(attempted) PC-98 emulation on PSP

Update: I found a Japanese guide that does an adequate work of explaining how to get the emulator up and running.

You think DOSBox for PSP is user-unfriendly? How about trying something like DOSBox, but in Japanese?

NP2 is the PSP port of Neko Project II, the most widely used PC-98 emulator.

The best-known PC-98 titles are visual novels, few of which ever got an English translation. Dead of the Brain is one of a handful of exceptions, making it a good starting point for my test.

It does not fit

Dead of the Brain comes in four files - floppy disk images with an .hdm extension. Loading the games was surprisingly intuitive. Unlike DOSBox PSP, NP2 has a GUI - in English, even.


It is enough to point the emulator to the first two of the four files, and select Reset from the Emulate menu.

Soon after loading the game though, I hit a brick wall. The PC-98 had a screen resolution of 640×400 pixels. To fit the image into a PSP screen (480x272), the emulator has to nearly halve the resolution.

None of this would much matter if we were playing a Doom or Mario. But these are visual novels. If downscaling makes the text unreadable, there is no point in playing them.


Some scaling options are available, but none make much of a difference when it comes to text readability. There is an option to display the screen at full resolution and pan around with the analog stick.


But that makes for a less than ideal experience.

Puyo to the rescue?

I decided that it might make more sense to test an arcade-style game instead - like Puyo Puyo.


Surely, playing Puyo Puyo doesn’t require reading any text on screen? It doesn’t, but the screen is still causing trouble.


Resolution seems to have nothing to do with it this time. I tried changing a number of settings - to no avail.


This is the second PC-98 game in a row that I couldn’t even begin to play.

Third try

Having been let down by Puyo Puyo, I was feeling less than optimistic about the potential for PC-98 emulation on PSP.

As next test subject, one of the Touhou games seemed appropriate, since the series is one of the things the PC-98 is known for. The Touhou game came as a hard drive image, not a floppy.


After loading it through the appropriate menu, it played a short introductory animation and… crashed to command prompt.

4th try

I lowered my expectations - again. Arkanoid. If it doesn’t boot Arkanoid, there’s no point in trying with anything else.


Well - the scaling looks as dreadful as ever, and the game runs way too fast, even at the lowest CPU settings. But it works.

Burning Dragon

After managing to boot Arkanoid, I tried to raise the bar just a little. Burning Dragon is a shmup that is just a step above Arkanoid in terms of complexity. NP2 should be able to handle it.


Or not. I get that the error message is saying something about 2.5 MHz, but the CPU is set to 8 - that should be enough to cover it. Either way, it does not play.


That’s the end of my portable PC-98 experience - for now. In short, I would only recommend it to Japanese speakers, or masochists.

Or Japanese-speaking masochists.

RetroArch Finale

Oh yeah. RetroArch PSP actually has a PC-98 core. And - wouldn’t you know it - it doesn’t even boot.


Throw BIOS files at it all you want, it doesn’t care.