MADrigal's simulators

» 21st November, 2022

I had plans to publish this update for quite some time... probably one year.

I released a simulator of Epoch's Galaxy II tabletop back in 2007. Not only the game plays a lot like Namco's Galaxian, but even the graphics appear to have been sort of "cloned" from it. The game was originally released in 1981 and (as far as I know) it was not licensed by Namco.

And then... who would have ever imagined that an obscure "variant" of the game would surface around 2020, sporting entirely different graphics with the original fly-like aliens replaced by wasp-like monsters, and the motherships looking like they were teleported directly from Space Invaders?

My old time pal Kevtris from the MAME team was the one to find and spread the word about this weird game variant. He reportedly found the display only (not the game) in a box of loose mixed hardware. As the actual tabletop game was missing, he couldn't really tell if the screen was part of an official tabletop, a prototype, or else.

I decided I that *had* to include this variant in my simulator! With Kevtris' high resolution scans of the display, this would be possible!

Over the past few weeks I upgraded the Galaxy II Simulator by implementing a "multi-skin" system. Basically, the simulator is distributed with more than one only set of graphics: every time you launch it, you choose what skin (graphics) you wish to use for that game.

I have then designed three "skins" - all included in the game: normal (from the 2007 simulator), variant and variant zoomed. Whilst the first two are suitable for use on "old" low-resolution monitors running generally at 1024x768, the zoomed skin is designed for 1920x1080 screens. Also, the system is so flexible that you can create and add new skins as you please!

The below image shows how the three skins look like (original, variant and variant zoomed):

Also releasing a controller bug-fix update to Koby Goldberg's excellent simulator of Popeye (Nintendo, Wide Screen)!.

The new files available for download are:

- Galaxy II (Epoch, tabletop) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, Multi-skin System + bug fix)
- Popeye (Nintendo, Wide Screen) S5/1.02 (Standard 5, bug fix)
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 62.4
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20221121 [62.4]

The new games, CD collection and datfile are available for free download from the usual downloads page.

» 17th October, 2022

This will be the last of the scheduled graphic updates to some of my previously released simulators. Just like the previous updates, two more games now incorporate rendered fully animated 3D models of joysticks that blend into the original game photo. Thanks Itizso for providing such gorgeous 3D models!

Today's games are Nintendo's Panorama Screen and Table Top versions of the quirky Snoopy game. This is how the new controllers look like:


The new files available for download are:

- Snoopy (Nintendo, Game & Watch Panorama Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- Snoopy (Nintendo, Game & Watch Table Top) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 62.3
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20221017 [62.3]

The above files are now available for free download from the usual downloads page.

» 26th September, 2022

One more small but juicy update thanks to Itizso's contribute.

Two more games now update to incorporate fully animated switch controllers. They are both Nintendo games: Mario Bros. (Multi Screen) and Mario's Bombs Away (Panorama Screen). The former also features a new bug-fix that resolves an old, almost unnoticeable inaccuracy in the simulation of the "miss" animation routine.

The below animations show how the new 3D models of the switch buttons blend perfectly in the original game graphics:


The new files available for download are:

- Mario Bros. (Nintendo, Game & Watch Multi Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements + minor fixes)
- Mario's Bombs Away (Nintendo, Game & Watch Panorama Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 62.2
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20220926 [62.2]

Grab all files for free download from the downloads page. Enjoy!

» 12th September, 2022

Thanks to the assistance provided (again) but the tireless Itizso, I was able to add fully animated joysticks to three more tabletop simulators: Donkey Kong (Coleco) and Donkey Kong Junior (Coleco and Nintendo).

Itizso has created virtual 3D models of the joysticks and blended them with actual photos of the tabletop games, and the result is again impressive! With the new versions of the game, when you press left, right etc. on the keyboard, the joystick will appear like an invisible hand just moved them.

The below animations show how incredibly real the new joysticks look like:


See below list of newly released files:

- Donkey Kong (Coleco) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (Coleco) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (Nintendo, Game & Watch Table Top) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 62.1
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20220912 [62.1]

All files are available for free download at the downloads page. Have fun!

» 1st August, 2022

After having successfully completed the publication of my new book Zzap!Raine - Annual 2022 just two weeks ago, I finally found some time, focus and inspiration to devote to my "old" hobby, that is: programming electronic games simulators. :-)

My previous game (Donkey Kong Special Edition) was released almost five years ago, so how about a comeback with a brand new game?

Today, thanks to the generous help of my good friend, collector Veronique Spisso (who provided excellent photos and scans of game and instructions manual), I have been able to assemble the simulator of one of the rarest electronic games ever produced: VTech's Tennis Menace - Mini Time & Fun!

