Justifying Emulation

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DoraemonTheCat
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by DoraemonTheCat » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:52 pm

How do I justify emulation?

Well, I am not likely ever going to be able to afford a Neo Geo and some of the carts I would want to play, and even if I had the money, I'd rather spend that on a good night/nights out.

Also, with a lot of games, I want them to be as close to the original as possible - we always used to hear the tern "arcade perfect" bandied about alot, but in theory - emulation of arcade games is closer (if not identical) than any ported versions. And this suits my rather specific requirements when it comes to what I want to play.

Another reason - it's all under one hood. To have all my emulators running from one (x)box, I don't have to waste time hunting for leads, consoles, joypads etc, that I do already own.

AmigaJay
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by AmigaJay » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:58 pm

I don't have to :lol:

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Liamh1982
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Liamh1982 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:24 pm

Convenience is the simple answer - it's easier for me to set up the SNES emulator on my Wii than to go round the back of the telly, find the right plug, rummage through a shelf of cartridges hoping that it'll all work first time. All that and it actually looks nice on an LCD.

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FatTrucker
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by FatTrucker » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:38 pm

A few points.

I emulate prolifically, I have a mame cab, I have a dedicated emulation PC that I use to emulate old consoles on the TV.

Emulators are for the most part perfectly legal where they don't use any proprietary code, techniques or technology.

Downloading, using or emulating roms is not legal (or lawful if you prefer the technical terminology). Unless a title is out of copyright or a copyright owner has given explicit consent for its property to be used publicly for free then there is no 'grey area' you have no more legal right to download or make use of an old game rom than you do a current game or DVD.

There is no 24 hour rule.

There is no such thing as 'abandonware'

Until quite recently there was a reasonable argument that emulating old games made for old machines was entirely victimless. The systems and games were no longer on sale anywhere and in most cases the games had been abandoned (commercially) by the IP owner. In recent years the commercial market for remakes and re-releases has exploded. Wether its market driven, a response to the opportunities made available by new digital marketplaces, or simply a cheap way of generating extra revenue, increasing numbers of publishers and developers are realising new value in their old IP and are releasing old games across a raft of new platforms.
I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that emulation damages sales of these titles, but their existence now, certainly muddies what were previously crystal clear moral waters.

In terms of justification, I don't really feel the need. I do it because I can. I do it because it allows me to discover games that were never released here, I do it because I love rediscovering old classics I had forgotten about, but mostly I do it because its f**king awesome having an entire library of gaming history at the touch of a button.
This is what emulation is about. For anyone involved in the emulation community in any form its about creating an archive. For decades the industry, largely hasn't cared about its history. The industry has tended to view the things it makes as temporary, a throwaway product designed to have a defined shelf life then make way for the next one.
For years now there has been a small but dedicated and connected movement of enthusiasts digitally archiving games, instructions, boxart and every other type of paraphernalia associated with games on every platform ever produced. Talented programmers have dissected the hardware and preserved its functions in software. Without this community and the vast resources and data that it has made freely available its arguable that there would be no resurgence in retro and remakes because much of it simply wouldn't exist anymore.

So yes emulation is dodgy legally and as with anything its open to abuse by people getting into it for profit. But for everyone else emulation is simply a digital museum, for a digital medium, in a digital age.

I f**king love it.
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Freestyler
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Freestyler » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:54 pm

FatTrucker wrote:There is no such thing as 'abandonware'
The problem is unless somebody owns the Rights there's no "actual" criminality. It's a Civil offence and unless somebody can sue you for infringement (by establishing in Court they own the Rights) there's nothing anyone can do. That's obviously just a weasel way of trying to get around blatant game piracy, much like the non-existent 24hr rule.



As for general emulation; I'm never one to use words like "morally grey" or rubbish like that. I know 100% full well it's piracy. I know I've downloaded and played ROMS I never owned (Neo Geo collection, ho-yay! :P ) and I make no bones about it. I don't pirate modern games as I am an adult and have disposable income.

