Author Topic: Various Tech Questions  (Read 10913 times)

98digger

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Various Tech Questions
« on: May 09, 2014, 08:04:07 PM »
Since learning of Touhou, I've had two tech question I've been meaning to ask.

1. Does anyone know how many computers ZUN permits you to install Touhou onto from a single (official) CD-ROM? I haven't been able to find a copy of the EULA anywhere. I own multiple computers, and would like to install Touhou onto my two most-powerful ones, and possibly a laptop as well.

2. I'm in the process of buying a real PC-9821, but I still would like to be able to play PC-98 on my Windows computers. I am skeptical over whether to download a PC-98 emulator for legal reasons. I hear that the emulators include an illegal copy the system BIOS, the MS-DOS OS, the system font, and a number of other pirated files. What I'm looking for is a PC-98 emulator that is 100% legal and features no pirated files. I am able to substitute MS-DOS with FreeDOS(98), which is basically FreeDOS adapted to work with the PC-9800 series.

http://www.retropc.net/tori/freedos/

Also, does anyone have the link to M.Kajihara's official web-page?

Thanks.  :)

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Agent of the BSoD

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 11:49:19 PM »
1. Pretty sure the CDs let you install onto multiple computers. The installers are pretty simple anyway. Plus, you can always just copy the contents of one install onto a flash drive and paste them onto another system if you don't feel like going through the installer again. I wouldn't see why ZUN would complain about doing that, since you already bought the game.

2. This is an interesting question. While MotK has strict rules against piracy, this is the only way to play the games on a modern OS without spending an arm and a leg trying to get a real PC-98 system AND real copies of the games, which hardly exist and sell for more than you would believe. I, myself, don't see anything wrong with using the emulators and MotK doesn't either. I don't know about the "legality" of the emulators in this sense, I can only offer advice on which ones work the best and which ones have specific problems (looking at you, Anex86). (I still need to write that new guide, didn't I say I was going to do that last year? :derp:)
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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 01:39:18 AM »
2. This is an interesting question. While MotK has strict rules against piracy, this is the only way to play the games on a modern OS without spending an arm and a leg trying to get a real PC-98 system AND real copies of the games, which hardly exist and sell for more than you would believe. I, myself, don't see anything wrong with using the emulators and MotK doesn't either. I don't know about the "legality" of the emulators in this sense, I can only offer advice on which ones work the best and which ones have specific problems (looking at you, Anex86). (I still need to write that new guide, didn't I say I was going to do that last year? :derp:)

Hmm. From what I understand, T89, Neko Project, and Anex86 all emulate the motherboard of a PC-9821 computer. As with the original IBM PC, the BIOS appears to be the major thing legally standing in the way of emulating the 9801. When EPSON created their PC-486 (9801-compatible), NEC got them into legal trouble over the BIOS (which was reverse-engineered), which ended in EPSON paying a settlement. EPSON created a "clean-room design" BIOS to replace the old one and never had any legal issues with NEC again. So long as the emulators use a "clean-room" BIOS that clones the functionality of the NEC BIOS, rather than copying it, then the emulators would be legal.

T89 NEXT *looks* like a legal emulator to me, but I've never actually used it. Their official download page appears to give the option of using the real BIOS (ROMMAKE is the program) or a clone BIOS, which is less-compatible. With Anex86 and Neko Project, I think (correct me if I'm wrong) they both have the pirate BIOS built-in, along with MS-DOS. T89 looks like it includes no OS, so the user has to provide a HDI that will work with it.

Does anyone mind doing an "investigation" of T89? I also would like to know if it (or any PC-98 emulator) can boot FreeDOS(98), so we can at least stop pirating MS-DOS, if not the rest of the computer's chips as well.

Thanks. :)

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Arcorann

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2014, 08:14:00 AM »
I'm fairly sure that Neko and Anex both use clone BIOSes, etc. with the option to provide ROMs from the real machine, so all the emulators should be legal.

