When I started the page, I hardly got any traffic on the site. I knew that if I wanted to boast traffic to it, I would need something big, something original, something not available on any site. So, I used the discovery I made on how to combine Sonic and Knuckles with Sonic 3 as a means to accomplish my goal. Unfortunately, my "claim to fame" was challenged. This article hopefully resolves any disputes on who discovered and released this information to the public first.
(Note: most info in italics are the original text that appeared on my page.)
August 28, 1996
My emulator page opens its doors! I decided to make one because I was very disappointed with the content of the majority of the emulator-based web sites on the net. There was hardly any useful information out there. Most pages would just "list" the emulators available for each system, usually containing links to the webpages of emulator author's, with a little rating system raking the emulators. AND NOTHING ELSE!
Others went a step further by adding a few screen shots, (big deal.) A small majority went beyond this mold and offered games for download. Some even provided some tips for dealing with these emulators. But there were hardly enough for someone new to the scene like I was. So, I decided to start my own page.
My primary concern was to create a page with useful content, not one with a fancy layout, and focused heavily on making a layout that would be completely different from Node99's. The reason for this was because the people who got caught copying his layout would get publicly humiliate on his page. He would also supply them a link to the page and ask people to email the person in charge of the page in question. I knew this was not going to be easy, for I knew nothing about HTML coding at the time, but I was learning fast.
Now, how did I come-up the name Emulation Zone? Well, I came up with the name at work when I was trying to figure out a name that would link emulators and territory. While having the "Danger Zone" song in my head, (I don't know why,) the name Emulation Zone popped-up in my head. I liked it so much that I decided to make it the title of my page.
Mid Oct. 1996
I successfully came up and tested a way combine the Sonic and Knuckles game with Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. I did this at school one afternoon after I finally got my hands on those two ROMS. I had an idea on how to do this combining for awhile, but I never got my hands on those ROMS. (Remember that ROM images at that time were not readily available as they are today.)
Knowing that my findings might be BIG in the emulation scene, I decided to publicly publish my findings. I knew this fact would hold true because I searched the net weeks before on this topic and found nothing. Since it could be big, I decided to use this finding as an attempt to gain some badly need publicity for my emulator website. (I only received 400+ hits in 2 or 3 months to that time, most of which were from friends at school. Keep in mind, there was NO Emu News site, so publishing this finding to the general public was going to be hard.)
I asked the people of several emulator based webpages if they would put that info on their page, including Node 99. What I proposed was that I would supply the text file on how to do this technique and in return, they would give me free publicity on their page. No one responded.
So, I decided to try emailing the guy in charge of the Emulating Life ROM site. (The site didn't have a name at that time.). He agreed to not only give me free publicity, but provide a link to my page from his page. And from then on, well, my page finally took off, becoming an overnight success. Thanks Robert!!!
Here's a copy of reply I got from him.
Subject: Re: Text file
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 14:53:54 -0500
From: "Robert Liston, Jr."
To: "Andy WOlan"
umm..haven't tried yet, but i'm putting a link to your site so others can
try. Ok? ;)
> From: Andy WOlan
> To: Robert Liston, Jr.
> Subject: Re: Text file
> Date: Tuesday, October 29, 1996 12:19 AM
> Robert Liston, Jr. wrote:
> > yes, please send me this text file.
> > I would be most interested in this
> > information, especially because i've
> > tried to join the files 4 times with no
> > luck of getting them to work.
> > Thanks. ;)
> > ----------I send it to ya about a week ago. Any luck???
Mid Nov. 1996
Now that my emulator page had finally taken off, I knew that updating my emulator page would become a full time task. So, in an attempt to get some inside information on some of the emulators out there, I decided to email Haruki Ikeda, author of the never release Kyoto Genesis emulator. At the time of my email, the emulator had no name and its release was delayed on many occasions. (A month or so if I recall correctly.) Here is the response I got from him:
Subject: Re: Name of your emulator and more
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 19:57:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Haruki Ikeda
To: Andy WOlan
At 08:29 PM 11.18.96 -0800, you wrote:
>Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\Nameofyo.htm"
>Can you please give me an update on how the Genesis emulator
>I also heard that it now has a name, what is it??
I'm sure you could rip it off of someone else's page out there, you seem to
have good luck with that tactic. Much like with that Sonic Lock-on idea of
Zophar's. Give him his credit.
This email came as a shock! I tough I was the uncontested discoverer of the Sonic-Lock trick. And who was Zophar? Was this some kind of joke?
Well here's what happened. In the months of September and October of 1996, a group called the CoNsOlE CoNsOrTiUm were releasing Genesis ROM packs to the public. These ROM packs were the publics' first crack at getting ROM images for Genesis games off the net, without having to rely on making their own ROM copier device.
In mid October, they released a series of game paks that including Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles. I first read about this announcement in the computer lab at school. I downloaded the game paks on the computer and got Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and S&K to work under the GenEm emulator. Amazed that I finally got my hands on these ROMs, I decided to pull a little experiment to see if I could get Sonic 2 and 3 to "lock-on" with S&K. I had an idea on how to do this for quite some time, but wasn't able to try it out until this day. (Remember, ROM images for Sega games were not wildly accessible as they are today.) To my surprise, I got Sonic 3 and S&K to "lock-on" and the rest, well, is mentioned above.
I'm assuming that with Zophar's status on his IRC channel, he got word about those ROMs. When did Zophar made his discovery is not known, but never the less, he told his buddies on the IRC channel of the discovery similar to what I made in Mid Oct. Apparently, Haruki tough I hung-out on the IRC channel that him and Zophar spend time on with other people. The truth is, I never heard of the chat channel they hung out on the the IRC server until I was personally invited by Zophar himself. (Which was a week after this skermish.) Haruki assumed that I was trying to capitalize on Zophar's discovery, where in fact I though Zophar was trying to capitalize on my discovery.
Zophar and I emailed each other on the incident that Haruki got us into and we came to an agreement. (All but one email message was lost. The serving message is down below.) Though we both made the discovery at about the same time and made attempts to inform the public about the discovery in different way, (methods were information never reached the hands of each other), it was I who first publish that info on the web. The email message of truce is below:
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 22:48:09 -0800
ok dude here's the thing. I am known on IRC fefnet as Zophar. Now as far
as the lock on trick goes, i discovered it 5 weeks ago, before you, but
that ok, true, you PUBLISHED it first. And sure you didnt steal thr name
of The Emulator Zone, nor the pics of the sega or nes form node99. But
please, dont steal the nifty looking graphic, the greeen animted
line...cuz ive had that up on my page for a while...
The Green animated bar that he is refering to is now my red Night Rider like bar. The idea to add it to the page's layout
came from Big Daddy Lou (Louis A. Martinez.) It used to be green, but I
agreed to redo it so it would be red. Why, well that animation is public domain stuff, and I have seen it on many pages, so,
I felt it would be nesessary to alter it somehow.
As for the Emulation Zone name, I was told that I got the name Emulation Zone from the page called Emulator
Zone. I never heard of that page until I visited the Emulating Life Rom site. Information on how I cameup with
the name is avalible earlier on in this document. (Sept. 1996).