Re: [stella] ROM image classifications

Subject: Re: [stella] ROM image classifications
From: Rob <kudla@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 14:40:33 -0500
On Monday 16 December 2002 13:55, Adam Wozniak wrote:
> Why not create a new file format, which includes the information along
> with the ROM data?  That way no centralized authority is required to
> maintain or track data as people come up with new homebrews/ hacks/
> conversions/ versions/ etc...
> The file should contain all the information in the current, and
> be extensible.  All it would take for the new format to 'catch' would be
> for the 3 biggest emulators to support it, and a set of free tools for
> manipulating it.

This sounds like a great idea, but there are some potential flaws that would 
only reveal themselves in the wild:

(a) The current standard way of classifying and enumerating BIN files, 
Good2600, includes a data file that includes checksums for all known BIN 
files and the name/classification for each.  No one likes this database much 
(the author has a habit of calling all homebrew games "public domain" for 
example, and arbitrarily numbers hacks and alternate versions) but it is a de 
facto standard because it's so complete relative to anything else out there.  
Using your file-format method, there would be no politically viable way for 
AtariAge or anyone else to classify/enumerate all the BIN files out there 
because so many are forbidden fruit (Activision games, Edtris, the Starpath 
games, etc.) but the Good2600 guy can get around this by merely providing a 
list, rather than including the actual game which this idea would entail.

(b) Given that, all the forbidden games (as well as any new hacks or 
previously undiscovered BIN files) would be subject to naming and 
classification anarchy in the wild.  It would end up no better than in the 
MP3 scene, where many users apparently just strip off ID3 meta-information 
tags rather than deal with the inaccurate or inconsistent data contained in 

In a controlled environment, this is totally the best way to go.  The Internet 
isn't a controlled environment, though, and I don't think this would provide 
the kind of centralized control that Glenn and co. are looking for.


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