What is Emulation?

"Emulation" literally means imitation, and in this context it refers to the use of a program to make your computer emulate a videogame system, such as the Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Saturn etc. In simpler terms, it's a way of playing old videogames on your computer. Generally, a different emulator is required for each games system.

While emulators are the programs used to play these games on your computer, the games themselves come as files called ROMs for cartridge-based games and ISOs for CD-based games. Do not ask me where to find any ROMs or ISOs.

Since I'm no expert on emulation - nor do I desire, or have the time to - I'll leave the description at that. Should you wish to learn more about emulation, I recommend you search the web for relevant sites, try Zophar's Domain or ask questions at the SFC Emulation Forum. I cannot provide technical support for the use of emulators. If you have emulation problems, please do not ask me. Someone at the SFC Emulation Forum can probably provide you with the help you need.

I no longer offer the emulators for download from this site. Since emulators are always under development and changing all the time, I think it's best that you go to Zophar's Domain for all your emulator needs.

Remember that although emulators aren't illegal, ROMs are illegal. They are pirated software and unless you own the real game you really should not download the ROM or ISO. Of course, since the systems are very old now and the games no longer available in shops, it probably doesn't really matter anymore (although let's not get into legal/moral arguments here!). If you download the ROMs and are caught by any organisation that works against software piracy, on your head be it. That being said, it's quite unlikely that anyone will know you're using it. The decision, in the end, is yours, and I cannot be held responsible for any actions taken against you (or any loss/damage) as a result of using ROMs, ISOs or emulators.

Emulating Genesis/Mega Drive Shining games

Shining in the Darkness, Shining Force & Shining Force II are very easy to find as ROMs, and are compatible with the majority of Genesis/Mega Drive emulators. Japanese and USA versions of the games are available as ROMs, varying from 0.6MB to 1.5MB depending on the game.

Some popular emulators include: Gens, GeneCyst and DGen; though others are available and you'll need to find one that runs well on your system. The emulators offer a range of features, including the ability to save at any point of play, capturing screenshots and even creating save files that can be modified by other programs to change your stats and so on. They ought to run well on almost any computer. You can find a selection of emulators at Zophar's Domain.

Emulating Sega CD/Mega CD Shining games

CD based games are copied to ISO files, which are - as a general rule - too big to just offer for download from a website. The ISO can be found online as a relatively small file, but it is without the sound (which can be downloaded seperately as MP3 or WAV files). The ISO can play without the sound, but part of the beauty of Shining Force CD is it's music, so I'd recommend you try to download the whole thing.

You can also play an original copy (or CDR) of the game in some of the emulators, if your Sega CD/Mega CD is broken.

There are a number of reasonable Sega CD emulators available. I suggest you look at Zophar's Domain to find one. Alternatively, the original system can be picked up quite cheaply, and is able to play game CDRs (ie, burn the ISO to a CD) without any modifications.

Sega CD/Mega CD emulators require a Sega CD/Mega CD BIOS ROM file, which is usually distributed seperately. You'll need to search the web for the relevant BIOS file, usually details of this will be in the readme file that comes with your emulator.

Emulating Game Gear Shining games

Shining Force Gaiden, Gaiden II (Sword of Hajya) and Final Conflict are all readily available as ROMs, ranging from 300-400KB in size.

Probably the most popular emulator is MEKA, which you can download at Zophar's Domain, or find out about other emulators available.

Only Sword of Hajya is available in English, the other ROMs being Japanese only. Sword of Hajya is also available in Japanese as Shining Force Gaiden II. Translation patches are now available for the Final Conflict ROM thanks to the hard work of a kind fellow named z80gaiden who completed the patch using my translated script. Various people have modified the patch since it was originally released and you shouldn't have any trouble finding the patch via Google.

Emulating Saturn Shining games

CD based games are copied to ISO files, which are - as a general rule - too big to just offer for download from a website. ISOs for Sega Saturn games are quite hard to come by, and the Saturn Shining games are no exception. Expect them to be several hundred MB in filesize, and sometimes without sound.

Saturn Emulation has come on quite a way since the last time this page was updated (in around 2003!), although it is still not perfect, SSF runs Shining Force III well enough to be playable - depending on your system spec of course! More information about the Emulator can be found here.

Saturn emulators require a Saturn BIOS ROM file, which is usually distributed seperately. You'll need to search the web for the relevant BIOS file, usually details of this will be in the readme file that comes with your emulator. Games can usually be played either via an original/burned disc or by a mounted ISO.

In great news for Shining fans, the Shining Force III Translation Project has progressed beyond only translating the script of the game and an almost complete translation patch is now available for the Japanese Scenairos and Premium Disc. Full details can be found on the Translation Project Website.

Emulating Newer Shining games

I will not provide details regarding the emulation of currently available games and consoles. If you want companies to continue making consoles and games, you should support them by purchasing their products rather than pirating them (even if some of the newer games aren't worth paying for - or even playing - IMHO!).

Earl's Emulation FAQ

The following information was compiled by Earl, moderator of the SFC Emulation Forum. The latest version is always available at the SFC Emulation Forum.


