Category Archives: Windows 98

The Sims

Where it all started…

Jump to the console version

Neighbourhood

The streets that raised me

The main screen that shows the playable lots in the neighbourhood, clicking on a house will load that lot. The first game supported only one neighbourhood, with multiple ones requiring an expansion pack. The default install ships with five pre-made families and six houses.

  • Goth: Bella, Mortimer and Cassandra – An easy house to start with, although during the first few nights they have an annoying trait of mourning near the gravestones, usually that stops after a few days
  • Newbie: Bob and Betty, Tutorial household, a nice introduction to The Sims
  • Roomies: Chris and Melissa, another small household, this family is vacant and can be moved into any lot they can afford.
  • Bachelor: Just a single sim, Michael, typically moved into 1 Sim Lane
  • Pleasant: A hard family to play since they have two kids and not much money, and you have to move them into a household. With two adults working two jobs you should be able to progress nicely.

There are also five other families that could be download from the Sims website. Although the website is now offline but mirrors exist to download from. These families can be added to the base game or to any install expansion pack but wont work for the console versions.

  • Hatfield: A very hard family to play. They are poor and don’t have a very good house with basic furniture, but at least both parents are working. If you can get the kids grades (there are three of them) to an A+ you can earn a (random) bonus for good grades.
  • Jones: straightforward family to play with two adults (Edward and Barbara) and a kid (Bobby), similar to the Goth house only less extravagant
  • Valentino: Rudy and Julia, who live in a large house
  • Snooty Patooty: Chip and Buffy, supposed to be a parody of a wealthy couple
  • Maximus: A bizarre family, only two adults and the weirdest house you will ever play

Game elements

Relationship

How well your sim knows other sims and if they are friends, lovers or enemies. Some jobs require you to have a certain amount of friends in order to progress to a promotion. The base games has a simple bar that measures your sims friendship from 1-100, with 100 being the highest. In the base game there is only one relationship bar, with two being introduced with the later expansion packs.

Should be notes if you want two adult sims to share a bed they will need a relationship of 50 or higher

Marriage: Sims can move in and get married if their relationship is high enough, this will move the sim into the household, along with any kids if they live with the sim and that sim is the only adult. Same sex sims have the option too move in instead. That said, the game has a very loose concept of marriage, since its possible for one sim too be married to multiple sims, although if they perform any romantic interactions they can become jealous (and the Woody Woodpecker sound plays)

Skills

  • Cooking: Helps prevent fires, and improves the quality of your sims cooking which increases the effect on hunger. The noise the sim makes will also change when food is cooked at a higher cooking level. When playing a sim for the first time its advised to raise their cooking skill level to two bars or higher to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Mechanical: For repairing items, the higher the mechanical skill the faster they will repair the item. Sims can get electrocuted if they repair an electronic item with a low skill level
  • Creativity: Play the piano or paint on the easel, which is useful since sims with a high creativity skill can sell paintings for a lot more money.
  • Logic: Playing chess or looking through the telescope increases this, only useful for job promotions
  • Charisma: Increased by talking to yourself in them mirror, supposed to help with how your sims interact with others, but is mainly useful for job promotions.
  • Body: Helps keep your sim fit, but this has no affect on their appearance. Its mainly useful for carers and winning fights if your sim has enemies

Disasters

  • Fire: Occurs when your sim tries to cook with a low skill level (2 points or lower) or when you have objects near a fireplace. Buy a fire alarm which will summon a firefighter to extinguish the fire automatically.
  • Burglar: Randomly comes during the night, but can come during the day of the sim is at work. Buying a burglar alarm help the police to capture them when they enter your lot.
  • Floods: If a toilet/sink or the dishwasher breaks, it can cause a flood which must be cleaned up by the sim.
  • Aliens: looking through the telescope at night has a risk of being abducted by aliens, who will randomize the sims personality upon return.

Sims can also leave the game autonomously, adults will leave if they get into a fight multiple times with a sim and have a serious degraded relationship. Kids will leave if their grades fall below D- and will be sent to military school. When these occur the sim is deleted from the game upon saving, and cannot be restored unless you exit without saving.

