Modern-day console emulation
bleem! was released back in April of '99, after a storm of publicity. Sony filed a rumoured, multi-million pound lawsuit against them to stop the distribution of their Playstation emulator, despite the efforts of this huge multi-national, bleem! won - three times. bleem! was not the first Playstation emulator, in fact, several months prior to its release, PSemu pro had been made widely available across the Internet, unlike bleem!, this was freeware, but required the image of an original Playstation BIOS to run - as no surprise to anyone, these were widely available across many major emulation sites. The question of course begs, as to why Sony would actually want to prevent the release of this emulation software, bearing in mind they actually make no profit on console sales. The money comes rolling in for the Electronics giant when games are purchased. This doesn't change with the use of emulators; they too require Playstation discs. Perhaps Sony were worried about the piracy issue - the fact that bleem! natively runs pirated discs, where as the console has to be chipped, a complex procedure, which involves soldering a chip into the main board of the console, that bypasses the security routine. So, aside from the legalities, what does bleem! actually do for you? Essentially, it is a program that runs from within the Windows environment, that allows you to play Playstation games on your PC. Further to this, anything above a PII300, with a decent 3D card, actually runs the games a lot better in comparison with the console. Higher resolutions are achieved, 800x600 upwards are quite easily manageable on many computer systems, this, compared to the Playstations 512x240. Cutting the need for memory cards to save, bleem! can dump onto your hard drive, saving you about £15 for every couple of megs you would've occupied on those oh-so-overpriced, but necessary storage devices. Supporting all direct input controllers, you can use your joystick, wheel and pedals, flight yoke, plain old game-pad, or whatever you like to take control in any bleem! supported game. bleem! also advertise the fact that you can play your favourite Playstation games on the go, presumably with the voodoo3-equipped laptop you carry in your attaché case. So then, there must be some downsides, to this so far, wondrous piece of software. Well actually, now you come to mention it, yes there are. Probably the most major factor being compatibility, or rather the lack of it. Sure enough, bleem! does actually support most, if not all of the chart games. But, each and every game has to be added to the library, before it can run - and anyone who's been to their local Electronics Boutique of late, will have no doubt seen the Playstation section covering an entire wall, or two. The incompatibility comes about because bleem! is not an exact copy of the console, and leans to different routines and procedures, so of course, incompatibilities are inevitable. Not to knock the efforts of the developers, to date, bleem! does in fact support over 300 games. bleem! is not the only platform to have problems running Playstation games, you have to look no further than Sony's new beast, the Playstation 2, to find another that lacks support for its predecessors games, and, unlike bleem! there is not an awful lot that can be done to fix these problems. bleem! was the first emulator to have a reasonable success rate with the Playstation. It was perhaps a risk on their behalf to invest so much time in the development on this fine piece of software, not knowing whether they were going to get a return on it. As it turns out, they have in fact made a huge number of sales of the emulator and its attached merchandise, such as the rather fetching bleem! t-shirt. If you're still very much into playing your Playstation games, but crave prettier graphics, and higher resolutions, bleem! could be for you, download the demo at bleem.com, and give it a try.