing Games[edit]

Note: This tutorial was adapted from this resource.

The PC-9800 series of personal computers had floppy disk drives (FDD) and hard drives (HDD) which contained the actual games and software to be loaded. Besides the emulator, you'll need a set of floppy disk images (in the following formats: FDI, FDM, NFD, D88...) or a hard disk image (in the following formats: HDI, HDM, NHD...)

You'll need a font if you want text characters to display properly in most cases. Put it in the same directory as the emulator executable, and select it (on NP2: Emulate/Font, on Anex86: Config/Font).

You'll need to configure the emulator as well. In NP2's case, you want to go with the recommended configuration here:

  • Emulate/Configure/CPU: Number of cores to something like 32.
  • Emulate/Configure/Sound: Rate to 44k or 88k for better sound quality.
  • Device/Memory: 13.6MB
  • Screen/Screen Option: Check "Use skipline revisions", and change Ratio to 255. This gets rid of the existing scanline implementation, in case you want a better one with shaders from external programs. Keep in mind PC-98 games, more than any other system, are often graphically designed with scanlines in mind.

To play the games:

  • If using a floppy disk based game: Plug the first disk (FDI) into FDD1, and the second disk (FDI) into FDD2.
  • If using a hard drive based game: Plug the hard drive (HDI) into Harddisk/IDE #0 (if using Anex86, use the HDD1 and HDD2 fields and check the box HDD>FDD).

Then hit Emulate/Reset, and most games automatically launch from there.

Neko Project II's controls are not remappable. They're 2, 4, 6, and 8 on the numpad, arrow keys, enter, space, ctrl, z and x. For games using the mouse, hit F12 to enable or disable mouse input. Use programs like Joy2Key to rebind other keys.

Resources[edit]