I've never been able to get FreeDOS(98) running Touhou, but I've seen blog posts in Japanese from people that have the Touhou trials working on FreeDOS(98). It couldn't hurt to try.

98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2014, 02:48:59 PM »
I'm fairly sure that Neko and Anex both use clone BIOSes, etc. with the option to provide ROMs from the real machine, so all the emulators should be legal.

I've never been able to get FreeDOS(98) running Touhou, but I've seen blog posts in Japanese from people that have the Touhou trials working on FreeDOS(98). It couldn't hurt to try.

http://cookienuts.exblog.jp/10538951/
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/o_mo_chi_3/e/3ca850e3f5db0c220d062e47f3c68a5b

Yep, the blog posts confirm that the demo-versions will work in FreeDOS(98). There is also GR-DOS, but there is very little information available for it, and I don't know if it is free or not:

http://www.geocities.jp/nokox666/k2/gr_dos/gr_dos.htm

I think we need at little more info on the emulators, so we can actually confirm they are legal. The BIOS may very well be a clone BIOS, but I've noticed that the emulators also emulate a variety of other components, such as the 86 Sound card and the Intel 486, which (although I highly doubt it) could contain some pirated code.


Now, it may appear that I am looking too far into the whole "legality of PC-98 emulators" issue, but I've never pirated anything, nor do I want to. I believe, that if MoTK is against the piracy of the Touhou games, that we should also be against the piracy of the very machine ZUN started out making these games for. No one really should have to pirate just to play Touhou.

The people who have already downloaded Neko Project, Anex86, or T89 Next could try and "examine" them for any potentially illegal content. There are a few YouTube videos and a multitude of pictures depicting real PC-98s and the BIOS menus, so we could always compare the emulators to those. Just remember that the original 9801 series had no built-in BIOS menu; it used switches, like IBM-PC XT.  :)

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Kimidori

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2014, 06:01:52 PM »
pirated code.

There should be no suck thing in writing an emulator... PC-98 never went open source so there should only be reverse-engineering which is totally legal, and old emulator tend to try emulate the hardware, source code would help only in writing new code for the emulator base on them I believe.


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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2014, 10:11:01 PM »
There should be no suck thing in writing an emulator... PC-98 never went open source so there should only be reverse-engineering which is totally legal, and old emulator tend to try emulate the hardware, source code would help only in writing new code for the emulator base on them I believe.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Computer_Entertainment,_Inc._v._Connectix_Corporation

Consider the "Sony vs Connectix" case. As you said, reverse-engineering is legal while developing an emulator. Many emulators have their code written through reverse-engineering. What is not legal is when someone uses a ROM reader and dumps the actual BIOS or another copyrighted chip and uses it in their emulator. The BIOS is a tricky subject legally-speaking, but I can confirm that dumping and utilizing a ROM chip (for example, NES ROM chips) in an emulator is no different legally that copying a CD is. For the most part, it does look like Anex86 and T89 had their code written without implementing dumped ROMS or the BIOS. For an emulator to be completely legal to download and use, I believe it must:

1. Contain a "compatible" clone BIOS that does not contain copied or dumped code
2. Contain functionality-reproducing programs in place of actual ROM dumps (which include chipsets)
3. Contain no pirated operating system (MS-DOS, N88-BASIC)
4. Contain no pirate drivers (Such as the drivers for a CD drive, VGA display, sound card, etc.)

DosBOX, for example, is an emulator which managed to reproduce the functionality of the IBM PC-XT and PC-AT without implementing dumped BIOS, ROM chips, or a pirate operating system.  :)

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 12:37:07 AM »
Just popping in to say it's called T98-Next, not T89-Next. :V

Back on topic, I have no idea for the emulators in this regard. I'm not sure if anyone could provide an answer to this, but if we do get one, I'd be very interested to know about it.
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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 08:56:50 PM »
Just popping in to say it's called T98-Next, not T89-Next. :V

Back on topic, I have no idea for the emulators in this regard. I'm not sure if anyone could provide an answer to this, but if we do get one, I'd be very interested to know about it.