Jobs

The base game comes with ten careers (Six in the console release) with 10 jobs in each. Each job can be accessed by having your sim promoted by fulfilling the job requirements. Certain jobs will require you to have a set amount of friends, and a set level of skills.

Phone Services

Services can be ordered by using the phone, an NPC will then arrive on the lot

  • Maid: A maid will come from 9am every day, and will always leave by 5pm every day. Cleans the lot.
  • Gardener: Waters the plants, comes every 3 days
  • Repairman: Repairs all broken items on the lot
  • Police: No reason to call them unless a burglar comes on your lot and you don’t have a burglar alarm.
  • Fire Service: Only used if a fire breaks out on your lot and you don’t have a fire alarm, can be fined 500 for a false emergency.
  • Pizza: Delivers pizza to your house, costs $40

The game offers a help systems that pops a question mark symbol in the corner, informing the user that a tip is available.

Buy Mode

Where you can purchase items for your sim. Items are grouped by category – Seating, Surfaces (Tables), decorative, electronic, plumbing, appliances, lighting and miscellaneous (items that don’t belong in any category. Clicking on the buy mode icon again switches to room category view

Releases/Versions

PC Release

The Sims: Original base game

Deluxe Edition: The base game with the Livin Large expansion bundled together in one install, also features The Sims Creator

Complete Collection: Includes all expansions

Mac Release

The game was ported to the Mac platform in 2000 by Aspyr and was for the PowerPC platform. This version was very similar to the PC release and is compatible with any downloadable content intended for the PC release, but attention must be made to the file name length since the Mac is limited to 31 characters instead of 255 characters used on Windows for its file name. Files may need to be renamed for it to be used on the Mac version.

A Carbon version was later released for compatibility with Mac OS X, Carbon was an API that help facilitate the transition from the classic Mac OS to OS X. Carbon applications are only supported on OS 8.6 and higher. When you install the Carbon update, two executables are present in the games folder as some expansion packs rely on the older version. Starting from Hot Date, Carbon was installed as standard.

Lastly, OpenGL is used for the graphics API instead of RAVE, and must be installed on classic Mac OS 9. It is integrated by default on Mac OS X.

The Sims (Console)

A console adaption of the popular PC game but I would consider this as a remake, The Sims are rendered entirely in 3D graphics complete with new lighting effects and redesigned objects. A new game mode, Get a Life is added which featured level type gameplay where the player has to progress from house to house, building up their career.

The console version was released for the PlayStation 2 first, with an updated build being released for the GameCube and Xbox. Compared to the PC release there are a few differences due to the consoles typically having less memory compared to the PC, and with no expansion packs available what you see in the game is what your stuck with. You also cannot download and install objects or families from the PC version.

Get A Life

In this mode you create your own sim, who lives in their own rags to riches story as they start off in a basic house. The aim of this model is to reach the dream house stage, which can be achieved by completing goals that consist of getting certain promotions at work, cleaning and upgrading the houses and throwing parties that sims enjoy.

Whilst this mode seems easy at first, it will get progressively harder as it taker longer to raise your sims skills, jobs will require more friends in order to get promoted and you have to battle with refilling your sims needs quite often.

The Xbox version saves directly to its hard drive and has seemly unlimited save slots, memory units are not directly supported. The PS2 version can save as much as its memory card allows, with each save consuming 1.1MB. The GameCube version is limited to 1 save file per card.