I couldn't give a flying censored whether the kids are pirating games like crazy. I did, and that's how I got into the hobby.
Why should it be any different for them?
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FatTrucker
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by FatTrucker » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:02 pm

Freestyler wrote:
FatTrucker wrote:There is no such thing as 'abandonware'
The problem is unless somebody owns the Rights there's no "actual" criminality. It's a Civil offence and unless somebody can sue you for infringement (by establishing in Court they own the Rights) there's nothing anyone can do. That's obviously just a weasel way of trying to get around blatant game piracy, much like the non-existent 24hr rule.



As for general emulation; I'm never one to use words like "morally grey" or rubbish like that. I know 100% full well it's piracy. I know I've downloaded and played ROMS I never owned (Neo Geo collection, ho-yay! :P ) and I make no bones about it. I don't pirate modern games as I am an adult and have disposable income.

I couldn't give a flying censored whether the kids are pirating games like crazy. I did, and that's how I got into the hobby.
Why should it be any different for them?
Thing is in almost all cases, someone still owns the copyright even if its by default as other companies and their assets have been bought and sold. Its only really now that many of these companies are realising the value in actually protecting some of these old assets.
To date I'm not aware of anyone ever being pursued for emulating old games although some emulator authors and romsite hosts have received CAD notices (usually from Nintendo).

As far as the way and why you emulate I suspect you are in the majority. I buy all new games at retail wether its in a shop or digital marketplace and I buy re-released retro content where they've added value to it. As I said above, claims of it damaging potential sales seem spurious but that's based on nothing more statistically relevant than my personal experience and that of other people I know and/or talk to online.
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sscott
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by sscott » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:08 pm

Emulation is not a legal 'grey area', it's just illegal. Even the fact I have bought thousands of games over the years still makes it illegal technically but (in my own mind) am happy to think that I give some, I take some back. I'm comfortable with it.
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paranoid marvin
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by paranoid marvin » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:38 pm

Legally you never own the game - only the media it comes on and the right to play it.

The big resurgence in retro gaming , the money that some individuals are making for titles they made decades ago, would (arguably) never have come about if it hadn't been for emulation. Remember when RG first came out there were only a handful of old games legally entitled to be purchased.

Would sites like GOG and all the stuff now available on mobiles/tablets have ever existed if people hadn't kept the scene alive? I doubt it.

In all honesty, how popular would RG have been if not for emulation; would RG even exist if people could only discuss and not play old games relatively easily/cheaply.

I'm not saying that that makes emulation justified; the ends does not justify the means.

You're only cheating yourself if you play via emulation, as you will get (at best) only half of the fun you would get with the real thing. But with time, space and monetary restrictions it's the best that many can get.

Who benefits from no-one being able to play old arcade games that many have never heard of ? Who benefits from obscure Spectrum titles that may have only ever sold a handful of copies? Who benefits from 99% of the population not being able to play old fruit machines/pinball tables that now only exist in a handful of homes and arcades around the world?

Is it better that they should die and be forgotten? No it is not.
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STranger81
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by STranger81 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:43 pm

For me, if it wasn't for emulation then my retro gaming would be almost non existent. I've used emulators for years for convenience, but since baby came along earlier this year I've got rid of my "gaming corner" which I had 3 screens going running a variety of consoles. Hence the consoles, games etc ive kept are all boxed up in the loft. So it's now a case of its emulation or nothing in the most part.

All I've got in the house are my Wii, 360, Xbox and my handhelds. So if I fancy a go on Steet Fighter 2 Turbo, it's so much quicker to turn on the laptop and plug in my joypad than go up to the loft, bring down the console, and then set it up.

I still think you can't beat the feeling of the real pad, but I'd rather have emulation than nothing any day.
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GigaPepsiMan
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by GigaPepsiMan » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Always get a laugh out of the "you're only cheating yourself" argument. I take I was only getting "half the fun" while playing those 30+ hours on Final Fantasy IV using a SNES emulator, I personally doubt that paying up loads of money for a US cart, snes and freeloader would have been any better.
If anything the emulator was better because I could save when I wanted too and speed up the game if it was going too slow. Some would call that cheating, some would call that playing it wrong but some need to shut their mouths.

