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GP2X Wiz Emulators

In order to get your favorite games up and running, you will need to place various emulators and game (rom) files either on the Wiz's internal memory, or on an SD card.

Part 1: Installing Emulators  /  Part 2: Emulators Reviewed

Note: (December 2009) I highly recommend investing in a separate SD card. Even though the Wiz does include 1 GB of built-in memory, you can pick up a 4 GB SD card from Amazon for $6.90. They also offer an 8 GB SD card for $18.99, a 16 GB SD card for $37.85, or even a 32 GB SD card for $90.95. Just so you get an idea of how far extra memory goes, I have a 4 GB card installed in my Wiz, of which 2.84 GB is being used up. This consists of over a dozen different emulators and about 230 games (including some larger files for Sega CD titles and a couple Playstation games).

Here are the file sizes for various games featured in my demo video: 1944 = 15 MB, Super Street Fighter II = 9.85 MB, Outrun = 854 KB, Mortal Kombat = 5.23 MB, Super Mario Bros 3 = 223 KB, Legend of Zelda = 64 KB, Earthworm Jim = 1.86 MB, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 = 746 KB. Each game is contained in its own .ZIP file for easy storage and you can see how little space they take up by today's standards.

Part 1: Installing Emulators

The first thing you will need to do is power up your Wiz and plug it into your computer using the included USB connector. A screen will then come up on the Wiz asking you which disk you would like to connect to the computer:

Wiz - choose a disk to connect.

Press the A button to read from the Wiz internal memory.
Press the B button to read from the SD card on the Wiz (if you have installed one).

The following steps will work the same way regardless of whether you choose to use the Wiz internal memory or SD card to store your emulators. Once you have made your selection from above, your computer should automatically recognize the Wiz as an additional device and assign a drive letter to it. At this point it should be as simple as dragging and dropping files.

1. Open the Wiz folder using Windows Explorer. (My Computer >> Wiz Drive Letter)

2. Create a folder in the root of the drive called game (if it does not already exist). Make sure that it is all lowercase, as Linux is a case-sensitive operating system.

3. Within the game folder you will want to create a separate subdirectory for each emulator which you download. You can name each subfolder in whichever way helps you stay the most organized, but I like to name them according to the system being emulated. For example, I have things structured such as:

(root)/game/Nintendo NES
(root)/game/Sega Genesis
(root)/game/Arcade MAME
... etc


For the sake of this illustration, let's focus on the Sega Genesis emulator PicoDrive. Once you have downloaded this emulator, extract the files and folders from the compressed .ZIP archive to the (root)/game/Sega Genesis folder.

The emulator is now installed!

4. Within the emulator subdirectory you will want to ensure that a folder called roms exists (all lowercase as well). This is where you will place various games for the corresponding system being emulated. Ex: (root)/game/Sega Genesis/roms/romname.ZIP

Note: ROM stands for "Read Only Memory", and refers to the actual game file. They almost always come in a .ZIP archive, and can simply be dropped into the appropriate roms subfolder. In other words, the emulator is what simulates another system (i.e. Sega Genesis), and the ROM is the corresponding game being played (i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog).

Disclaimer: It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the legal rights to acquire and play roms. I cannot tell you where to obtain rom files, but I do recommend that you use Google to search for your favorite games. There are several big sites out there which feature roms for all of the retro systems.

Part 2: Emulators Reviewed

The list below is by no means complete. It is simply my review of some of the emulators which I have tried and recommend. All of these emulators were acquired from Openhandhelds.org. ROM files need to be in .ZIP format unless otherwise stated.

