The announcements of the Console Living Room and the Historical Software Collection have brought a large amount of attention to the JSMESS emulator that archive.org uses. Naturally, being a relatively new method of playing software in a browser, there are number of technical questions and explanations that people are seeking answers for. This entry is meant to cover the most frequently asked questions and will be updated as new information becomes available.
What exactly is the JSMESS emulator?
Where possible, the JSMESS team are adding code changes to the original MESS source code or even to Emscripten itself, so that advances in support and function are available to other projects, benefitting all.
I’m having trouble with…
It is helpful to keep in mind that a full speed running JSMESS only went online at the end of August 2013. Because this is all brand-new in terms of interacting with the families of browsers out there, there are going to be incompatibilities, hiccups, speed issues and other situations.
Here are some common solutions:
It says something about a gamepad at the bottom. I can use a gamepad?
If you have a USB-connected gamepad, it is possible on the SG-1000 emulator to use it with the games. (This will be working on all the platforms, shortly.) To make this happen, go to the loading page, and before pressing the space bar to start the emulation, press buttons on your USB gamepad until the page says it can see the gamepad. Then it should “just work”.
I can’t hear anything!
I’m not sure which keys to use!
We are continually updating instructions with accurate information about which keys activate which selections on a given platform and for a specific program. In general, the arrow keys, and control keys tend to work best, and the number keys sometimes trigger off other options. A team of volunteers has been working on documentation and linking and will continue to.
How can I help?
If you are a developer and care about the state of emulation, consider getting involved with contributing fixes and improvements to the MESS emulator. Whatever changes are reflected in that project with regards to platform support and accuracy will come down the line automatically to JSMESS.
If programming is not your thing, we can always use help with improved metadata, better linking to history, and better context as to the various items are collection. Please contact the software curator at Internet Archive, Jason Scott. He’s at email@example.com.
I wish that you….
We do too. Our commitment is to make JSMESS as good as it can be, and able to run more platforms, with accurate and smooth sound and performance in the browser. We invite people who want to contribute code or other efforts to reach Jason Scott, or to contibute to the linked code repositories in this FAQ.
Soon after this FAQ was posted – I realized that the title of this entry came from an article about the efforts to bring game preservation and access to the world, in which I was interviewed by the writer Paul Ford. The original article is here.
Tried running emulator on firefox but it just kept spinning and did not load. What went wrong? Thank you
The most common reason is that we have a couple of these items with spaces or parenthesis in the filename, or who were otherwise misnamed. In this case, the emulator is loaded but the cartridge is not. If you encounter this, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with the item name/URL of the spinning-but-never-running game and we will repair it.
Where’s the slot to insert the coin? 😉
For some reason, either the games don’t work that well, or it’s very slow (I’m using FireFox by the way). I’m assuming you guys are still fixing and improving the emulators, so I just gotta say thanks for putting these games up for free.
Speed of the emulator depends heavily on the speed of the laptop. It’s best to try out the Odyssey 2 or Astrocade emulators to see how fast they’re running, and to let us know what sort of system you’re running (Browser, Platform, Machine) if you want to help us track down any issues.
I emulate old games on my laptop for kicks and like to play them with a USB xbox pad (these tend to just work with most) – are there any plans to have other control methods other that the keyboard? with the console games in particular playing them with the keyboard doesn’t do them justice in my experience
I tried JSMESS and it seems to run with a decent level of accuracy… but I found it very slow. I tried on two different machines with different browsers, and found it ran about half the speed of a real console.
I’m embarrassed to ask this question, the spacebar starts the games, but when I try to use arrows to jump, etc. the game reverts back to the start screen. Are there particular keys I should be using, like w a s d enter bar or something like that?
Will these games work on an iPad?
Are there any plans or is it even possible to make Joy Sticks work with these emulations? I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere. At 73 that puts me just about half way between when I was born and now. It was fun to play with and against my kids then. This must be a labor of love to make all of these systems games available. Brings back a lot of good memories.
I am using Firefox on a MBP and I have been able to get every game to open except for Tapper. It launches and just black screens. Maybe someone could check the code on this unless this requires a joystick. I am unable to emulate.
Great job guys! Thank you for the excellent port. Just enjoyed H.E.R.O and River Raid, among other Treasures of the 1980s. 🙂