Lol guess I was thinking about the TI-89 calculator.  :D

But anyways, today I went ahead and downloaded T98 NEXT. Sure enough, it contains pirated files. I was able to determine the files were illegal because they all had "COPYRIGHT (C) 1995 NEC CORPORATION" stamped on to them. I erased the emulator quickly after discovering this. So, I would like to advise anyone who has downloaded it to erase it, and anyone looking for a PC-98 emulator to disregard T98 NEXT.

To anyone who has Neko Project or Anex86: Mount virtual hard drives, both containing an OS, and see whether or not the "OS boot select" has an NEC copyright on it. This is how I discovered T89 was illegal, and this test should work for determining whether the other emulators are illegal as well. Please post your findings on this thread.  :)

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Agent of the BSoD

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2014, 10:55:24 PM »
I was able to see that NEC Copyright message via hex editor on the ROM BIOS for T98, and found the possibility of it for Neko Project as well. For Anex86, I cannot find that anywhere.

How exactly did you do the virtual hard drive method? I'm sure that would yield better results than hex editor viewing.
I figured out how to play midi in games with a different device on Win7 ^^
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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2014, 01:09:02 AM »
I was able to see that NEC Copyright message via hex editor on the ROM BIOS for T98, and found the possibility of it for Neko Project as well. For Anex86, I cannot find that anywhere.

How exactly did you do the virtual hard drive method? I'm sure that would yield better results than hex editor viewing.


In the "drives" menu, I selected a FreeDOS(98) pre-made hard disk image (.hdi) with KERNAL.SYS and COMMAND.COM on it (along with multiple Touhou PC-98 demos) as the first mounted hard drive. I copied the image of the pre-made HDI and erased KERNAL.SYS and COMMAND.COM off the copy (keeping the original hdi intact), and then loaded several RPG Maker Dante 98 games onto it with DiskExplorer. I mounted this second image as the "slave drive" (second hard drive). Nothing was in the floppy drive slots. I then pressed power in T98 and was greeted with the PC-98 boot selector, which lets you choose which hard drive to boot from. This "boot-selector" has "COPYRIGHT (C) 1995 NEC CORP." written across the top of it.

I found the Hard Drive images here: http://mwlab.net/2011/11/pc-98-emu-hdd-image.html
DiskExplorer: http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937/editdisk/index.html

When you said Anex86 appears to have no NEC Copyright, while it is possible they may have removed it in order to make it appear not-pirated, I believe that Anex86 actually uses a clone BIOS. This is because, at one point before it was freeware, Anex86 was actually sold as a commercial product, and if it did have a pirate BIOS, then NEC would have gotten rid of them by now or got them into serious legal trouble.

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Agent of the BSoD

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 03:17:47 AM »
Ah, ok. So what I did to make that simpler was just load two different Touhou games and see what happens. I did indeed get that NEC Copyright screen. Unfortunately, I got it on every emulator: Anex86, T98-Next English (and a Japanese variant that's much more fussy), and Neko Project 21. They were all identical to each other in every way. Looks like they all stole NEC's BIOS. For this, I am at a loss for getting a "legit" emulator that doesn't have copyrighted material, because as far as I know, these are the only ones out there.

EDIT: Also loaded with the linked NHD files (only Next can open those) with the same method you did except for the game importing (I had one original and one with the contents deleted) and indeed the same result happens, though the copyright years are slightly different.