(last updated September 07, 2002)

I. Emulator recommendations
II. Using specific emulator features
III. Specific game questions
IV. About Saturn emulation
V. Where can I find...
VI. Miscellaneous

I. Emulator recommendations
   A. Genesis / Sega CD / 32x
      1. Gens ( http://gens.consolemul.com )
      2. Kega ( http://www.eidolons-inn.de/kega )
         a. Will also run SMS / GG games
         b. But, from what I hear, NOT the Shining GG games
      3. AGES ( http://www.emuitalia.com/ages )
         a. Will also run SMS / GG games
      4. Xega ( http://xega.emucamp.com )
      5. Genecyst and Kgen are not recommended
         a. They are both DOS, and DOS emulators have sound
            trouble on XP
         b. They are both discontinued; there will be no
         c. They are outdated - overall, there are better
            emulators availible
         d. HOWEVER, if your computer is very slow (133 MHz),
            and DOS is an option, you may want to consider
            one of them
   B. Sega Master System / Game Gear
      1. FreezeSMS ( http://www.freezesoftware.com/ )
      2. Dega ( http://www.finalburn.com/dega )
      3. Past-O-Rama ( http://www.system16.com/pastorama )
      4. Meka ( http://www.smspower.org/meka)
   C. Other systems
      1. NES - NNNesterJ ( http://www.emulation9.com/r1 )
      2. SNES - Snes9x or ZSNES
         ( Http://www.snes9x.com and http://www.zsnes.com )
      3. PSX - ePSXe ( http://www.epsxe.com )

II. Using specific emulator features
   A. Savestates
      1. Rename them so that the states and the ROM have the
         same name.
         a. Rom: "Shining in the Darkness.zip"
            State: "Shining in the Darkness.gs*"
         b. If state name and ROM name do not match, the state
            will not load
         c. Savestates and save games are two different things
   B. Screenshots
      1. The screenshot button varies from emulator to emulator
         a. Look in the emulator's readme, search for 'shot' or
         b. In some emulators, the feature is not present

III. Specific game questions
    A. Shining Force CD
      1. 'Backup RAM cart not initialized'
         (applies to any Sega CD game)
         a. Instead of pressing start at the start-up screen,
            press A
         b. Go to Options (or Memory, depending on BIOS)
         c. Format RAM
         d. This is a first-run, one time only thing
      2. Freezing at specific points
         (applies to any Sega CD game)
         a. Enable perfect synchro
            1. In Gens, it's found in the CPU menu
            2. In Kega, it's found in the Options menu
            3. In Xega, it's found in Sega CD>Sync Options menu
            4. AGES has no perfect synchro, but it doesn't freeze
      3. No audio, or desynched audio
        (applies to any Sega CD game)
         a. You're playing from an .iso, without .mp3s
            1. This can cause trouble; some games freeze without
               their audio tracks
            2. No .mp3s means no music; there's no way around that
         b. You're playing from an .iso, and your .mp3s are
            1. The naming convention for ISO/MP3 sets MUST be used
               a. track.iso, track02.mp3, track03.mp3...
               b. NOT track01.iso, or track.iso and track01.mp3;
                  THAT WILL NOT WORK
            2. You shouldn't just rename any old .mp3 for this
               (audio length is important)
         c. You're using an original (or properly copied) CD
            1. Make sure sound is enabled (especially CDDA)
            2. Make sure your speakers are plugged in :þ
    B. Virtua Racing (Genesis) is not properly emulated by anyone
    C. Shining Force III
       1. See About Saturn emulation
       2. SSF crashes when a character casts a spell

IV. About Saturn emulation
    A. Emulators
       1. SSF
       2. Satourne
       3. The GiriGiri Project
    B. The Saturn is incredibly complex, so it's emulation is slow
        1. Expect 5 FPS on a PIII 650 MHz, tops
        2. It will probably never run full speed on anything less
           than 1 GHz
    C. Interest
        1. The Saturn was far less successful than the PSX, so...
        2. ...Fewer people have access to Saturn hardware and games

V. Where can I find...
   A. An emulator for...
      1. Zophar's Doman ( http://www.zophar.net )
      2. NGEmu ( http://www.ngemu.com )
      3. The Vintage Gaming Network ( http://www.vg-network.com )
      4. Emu Help ( http://www.emuhelp.com )
      5. Individual emulator homepages
   B. ROMs for...
      1. Forget it. **Don't ask for ROMs here**.
      2. IIRC, you can get a full set of Intellivision ROMs at
         The Vintage Gaming Network. The company that produced them
         has made them public domain, or whatever the correct term
         would be; e.g. they're perfectly legal to download.
      3. Public domain (PD) ROMs can be found at
         ( http://www.pdroms.com )

VI. Miscellaneous
    A. I can't download anything!
       1. You're chosing "open" or "run from current location" or
          something like that. Chose "save" or "save as" instead.
    B. I'm getting an error when I try to load a ROM!
       1. Check the file filter when loading the ROM. Some emulators
          have to be told what kind of ROM they're loading.
       2. The emulator does not have zip support. Unzip the ROM.
          a. Unzip? What's that mean?
             1. ROMs are distributed in compressed archives, to reduce
                file size. The most common kind of archive is .zip.
                Go to http://www.winzip.com or
    C. How do I use Gen-Edit?
       1. Forget it, unless you don't mind dealing with DOS prompts
          a. Okay, fine. Throw Gen-Edit into C drive. Double click
             Command.com. At the prompt, type "gen-edit.exe". I'm
             not going to hold your hand and walk you through, so
             if you don't like going through that, you can see why
             I said "forget it"
       2. The version in "regenedt.zip" is easier to use, but it's
          still DOS.
       3. Use SFedit instead ( http://geocities.com/n_404/sfedit.html )
          It does everything you probably want to use Gen-Edit for, and
          SFedit runs in Windows. And is generally much easier to use.
    D. What's the difference between a ROM and an ISO?
       1. A ROM is an image of a cartridge-based game
       2. An ISO is an image of a CD (*any* CD, not just games)
          a. Want a better description? Maybe later, when I get around
             to updating this thing again.

Page Author: Moogie