Gear - GameTap
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179 of 357 readers found this review helpful.
A very tragic moment in my life occurred to me recently; a dear friend of mine passed away. He was always there for me, no matter what; he was a good friend of mine since we were kids.
R.I.P. Sega Genesis, Iíll miss you.
Okay, okay, all joking aside my Genny did, in fact, bite the bullet recently & it was a sad moment. Maybe it was sad because that was the eighth to die on me (I have a whole crate full of dead Gennyís in my attic), or maybe because this one had lasted three whole years before going. More than likely, itís because Iíll no longer be able to play Dynamite Heady & all the various Sonic games I know & love. Well just a few days ago Iím sitting here at my faithful laptop when I come across an ad for GameTap. Now I had already heard about GameTap from way before, however this was the first time I actually looked into the service. After a long pause (about all of ten seconds), I said ďwhat the hellĒ & proceeded to sign up.
In The Beginning
First on the agenda was seeing if I met the system requirements, after all, my laptop is pretty bare bones when it came to gaming. Any who, according to the GameTap site I was pretty much in the clear, all you really need is a broadband connection (sorry dial-up-ers, get with the program!). Oh & a computer/laptop that isnít complete shat. Currently theyíre giving away two-week trials, with a monthly charge of $9.99 afterwards.
The sign up process last a good five minutes & was your basic ďFirst Name, Last Name, Credit Card #Ē type of ordeal. After I made an username & password I was finally allowed to download the installer. I canít remember how big it was, but the whole download & install process took less than fifth teen minutes tops. After that was done I booted up the app and . . . had to update. No matter, another fifth-teen minutes later and it was all done. I have to say that even with the extra time it took to update, it was very quick & easy.
First Steps Into The Vault
So Iím finally in, what to do now? Well my first stop was straight to the ďVaultĒ the part of GameTap that actually matters: the games. I was anxious to test out the emulation & decided to jump in with an old favorite of mine (#5 on my personal all-time favorite video games): Sonic 2.
First thing I did before even attempting to play the game was to plug in my five-year-old ĎGravis Gamepad Proí. Almost immediately GT recognizes it and I can actually browse the menus with it! At this point I decide to load up the game. The estimated time was roughly one minute (in actuality it took a little less than that), to help kill time a video starts to stream GT commercials advertising there own GT TV & I start to setup the controls (again, while the game is streaming). Thankfully after Iím done an option appears to set all the other sonic game the same way (pretty neat).
I finally boot up the game & what do you know, the emulation was damn near perfect! No need to skip frames, cut corners or any of that ROM crap, just flawless gameplay (okay, so maybe there was an odd hiccup in the first scant seconds of play, but it cleared up in seconds). I played for a couple of hours just like when I would as a kid.
Not content with just Sonic, I browsed around and tried out a few more Genesis games. Everything from Earthworm Jim, to Gunstar Heroes to Phantasy Star IV played flawlessly. Games such as PSIV even allowed me to save my games effortlessly just like I would on the original. Sadly the ability to save states (save absolutely anywhere Ė a staple in illegal emulators) was oddly missing, but I supposed the GT team really wanted to keep the games in their original state.
The Dreamcast Dilemma
Without going into further detail, I tested out a wide variety of games across a bevy of consoles with little to no problems. But the biggest gripes came from the Dreamcast section (and the newer PC games). Not only did it take several hours to access one DC game (say, Crazy Taxi), the game ran, at best, at half speed, with tons of slowdown (not mentioned garbled music). Yes, my laptop isnít top of the line & yes GT has a warning posted each time you attempt to access a DC game. Regardless, those of you hoping to play the six or so DC games better have a PC able to play them.
If it isnít enough that GameTap has almost 600 games at its disposal (I believe the exact number at the moment is 570), it also sports a veritable network of gaming television. Obviously a knock-off of G4 (or G4 Tech TV or whatever itís called now), GameTap TV houses hours & hours of gaming TV. Thereís your basic gaming news, history of _______, & even a couple of comedy shows thrown in. To be honest none of the shows are top-of-line (especially the comedy), but they sometimes feature little neat things; such as old commercials or videos of upcoming games (there E3 specials were decent enough). Itís not the best, but it does compliment the rather large library of games, plus itís more of a bonus than an actually selling point.
With only minor flaws, but with a $10 price point (a month), tons of games & near perfect emulation (for most games), GameTapís awesome deal for those of you who want to play the classics, but donít want to get tangled up in the underground world of pirating.
Added: Saturday, July 08, 2006
Related Link: Gametap Main Site
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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