Game problems FAQ
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Here's a list of notable games that can be problematic. Solutions are provided to the best of our ability.
Game Boy / Color
- Has problems with the original version of VBA. Consider using a newer emulator.
- Kirby Tilt'n Tumble
- The game uses motion controls. VBA, mGBA, and KiGB have a "motion sensor" option to interact with this. By default it's mapped to the numpad arrows in both emulators.
Game Boy Advance
- Wario Ware Twisted, Yoshi Topsy Turvy, Koro Koro Puzzle
- Motion control emulation for these games were not implemented until myBoy and mGBA added them. Patched ROMs exist that allowed playing Wario Ware Twisted with the D-Pad.
- Boktai series
- Relies on a solar sensor to recharge an in-game gauge that affects gameplay. ROM patches were made to change the solar sensor level with the D-Pad but proper emulation was not implemented until NO$GBA and mGBA added it.
- Famicom/Classic NES Series
- Throws a Gamepak Error at start-up. It was actually an anti-piracy/emulation tactic. Emulation of the needed behavior was implemented in mGBA.
- iQue (Chinese DS) games
- Throws a glowing error at start-up "Only for iQue". It's a rudimentary form of regional lock that can only be circumvented by opening the ROM with a hex editor and changing one byte at a specific address at the moment.
- Still unemulated outside of NO$GBA. Some games outright crash, or show the wrong text (like Shantae showing "Localisation not found"). This is solved by using a NAND dump. The Camera is still unemulated.
- Mag Slide Kid
- Has an add-on that no emulator has implemented. Wait for a fix.
- Slot-2 (GBA bonuses) not working
- Some games like Lunar Knight and Mega Man Star Force removed this feature during localization, so play the Japanese versions instead. Solar sensor bonus in Lunar Knight (aka Boktai DS) in particular is still not emulated.
- Pokémon games
- The Desmume team is ignorant of Pokemon and will not fix related issues, so use other emulators instead.
Specifically Gen 4 (3), Gen 2 remakes (2), and Gen 5 (4).
- These games rely on cartridge reading speeds more than usual for other games. This causes crashes at start-up that can be circumvented with ARDS cheats in NO$GBA, or cause frequent freezes every half hour or so on Desmume (meaning the in-game battery save feature is far more preferable to save states). melonDS recently solved the cartridge reading speed emulation and his fixes were ported to other emulators.
- There's also anti-piracy for good measure, which can be disabled with Action Replay codes, and graphical glitches that Desmume devs don't want to fix.
- Unemulated features like the Pokewalk, the Typing with the Pokemon bluetooth keyboard and Download Play event cards.
- The emulation runs in standard DS clock speed mode on most DS emulators, meaning it doesn't take advantage of the DSi enhancements, though NO$GBA recently implemented that partially.
- The Wi-Fi connectivity features remained under-developed as the devs wanted with their creative differences. Local multiplayer needed for trading monsters between two copies (but also used in other games) isn't possible. This recently got resurrected as a functional WIP feature in melonDS.
- Online multiplayer was functional in as early as 0.9.7, but the devs spread rumors about a Nintendo letter stating that all forms of multiplayer (even local) were illegal, meaning forks were spread on file sharing sites more than through fork developers themselves. Despite Nintendo's servers going down in 2014, alternative servers covering only the downloadable content still exist. On the bright side, save editors still exist.
Eventually users came to realize they were stuck between accepting Desmume's problems as viable, or that other Nintendo DS emulators would pop up sooner or later (which eventually happened). desmume-libretro is currently playing catch-up with graphical fixes and some freezing bugs here and there.
- Tengai Makyou Zero
- The Japanese version of the regular and limited edition releases used to require external graphical packs. This requirement is no longer present in all emulators but ZSNES and an obscure Snes9X Android port used for a Chinese fan-translation. It's fairly supported on all emulators. The game will run a cartridge check the first time it boots. Press either A or B depending on what it shows on screen, and then when it shows you a new message in Japanese, soft reset the emulator. You'll need to do 2 checks like this. After that, an .rtc file is created, and all subsequent boot-ups of the games will play normally.
- The English fan-translation so far runs on higan / bsnes, requiring an xml file named the same as the patched ROM, and a manifest.bml file, all under the same directory. The game can be opened from the ROM on standalone higan, and from manifest.bml from retroarch. Modified builds of Snes9X for Windows (1.5.4) and GX Wii (Source) can boot the ROM alone.
- Star Wars: Rogue Leader/Rebel Strike
- The games are playable, but suffer from some random hangs and other issues. Click here for Rogue Leader info, and here for Rebel Strike info.
- Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Recommended to use a real Wiimote and Motion Plus to emulate. See details here.
- It is possible to use a conventional controller with this build.
- Metal Gear Solid
- Rewrites BIOS commands in order to work; a simulated one won't cut it. Do not use the simulated BIOS in PCSX-R. These will just give a blank screen. If you are using a real BIOS and it is still not working, try different ones.
- If the game stutters, enable the relevant fix in your sound plugin.
- Trying to fight Psycho Mantis on an emulator that can't change controller ports? Die enough times and you will be given another method: shooting statues.
- Note: If the game is not set in options to 60Hz it might lead to graphic problems from the get go, some examples being God Hand, Metal Slug, Tekken 5 and Destroy All Humans.
- Any issues you encounter with Play cannot be resolved effectively at this time. Use PCSX2.
- Ace Combat 4/5/Zero
- All three are perfectly playable in software mode, but have major graphical issues in hardware mode. Use software mode if your PC is up to the task. This series used to have hit detection issues, but the latest GIT version, with automatic game fixes turned on, will work.
- Jak and Daxter series
- Suffers from crazy visual errors like blacked out eyes. Run the game in software mode, or activate the alpha hack to fix the shadows.
- Blacked out eyes can't be fixed without using software mode.
- Jak X can now be booted with a cheat file patch
- Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3
- Needs a very high end CPU to run at full speed and will run slowly on most. All of the various blades of grass in MGS3 are one cause of its slowdown. Also, various shader effects will only work correctly in software mode.
- Ratchet and Clank series
- Games have bad visual glitches in hardware mode due to lack of custom mipmap support, and run slowly due to that. Most issues are fixed with software mode.
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Needs a very high end CPU to run at full speed.
- Time Crisis 2
- The lightgun add-on isn't implemented in any current emulators at the moment.
- Zone of the Enders 1 and 2
- Needs a very high end CPU to run at full speed.
- Use the latest version of PPSSPP to resolve any problem its had before.
- Go to Game Settings > Graphics. Users of Nvidia GPUs should select "Read Framebuffers to Memory (GPU)" under "Rendering Mode". If you use an AMD GPU or Android device, select "Read Framebuffers to Memory (CPU)".
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
- In the level "Peace Walker battle 2", one of the last bosses in the game, the boss's life cannot be depleted from the last 2 bars, making it unbeatable. Use the latest version of PPSSPP to resolve this.