MAME4ALL (Arcade, Neo Geo)
FinalBurn Alpha (Arcade - Capcom Systems 1 & 2)
GnGeo (Neo Geo)
Gpfce (Nintendo - NES)
PocketSNES (Nintendo - SNES)
Lemonboy (Gameboy / Gameboy Color / Super Gameboy)
gpSP (Gameboy Advance)
AlexKidd2x (Sega Master System & Game Gear)
PicoDrive (Sega Genesis & Sega CD)
Temper (TurboGrafx-16 / PC-Engine)



Emulator:  MAME4ALL Wiz
System(s):  Arcade (many), Neo Geo

Button Functions:  From games list:
D-Pad = move up and down in games list
L = page up
R = page down
B or A = select game / go to game options screen
L + R = exit emulator

From game options:
D-Pad = move up and down in options list
L / R = change option value
B = start game
X = return to main games list

Within game:
If "Type OK to continue" prompt appears:
    ... Press Left then Right on D-Pad
L + R = pause game
Menu + Select = MAME in-game options menu
L + R + Menu = return to main games list
L + R + Select = show frames per second

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
MAME4ALL Wiz buttons

Comments:  Pretty much everybody in the emulation community is familiar with MAME. It stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and it does just that. Ported over to the Wiz, it can play thousands of different arcade titles (including Neo Geo games if you can find the neo geo bios file neogeo.ZIP and drop it in the roms folder). I find MAME4ALL Wiz to be full featured and intuitive for the most part. Some tweaking and button configuration may be required as you start to play more recent games such as Mortal Kombat.

In a forum titled Running Mortal Kombat and Super Street Fighter I explain "for games such as Mortal Kombat be sure to tweak the settings inside MAME. For example, before launching MK, set the WIZ Clock option to 800 MHz, and Video Aspect to Scale." Some of the other titles need the video to be scaled, but I approach that on a case-by-case basis. If a game loads and takes up more area than the screen, simply set the video to scale. Another question relates to gameplay button mapping. In games where more than 4 buttons are being used (such as Mortal Kombat) be sure to map the buttons to something which works best for you.

In another forum titled Mortal Kombat button mapping in MAME I state "After a lot of trial and error I got the button assignment to reflect what I feel is the most convenient mapping, reminiscent of playing MK on my old SNES console. The button mapping for me is now:

A = High Punch
Y = High Kick
X = Low Punch
B = Low Kick
R = Block

I have posted my revised button mappings and MAME configuration for MK and a couple of other titles for your convenience:

First, download MAME-frontend.zip and extract the files to the frontend subfolder for MAME4ALL. Next, download MAME-cfg.zip and extract the files into the cfg subfolder for MAME4ALL."

What I should mention is that those .ZIP files also include optimized configuration and button mappings for NBA Jam and Outrun. In Outrun, for example, you can use A as the accelerator, L to switch to low gear, and R to switch to high gear.

Top of List



Emulator:  FinalBurn Alpha
System(s):  Arcade - Capcom Systems 1 & 2 (CPS-1, CPS-2)

Button Functions:  From games list:
D-Pad = move up and down in games list
A = select game / go to game options screen
X = color help screen
Select = emulator options
Menu twice = exit emulator

From emulator options:
D-Pad = move up and down in options list
A = change option value

From game options:
D-Pad = move up and down in options list
A = make selection

Within game:
L + R + Select = in-game test menu
L + R + Menu = return to main games list

Gameplay Buttons: 
(no reassignment
FinalBurn Alpha buttons

Comments:  This is a really clean and fast emulator for running Capcom arcade favorites such as Street Fighter II, Ghouls n' Ghosts, Final Fight, Super Street Fighter II, etc. The games list includes screen shot previews for the CPS-2 games, and I created a number of screen shot previews for some CPS-1 favorites. You can download the file FinalBurn-previews.zip and extract the files to the preview subfolder for FinalBurn Alpha. One thing that this emulator seems to lack is the ability to change the default button mappings (which results in a slightly tedious experience when playing Street Fighter), but I feel that it makes up for this with solid performance. The other CPS-2 emulator available for the Wiz requires you to manually create a graphics dump file for each rom and playing certain games (such as 1944: The Loop Master) is choppy. FinalBurn Alpha, on the other hand, remains my top pick for CPS-1 and CPS-2 emulation with its "place and play" capabilities and smooth performance.

Update: There are several of the newer CPS-2 titles which require cache files to be created for FinalBurn Alpha. This includes Marver Super Heroes vs Street Fighter, X-Men vs Street Fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 3, etc. Anyways, I explain this in more detail in the pertinent discussion thread CPS-2 Marvel v Capcom + XMen v Street Fighter.

