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learn to codeI have been a gamer for as long as I can remember. Long enough, in fact, to recall my amazement at the graphics the Atari 2600 was capable of. In hindsight I realize they really weren’t pretty, but as a kid this piece of kit producing colorful games on my parents’ television was like something from the future. Since then I have owned numerous games consoles, and there is a constant need to move onwards and upwards.

However, just occasionally it’s nice to look back in time and remember with fondness the games we used to play. Which is where emulators come into their own. They can be used to enable the playing of newer games on other platforms as well, but the newer the title the more chance there is of crossing the blurred line between morally wrong and downright illegal.

Do You Use Video Game Emulators?

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We asked you, Do You Use Video Game Emulators? Do You Use Video Game Emulators? [We Ask You] Do You Use Video Game Emulators? [We Ask You] The fact that video game platforms come and go so quickly is both a blessing and curse. It means that the medium has evolved rapidly in its short lifetime, but that there are old classics... Read More This was inspired by Justin’s recent appraisal of four emulators 4 Great Emulators You Can Run On Your Wii 4 Great Emulators You Can Run On Your Wii Get retro games working on your Wii, regardless of whether they're on sale on Virtual Console. A variety of emulators await everyone with the Homebrew Channel installed on their Wii. In this article, we're going... Read More currently available for the Nintendo Wii. The response was good, with many people letting us know they do indeed use emulators. Thankfully most people didn’t just answer “Yes” but also told us which emulators they use and why they use them.

Andrei Anikin put forth the motion that emulators can’t be bad because they expand our knowledge of the history of games. Do we really want kids to think that video games started with Call of Duty or do we want them to know the humble origins of this now-mainstream pastime? Our own Joel Lee has no time for older games, instead devoting himself to new PC games….which is just a part of getting older unfortunately.

Some of the emulators to be named in the comments included MAME, PCSX2, Visual Boy Advance, DOSbox, and zSNES.

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Comment Of The Week

Comment of the week goes to Vipul Jain, who won with this comment:

Have to!
XBOX, Nintendo, PS2 & now PS3 are the focused platforms now. Games launched on these platforms never release for PC, if they do its wayy to late.
eg: Alan Wake was so late for PC.

Pokemon the epic series never out for pc, always nintendo, so hail GBA there.

I love smackdown, but the edition for pc was such BS, so hail PCSX2 there.

Same goes for many epic games that have crappy PC versions but great console editions, for say Mortal Kombat or Tekken.

Hence, if you are a gamer, you have to have either a pool of money to buy all consoles, or worship the developers who created these emulators.

This comment eloquently explains why some people turn to emulators in the first place, even though doing so wouldn’t be their first choice. In an effort to sell hardware games companies either buy up or release exclusive games that will never make it to other platforms. And the PC suffers more than most. People who cannot afford every console have to choose whether to either miss out completely or find other ways to play the titles they want to play.

Unfortunately we cannot condone the use of ROMs for games you do not already own, which is why Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo missed out on comment of the week. Having said that his recommendation of a variety of websites for emulators and ROMs is appreciated, both by us and (I suspect) other readers.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask You’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf X Seldom-known Awesome Tools To Optimize Windows X Seldom-known Awesome Tools To Optimize Windows Read More readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: Blake Patterson

  1. GABRIEL
    August 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I used to but not anymore. Too many games nowadays.

  2. Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
    August 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Yay I got mentioned :D

    I think that "Hence, if you are a gamer, you have to have either a pool of money to buy all consoles, or worship the developers who created these emulators." alone is enough to have become the comment of the week. I personally used to have enough games for the Playstation, to make my friends believe that I was rich ^_^

    About the illegal usage, from what I understand, in most countries it's legal if you own the game itself. At least, here in The Netherlands it is legal, since you're basically backing it up in case you lose it. There is one thing which I wonder. What if you owned a game and then lost it? Is downloading the ROM still legal in that case? If so, I should really download the Pokémon Emerald ROM, lol :D

  3. shaurya boogie
    August 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    yeah sometimes for the old games like pokemon series.

  4. Lee
    August 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I really only use emulators for older games that I might want to play when I'm not near my N64. Although the only console I have is the N64 and I pretty much just play Mario Kart, but whatever.

  5. Susman Bhavsar
    August 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

    An emulator is a computer program attempts to make one computer system work like another by translating or interpreting the computer code of the system being emulated so that it runs in the same manner on the foreign system running the emulator.
    As an example, older electronic games had programs on Read Only Memory (ROM) chips and those programs were run by special software in the game controller when you plugged the game cartridge in. Someone might have copied that ROM code to an image file of the ROM. An emulator might read that ROM image and use it to control a display under Windows so that the game could be played by the Windows user without using the original game controller. In other cases, the emulator might read a game CD-ROM disc in a computer and play the game without the game hardware.

    • Anandu B Ajith
      August 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

      i knaow that

    • Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
      August 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Just wondering, do programs like VMware and VirtualBox count as emulators?

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