Comments on: Classic Arcade Emulator for Palm OS 5

In the 80s, what once took enough hardware to fill a good sized closet; can now be carried around in the palm of your hand. A group called Codejedi has developed a Palm OS 5 compatible arcade emulator, similar to the MAME emulator on the PC side. The initial release is a beta that only supports the Space Invaders rom, more games will be supported as development continues.
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Only for Palm OS 5?

eevyl @ 12/2/2002 11:29:00 AM #
Well, since I do not own a Palm OS 5 device I cannot test this app, and I would love to do it.

I hope they release a backward compatible version someday in the future. I don't expect to run recent arcade titles on a pre-OS 5 device, but the old ones should be playable.

RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
rmach @ 12/2/2002 12:05:11 PM #
I don't think anything other than an OS 5+ release will happen. This is because you are _emulating_ multiple pieces of hardware (one or more CPUs, sound chips, video chips) that ran only a little slower than the 32 MHz CPU in OS4 devices. I think you could do a port of pacman that ran on a Palm but this would be a recreation and not running the original ROM.

RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
maven @ 12/2/2002 1:28:11 PM #
The other issue is that most pre-OS 5 devices don't have the screen resolution to handle arcade games.

While the slow CPU speed is also a major issue, there are older arcade games which could be emulated at decent speed on a Palm OS 3+ PDA.

RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
skeezix @ 12/2/2002 2:33:52 PM #
Everyone is exactly right on all counts; The older Palm OS units are 160x160 and most of the classic era arcade games are 228x256 or higher. (Yes, the Clies had highres a year ago ;) The main limit is the CPU processing. The general rule of thumb for emulation is 10:1 processing is needed. Sure, the arcade machines for Pacman ran at 3MHz so a 30MHz Palm shoudl be able to emulate it. This is entirely true. Of course, then you must also emulate the video hardware for character and sprite rendering, and since the hardware did some fancy stuff.. you need a lot of hardware. I was able to run some emulation at abuot 10 frames per second on the older units, and even 15fps on the later Sony units.. and more with clocking. But with all the frameskip necessary, it just wasn't playable at all. The new one is all ARM native, with some ARM assembly, to keep it going all fast.

The Shadow knows!
RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
eevyl @ 12/2/2002 5:51:03 PM #
Oh well, time to wait for my next PDA then... an event that may occur in a really far away future... or when a cheaper Palm OS 5 PDA ships.
RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
KRamsauer @ 12/2/2002 9:45:49 PM #
Really, 10 to 1? I would have thought it would have been slightly less. Of course I don't really know anything. :) I wonder if this emulator is any better than the one in OS5 to run OS4 apps.

RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
maven @ 12/3/2002 8:40:25 AM #
The "10 to 1" factor depends on a lot of things, such as the relative power of the processors. For example, an 8-bit CPU emulating an 8-bit CPU, the number could even be higher, depending on the supporting electronics you also need to emulate (video chip, sound chip, etc.)

For a new ARM processor emulating an older 8-bit processor (such as the 68k emulator in the new ARM devices) the number could be slightly lower.

To run a 4-MHz GameBoy and graphics chip on an 8-bit 68k processor, the ratio is about 16-to-1, meaning you need a 64 MHz Palm device for full speed with no frame skipping.

Is that more information than you wanted to know? ;)

RE: Only for Palm OS 5?
bcombee @ 12/3/2002 3:38:48 PM #
Both the ARM and the MC68K processor cores are 32-bit devices. On the ARM, the memory interface can be 32-bits or 16-bits wide, while on the 68K, it usually was 16-bits (the original Pilot 1000/5000/Palm Personal used an 8-bit wide data path). Both CPUs have 32-bit registers, but the natural data fetch size on the 68K is 16-bit, and the CPU can only directly address 24-bits of memory.

The 68K was far more advanced than the 8-bit chips that came before it; it is probably most similar to the Intel 80386 in power and speed, although lacking the 386's better memory management hardware.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at


Tungsten @ 12/2/2002 12:14:42 PM #
PocketPC zealots have one less thing to brag about!

RE: Finally...
elo @ 12/2/2002 12:51:18 PM #
Actually, the current MAME runs on actual PC's, not Pocket PC's.


RE: Finally...
XScale @ 12/2/2002 1:34:43 PM #
Actually there are several MAME ports to WindowsCE/Pocket PC platform.

Where is the requiered source code ?

ldrolez @ 12/2/2002 12:43:40 PM #
I hope that the guys that made that version did not forget to read the 'Distribution License':

- If you distribute the binary (compiled) version of MAME, you should also distribute the source code. If you can't do that, you must provide a link to a site where the source can be obtained.
- MAME must be distributed only in the original archives. You are not allowed to distribute a modified version, nor to remove and/or add files to the archive.
- The source code cannot be used in a commercial product without the written authorization of the authors. Use in non-commercial products is allowed, and indeed encouraged. If you use portions of the MAME source code in your program, however, you must make the full source code freely available as well.

And I've seen a link to buy this software, but this is not allowed by the license:

- MAME is free. Its source code is free. Selling either is not allowed.

I hope that will comply *shortly* with the distribution license !!!

Anyway If you want really free software, please visit



RE: Where is the requiered source code ?
Admin @ 12/2/2002 1:03:33 PM #
I believe this is an emu that they have developed themselves. I do not think this is a mame port.
RE: Where is the requiered source code ?
skeezix @ 12/2/2002 2:36:45 PM #
This emulator predates MAME (check the README included :). XCade was one of the first arcade emulators (though it was Unix and DOS based, so not a big name, and it quickly got wiped off the map by Retrocade and MAME). XCade contains nothign of MAME, and MAME wasn't even looked at.. I've been building emulators long enough on my own thanks ;) (And for those industrious enough to look, I've got hundreds of emualtion links to my name, and I've got a dozen game drivers in MAME itself)

The Shadow knows!
RE: Where is the requiered source code ?
ldrolez @ 12/2/2002 5:13:17 PM #
I do apologize ... had some references to Mame so I thought it was a port of Mame to PalmOS. Moreover, I see so many license violations at the moment, that I started up first time.

