What's up with classic games requirements

I’m putting this on the main board as perhaps it requires some knowledge of computer technology. I was looking up the first game I ever beaten (well, it repeated, but I did beat the boss several times), Phoenix. I found out it was available for PC, on “Taito Legends.” (Taito Legends - Wikipedia)I click on the link and saw the requirements:

“Windows version: Intel Pentium III CPU running at 1GHz, 128MiB System RAM, 500MB Hard-drive space, 32MiB DirectX 9 compatible video card, CD-ROM Drive, Microsoft-compatible keyboard and mouse”:eek:

Uhm…okay…somehow I don’t think that many computers, let alone arcade machines, were even close to being that powerful when the arcade game was released 30 years ago. Can someone please explain why emulations have these requirements so high?

The emulator has its own requirements in addition to the actual game. There was probably no great incentive to optimize the emulator since you would be hard pressed to find a PC that didn’t meat those requirements these days.

eta: I think those system requirements would have been beyond any non-supercomputer 30 years ago.

Because emulation has a lot of overhead. Emulation is just that: emulating a chip and system as software. So for every instruction in the game, the emulation is performing 100 instructions to provide the emulated environment.

Also, the requirements may also reflect what the installer expects. It also may have a lot do to with being able to play the game without random slowdowns. You could probably play it on a slower P3 and get away with it. Lots of info on emulations here:

How are those minimum requirements determined, anyway? Do they have a system with that configuration that they try it out on? (And maybe no worse system available anymore, so they go with that.)

In addition to what others have posted about the overhead of emulating a different CPU, lots of these old arcade games used specialty hardware to perform tasks such as sprite movement. The PC doesn’t have that hardware, so there is additional overhead to emulate it.

An Atari System I (Marble Madness / Indiana Jones / Road Blasters / Peter Packrat / Road Runner) from 1984 used a 68010 CPU, which was pretty advanced for the time.

Aside from the video card and mouse, you could meet the listed requirements with a VAX-11/780 (1978, although larger memory capacity didn’t come until later). And of course the CD-ROM hadn’t been invented then (again, you could add one to the VAX in later years). You could easily get 500MB on a VAX of that vintage - a single RP07 was 500MB.

If you’re willing to settle for 25 years, the MicroVAX II was introduced in 1985 and you could fit a graphics card and mouse to it.

I don’t think so. My sources say a VAX 11/780 had a clock speed of 5 MHz (200nS clock). That’s 200 times slower than the OP’s specs.

Memory requirements are generally pretty absolute, and hard drive requirements come from just installing it and seeing how big it is on the drive. But I’ve found that you can usually get by (on minimum quality settings) with about 70-80% of the stated minimum processor requirements.

Unfortunately that IS what is typically done.

To do it right, you have to find the peak drive image during install. It is not unusual for the installer+various junk it builds to take 50MB or more prior to cleaning up.

Says the guy who spent an hour deleting stuff from a thumb drive so he could install Open Office, and hung the installer even with ~75MB more than the stated requirement. Note that the OS and the installer were running off the system hard drive, so this was pure crap created during the install.

Apples and oranges, really, since they didn’t run on identical CPUs - you can’t even use clock speed to compare different generations of Intel X86 CPUs. You also need to consider the memory bandwidth and the amount of work that can be performed by a single machine instruction.

The 780 was generally considered to be around a 1-MIP machine. But even later VAX processors (well, after the 785) couldn’t be directly compared to the 780 due to internal architectural changes.

I have run identical real-world programs (4BSD + various user-written C programs) on the 780 and the PC. Performance varied, but I’d say the 780 was around the speed of a 386SX/25. True, that’s a lot slower than the 1GHz PIII, but I was aiming at the oldest VAX. Later VAX models were up to 250x that performance.

However, the strengths of superminis and mainframes were in the areas of providing service to huge numbers of users, as well as more sohisticated (for their time) types of I/O connections. That’s the reason that the “personal workstation” from companies like Sun was developed.

Plus that game collection is a Windows program, ie you need the overhead not only of the emulator but of the Windows operating system as well.

Thank you for saving me the time of typing something like this. Nice job.