Levels

  1. Moms House – Starter level, objectives are to repair the TV, gain two cooking skill points to make a meal, and borrow 800 bucks from ‘Mom’ who is a pain in the arse and will randomly complain and refuses to clean and cook
  2. Reality Bites – This level can be a bit lonely since its just your sim, Dudley (Mimi if your sim is a female) will occasionally pop round but cannot be interacted with unless you invite him. Thankfully Mom can be invited and two neighbours (The Peacocks, Pauline and Pierre) pop round. Get two job promotions, clean and fix everything and spend $1000 upgrading the future to progress.
  3. Party Animals – You have a new roommate, the snag is its Dudley or Mimi (depending on your sims gender) who are a pain to live with. Like Mom they wont cook or clean, and skill building is out of the question so getting a job promotion is a challenge. But it can be done, Dudley/Mimi can build his body skill using a swimming pool which is enough to get promoted two times. The house itself is quite large which makes navigating it time consuming, you may wish to alter its design as part of the $1000 improvements. Two new neighbours are available to meet, the Froofraw (Fran and Freddy, fuck knows how they came up with that surname), along with Dudley’s Roomies friends (Leon, Carlos, Betty, Layla) which you must befriend one of them in order to move out to the next level. There is also a bonus sim, Bobo the Bum, who walk past your house every morning. Give him food and you can unlock a 2 player mode games.
  4. Hot to Trot – You start with the sim that you chose to move in with from level 3, like the previous levels you need to earn two promotions and spend money on upgrades for the house. Again you will be introduced to more of your roommates friends, only this time you have to choose which one you want to marry. This will always be the sim of the opposite sex, as gay marriage wasn’t a thing until the later games. Once completed you will move onto level 5.
  5. Who loves ya baby: The worst level with the worst designed house. Here you have to earn another two promotions and you have to raise two babies to kids. When you first play the lot, you have to manually rearrange the furniture since tis all condensed into two rooms. The worst part is having to raise two children which seems to drag on, you basically need to feed and sing them to sleep every 8 sim hours.
  6. The last Simoleon: You move into a dream mansion. Being the final level, the objective is to reach the max promotion for your career, have 20,000 in your savings and get your kids grades up to an A+ level which will send them to boarding school. Once finished, the end credits will play and you will be returned to the main menu.

Bonus Unlocks: making friends with neighbour sims unlocks certain create a sim cloths and hairstyles or accessories

Play the Sims

Sandbox style gameplay like the original PC version of the Sims, although you have much less lots to play with, having only 6 lots from the 10 that PC version offered. You are also limited to 4 sims per lot with the PC version supporting 8, however the game internally supports 8 sims when using a modified save file.

Game saves in this mode are the same as the Get a Life versions, with the PS2/Xbox being ale to save multiple games deepening on the storage capacity, but the GameCube version being limited to a single save per card.

In the PS2 version the default neighbourhood has no defined name, and the player must enter one when first created, the Xbox/GameCube prepopulate the name with ‘Willville’ but this can be changed by the player.

Up to 2 players can play on one console using a split screen method, however the lot must have 2 or more sims on the lot.

The premade sims are the same as the Pc version, with the Goth, Pleasant, Newbie, Roomies and Bachelor families being present but with a slightly different appearance and personality. The lots have also been amended since the console versions only support a single story. The Goth, Roomies and newbie families are already moved into a lot, but the Roomies house is unfurnished.

Bonus

2 player mode is supported with the use of mini games, similar to the 2-player mode in Play The Sims mode, but in this mode each level has specific challenges that must be completed by each player, and the player that completes their goals first wins. There are 8 in total:

  • Handyman’s House
  • Maid’s House
  • The Park
  • The Frat House
  • Party Motel: Unlockable only by a cheat, Enter PARTY M in the cheat box
  • Club Abhi
  • Taylor’s Place
  • The Museum

Comparison with the PC

  • Console versions only has a single story houses, the PC supports two
  • Console used 3D rendered graphics for everything, PC version only the sims themselves are 3D with the world being an isometric 2D design
  • No online exchange support for the console
  • No 2 player mode for the PC version, whilst the console versions support split screen like multiplayer

Gamecube

Xbox

PlayStation 2

The PS2 version was a fresh copy, Play The Sims mode is unlocked after starging and saving in Get a Life mode

The options menu

Slight difference with the font display on the PS2 version with larger line spacing

Create a Sim mode, The Xbox version will ask you to confirm the changes upon pressing the B button, the PS2/GameCube versions do not

The GameCube and Xbox version comes wit the name prepopulated

The level start screen

Example of the user interface, the directional pad has a different appearance on each version

The first level, some minor difference in the details. It’s possible the game was built for the PS2 and was the lead development platform and was then ported to the other consoles.