Top of List



Emulator:  GnGeo
System(s):  Neo Geo

Button Functions:  From games list:
D-Pad = move up and down in games list
A or B = select game / go to game options screen
L = end of games list
R = beginning of games list
Select = emulator options
Menu twice = exit emulator

From emulator options:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in options list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

From game options:
D-Pad = move up and down in options list
A or B = make selection

Within game:
L + R + Select or L + R + Menu =
          load or save state / exit emulator

Gameplay Buttons: 
(no reassignment
GnGeo buttons

Comments:  Although MAME4ALL is also capable of playing Neo Geo roms, I prefer to use GnGeo for this task. I find it to be more specialized, and I really like the game selection menu (which includes screen shot previews and a fancy moving wallpaper). Unfortunately the buttons cannot be reassigned, but I have not found it to be an issue when playing games. One other thing to note is that by default the games list shows ALL titles available for the emulator. The available titles (roms which you have placed in the appropriate roms folder) will show up in green, and unavailable titles in red. I recommend that you go into the GnGeo options and scroll down to the option which reads SEE COMPLETE LIST by default. Once you reach that option, hit D-Pad Right until the option reads SEE LIST AVAILABLE. Now the games list will be limited to roms which you have installed and will enable you to launch games more quickly. The only other pain with GnGeo is that during game play, if you want to switch to another Neo Geo title, you have to completely exit the emulator and go back in. Not sure why they did that.

Note: In a discussion thread titled Neo Geo emulation I state "You need the Neo Geo bios roms in order for the games to be playable. In MAME the file would be called neogeo.ZIP and goes in the ROMS folder. With GnGeo it appears that I selectively placed several of the Neo Geo bios files in the roms folder (NEO-GEO.ROM, ng-lo.rom, ng-sfix.rom, ng-sm1.rom) ...? So if you haven't then use Google to find the Neo Geo bios."

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Emulator:  Gpfce
System(s):  Nintendo - NES

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

Within game:
Volume Up + Volume Down = emulator menu

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
Gpfce buttons

Comments:  A clean and intuitive emulator for the NES. I chose to re-map the buttons in order to have a more ergonimic experience reminiscent of an SNES controller. I have A = B, X = A, Y = B turbo, B = A turbo. You can download fceu2.cfg.zip and extract the .cfg file to the fceultra subfolder of this emulator.

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Emulator:  PocketSNES
System(s):  Nintendo - SNES

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

From options menu:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

Within game:
Volume Up + Volume Down = emulator menu

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
PocketSNES buttons

Comments:  A good emulator for the SNES. Runs all of my favorite roms really well (Mario Kart, Mario World, F-Zero, etc) except for a couple of the "true 3D" titles such as Starfox and PilotWings. Hopefully a later release will take advantage of the Wiz 3D accelerator. They chose the default button mapping to match up with the button names on the SNES controller. Even though this makes sense, it is not correct from an ergonomic standpoint because the Wiz button A is not in the same position as button A on an SNES controller. Subsequently, I chose to re-map the buttons to match the feel of an SNES controller.
Wiz vs SNES buttons
I have A = Y, X = B, Y = X, B = A.

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Emulator:  Lemonboy
System(s):  Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Super Gameboy

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

From options menu:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

Within game:
Y = emulator menu
L = save state
R = load state
A = full screen

Gameplay Buttons: 
(no reassignment
Lemonboy buttons

Comments:  The most recent release runs a lot better than previous versions. The sound is not yet 100% perfect but it is certainly playable and acceptable. I also recommend the original gameboy skin to add even more nostalgia to this emulator.

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Emulator:  gpSP
System(s):  Gameboy Advance

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

From options menu:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

Within game:
Y = emulator menu
A = show / hide frames per second display

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
gpSP buttons

Comments:  A solid GBA emulator. Can be slightly confusing the first time you launch this when searching for a rom to load, but once you point it to the correct roms folder, you will be automatically taken there when opening gpSP in the future. I chose to re-map the buttons in order to have a more ergonimic experience reminiscent of an SNES controller.

