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Why Do We Simulate When We Can Emulate?


VectorGamer
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Because the home ports have their own charm and appeal. I can play arcade Ms. Pacman, or Crystal Castles and still enjoy their 2600 ports for what they are. Atari 8-Bit Donkey Kong plays so much faster than the original arcade that it's a whole other experience.

 

That said, emulated versions have their limitations as well.. for example you will never confuse the real Asteroids running on a vector monitor with an emulated version, no matter how good (or bad) a monitor you use. :)

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Why do we spend money on arcade translations for classic consoles and computers when we can emulate these games for free in MAME?

 

I have a meeting to go to...brb

 

While you're waiting, here's some Slim Whitman:

 

Because it's illegal to emulate a game that you don't own; so that's why I don't do it. I'm NOT judging people who do. Although I would love to know who made up those stupid rules. I mean, unless you're purchasing a rom, or trying to sell one, I don't see what the heck the copyright (and other) legal issues are, much less why they even exist. I love the console experience, but there are plenty of arcade (and other) games that have never gotten home ports here in the USA, and never will.

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I just like playing an arcade favorite across all systems. because it never quite plays the same across each system. Such as ms pacman for example. Each console port/hack has its own flavor of the game that plays just abit differently. Whether that be control,graphics,sound,and sometimes stage designs that may be altered in some way. For better or worse. Curiosity also. Because it breathes new life into a game like that on on retro systems, when I'm abit burnt out of playing the Arcade/Mame version as it is.

Edited by PhoenixMoonPatrol
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I've actually started to collect Pacman and Ms Pacman ports now. I even have collected Pacman 5200, for a console I don't even own... Yet! ;-)

 

But I will say it has been nice emulating MAME on my Raspberry Pi 2 bartop.

 

One thing for sure, some arcade games were designed to gobble quarters, and in a few instances, the console versions actually felt more balanced and playable because they're less unfair or had multiple difficulty options.

 

But a lot of console ports just sucked. Also late 80s to early 90s on the NES, many console ports had bad flicker issues with too many sprites onscreen, poor color rendition, slowdown, etc, when games developed natively on the NES were much more playable. And you've got similar issues with Atari 2600 ports, some being quite good, others downright horrible. Homebrew has largely made up for past shortcomings however.

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The question of this thread basically sums up my philosophy. Now that I have a MAME cabinet, the early-mid 80s console ports of arcade games are pretty much dead to me, aside from a few notable exceptions that hold nostalgic value.

 

I also encountered this phenomenon. My goto platform for an arcade game defaults to MAME first. But there are exceptions though.

 

1- Phoenix, despite the arcade having a scrolling backdrop and more overall detail and higher resolution I like the graphics on the VCS version better. The colors are easier to handle. More rich, more saturated.

 

2-Defender, the game is too hard in the arcade and the controls are retarded. The Atari 400/800 version is just right. And I can play that for hours upon hours straight.

 

3- Gorf, I rather like the Colecovision home version. Partly because I played it there first, and the graphics are more childlike thus fitting into my limited intellect at the time.

 

4- Pole Position, the arcade version was simply too difficult and could potentially wipe out my arcade allowance for the day. So I did not play it much despite the awesome (at the time) graphics. I gyrated toward the home version on the 400/800.

 

5- AstroBattle / Threshold, I never knew this was an arcade game to begin with. So I've grown to love the Apple II (Threshold) version.

 

6- Missile Command, I found the arcade version to have clumsy controls that didn't fit my style. Didn't like the trak ball or having to choose a base. So I jammed the VCS' children's version #17. I also enjoyed it on the 400/800 when I wanted more of a challenge or a step up in graphics. Though today my Missile Command skills are unparalleled. Any time. Any Place. Any version.

 

7- The obligatory Pac-Man comment. Difficulty was the primary reason by far. Why waste $0.25 on the fucking game when I couldn't get past level 2 or 3? Even with all the cheats and mods I still suck at it today.

 

There are other examples but I think that suffices to illustrate. So it all comes down to 3 things in "getting" me to prefer the home versions. Graphics, Difficulty, First played at home.

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2-Defender, the game is too hard in the arcade and the controls are retarded. The Atari 400/800 version is just right. And I can play that for hours upon hours straight.