Family selection screen

Buy mode, all versions have the same object limiter

The Xbox version seems to be the best one with its sharper textures, but its graphics ae slightly zoomed in, like the FOV is different compared to the Gamecube/PS2 releases

The Xbox version has bonus loading screens if the game takes too long to load. You will only see this if the game disc is dirty and the console is struggling to load

Glitches

PCem seems to have issues playing the game with certain emulated graphics cards.

Utilities

EA AutoPatch

A utility by EA that checks for updates and downloads them, no longer functional.

South Park

South Park 1998 PC N64

The game based on the popular TV show, came out very early in the shows life, along with a hit number 1 single

Story mode does not make for a good game, with the enemies being repetitive to the point of tediousness. The first level starts you off in your home town where you are attacked by deranged Turkey’s (who have the most horrible sound effect, and it’s horrendous if there’s 3 or more enemies present) and throughout the first three levels its just ongoing Turkey’s, with the occasional cow thrown in (only on the PC version, I’ve not seen the cow in the console versions on this level).

South Park 1998 PC N64
A Tank version of the turkey.

On the next stage you encounter Tank enemies which are larger Turkey’s that have the ability to spawn more turkeys that will attack. The tank’s have much more health than regular turkeys and will start to run into the beginning of the level when their health goes below 30%. If a tank manages to make it to the start point of a level, than another stage will need to be completed after you complete the level, where you have to kill the tank enemies that escaped, with a replenished health bar. You will need to do this before they destroy the town, of which depends on how many tanks had escaped. For this reason its a good idea to kill the tanks in the main game, since you are going to have to beat them regardless. What’s frustrating to me is they speed run back to the start of the level, meaning you have to chase them whilst firing, and causing you to backtrack. This makes the level much more tedious since you hare going through areas you have already passed.

South Park 1998 PC

The next levels don’t change much, replacing the turkeys with clones, robots, aliens and moving toys, however its mostly the same type of enemy throughout the level which become boring fast. Some of the later enemies becoming literal bullet sponges, taking 20-30 hits before they go down.

The multiplayer on the other hand is rather fun, playing as a regular FPS with a interesting selection of guns. The console versions let you play with two players, whilst the PC version supports LAN netplay. If there is one reason to play this game, its for the multiplayer mode.

The Nintendo 64 version has 17 different maps to choose from, all with a variety of weapons. The PC version has the most maps, with 26 in total This includes all the N64 maps, plus some PC exclusive maps. PlayStation has an alerted version of the multiplayer mode, discussed in its section.

Nintendo 64

The first release of the game, and was the best version of the game until the PC version, however it remains the most accessible. Multiplayer supports up to four players on one console with a range of multiplayer options, including deathmatch. This version also features a high score table and supports 16:9 aspect ratio and a ‘High-Res’ mode with the use of the expansion pack.

Downside to this version is the significant frame drops when there’s a lot of action on the screen, and the short draw distance being disguised as fog.

Below is running on Retroarch Mupen64plus with Angrylion RSP plugin, I do own a copy of the PAL version of the game, but my N64 is one of those models that only supports composite out (No RGB or even S-Video, way to go Nintendo)

PlayStation

Released a year later (1999) and used a revised soundtrack compared to the MIDI N64 version, the cutscenes are captured from the N64 version instead of being pre-rendered on a workstation like many other games of the era. Graphically its a downgrade compared to the N64 version, and the multiplayer only supports two players, known as head to head in this version.

The PlayStation version comes with a head to head mode that has 6 maps, some of which are modified from the Nintendo 64 version. DM1 is based off the Ravine level from the N64, but with some alterations like the removal of water. DM4 is based of the badlands level, DM5 off badlands 2 and DM6 is based off the Gym Class map. DM2 and DM3 look to be unique maps for the PlayStation version.

