Justifying Emulation

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SpykeXD
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Justifying Emulation

Post by SpykeXD » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:16 am

I found my love for old games through emulators, and I'm still discovering new games all the time. I know there's legal issues involved with emulation, but what do you think justifies emulation?

In my opinion, it's all about your motives. I use emulators because I can't always get to my old consoles (for example, my SNES isn't hooked up right now) and sometimes it's easier to just load a ROM then play a cartridge. I won't deny I've downloaded ROMs for games I don't own, but I only download them because I want to play them. I would definitely buy the game if I liked it, and I wouldn't keep the ROM for long if I didn't like the game. I download ROMs to determine if I would actually play the game or not, and if I like it I'll eventually buy it. Thanks to emulators I've bought River City Ransom for Wii's Virtual Console, Ristar and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse for Game Gear, Klonoa Heroes: Densetsu no Star Medal for Game Boy Advance, and Flashback: The Quest for Identity for Genesis. I won't download ROMs or ISOs for current consoles unless I own the games.

How do you justify emulation?

(Also for those interested I started a Steam group for emulators and retro games: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/retro4life
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PlodMadLoon
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by PlodMadLoon » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:28 am

I agree it's a legal grey area; and I also admit, as you have done, that I too have downloaded ROMs for games that I've never... actually owned in my life. :| Alongside many that I have/had/still do. ;)

On some level it almost becomes justfiable to earlier 8-bit machines (Speccy, Amstrad et al) because some of the titles are made by companies that no longer exist in their traditional forms. And until the advent of recent technical innovations allowed companies to sell them again, a lot of those early games and systems were not being commercially exploited at all by the copyright holders. So unless you were lucky enough to find a working computer of the era and a stack of second hand games for it, there was no way to 'legally' play them.

Of course, the era of digital downloads is on us, and now we can buy Speccy games for our iPads. So this is no longer an 'excuse'.

I do like the convenience of emulators too. Every system under the sun available together in one place on my home computer at the single click of a button. And there's no denying (or is there?) the impact that emulation has had on our retro gaming hobby. It could be successfully argued that the current trend towards retro gaming being popular can be traced back to the arrival of emulators a decade or more ago; reignighting the nostalgia within all of us.

So, the short answer to your question is... er, who knows? :D
Last edited by PlodMadLoon on Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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samhain81
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by samhain81 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:31 am

Only real justification I see in playing roms is when your playing a rom of a game that was never released in your region and/or fetches an incredible secondary market value, thus being way out of your price range.

For all other games, I never ever play them on roms. I go as far as not even touching their official re-releases, ie/ Virtual Console, GBA/DS ports

I always have my original consoles hooked up, for better or worse.

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ShadowNeku
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by ShadowNeku » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:39 am

I personally don't use emulators as i find it cheapens the experience. Knowing that you can play thousands of games for free doesn't make you appreciate each one individually as the moment you start getting bored you'll probably move on to something else. I find paying for something gives you more incentive to persist.

In terms of justifying emulation i think its fine for older consoles. As you say it's down to individual motives. If you don't own the console required for a game or attaining a physical copy of it is very expensive then you are best off using an emulator. A better question is should you still emulate even if the game in question is now available through digital distribution?
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DPrinny
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by DPrinny » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:07 am

I aint paying over the odd for a old game the publisher isnt that arsed about anymore

psj3809
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by psj3809 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:46 am

Emulation got me back into retro gaming, gave up on my Speccy in the early early 90's, then my Amiga/Megadrive. Had a PC, got into booze/girls and didnt play many games.

Then i saw in a mag an advert for a Speccy emulator and bought it, i loved it !

From that i then started buying some old retro consoles/computers and games. Discovered websites such as World of Spectrum. Loved it when Retro Gamer came out.

Yes its a huge grey area, WHERE possible i then started buying up any old games. Eg when i had my Pocket PC i would buy any retro games for that (Repton for example), i never had an X-Box or a Wii (for long) so didnt buy retro games on that. On iOS i'm buying tons of retro stuff, just bought Metal Slug I yesterday despite having it on iMAME for my ipod.

As a kid when i was 8 or 9 i was copying tons of games, years later i feel guilty about that, now we're all earning and when games are a few quid on iOS or 20 quid or so for consoles then i dont think theres any reason to pirate. I want lots of devs to create games on iOS so i always buy games at 'full price' (when full price is often 1.99 or 69p !). I'm never someone to wait for price drops.

I do think a lot of companies owe a lot to emulation. A lot of games were gathering dust apart from us hardcore few still playing them. Retro games got more and more popular thanks to emulation and then companies started thinking 'hey theres money to be made here', shook off the dust from their old games and re-released them and i'm sure make a fair bit of money from them.

Retro Gamer i'm sure wouldnt exist if it wasnt for emulation.

If a certain game i can only play on my ipod via iMAME i dont feel guilty, if the game is released on iOS i'll buy it and wont play the iMAME game.