EDIT 2: Realized I also had basic HDI images for when I made the demos. Made a copy of one (which had more files in it than the linked ones) and made that second one empty, loaded both of those, still got the NEC Copyright screen.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 03:46:45 AM by Agent of the BSoD »
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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 03:55:19 AM »
Ah, ok. So what I did to make that simpler was just load two different Touhou games and see what happens. I did indeed get that NEC Copyright screen. Unfortunately, I got it on every emulator: Anex86, T98-Next English (and a Japanese variant that's much more fussy), and Neko Project 21. They were all identical to each other in every way. Looks like they all stole NEC's BIOS. For this, I am at a loss for getting a "legit" emulator that doesn't have copyrighted material, because as far as I know, these are the only ones out there.


Hmmm. These finding put us in a very difficult position as PC-98 Touhou fans. I do see a few possible solutions to this, however. The FreeBSD(98) developers and the guys over at Tokugawa Forums seem to have many aspects of the PC-9800 well documented. It may be possible for some freelance programmer to use this and other data to construct a legal emulator for the 9800 series, perhaps at a site like Sourceforge. I personally would do it if I could, but I lack the programming skills to even start something like this.

I believe, that here on MoTK, we should advocate the purchase of actual PC-9821 computers until such an emulator is created. Being this is the only legal way to play Touhou 1-5, there really is no other option at the moment. Yahoo Auctions has a multitude of cheap listings for 9821 computers, and the prices are not terrible, usually ranging between ?10,000-?40,000 at highest. The PC-9821 AP2 (a generic 9821) weighs about 21.6 pounds, so the shipping is on the somewhat expensive side, unfortunately.

Until then, I'll be tracking down a PC-9821 of my own. Once I figure out how to get everything running, I'll write up a guide on how to run the PC-98 Touhou games on the actual hardware.

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DX7.EP

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014, 04:21:46 AM »
An idealistic idea, but having to obtain both the computers and the authentic copies of the games is just too expensive and unlikely an endeavour for all but the serious collector. Plus if someone has the system but copies the floppies to play, whatever rationale of anti-piracy that was there gets nullified IMO.

While such a guide would be very welcoming (and I personally prefer using the real hardware if possible and practical), saying that everyone should do so sounds extremely impractical.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 04:26:05 AM by DX7_EP »
C:DOS> ayayaya.mid
Bad command or file name

C:>_

Agent of the BSoD

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2014, 04:23:24 AM »
Thing is, I don't think many people even have the extra money to spend on actual hardware (I sure don't). Another problem would be actually acquiring the games. Last time they sold, they sold for a HUGE amount, because there's only a few of them in existence. (VERY few) I'm sure nobody has like $100,000 or so to spend on 5 games which will take the next 10 years to be put up on auction if you're lucky. While I do respect what you're trying to do, and I do see why, I just personally don't think it's very reasonable myself, though this is just my opinion on the matter.

I'm not trying to make it look like I'm yelling at you (because I'm not, I know how reading text can be interpreted), I'm just saying the most reasonable thing to do is continue what we're doing, but I don't see a problem with encouragement for people getting real hardware or devs seeing this and try to create a legal PC-98 emulator. I would greatly welcome the latter. Just getting legal copies of the games is just not gonna happen, that one is sure.

Also, I do look forward to that guide. I'm very interested into how the PC-98 systems operate.
I figured out how to play midi in games with a different device on Win7 ^^
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Embodiment of Scarlet Hair English Patch is almost completed.
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98digger

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2014, 02:37:28 AM »
An idealistic idea, but having to obtain both the computers and the authentic copies of the games is just too expensive and unlikely an endeavour for all but the serious collector. Plus if someone has the system but copies the floppies to play, whatever rationale of anti-piracy that was there gets nullified IMO.

While such a guide would be very welcoming (and I personally prefer using the real hardware if possible and practical), saying that everyone should do so sounds extremely impractical.

I agree that finding and actually being able to afford both the games and the computer would be a difficult thing for most people. I myself have had to study Yahoo! Auctions for many years now in order to figure out how to get the cheapest PC-98 possible, and for the moment the emulators do seem to be the most practical way to play the games. Even if you did have the computer, I can agree that Touhou 1-5 are out of the price range of nearly everyone on this site. However, regarding the nullification, something tells me you are more likely to be let off the hook by ZUN for piracy than you would by a large corporation such as NEC.