NES emulator?

byscuits @ 12/2/2002 1:21:13 PM #
what are the possibilities of a NES emulator on the tungsten? the d-pad would be perfect for this, and it sure would make my time go by faster on the train commute.

technically, is there enough horsepower (i am guessing there is more than plenty), and are there any plans in the works?

for me i know, this would be a killer app.

RE: NES emulator?
Admin @ 12/2/2002 1:55:06 PM #
There should be ample power for an NES or even SNES emu for Palm OS 5. Whether Nintendo would legally allow it is another question; but it should be possible.

Generally in the world of emulators, you need hardware at least 3x as powerful as the hardware you are trying to emulate.


RE: NES emulator?
maao @ 12/2/2002 2:17:50 PM #
Not having Nintendo's blessing hasn't stopped anyone from making emulators in the past. :)
RE: NES emulator?
Lungboy @ 12/2/2002 2:28:39 PM #
"Generally in the world of emulators, you need hardware at least 3x as powerful as the hardware you are trying to emulate."

FYI - The SNES ran it's processor at 2.68 and 3.58 Mhz

The emulation of the graphics chips require much hardware though

Eagles may soar but at least weasles don't get sucked into jet engines.

Nice start...

oli61 @ 12/2/2002 5:38:54 PM #
I tried Donkey Kong, Junior, Mrs. Pacman and Space Invaders. The first two work nice, but the sprites flicker alot. Mrs Pacman crashes my Tungsten, while S.I. seems okay.

None of the games has sound, I hope this will be fixed in the release version.


RE: Nice start...
skeezix @ 12/2/2002 5:42:10 PM #
Thanks :) Its tough to get testers without a product, so I'm hoping that 1.0 will get enough attention I can get a pile of peopel to join the public alpha and beta test groups :)

I'll be investigating sound after I get a few more games in there and things settle down in the core a little. I'll be addressing sprite flicker soon as Iv'e got to make my renderer a little more intelligent for it (its complex on a small platform like Palm units :)

Ms. Pacman crashes though? At what point? Befoer the game, or after you exit the application?


The Shadow knows!

RE: Nice start...
oli61 @ 12/2/2002 6:42:40 PM #
Ms Pacman crashed before the game: After "Please wait..." there is some weird stuff on the screen, then a white grid, then it reset my Palm. I tried it twice.

On the third try it worked :-) And the forth and fifth... it works nicely now.

RE: Nice start...
maao @ 12/2/2002 6:55:32 PM #
I can't get any of the games to work on the Palm Simulator.
RE: Nice start...
skeezix @ 12/2/2002 7:37:43 PM #
The Palm simulator does not include an ARM engine, so ARM Palm applications cannot run in it. The Simulator is Palm OS 5 compiled for Windows on Intel, for instance.. so it runs Palm 68k code and Intel-lets.. not ARMlets. You can only run ARMlet code on real ARM machines at this time.

The Shadow knows!

RE: Nice start...
TheSpies @ 12/3/2002 1:49:14 AM #
I had the same problems on my NX60. All the roms ran except ms pacman which crashes right after the emulated warm up of the machine. had to reset. every other game ran fine but the sprite flicker was way to annoying. cant wait to see all that fixed!
RE: Nice start...
skeezix @ 12/3/2002 8:08:40 AM #
Try todays 1.1 release; the sprite flicker should be entirely gone. Hopefully the MsPac issue for some NX's is taken care of. If not, I'll keep at it.

The Shadow knows!
RE: Nice start...
TheSpies @ 12/3/2002 3:47:36 PM #
yep, on 1.1 ms pacman runs fine as do all the other roms. no more sprite flicker either. great job!

Where can I get ROMS for XCade?

jsulmeyer @ 12/3/2002 12:15:50 AM #
Would someone be so kind as to point me toward the ROMS that will work with XCade V1.0 - Space Invaders, Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.

Thanks very much in advance.

RE: Where can I get ROMS for XCade?
oli61 @ 12/3/2002 1:53:29 AM #

I'd love to see a Commodore 64 emulator

Enfors @ 12/3/2002 1:19:46 AM #
Somebody please consider making a Commodore 64 emulator. There are literally thousands of games on the net that you'd be able to play. Just look at or for example. They are much easier to come by, and are much more numerous than arcade / nes / snes games.

RE: I'd love to see a Commodore 64 emulator
TheSpies @ 12/3/2002 1:53:01 AM #
There is already plans for this, visit

RE: I'd love to see a Commodore 64 emulator
Enfors @ 12/3/2002 2:05:06 AM #
Woohoo! That's great news! Thanks for the link.

All roms work great on my Tungsten !

ddsm @ 12/3/2002 3:55:38 PM #
The unregistered goes slow a little to fast to realy test though...

Would be great to have at least 3-5 mins of full power to complete a level or two...

Great job anyway !

Atari 2600 emulator

cardinally22 @ 12/3/2002 3:59:36 PM #
Does anyone know of an Atari 2600 emulator for Palm OS?


Mobile Digital Media

Very Good

ptc @ 12/3/2002 5:46:24 PM #
Tried it. Loved it. Bought it!

$7.50 is really a reasonable price for this little trip down memory lane. Excellent use of the D-Pad too...



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