Granted emulation does ruin the gaming experience 'slightly'. In some ways its great, you play many more games than you would normally if you had the hardware. But with so many games you tend to just flick in and out of so many, in the old days you would have given the game a good half hour at least due to loading it up or buying it. BUT emulation has made retro gaming so popular i believe

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MattyC64c
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by MattyC64c » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:47 am

I've only ever used emulation. I simply don't have the room to put all those old consoles. Plus, with some of the ages of these machines I would be worried about them failing on me. The MD and SNES consoles wouldn't be much of an issue what with cartridges, but what about consoles like the Dreamcast and the PS1. Surely their CD-ROM drives would eventually fail?

Not all emulation is about downloading game ROMs though. PlayStation and PS2 emulators can use a PC DVD drive to read the original discs. Those emulators cut out some of that grey area if you're using original game discs and not copies or downloaded ISO's. You do the same with PC games and DOS-Box, you don't necessarily need to download the game Roms.

I've found over the years that despite many re-releases of some classic arcade games on compilations for consoles and PC, there are hundreds of games that have never been re-released and probably never will. The only way to play those arcade games again is via emulation.

I find emulation produces a better picture quality. Connecting old machines to new HD TV's just doesn't do them justice unless your TV has a very good scaller chip or you've purchased an expensive upsacaller.

I have bought quite a few classic games on Xbox and PS3. The appeal for me for these old games are extra features such as online play. A few months ago I played Final Fight on Xbox LIVE with some random guy, it was great fun.

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The Laird
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by The Laird » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:17 am

The only thing I use emulation for is taking screenshots for articles I write.

Never use it to actually play games properly as emulation is no substitute for the real hardware. Especially as the emulators for my favourite machines is far from perfect.

psj3809
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by psj3809 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:26 pm

The Laird wrote:Never use it to actually play games properly as emulation is no substitute for the real hardware.
Totally agree but often people have less and less storage space or room for the real thing. And then you have less time to set up everything, wife asking for the main tv back (when its rigged up) or wants to spend time with you when youre in a room just playing on a console etc !

In an ideal world i'll have some huge room with consoles set up all over the place but sadly thats not possible. Then you have a kid and obviously they get all your time so again what time you do have for yourself I tend to play games on my ipod/ipad

A wife/baby just ruin retro gaming ! ;)

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Megamixer
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Megamixer » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:32 pm

I only emulate unconverted arcade games simply because there's no reasonable way to play stuff like Ninja Baseball Batman, Revenge of Death Adder or Alien Vs Predator short of going to long measures to find/import expensive, huge arcade machines for each game.

However, if anything arcade-only gets a digital re-release then I will buy that to support the game and stop using the rom.
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DPrinny
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by DPrinny » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:36 pm

The Laird wrote:The only thing I use emulation for is taking screenshots for articles I write.

Never use it to actually play games properly as emulation is no substitute for the real hardware. Especially as the emulators for my favourite machines is far from perfect.
And people wonder why I like Flashcarts.

I get to play hacked games on original hardware

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SpykeXD
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by SpykeXD » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:24 pm

I'll confess the biggest reason why I love Retro Gamer's Retroinspection articles is because it gives me a list of games for the console to try out. That's usually how I determine if I would actually like to get the console (which is why I bought a Game Gear and why I'm getting a Wonderswan).

The only thing that's stopping my from getting computers such as the Amiga or the Atari ST is because as far as I'm aware it would be too much of a hassle.
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nokgod
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by nokgod » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:34 pm

samhain81 wrote:I always have my original consoles hooked up, for better or worse.
Difficult to rig up original hardware if you want to play (eg Speccy) on the train or bus though, huh? :wink:
I have ZXDS on my DSiXl and its bloody brilliant. Nothing illegal either. All ROM's from WOS.

I may possibly, perhaps, in theory.... have a few ropey ROM type things on my Caanoo....but i make no attempt to justify that, as it can't be done.
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The Last Ginja
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by The Last Ginja » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:44 pm

I only play Retro games via emulation these days. I have all I could want in one placemy PC, (okay 2 including the Caanoo) and various USB controllers for the type of system I'm emulating. I've also got a few Gameboy games on my 3DS and various retro compilations on 360 and some of the HD remakes. It's a real shame Microsoft fucked up Game Room so badly as I would have bought loads on there.

I went through a stage of rebuying hardware I'd sold, and buying systems I'd never had but it all got in the way too much, so I sold it all. I've now only got my C64 from back in the day and about 4 large boxes of games.

I do occasionally dust off the C64,1541 and play through the Epyx Gold, Silver Bronze games pack with my old school friends as the disks have all our world records saved from when we were 14/15 and played it non stop!

Basically I'd do very little Retro gaming without emulation.

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r0jaws
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by r0jaws » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:50 pm

Can't really justify having an absolute load of ROMs, but then I very rarely use them even though I have dozens of emulators installed.
I do prefer using the original hardware, equipment, cartridges and discs. It's nice to have the option though.

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