Captured on Duckstation emulator with bi-linear filtering and rendered at twice the original resolution, with GTE accuracy enabled

Windows

The definitive port of the game, with better graphics and CD audio. Also comes with a proper multiplayer mode that use the Gamespy client (now defunct) to organize games. However there are issues running this game on modern systems, as the game only seems to work on Windows 98/Me systems (95 untested but assumed to work) this could be down to DirectX/Glide support on modern systems.

Below is running on the PCem v17 emulator running Windows 98, emulating a Pentium Overdrive MMX 200Mhz, 3DFX Voodoo graphics, with a Aztech sound galaxy soundcard.

There is also a software rendering mode that renders the games graphics in just the CPU, ideal if you do not have a dedicated 3D accelerator or one that is unsupported. Unfortunately it gives PlayStation level graphics at a weird screen aspect ratio.

Cheats PC

These were hard to find, so I thought i’d put them here

Press the Esc button, select Options and move the mouse cursor to the lower left of the screen and then click, you can then enter the below cheats. Sometimes you may have to move the cursor so it goes off the screen before you can enter a cheat.

DESCRIPTIONCODE TO ENTER
All Weapons & AmmoSWEET
Big head modeEGOTRIP
Display framerateFRAMERATE
Enable all cheatsBOBBYBIRD
God modeBEEFCAKE

External Links

acclaim.com: South Park (archive.org)

Driver: You are the Wheelman

A classic game, Shame about the tutorial level…

  • Undercover – The main story mode of the game, you complete a set of missions which can range from driving from point A to B within a set amount of time, to escaping or pursuing another car
  • Take a Ride – Sandbox mode, only two cities are available with the other two being unlocked as you progress through the story.
  • Driving Games – A set of activities to choose from, Pursuit, Getaway, Cross Town Checkpoint, Trail Blazer, Survival and Dirt Track. Carnage is a mode exclusive to the PC version.
  • Training – Introduction to the came and the various mechanics and techniques to mastering Driver
  • There are no two player or multiplayer modes, Driver is a single player game.
Desert training level

PlayStation

The version that most people have played and are familiar with. This was the first version of the game to be released. Main attraction was the sandbox Take a Ride mode where you could drive freely until you caught the attention of the police, who would then proceed to ram you to death.

Cop car went vertical, a common occurrence

The game occupies on memory card block per story save, and two blocks for replay data, you can easily fill a memory card with this data, thankfully the game

PAL-land version

Thankfully this game runs in full PAL resolution, no top/bottom bars, likely since the studio that developed the game was based in Europe. There is a difference in the logos, with the NTSC version having a altered blue version of the logo with the works ‘You are the wheelman’ which is also present in the games title. The PC version adapts this for both Europe and US markets (Makes sense since the PC isn’t regionalized compared to the PlayStation releases, PAL/NTSC does not exist on PC)

Windows

Despite this version running in a higher resolution and a capability of having a higher framerate there are a few drawbacks compared to the PlayStation version. there was also a Mac version, although I believe its very similar to the PC version.

Screenshots here are running on an emulated PC (PCem v17), running an Intel Advanced/ZP with a Overdrive MMX processor with a 3DFX Voodoo Graphics card. The operating system is Windows Me. The graphics here will depend on the 3D video card an API, as 3DFX cards used Glide, the Direct3D version may look different.

Differences between the two

One of the main differences is the background music which was changed in the PC version. Also unlike the PlayStation version, there are no separate themes for when you gain felony, in the PlayStation version the music would change when you attracted the attention of the cops, but the PC version remains the same throughout. As someone who grew up on the PS1 version, it was kind of jarring to play Miami without the familiar theme, and for the game to not change when catching the cops attention.

Comparison screenshots below, the PSX version is running in Duckstation at twice the native resolution (640×480) with bilinear filtering and 2x anti-aliasing enabled. With these enhancements we can try to bring the PSX version up to the PC version, which is running at 640X480 resolution with ultra graphics present.

One thing to mention with the PC version, as with all PC games of the era the game is reliant on using Redbook CD audio for the background music, where the games streams the music from the disc itself, like an audio CD. For this to work you had to have an audio cable connected from the CD drive to the motherboard or soundcard, in addition to the IDE cable. On modern systems (with SATA drive onwards) this is no longer supported, and modern Windows versions / soundcards its no longer possible to stream analogue audio from the CD drive, instead being delivered through the IDE or SATA interface, which this game won’t support. The game itself will still run and you can still hear sound effect like the car engine, but you wont hear any music.