I have A = B, X = A, Y = emulator menu, B = show/hide fps. You can download gpsp.cfg.zip and extract the .cfg file to the root folder of this emulator. Take note that the custom .cfg file searches for roms at (root)/game/Gameboy Advance/roms so you may need to repoint gpSP when using this file.

Note: A Gameboy Advance BIOS is required for this emulator to run. You must find and place gba_bios.bin in the root directory of this emulator. It should be 16,384 bytes in size with an md5sum value of a860e8c0b6d573d191e4ec7db1b1e4f6. I recommend using Google to assist you with this endeavor.

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Emulator:  AlexKidd2x
System(s):  Sega Master System & Game Gear

Button Functions:  From games list:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select game
Menu = exit emulator

From game options:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value
Select = start game
Menu = return to games list

Within game:
L + R = return to games list

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
AlexKidd2x buttons

Comments:  Runs very well, solid emulation of Sega's 8-bit games. I recommend that you view the file readme.txt after downloading this emulator (open it with WordPad due to the Linux-style line breaks) because there are a number of subtle button shortcuts for loading and saving states.

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Emulator:  PicoDrive
System(s):  Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) & Sega CD (Mega CD)

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

From game options:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

Within game:
Select = return to menu
L = save state
R = load state

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
PicoDrive buttons

Comments:  It is quite an impressive concept to be able to play Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) and Sega CD (Mega CD) games in a handheld device. PicoDrive does a great job on all levels.

For playing Sega CD games, I recommend creating a separate subdirectory for each "CD" within the roms folder. You will then need to obtain a disk image (.iso) file along with corresponding audio tracks (named in the correct fashion and case-sensitive) in order for the emulation to work properly. More details are explained in the emulator's readme.txt, and I recommend that you read through it. Here are a couple of examples:

Top Level Folder = (root)/game/Sega Genesis

/roms/Sonic CD/Sonic CD.iso
= main rom file
/roms/Sonic CD/Sonic CD 02.mp3 = audio track 1
/roms/Sonic CD/Sonic CD 03.mp3 = audio track 2
/roms/Sonic CD/Sonic CD 04.mp3 = audio track 3
... etc

/roms/Rebel Assault/Star Wars Rebel Assault.iso = main rom file
/roms/Rebel Assault/Star Wars Rebel Assault.cue = audio track definition file
/roms/Rebel Assault/Star Wars Rebel Assault 02.mp3 = audio track 1
/roms/Rebel Assault/Star Wars Rebel Assault 03.mp3 = audio track 2
... etc


On a simpler note, the regular Sega Genesis roms come in .ZIP format and can simply be dropped in the main roms folder.

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Emulator:  Temper
System(s):  TurboGrafx-16 (PC-Engine)

Button Functions:  From menus:
D-Pad = move up and down in list
B = select option
X = go back

From game options:
D-Pad Up and Down = move up and down in list
D-Pad Left and Right = change option value

Within game:
Y = return to menu
L = load state
R = save state

Gameplay Buttons: 
(can be reassigned
Temper buttons

Comments:  Great emulation of the TG-16 games, brings back a lot of memories with Blazing Lasers and Bonk's Adventure. Place the rom files in .PCE format (basically the raw ROM file instead of inside a .ZIP archive). Temper is also supposed to be able to play the CD-ROM games, but I have not attempted to do this yet.

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Please note that I decided to exclude the PlayStation emulator psx4all from this tutorial because it is still in very early stages of emulation. I have been able to get games running without sound, but they are not yet being emulated at the full frame rate. It's kind of like playing them in slow motion. My hope is that they will release a newer version of this emulator soon which can take advantage of the Wiz's 3D accelerator.

Some of the other systems which can be emulated on the Wiz but are not included in the above list are: Atari (multiple systems), Amiga, Quake, Quake II, Warcraft, ScummVM (for adventure games from LucasArts), DOSBox (MS-Dos), Commodore, and a collection of homebrew apps. I recommend checking out the Openhandhelds.org Wiz File Archive for the full library.

I hope that you found this tutorial to be helpful.
Please be sure to visit the Forums to post any of your questions or remarks.

Next Tutorial: Setting up Wiz Games Shortcuts for fast launching of your emulators.

Before: (Launcher)
After: (Shortcuts)

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