SMS Plus V1.3.3

SMS Plus V1.3.3

By: Hot-B/Taito
Published By: Sega
Released: 1989

There are a bunch of reasons why I'm reviewing an emulator. First, while I own every game that I play in cartridge form (usually a complete copy), the PAL games don't always play nicely on an NTSC system. Yes, I did pick up a Master System II and yes, the Codemaster games do work, but a few aren't very playable.

I've also been becoming more Mac-centric and wanted to try out a few more applications on my MacBook. I wanted to be able to play the games on the road. (For some reason I've not had much luck with the various Game Gears I've owned.) And finally, I wanted to get a little more experience with emulation, which a lot more of you out there probably rely on to get a taste of some of the classics that are hard or impossible to get now.

And the final verdict is: wow. It does better than just work. I've used plenty of emulators in the past where the visuals work fine. But the sound is perfect as well. And of course the PAL games play just like I were back in Jolly Old England. (OK, I was there once, for a week, but it was my honeymoon so that sort of precluded playing video games.)

Even my concerns about playing with a keyboard were unfounded. I'm not really a fan of using keyboards for playing games of any kind, whether emulation or PC-based. But I'm also no fan of the original SMS controllers, which is what I usually use on hardware. They're very small and a little sticky, even in good condition. I think I did just as well playing with the keyboard on an emulator as I do on real hardware.

It would probably be too easy, and inauthentic, to play with a USB controller on the emulator. Good thing I don't happen to have one, so I can't really speak to it authoritatively.

Setup was as simple as a garden variety install. Generally you would have to download ROM images of the cartridges from some site other than the one that hosts the emulator for legal reasons. Of course I encourage you to download only ROMs of games that you already own, or are in the public domain.

The app itself is pretty standard. Enough options and settings to get you going. Nothing fancy. As a nice touch it pauses when it loses focus.

- Eric Ruck