When the Parallel core was released, the big deal was it’s own Parallel RDP graphics plugin, so it was named after that. It’s still “Mupen” though, it’s not a new emulation core. But the Mupen core it’s based on was not up to date, even when it was released i think it was behind. And then, the core was pretty much abandoned pretty fast and all the hype was fizzled out.
After a while, Mupen64pls-Next was released, which had an up to date Mupen core and the latest GlideN64 (not Glide, notice the “N” in the name) fixes. But some time later, this core also got the Parallel RDP/RSP plugins and that re-ignited the hype of accurate gfx emulation of the N64. The Parallel plugins were also improved greatly, even adding upscaling for it.
So now, the Mupen64plus-next core has an up-to-date Mupen core, GlideN64 and Parallel RDP/RSP plugins. It’s the only core that matters.
The Parallel core still has an out of date Mupen core and doesn’t have GlideN64 at all. It has Glide64, Rice and gl64, all 3 plugins were considered dead long before the core was introduced. I mean, GlideN64 was the continuation of the old Glide64 project and it was meant to completely replace it as the later stopped being worked on (that was 15 years ago or something). The Parallel RDP/RSP seems to be up-to-date, i’m not really sure, but even if it is, why use it with an out-of-date Mupen core?
So, all of that mess creates confusion. The Parallel RDP plugin is now the best gfx plugin you can use since it reaches the accuracy of angrylion but with much better speed and upscaling options. But most new users end up with the outdated Parallel core since it has “Parallel” in the name, so it must be the correct one to use for the Parallel RDP, right?
It’s the same confusion with the Glide64 VS GlideN64 plugins that went on for a decade+. The author made the mistake to use the same name with only an extra letter as the difference in it. Dunno why he didn’t just continue updating Glide64 or, if he wanted it to be a different project, use a different enough name. So for all the years that followed, it was a crapshoot whether a new user would end up with Glide64 or GlideN64 (the PJ64 emulator had the old plugin included, for many years). They heard “GlideN64 is the best HLE plugin” but it was so easy to miss the “N” part. I can’t even count the times i had to explain to someone he is using the wrong plugin, after they made a troubleshoot topic or question. Which is something that continues to this day, since GlideN64 is still the best HLE plugin for slower systems that can’t handle Parallel RDP.
And now the same thing happens with “Parallel”. A lot of people just use the core, thinking is the correct one so someone has to explain the difference. And not only that, to make things even more messy, the Parallel core comes with the old Glide plugin, which often becomes the default option… So many people must still think N64 emulation sucks completely then, for no reason other than using the wrong emulators/plugins because of the naming confusion.