Thing is, I don't think many people even have the extra money to spend on actual hardware (I sure don't). Another problem would be actually acquiring the games. Last time they sold, they sold for a HUGE amount, because there's only a few of them in existence. (VERY few) I'm sure nobody has like $100,000 or so to spend on 5 games which will take the next 10 years to be put up on auction if you're lucky. While I do respect what you're trying to do, and I do see why, I just personally don't think it's very reasonable myself, though this is just my opinion on the matter.

I'm not trying to make it look like I'm yelling at you (because I'm not, I know how reading text can be interpreted), I'm just saying the most reasonable thing to do is continue what we're doing, but I don't see a problem with encouragement for people getting real hardware or devs seeing this and try to create a legal PC-98 emulator. I would greatly welcome the latter. Just getting legal copies of the games is just not gonna happen, that one is sure.

Also, I do look forward to that guide. I'm very interested into how the PC-98 systems operate.

I agree that most people would have trouble coming up with the money to purchase a PC-9821. To find one for cheap (about ?5,000-?10,000) takes years of watching auctions, and most people don't have the time to do that. I would actually prefer to use an emulator, as most people would, because it is more practical and far cheaper. While I don't condone piracy, I see no big issue at the moment regarding the usage of the illegal emulators until a better alternative is created. Judging by what I've seen, the amount of people interested in the PC-98 has risen in the past few years, so I predict someone will produce a legal emulator sometime in the next few years.

Regarding the actual games for the 9800, I myself actually wrote this post so I could find a legal emulator to run the demo versions in, and also to play songs with M.Kajihara's PMD; I never really considered the actual full games. Personally, although I don't pirate, I believe that ZUN does not really care much about the piracy of the older games. It is the Windows games that I would expect him to enforce the copyright on the most. Perhaps in the next few years, ZUN may actually make the old games free (and legal) for download or offer them through some complication or "History of Touhou" CD.  :)

But anyways, I'll write up a guide when I can get ahold of a PC-98. I hear that with the newer "Cereb" and "CanBe" models, the procedure for getting the games to work is a little different from a regular 98-Fellow or 98-Mate (which ZUN probably designed the games for). I also hear that with NEC Windows 95/98, running Touhou is harder than running it in MS-DOS. I'll try and cover as much of this as I can in the guide.  :)

^Notice: I'm bad at writing replies :)    Also: Check out my personal site here: https://themasterof9801.neocities.org/

Arcorann

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2014, 12:29:10 PM »

In the "drives" menu, I selected a FreeDOS(98) pre-made hard disk image (.hdi) with KERNAL.SYS and COMMAND.COM on it (along with multiple Touhou PC-98 demos) as the first mounted hard drive. I copied the image of the pre-made HDI and erased KERNAL.SYS and COMMAND.COM off the copy (keeping the original hdi intact), and then loaded several RPG Maker Dante 98 games onto it with DiskExplorer. I mounted this second image as the "slave drive" (second hard drive). Nothing was in the floppy drive slots. I then pressed power in T98 and was greeted with the PC-98 boot selector, which lets you choose which hard drive to boot from. This "boot-selector" has "COPYRIGHT (C) 1995 NEC CORP." written across the top of it.

I found the Hard Drive images here: http://mwlab.net/2011/11/pc-98-emu-hdd-image.html
DiskExplorer: http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937/editdisk/index.html

When you said Anex86 appears to have no NEC Copyright, while it is possible they may have removed it in order to make it appear not-pirated, I believe that Anex86 actually uses a clone BIOS. This is because, at one point before it was freeware, Anex86 was actually sold as a commercial product, and if it did have a pirate BIOS, then NEC would have gotten rid of them by now or got them into serious legal trouble.

