This past summer I reviewed bleem!, a Playstation emulator introduced at E3 last spring. We rarely revisit software titles but because of the ongoing legal battles between bleem! and Sony, and the recent release of version 1.5b, we at GamesFirst! decided to take a second look. The initial review can be found in its entirety here; lets get this updated review started by sharing a December 13, 1999 press release:
ongoing court battle waged by Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Inc.
against the makers of "bleem!", a software program which allows
games designed for the Sony PlayStation to be played on personal
computers, entered a new phase last Friday, following a series of rulings
in favor of the tiny startup
claims Sony has unlawfully acquired, maintained, and extended its
other matters before the Court, Sony's internal Legal and Business
from the bench that such protective orders serve to "protect
decision came at the end of a week in which Sony stepped up its efforts
we have here is a pretty transparent attempt by Sony to intimidate
the end of Friday's session, Judge Legge agreed to hear an expedited
been instructed to take every possible action in defense of bleem!'s
first filing suit against bleem! on April 2, 1999, Sony has brought three
LLC has consistently denied Sony's allegations in every respect.
I agree with
Judge Legge's decision to "protect
OF PLAYSTATION® GAMES ON YOUR PC!
Now you can
enjoy many of your favorite PlayStation games on your PC, with no extra
hardware required! In Software Mode, bleem! delivers great compatibility
and PlayStation-level graphics, limited only by the speed of your PC and
the games you play even older systems get great results with many
And if you
have a recent 3D accelerator card, bleem!s 3D Hardware Mode will blow
you away! Many compatible games are also D3D Enhanced instead of
standard 320x200 PlayStation resolution, you can play at 640x480, 800x600,
and even higher for unbelievable clarity and detail. With bleem! and a
newer 3D accelerator, even older PCs can perform like raging game
Installation of bleem! v1.5b is pretty straightforward; go to www.bleem.com, click on the v1.5b is here graphic, and youre on your way. You can even download a trial versionnot a bad idea even if youre committed to the idea of purchasing the software. If you have an earlier version youll want to uninstall it before putting in v1.5b as the newer version wont overwrite the earlier one.
The new version offers a "texel alignment" option to eliminate faint lines that can appear between textures when playing games in 3D hardware mode, a very nice feature. Emulation support has also been bumped up with NegCon and JogCon controllers, and added automatic configuration profiles for game controllers including Microsoft's Force Feedback Joystick and Gravis GamePad Pro USB.
also includes a control panel that includes the following features :
isnt perfect, however. Not every Playstation game will run (roughly 300
titles are currently supported); the good news is that bleem! has
been frequently updated and new games are added every month. Some games
are partially compatible; the game may exhibit some minor sound
quirks, or perhaps the video cut scenes might be choppy. A lot of problems
can be fixed by reading some of the messages on the bleem! support
forum and changing some of the configuration settings.
We played a good sampling of PSX games on our copy of bleem!
and in general were very happy with the results. While bleem!
supports PC Joysticks and gamepads, the keyboard also worked surprisingly
well as a Playstation controller. With
bleem!s setup menus you can reconfigure your joystick buttons or
keyboard layout any way you wish.
Recommended system requirements for bleem! are:
Pentium II level
PC or higher
Note the DirectX 6.1 recommendationturns out bleem! is currently reported to have some problems with early version of DirectX 7. The machine I tested on is a PII 300 with 256MB RAM, a 32X CD-ROM and DirectX 7; unfortunately, I experienced occasional jittery play and weird texture seams even after tweaking the plethora of controls and checking the very good support forums on the bleem! site. For part of this story, see: http://184.108.40.206/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000026.html. Bottom line: if all else fails, experiment with your DirectX drivers starting with the always-popular most-recently-updated-version.
All in all, things continue to get better with each bleem! update and frankly, I find it hard not to cheer for the underdog in the continuing litigation. While Id like to see full support for all games and less tinkering to make the games that do work play properly, bleem! v1.5b gets a bump and goes to a four star rating. If you dont own a Playstation, or you do and you want to play on your PC or laptop, youd be well advised to part with 30 bucks (less than the cost of a new PSX title) and pick up a copy of bleem!