The game is so rare that in 20+ years of research, I have never been able to source a single photo of the game box! Therefore, exceptionally and unlike all other simulators of mine, this one lacks the game box art. Oh, well, at least the manual is included, which is not bad at all!

Here is how the game looks like:

This is the list of files released with this update:

- Tennis Menace (VTech, Mini Time & Fun) S5/5.00 (Standard 5, final) - for Windows
- Tennis Menace (VTech, Mini Time & Fun) S5/5.00 (source code) - for Delphi 7
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 62 - for Windows
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20220801 [62.0]

Get all files from the usual downloads page and have fun... or maybe for today only have some "mini time & fun" instead! :-)

» 18th June, 2022

Not many know that I once was editor for an online magazine called Zzap!Raine that reviewed arcade games emulated through RAINE (short for RAinbow IslaNds Emulator) and drew inspiration from the top-selling UK and Italian magazine, Zzap!64 (in Italy, Zzap!).

During Zzap!Raine's short life, 13 issues were published, all in English. Each issue had custom-designed cover, reviews of arcade games, special articles and sections, and a dedicated forum. A few issues also featured reviews of games for C64, Amiga, Spectrum and other 8 and 16-bit home computers.

The staff was mostly made of game enthusiasts, plus a handful of actual Zzap!64 editors.

Over the past 18+ months, I have been working hardly to convert that old, aged website into a real paper book, featuring all the colours of the rainbow. Every front cover, game review and special article is featured: fully translated in Italian. Each review and section has its very own layout. Also featured: an unique interview to the author of RAINE, a bunch of behind-the-scenes and introductions, and the preface by Paolo Besser (chief editor of the Italian Zzap! magazine). Everything is approved and endorsed by the current publishers of Zzap!64.

Book features:
* 168 pages, high quality paper
* A4 format
* glossy hardcover
* more than 100 reviews and mini-reviews of arcade and 8-16 bit home computer games
* 10 special articles, mostly related to classic Taito games and Zzap!
* interview with the author of RAINE
* preface by the chief editor of Zzap!
* price EUR 36,00 incl. registered shipping to Italy (contact me for shipping overseas / rest of Europe)

The book is now available for PRE-ORDER. Given the high cost of printing, I will only print enough copies to satisfy all pre-orders. This means that if you want to purchase a copy of the book, you should pre-order it as soon as possible. (No re-prints are scheduled)

*** Pre-orders close on 15 July 2022 ***

Useful links:

» 14th March, 2022

Today one of my dreams comes true - at last. Not the fanciest of dreams, but still a dream that I had since I started the MADrigal's Simulation Project.

The one thing I always wanted to implement in all of my games was to add full animation of the "directional cross" button that is featured in a bunch of games - most notably (but not just) Nintendo's Donkey Kong Multi Screen.

Talented programmer Itizso, author of beautiful G&W simulators running in 3D virtual models of the games, has come to my aid by providing animation frames of the directional cross for Donkey Kong 1, 2 and Junior Panorama. I was then able to implement them in my simulators. Success and... my dream came true (well, at least for those 3 games!)

Here is how the new graphics look like:

See below list of new files new released update and I hope that Itizso will provide more graphic pieces for my other simulators one day! :-)

- Donkey Kong (Nintendo, Game & Watch Multi Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- Donkey Kong 2 (Nintendo, Game & Watch Multi Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (Nintendo, Game & Watch Panorama Screen) S5/5.01 (Standard 5, graphic improvements)
- MADrigal CD Collection ver. 61.2
- ClrMamePro datfile ver 20220314 [61.2]

All files are available for free download at the downloads page. Have fun!

» 3rd January, 2022

Happy new year everyone - and we start with a couple of juicy updates!

For a start, KMFDManic has just contacted me to inform that his popular creation, "MADrigal for NES/SNES Mini Classics", has just been upgraded. Not only it is easier to install (via Hakchi2), but it is now also compatible with the recently released MegaDrive Mini and Genesis Mini consoles and is distributed as a single package woho! Full instructions are provided as a "readme" file within the installer/archive.

Secondly, Koby Goldberg has just released an updated version of his lovely Android port of the Popeye (Nintendo, Wide Screen) simulator. Nothing major, just a bug-fix release addressing incorrect behaviour for the game pause mode, that was introduced with the previous version.

The new files are:

- MADrigal for NES/SNES/MegaDrive Mini - Version 2021-12-31
- Popeye (Nintendo, Game & Watch Wide Screen) for Android - Version S5/1.02 (Standard 5, minor fixes)

The files are available for free download at the usual downloads page.

And... stop the press! :-)

Just minutes before posting this update, I received an email from talented programmer of G&W simulators Itizso who informed me that he has just added a new game to his collection of "3D" simulators: Donkey Kong 3!

Visit Itizso's website to grab the game! :-)

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