Connectix VGS for PC (available at Connectix)|
Got my copy of Virtual
Game Station for the PC today and I must say that I was impressed. Not as
much as the first time I played bleem!, but
impressed none-the-less. So I ripped open my FEDEX package like it was
Christmas, eager to look at the box and play with my new toy. Most of my review
will be based on my preconceived notions of a PSX emu based on bleem! While it
may be unfair to VGS to compare it to bleem! VGS has had plenty of time to play
with and look at bleem! and further develop any short comings that bleem! may
have. As well as they have had much user feedback from the Mac version of VGS.
THE BOXThe back of the box has a few clips of info. It
tells you that you can change your controller between keyboard, game pads, and
joysticks. That you can use the Memory Card Feature to save, or import DexDrive
saves. It says you can play Two-Player games. It also boasts the features of
being able to play at work or home, while traveling for business or pleasure,
I don't see how the box is going to sell the product in a store. The front
is VERY nice looking, very colorful. Nice big disclaimer at the bottom This
product is not affiliated with, nor authorized, endorsed, or licensed in any way
by Sony® Corporation, its affiliates or
subsidiaries. The front of the box boasts "Play many popular PlayStation®
games on your PC.
The system requirements are listed as :
- Pentium II, III, and Celeron or compatible
processor, 266MHz minimum, 400MHz recommended
- L2 Cache
- 8x or higher CD-ROM Drive
- Windows 95 or Windows 98 (Editor Note:
it does not work with NT or 2K)
- 32 MB RAM
- 75 MB Hard Drive Space (Editor Note:
it only took 8.42 MB of my drive)
- Video card and sound card with DirectX 6.1
- Video card compatible with 16-bit color
(24-bit or higher recommended)
What it doesn't list is ANY games that VGS
plays. Not one. No screen shots of the VGS interface. Simply a disclaimer at the
bottom reading : Audio and video performance of Connectix Virtual Game Station
may not be the same as that of an actual PlayStation. Connectix does not warrant
compatibility with any PlayStation game. Games sold Separately.
- The VGS CD (in a sealed License Agreement
- a Card that states if you have questions
about compatibility or configuration to call or email.
- A registration card
- A 9 page manual.
- Some cardboard to keep the box shape.
I could read the book, but I decide to skip the 9 page leaflet and install.
Drop the CD in the machine and the CD auto-boots and asks if you want to install
VGS. Asks you the directory you want to install to, and then it does. Once you
have finished this, it tells you to reboot, even though it shouldn't have really
changed anything. To be on the safe side, I reboot.
ANOTHER QUICK LAUNCH?
Returning from the reboot, I see a new little icon in my task tray. CVGS
Autolauncher. While I will give them credit for allowing easy disable or exit,
they did not give an option to turn it off permantly. Luckily it is just
installed in the StartUp folder, so it is easily disabled for an intermediate
Computer user. What this quicklaunch is supposed to do, is monitor the CD-ROM
and autolaunch VGS when you insert a PSX Disc.
TIME TO PLAY!
Being an advanced computer user, I decide to drop a PSX disc in, and see
what happens. VGS starts automatically (note the VGS CD does not need to be in
to start VGS) and goes to full screen mode. I try pressing several buttons (to
either move around the menu in the game, get to a VGS menu to change my
settings, or switch VGS to windowed mode). I find that S moves down and A moves
left. The default control settings leave something to be desired. After trying
nearly every button on my keyboard (except for the universal "exit"
button - ESC) I flip through the book.
The book isn't really anything special.
- PAGE 1 : Copyright Info
- PAGE 2 : Welcome (basically the back of the
- PAGE 3 : System Requirements
- PAGE 4 : How to Install/Run VGS.
