ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Javascript Hero: Well, That Was Fast. —

So, last year I had this dream to help encouraging the porting of MESS (the Multi-Emulator Super System) to Javascript. We used a Colecovision emulator in the system because MESS had a compilation option to do just that system (called mess-tiny) so we could focus on the main problems. We did it, and this past week we had a working Colecovision emulator (currently slow, no sound, but playable in many browsers). That took five months.

Within ONE DAY of getting this all working, the team has gotten the port working for a second platform: The Magnavox Odyssey 2 (1978). I don’t have all the details but we may be capable of making this work for all 326 emulated computer platforms in MESS, now. This is why I wanted this system to go forward – once we worked out bugs, the effort would leapfrog like crazy. (A special shout-out to DF Justin for getting this O2 emulation working so quickly.)

So, now that it can do the Odyssey 2, it was trivial for it to emulate a very famous piece of software: Munchkin/K.C. Munchkin, a program that was pulled off the shelves because of the first “Look and Feel” legal battle in software. Here, then, is an example page of how one might use this program in the future – a page where you read about the Odyssey 2, about K.C. Munchkin, and then you try K.C. Munchkin.

Now, we still have a long way to go on some things – for example, it ALWAYS tries to start the game when you reload, and we still have no sound, and it’s still very slow. But I hope that demonstration page shows what I’ve been shooting for – a world where you read about a piece of software, learn about the context of it, and then take it for a spin, right there, and try some things out. Just like we do with movies, with music, with documents.

That’s pretty amazing.


Categorised as: computer history

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  1. Dan T. says:

    That MESS site still hangs my Firefox browser, forcing me to kill the entire process using Windows Task Manager.

  2. Ryan says:

    Wow. First you emulate the first console game I ever played (Smurfs) and then you emulate the console I grew up with (the Odyssey^2). Love it. My favorite thing about KC Munchkin was how you were able to design your own levels (though, of course, you couldn’t save them). It’ll be awesome to see if that functionality comes through in the emulation.

  3. iPadCary says:

    Jesus ….
    What an incredible project!

    Just imagine — I’m sitting on the terlitt with my iPad 2 & running MESS inside Safari & playing the Macintosh 512K masterwork “The Colony” or the Amiga’s “Sculpt-Animate4D” & “The Dion Crisis” ….

    Technology rulezorz!!1!1!!11!!