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paranoid marvin
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by paranoid marvin » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:39 pm

GigaPepsiMan wrote:Always get a laugh out of the "you're only cheating yourself" argument. I take I was only getting "half the fun" while playing those 30+ hours on Final Fantasy IV using a SNES emulator, I personally doubt that paying up loads of money for a US cart, snes and freeloader would have been any better.
If anything the emulator was better because I could save when I wanted too and speed up the game if it was going too slow. Some would call that cheating, some would call that playing it wrong but some need to shut their mouths.

It all depends what you're looking to get from emulation. If it's a case of finishing those games which seemed (and probably almost were) impossible back in the day, then saving is a real godsend. Cheating? Not at all; many games back then were unfair, or were made to take months (or longer!) of playing to complete. Saving just helps to even the balance.

If you're looking for those nostalgic feelings to come flooding back, then for me at least, emulation doesn't do anywhere near the same job. Perhaps 'cheating yourself' was the wrong expression to use, but for me games don't play anywhere near as well on emulation as the do on the original machine.

Sometimes it not a case of choice though, and playing the game via emulation is always preferable to not being able to play the game at all.
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AmigaJay
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by AmigaJay » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:50 pm

Emulate if you want to, don't if you don't want to or find it 'morally wrong' nobody has to justify anything especially on the Internet where songs, films, games are a free for all, yes it doesn't make it right...nor does recording a song off the radio or watching part of a film or tv program someone has stuck on youtube, going 80mph on a motorway, their all 'illegal'....it's all down to your own morales, I'm not gonna slate someone either way...

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Flint
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Flint » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:44 pm

I want to give a quick mention to fan translations, I'd never have got to play Mother 3 or For the Frog the Bell Tolls without them. Although saying that I played them on a GBA flashcart and DS respectively, even if they're not the original hardware I prefer to use portable systems to play retro games.
Still illegal of course.

I 'll also say that companies re-releasing a game does cost them some time/money even if it is just a rom.
For instance look at the amount of legal issues somebody at Nintendo would have to sort through if they wanted to released Earthbound on the VC.
http://earthboundcentral.com/2009/02/ea ... al-issues/

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Misery
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Misery » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:06 pm

As one who has well over 6000 roms stored on the PC here, I really cant speak much against emulation in a general sense.

That being said, I mostly only use MAME, because the vast majority of arcade games do NOT get releases anywhere else, and this is the only way to play them. For the incredibly small group that DOES occaisionally get into a compilation or something, they're often not available on PS3, aka the only console I can buy for. And even then.... feh. To be honest, I really just dont care.


As for emulation regarding things like the 2600 or NES, I rarely bother with that. Prefer owning the original and using that instead.

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Fishsta
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Re: Justifying Emulation

Post by Fishsta » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:47 am

I'd much rather use original equipment to play games, and that would include waiting for a game to load from tape if necessary.

That said, I would love emulation to be completely free and legal, but as has been said, regrettably it is not so.

This is why I support the actions of the World Of Spectrum site, contacting copyright holders for the permission to host games for download. Which means there's a lot of Spectrum games you CAN play, with the author or copyright holder's "blessing" so to speak.

What I also like is how each permission or denial is evidenced in full, and reading some of the responses from companies may help you understand just why things are as they are... most companies respond with apologies, with regret, with understanding if they have no choice but to deny free distribution. But then read the response from "Paul McKenna" (NOT the hypnotist), who goes straight on the offensive regarding some software where permissions had previously been sought.

I remember when I was looking for games to download, obviously I wanted a few Codemasters games, like Pub Trivia Quiz, the Dizzy games, and I noted that they were all distribution denied. I remember thinking "How horrible are Codemasters, the bar stewards". After actually READING their response to permission being sought, I realise they're only doing what they HAVE to do, and they're not beind unfair in the slightest.

I'd rather this was the future of emulation websites. Then everyone could be sure that their collection is legal.
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