List of Games That No Longer Run on AMD Phenom

Note: I do have just enough self-awareness to file this story under our historical category, Time Machine.

Update 31 Oct, 2017:

UPDATE 25 Oct, 2017:

  1. Added Resident Evil 7 to the list. Like Destiny 2, it originally required SSSE3 support.
  2. Added Destiny 2 to the list. Tech support notes the game requires SSSE3. The developers “…are investigating the issue and will attempt to fix the crash” ((https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/236455208?sort=0&page=0)). See this post for more information.

There is a tiny, though increasing, category of PC platform video game ports: Games that no longer run on AMD’s Phenom AM2/3 CPUs. There is a simple reason why, shared by all these games: They have been programmed to require CPU support for Intel’s SSE 4 (“Streaming SIMD Extensions 4”) instruction set, version 4.1 or higher, or the SSSE3 (“Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3,” not to be confused with SSE3).

The Phenom CPUs, however, only support SSE up to 4.0, and lack SSSE3 support, as it was introduced in the Bobcat architecture in early 2011. These two issues, either/or, form the simple reason why some games, older and newer, fail to start on Phenom processors. As a surprise to absolutely no-one, I am one of these last Phenom survivors affected by this issue.

Phenomenal Legacy

AMD produced Phenoms from 2007 to 2008, and Phenom II’s from 2008 to 2012. It’s now 2017, but to everyone’s surprise, these processors are still surprisingly feisty. The final Phenom II processors produced do not pale, much if at all, in comparison to AMD’s follow-up 2011 FX series – a fact that obviously has much to do with AMD’s failures at CPU development. After all, AMD is only finally beginning to catch up to Intel with the new Ryzen architecture released this year. Back in 2008, however, the Phenom was a competitively priced, powerful alternative to almost everything Intel was offering.

Admittedly, it’s been seven years since the Sep 21, 2010 introduction date of my AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE, but I’ve managed to hold on to it just fine. You may be surprised to hear it still runs all most new games today. I won’t bore you with the details, given this is an article for the like-minded, but I just tried out three games on the Phenom-hating list: Dishonored 2, and Mafia 3, both which run easily around 60fps in high detail after being patched by developers, and Dead Rising 4, which doesn’t boot at all without SSE emulation (see below). Other new games, like Prey, work equally well.

I know 60fps isn’t great, or even good, but it’s not bad, either. Heck, I played the original Half-Life 2 on an Nvidia GeForce 2 MX GPU. That’s bad.

List of Games Not Supporting AMD Phenom at Launch

Below, I have compiled a list of PC ports that did not outright run on AMD Phenom CPUs. I’ve compiled information of current with patch notes and developer responses. The current list includes the following games:

  • Agents of Mayhem,
  • Dead Rising 4,
  • Destiny 2,
  • Dishonored 2,
  • Mafia 3,
  • Nex Machina,
  • Earth Defense Force,
  • METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN,
  • No Man’s Sky,
  • Resident Evil 7

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20th Anniversary NeoGeo Museum

SNK Playmore have put up a dedicated, if Engrish-ridden 20th anniversary website for their console, the “NeoGeo Museum,” ten years after the last NeoGeo console was shipped:

Looking back 20 years ago to 1990, a video game company by the name of SNK teamed up with ALPHA DENSHI (ADK) to develop a video game console. That console was made for arcades, yet at the same time was completely compatible for home use. It was called the “NEOGEO,” meaning “new land,” and owns a significant chapter in the annals of 1990s video game history.1

The museum comes hot on the heels of a Japanese announcement that the company has also curiously restarted their repair service for the console. The service was previously shut down three years ago in 2007.

While the website remains relatively barren as-is, I fully expect the website to see more updates later, at the very least to the advertisement gallery. That being said, what I would have enjoyed the most is a crash course –like history into the extremely convoluted spelling policies of the console! Think about it: Neo Geo, or Neo-Geo? Or Neo•Geo? NeoGeo? All-uppercase NEOGEO!?

  1. http://neogeomuseum.snkplaymore.co.jp/english/whats/index.php []

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Maximize Your Torment

Planescape Torment 01As you might have heard, after reissuing a portion of their back catalogue digitally, Interplay also seem to be re-retailing some of their classic games. Make of that ethically what you will – especially in relation to the recent, omnipresent lawsuits – but as things stand, it seems that the earlier Planescape: Torment release date got pushed back a month, and the current release date stands at the 20th – that is, in a few days. That means we have just enough time to outline how to best install mods for the game!

First off, we would start with installing the official v1.1 patch. This is not required for 2CD versions of the game, though I’ve never come across those. After that, the smartest choice is bigg’s unambiguous Widescreen Mod, currently sitting at v2.2 – as an added plus, it works for other games built on the Infinity engine, too. To get more bang for you buck with the bigger resolution you just got, you should also install GhostDog’s PS:T UI mod for the aforementioned. According to the site, it makes “1280×800, 1280×720, 1280×768 and 1280×1024 resolutions viable for Planescape: Torment by changing a number of things in the UI.”

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Dark Forces, Rogue Leaders and Goodwill

LucasArts recently re-released their long-running, beloved Jedi Knight series digitally on Steam to a rather ecstatic response to boot; only, a major wrench got thrown in the gears when the parties responsible failed to appropriately revise the games for the most current generation of operating systems. As a result, the three earliest releases – Dark Forces, Jedi Knight and its expansion disc, Mysteries of the Sith – suffer from instability, incompatibility, crashes, bugs and other lesser issues.

Steam Ad for Jedi Knight Collection
Steam Ad for Jedi Knight Collection

This is a rather shocking turn of events after a wildly successful reintroduction of the classic LucasArts back catalogue to audiences old and new, and indeed strikingly qualitatively different from the previous batch of releases, especially so when taking into account that fixes to some of the aforementioned issues are in fact readily available! For instance, players who already own the games on CD can simply extract the original wave audio for their background music to work (thanks Richard!).

It is only natural, however, to find the company trying to think up ways to maintain the newfound revenue flow and subsequently benefit from the excitement caused by these re-releases. Therefore, it’s also all the more disappointing that oversights such as the aforementioned might considerably affect the public perception of the company’s current endeavours.

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The Historical Jordan Mechner

Jordan Mechner by Stuart Pettican
Jordan Mechner by Stuart Pettican

I’ll be the first to admit I had very little interest in Jordan Mechner‘s latest activities just a few months down the line. We may have had the latest Prince of Persia coming out from Ubisoft, but then again, Mechner had very little to nothing to do with that particular project. All this changed the moment Mr. Mechner started re-posting his old personal journal entries from the late 80s!

In his journal, we discover a moody young man in his early 20s, candidly writing of his wish to become a Hollywood scriptwriter(!) and the hardships of trying to stay motivated and working on a computer game seemingly destined for failure. That is, a game that later received an endless amount of ports, sequels and turned out to be one of the most iconic platformers of all time…

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