History of emulation
This page contain information of emulation history.
Emulation in general gained popularity around 1995-1997, mostly due to increased CPU speed, increased usage of Internet, and increased number of decent emulators.
The early history of NES emulation is vague, but there are some early emulators known to public.
- Family Computer Emulator V0.35 for FM Towns, by "Haruhisa Udagawa", with file timestamps of December 12, 1990.
- Pasofami for the FM Towns, with a release date of May 1, 1993 in its info file. Windows version was released on 1995.
- LandyNES by Alex Krasivsky, which seems became the base of iNES emulator. At least one beta version was released to the public, but discontinued after the release of NESticle. No release date known but likely mid to late 1990s.
- Marat Fayzullin's iNES (also known as interNES in early versions) is the first (or at least one of the first) emulator to use NES header format (also known as iNES format). The release date of first version is 1996 according to its site.
- NESA (Nintendo Entertainment System in Assembler) by British programmer Paul Robson was one of the first free NES emulator with source code available. metropal.com has an interview with the author.
- NESticle (first version known as v0.2) was released on April 3, 1997. It was one of the first freeware NES emulators.
- First Famicom/NES emulator? - Zophar's Domain
- Anyone remember the first NES emulator? - nesdev.com
- NES Emulation History - nesdev.com
- Old NES WORLD archive pages
- Page 1 - Unknown Year, but probably in 1996. Has information of Pasofami and interNES.
- Page 2 - Sometime around May 1996. Does not have much info of emulators (only lists variants of "Famicom (NES) emulator" which is likely Pasofami) instead forces on game screenshots taken from early NES emulators.
- Page 3 - Sometime around May 1997. Has information of various early NES emulators such as NESticle.
Just like NES, the SNES emulation history is quite fuzzy, but there are evidences that SNES emulators existed as early as 1994.
- VSMC was released in 1994 and could run select few Homebrew roms. Apparently it was updated a few times after its initial release, and later versions could run some commercial games including Final Fantasy 2. (Video of one early version. Please note the music is inserted by video editing, not from the emulator.)
- Super Pasofami or SPW (Super Pasofami for Windows?), developed by the author of Pasofami, was released sometime in 1996. Very little information is available about this emulator aside of the reports that version 1.4a deleted some people's Windows directories.
- ESNES was one of the first SNES emulator that could emulate sound. It later merged with NLKSNES to become NLKE.
- NLKSNES was one of the fastest SNES emulators, though it lacked sound emulation. It later merged with ESNES to become NLKE.
- NLKE is successor of ESNES and NLKSNES and contained both speed and sound.
- Snes9x was a merged effort of Snes96 and Snes97, both released sometime in 1996-1997.
- ZSNES was first released on October 14, 1997.
- The Past of SNES '9x (archaic ruins) - Contain some history of SNES emulation scene.
Genesis emulation dates as early as 1994.
- An emulator simply called Megadrive released in 1994 could run Sonic the Hedgehog very slowly with no sound and many glitches. Quickly discontinued because the author lost its source code from a hard drive crash. It is currently the earliest known Genesis emulator.
- Genecyst, first released in 1997 was one of the first widely used Genesis emulator.
- KGen was earlist predecessor of Kega Fusion, released around 1997-1998.
Earliest known attempt at N64 emulation is 1998.
- Project Unreality, released in May 1998, was the first Nintendo 64 emulator that could run several homebrew ROMs and could show N64 logo screen of Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Wave Race 64. It was discontinued after the two main developers decided to join a game development company to create commercial N64 games.
- UltraHLE, released in January 26, 1999, was so good that angered Nintendo.
Not much is known about GB emulation before 1995.
- Virtual GameBoy (VGB) was first known GB emulator that could run commercial games. First released in 1995 for some unknown platform then ported to PC sometime in 1995 or 1996.
- No$GMB was released for DOS in 1997. GameBoy Color support was added in 1998.
Game Boy Advance
Unlike other consoles, GBA emulation and Homebrew scene was started as early as 2000, a year before GBA's release.
- GBAEmu, released in September 2000, was the first known GBA emulator. It could run some Homebrew ROMs as well as Nintendo's "Yoshi's Story" tech demo.
- iGBA, which was available as early as February 2001 and last updated on March 25, 2001, could run a few commercial games with some graphical glitches and with no sound.
- Several GBA emulators with more accuracy were released in 2001, for example Boycott Advance, DreamGBA, No$GBA, and VisualBoy Advance.
- EMULATION Issue #2 - 23/07/96 - VSMC's new Brain: "Whilst previous versions of VSMC were fast, some programs like Final Fantasy 2 were hideously slow."
- EMULATION Issue #4 - 28/08/96 - Revenge of Super Pasofami? (Windows 95): "SPW 1.4a has been released, and reportedly deleted some people's Windows directories. Whether this is a revenge plot by the author, or just some dodgy programming, remains to be seen. For this reason, most webpages do not carry 1.4a."
- Project Unreality in limbo (Slashdot)