I've been using an image from a different source and it never gave me a bootloader. Then it occurred to me that the bootloader is usually stored on the disk, so I opened up the file in HxD and sure enough, there it was. So, we can't conclude that the emulator has a pirate BIOS.

Agent of the BSoD

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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2014, 06:06:27 PM »
I've been using an image from a different source and it never gave me a bootloader. Then it occurred to me that the bootloader is usually stored on the disk, so I opened up the file in HxD and sure enough, there it was. So, we can't conclude that the emulator has a pirate BIOS.
Well, I did the same thing, using HxD, but opened up the BIOS.ROM file in T98-Next and found the copyright listing in there. Couldn't find that string in Anex anywhere, though I'm betting it was embedded within the .exe so finding it would be much more difficult, if even possible. Anex doesn't seem to rely on very many files compared to how many T98-Next does.

I agree that finding and actually being able to afford both the games and the computer would be a difficult thing for most people. I myself have had to study Yahoo! Auctions for many years now in order to figure out how to get the cheapest PC-98 possible, and for the moment the emulators do seem to be the most practical way to play the games. Even if you did have the computer, I can agree that Touhou 1-5 are out of the price range of nearly everyone on this site. However, regarding the nullification, something tells me you are more likely to be let off the hook by ZUN for piracy than you would by a large corporation such as NEC.

I agree that most people would have trouble coming up with the money to purchase a PC-9821. To find one for cheap (about ?5,000-?10,000) takes years of watching auctions, and most people don't have the time to do that. I would actually prefer to use an emulator, as most people would, because it is more practical and far cheaper. While I don't condone piracy, I see no big issue at the moment regarding the usage of the illegal emulators until a better alternative is created. Judging by what I've seen, the amount of people interested in the PC-98 has risen in the past few years, so I predict someone will produce a legal emulator sometime in the next few years.

Regarding the actual games for the 9800, I myself actually wrote this post so I could find a legal emulator to run the demo versions in, and also to play songs with M.Kajihara's PMD; I never really considered the actual full games. Personally, although I don't pirate, I believe that ZUN does not really care much about the piracy of the older games. It is the Windows games that I would expect him to enforce the copyright on the most. Perhaps in the next few years, ZUN may actually make the old games free (and legal) for download or offer them through some complication or "History of Touhou" CD.  :)

But anyways, I'll write up a guide when I can get ahold of a PC-98. I hear that with the newer "Cereb" and "CanBe" models, the procedure for getting the games to work is a little different from a regular 98-Fellow or 98-Mate (which ZUN probably designed the games for). I also hear that with NEC Windows 95/98, running Touhou is harder than running it in MS-DOS. I'll try and cover as much of this as I can in the guide.  :)
Ah, glad you agree there. It would be nice if ZUN released the PC-98 games in some form. With how many people know about them and play them, and him knowing that there's very limited quantities of it, he probably expects everyone to pirate them and probably doesn't care, else he would've done something a long time ago. Windows games, on the other hand, are all still being distributed, so he expects people to buy those, obviously.

And NEC Windows 95/98? :o I'm very interested in that!
I figured out how to play midi in games with a different device on Win7 ^^
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Embodiment of Scarlet Hair English Patch is almost completed.
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Re: Various Tech Questions
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2014, 06:25:56 PM »
Yeah, Win95 and 98 did have PC98 versions, though by then standard IBM PC-compatible hardware was the norm.

I agree that finding and actually being able to afford both the games and the computer would be a difficult thing for most people....

Regarding the actual games for the 9800, I myself actually wrote this post so I could find a legal emulator to run the demo versions in, and also to play songs with M.Kajihara's PMD; I never really considered the actual full games....
Ah, interesting approach, and I see we're on the same page regarding physical acquisition of both software and hardware.
C:DOS> ayayaya.mid
Bad command or file name

C:>_