One of the saddest parts of the transition from the last generation of consoles to the current generation was the realisation that so many games would simply fall through the cracks. Most of the major titles were always destined to receive HD remasters, or re-releases, but plenty of others are liable to be ignored or forgotten entirely.
In those instances, the best solution is a good emulator. But emulating the PS3 is far from a simple pursuit.
Coders have been trying to craft a quality emulator for the PS3 for many, many years. The problem? The platform’s unique architecture makes emulation exceptionally hard, and the PC you need to even get relatively lightweight games working at their original frame rates is exceptionally steep.
However, progress is being made. The video below is footage of someone playing After Burner Climax, a 2006 SEGA classic, on an i7-6700K with 16GB RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB GPU on Windows 10.
It’s pretty smooth — but not perfect, and certainly not at a solid 60fps.
The frame rate in the menus only hovers just over 50, and the initial lag in the first in-game cutscene is pretty evident of how taxing things are. But the inclusion of a DirectX 12 backend, implemented late last year, has allowed some 3D games to be playable at roughly 30fps.
It’s exceptional that things have come this far with PS3 emulation, considering many thought the complex nature of the PS3’s hardware would have rendered it impossible. That’s clearly not the case any more, even if there is still plenty of room for improvement. But that’s leagues ahead of the status quo a year ago: many games refused to load past the titles, and plenty more crashed once you reached the intro.
It’s unlikely that RPCS3, the open-source emulator being used above, will be in a Dolphin-esque state within the next year. But for archivists, people without access to PlayStation Now or simply without the means to get their old console working again, RPCS3’s continued development will be warmly welcomed. Personally, I’d just like to get some matches of Buzz! going; that’d be a nice way to kick off a gaming party, I think.