  • The spawn points are also different for each of the maps/level, again not sure why these were changed
  • The map layouts were also changed, with some areas being remodelled completely, Dodge Island had a massive change, possibly since it was designed around the PlayStations limitations initially.
  • The cop radio voices were also changed, with some lines being completely different
  • A speedometer is present which gives the speed of the players car in miles per hour
  • The car models themselves had change and I cant say I prefer the PC version of the cards, which are lacking certain details from their textures, the back of the cards look like a blur compared to the PlayStation version.

Upgrading the PlayStation version

Modern emulators are capable of running the game in a higher resolution with additional smoothing effects. Unfortunately there is little we can do for the framerate, that’s stuck at 30fps, or 25 for Pal-land copies. Still at least there’s no boarder, and you can overclock the PlayStation CPU on some of these emulators, which helps with the slowdown when there’s a lot of cars and particle effects on screen.

The game can be upscaled to 640×480 or 800×600, which the PC version also natively supports. Depending on the emulator, higher resolutions can be used but I don’t recommend it unless the emulator supports perspective correction, otherwise those polygons will be jittering aggressively. This video will help explain further on why this occurred on PlayStation games.

Texture filtering can be hit or miss, whilst it helps smooth out the textures, due to the way the PlayStation handled 2D, it can affect the HUD display too, causing excessive blurring on the HUD, making it look like an N64 game.

Exploring the disc

In the NFMV folder there is a exe file called NFMV.EXE however this does not open even in older versions of Windows

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

What a mouthful

A gem based puzzle game, soft of similar to columns, but instead of matching 3 of the same colours, you have gems and crash gems which are used to destroy a gem of the same colour, and sends a counter gem to the rival player. The game does feature various Capcom characters but they are not directly controllable, merely appearing as avatars. The game is over when the players gems reach the top, similar to Tetris.

Arcade

Arcade version uses an arbitrary resolution. One nice feature is when the blocks are beginning to stack up, the music starts to speed up. As the arcade was the original released, the console and PC versions are based on this version.

PlayStation

Supports both memory cards, Seems to have some overscan (Could be due to the emulator), this can be adjusted in the game settings

Sega Saturn

Saturn version seems to run in a higher resolution compared to the PSone version (Could also be emulator related), also in the Saturn version, Dan randomly interrupts a match in arcade mode, which I have never encountered in the PSone version. The loading times are faster compared to the PSone and Windows version.

Microsoft Windows

The game was ported to the PC. The specs required are higher than I thought, which might be an indicator of a poor port. When running on a PCem based Pentium MMX 100Mhz, there was notable slowdown at 640×480 (not the lowest resolution supported) The graphics card was an ATI Mach64 VT2. Running at 800×600 was near unplayable. A Pentium 2 with a S3 Trio64 gave better resolution.

A nice side effect is the music of the game can be played in any media player, since they are wav files, even the sound effects, They are located in the BGM folder. There is also an EMI folder that contains a bunch of files with the EMI extension, which I’m guessing relates to the background and sprite graphics. There is also a goodies folder which contains images that are also in the goodies section of the game, plus a zip file with a Windows theme. The PlayStation also appears to use the EMI format, but the Saturn does not.

There’s an exe file in the movie folder on the PlayStation version, but trying to run it on windows 98 results in an invalid Win32 application error, trying tor un it from does gives a ‘Program too big to fit in memory’ error

Desktop Theme

Desktop theme

A desktop theme comes bundled in the GOODIES folder which can be installed

Comparison

Saturn version (middle) is run on the RetroArch Yabause core with default settings, PlayStation (left) is using the BeetlePSX HW core which also with default settings, the arcade version is on the right.

The graphics are mostly the same across the different versions, with the PC version having the ability to run at a higher resolution.

Score Ranking

Main Menu

Demo

Gameplay