- PAGE 5/6 : SETTINGS
- PAGE 7 : Controller Settings
- PAGE 8 : Other Menu Items (Eject, Reset,
- PAGE 9 : Contacting Connectix
Page 5 Tells me to PAUSE emulation and enter the menu I must press ESC. So
I do. I am greeted by a very small menu of options. Basically, Exit,
Settings, About, Eject, and Reset. I go in the settings...
The settings menu is fairly basic (see
right). It allows you to setup your controllers, Memory Cards, Movie
Playback, Brightness, and Sound. These are your ENTIRE options in VGS. One
thing I notice (and like) right away is the EJECT button for memcards.
This allows you to "remove" the memcard just as if you were at a
on the controller menu will give you the screen to the right. To set a
button all you have to do is click on the box representing the controller
button you want to configure, then press what button you want to use.
Whether it be on a Joystick, or a Keyboard. It doesn't seem to have any
"presets" (other than keyboard), but with this easy entry
system, you can get your controller setup in only a couple minutes (if
There is no "Memory Card
Manager" (like in bleem!) where you can copy singular saves in and
out of cards, or delete ones you no longer need. Meaning you have to find
games that will allow you to do that. Though PSXGameEdit
will probably add VGS support, and then you can use that.
So now that I have VGS running correctly, and know how to get to the menu and
stuff, I can try some games. You probably want to know if FF8, or WWF Smackdown
works, but I didn't check those. Here's what I did check :
If you are like any normal human, right now you
are probably thinking, WOW, bleem! doesn't play any of those 6 games [based on
v1.5B] (and you would be right). However, it isn't the same playing on VGS. The
lack of features on VGS really hurts the products overall feel. Having no 3D
enhancement, No resolution settings, No windowed mode, etc. Basically you are
stuck playing all games in a Full Screen 640x480(ish) Software mode.
Games play at a pretty consistent rate (but do
speed up/slow down at different times), however one thing that hurts the feel of
play is when VGS elects to skip video frames. This happened to me during Tekken
2, and Bloody Roar (PAL). VGS will drop video frames to keep up (as it states on
their page) ...the titles may exhibit some defects. For instance,
in order to keep up with the flow of the game, CVGS may need to occasionally
skip a frame in the video presentation. While I believe bleem! also does
this, it seems that when VGS does it, it seems much more
Before someone attacks me about my system
specs, I am using a P2 400, with 64 RAM, and a TNT2 Ultra. That meets not only
the required, but recommended settings. I keep my machine pretty well "tuned"
with nothing running in the background, and system resources optimized.
WHAT DOESN'T PLAY?
With the limited time I had to work on this, I couldn't review EVERY game I
had, however here are a couple titles that don't play correctly.
- Legend of Legaia : Same stretchiness as
- Crash Team Racing : Same Music with no Video
- and more... like they say, it doesn't play
THE FINAL WORD
settings makes this a "dummies" program. It is truly a
means no features. There is no 3D enhancement. No Resolution settings.
No real sound settings (Volume doesn't count!).
crisp and clean. Sound is pretty well synced as well.
||For the most
part PSX speed and consistent
||Most games seem
to be free of Graphics Problems.
||Too bad there
is no 3D enhancement, or resolution settings.
||For the most
part Clean Sounding.
become corrupted or choppy.
||Nice way to set
Mouse, Negcon, Jogcon Support.
cards! Not that big of a deal, but I like it :)
||No Manager for
easy save settings.
||None, No CD Swapping.
continue to provide support for a program that isn't protected at all?
||I have two CD-Roms,
and VGS keeps spitting out the second CD Drive. For absolutely no reason
What I wanted to mention here - Although the MAC version of VGS has a pretty
good protection against backup's - We weren't able to notice anything like that with the windows version !
And of course when making your
buying decision... it all comes down to...
Do you wanna play this?
(Taken with VGS)
bleem! v?.?? (in D3D Enhanced Mode)
Actually, it is this editor's
opinion that you should support emulation, and buy them both. :)
Written by Dragon„en, small edits by Bobbi - March 10th 2000