I'm using ePSXe 1.6 under Linux with Pete's Mesa plugin, and all the configurations specified in the "Game Compatibility" thread. Whenever I hit escape, and attempt to return to the game, the screen is black and cannot be recovered.
This is most definitely either a display driver problem in Linux or Pete's Plugin, but I am going to go with the former.
1.)Make sure you've updated to the latest driver version, from nVidia, for Linux.
2.)If the above doesn't fix it, I am sure there must be some way. Check this forum, and perhaps other emu forums concerning this issue....
But, the reason why I suggest the driver issue is because I had Slackware Linux working a while back, and I was using some 'unique' drivers (not supported by ATi, for I had a Radeon 7200 and the official ATi drivers only support 8500 and above). The games ran like complete, utter a$$ and once I pressed escape, I had the same issue...it would go black and nothing would happen. I'd have to close the program and start again.
I wish you good luck solving this, and any further info I gather I will post here.
As far as I can tell, you are experiencing a framebuffer incompatibility with Xorg, NVidia's drivers and your kernel.
Updating your kernel to the latest one (2.6.10, at the time of writing) and recompiling Nvidia's drivers as long as using the latest plugins should fix the problem.
Otherwise, you can checkout my FAQ at http://www.ngemu.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58600
Hope this helps.
At the moment I am using ePSXe 1.60r3
Pete's XGL2 driver 2.6
Pe.Op.S SPU Audio driver 1.6
To resolve the blackening problem in GENTOO configure ePSXe to use Pete's XGL2 plugin, and try out any advanced shader or offscreen drawing levels.
That should fix it.
It takes a while of trial and error, but usually it works.
The same i applies to the Windows version.
For the record, I have tested this on Final Fantasy 8 NTSC/UC version.