Despite all of the talk that the PC is dead and the retro gaming craze is passing, the hardcore emulator scene is going as strong as ever. Current PCs are powerful enough to emulate even the most advanced of consoles — though to be honest, we’re nowhere near as interested in PS3 or 360 emulation as we are in classic game systems and computers.
So it’s good news to us that work continues on the Atari++ and the SSL projects. You might assume that the former is yet another 2600 emulator, but it’s a bit more comprehensive — in fact, Atari++ tries to cover all of Atari’s 8-bit systems, including the 5200 and even the beloved 400/ 800 series home computers.
SSF is more focused, aiming to be the best Sega Saturn emulator. Although it does have some competition from the older (and possibly more familiar) Satourne, SSF is more frequently updated while Satourne seems to have been more or less abandoned. You can try the author’s homepage if you like, but it’s all in Japanese and there are many places to download the latest version (0.12 alpha as of this writing).
And, of course, the work continues on the now-legendary MAME and MESS projects. If you haven’t used MAME, well, then you’re probably not into emulators anyway (perhaps you’d prefer a website on home refinancing or low-budget movie classics?). But the grandfather of arcade emulation is now at version 0.141 (I know, can’t believe they haven’t reached 1.0 yet either) and can be found at the MAME website.
MESS is a decidedly bigger project, emulating basically everything that is emulate-able. How well is it coming along? As of version 0.141 (nope, not a typo, same version number as MAME), they’ve got a huge list of supported systems – although, as you might expect, not every single feature of every single system is completely available (yet).