 

 

Instant non-arcade creds right there!! :) Defender arcade controls become intuitive pretty quick if you put any amount of time in the game.. and they work well with what the game becomes. Half the gameplay when the game was intense was using quick reversals to take advantage of the screen shift.. ihe "reverse" button worked perfect for that, but just doesn't work that well with joystick control,

 

I totally agree about Missile Command though. I would take the 2600 version over the arcade ANY day. I really love the VCS port. :)

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Instant non-arcade creds right there!! :) Defender arcade controls become intuitive pretty quick if you put any amount of time in the game.. and they work well with what the game becomes. Half the gameplay when the game was intense was using quick reversals to take advantage of the screen shift.. ihe "reverse" button worked perfect for that, but just doesn't work that well with joystick control,

 

I totally agree about Missile Command though. I would take the 2600 version over the arcade ANY day. I really love the VCS port. :)

Me too! Was playing the trakball version of it last night and remember thinking how damned good it is. 2600 version really is almost a "perfect" 2600 game IMO. Certainly one of the best of the early/simple concepts gameplay wise and one of the best console games of all time. Really don't feel the same way about the discrete 3-button play of the arcade. Just feels "right" with a single-button and besides, the difficulty ramps up nicely anyway. Yes, you can argue the mechanics or strategy of the game are changed a bit depending where your cursor is in relation to what missile base is left, but again, difficulty ramps up nicely as-is in the home version.

 

Wonder how it would have been, had a 2-player option been incorporated where one controls the cursor and the other fires the missiles? Seems like that would have been fun!

 

Agree about Defender also. Brilliant game in its own right - the arcade version that is. Absolutely love the layout of the controls and they really do suit and enhance the type of game it is, but I know it trips a lot of people up.

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In an arcade game like Donkey Kong, much of the fun--for me, anyway--comes from learning the little details and tricks of the game, and trying to use that stuff to eke out a new personal best score. Unfortunately, many important details often get lost in translation to consoles. The ports may superficially look a bit like Donkey Kong, but defining details like enemy AI, hit detection, level layout and proportions, etc. are lost--and with those things, goes the very soul of the original game, out the window.

 

Somebody said earlier that a home port of an arcade game is kind of like a "remix" of a song you like; in practice, I find ports are more often akin to a sloppy cover-version by a shitty garage band that doesn't quite have the skills to perform the song properly (or even passably).

 

The Atari 2600 does good versions of Missile Command and Centipede, but again, for me, the relative proficiency of those translations when viewed against the inherent constraints of the hardware offer no consolation in 2015 because the defining characteristics of the games are lost, and I now have a means of playing nearly perfect versions via emulation. Now that I have had a taste of the real deal, I cannot enjoy a trackball game with a joystick, even though I grew up with the home/joystick versions.

 

The reduced difficulty of home ports is usually more of a flaw for me than a benefit. The games were designed to be simultaneously difficult, short, and fun. A nerfed version of the game with a slow-ramping difficulty usually translates as dull and perfunctory (IMO, of course).

 

That's why I've always favored console games that were designed to be console games. The classic 2600 Activision games, the NES and Genesis platformers of the late 80s and early 90s, etc. Many of those games wouldn't work in an arcade, just like many arcade games don't work on the consoles.

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Defender (arcade control) was simply something I couldn't co-ordinate and get a grip on. Just felt clumsy. Even today with 50 ways to set up MAME I can't get in the groove like I do on the Atari 400/800 version.

 

I was also a-scared of what they were doing to the humanoids when a Lander would swoop them up and take them away. They'd be returned a Mutant, all crazed and messed up. As little kids we wondered what was happening. How was that being done? Was it like the surgery in Disney's "The Black Hole" where Dr. Kate McCrae, head wrapped in tinfoil, was getting made into a robot. Did the authorities and truant officers do that to you if you didn't behave and go to school? Did doctors lock you away and do experiments on you?

 

It was a sweltering hot day and I remember Dr. Solt sticking my ass with a footlong needle. I ran screaming out of there, out the office, and clear across the street and into one of the 60's styled variety dime stores. Blackstone's in Chicago IIRC. Irregardless of traffic. And I had the advantage because all the grups were seated and the doors wide-open for ventilation. I just hauled ass out of there. So when I play Doom and Frogger I always think about that. Rightfully so. Because later that same day I went out catching frogs as a diversion to settle me down.

Edited by Keatah
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But I will say it has been nice emulating MAME on my Raspberry Pi 2 bartop.

 

That's right. To really even begin appreciating MAME (and emulation in general) I strongly recommend one getting some sort of dedicated hardware that runs little(1) or nothing else. Because just unpacking the executable and stuffing it with a rom on your desktop is a wholly inadequate setup. Unsuitable for any gaming experience.

 

Soon enough you'll come to think of it as the premier way to play classic arcade games. Especially when you want to play Game-X, and the nearest arcade is 14 miles away. Throw in some snow, limited hours of operation, slack maintenance, lack of 80's music and ambiance.. Even the possibility they may no longer have your fav or that it may be down for repairs.. And you soon begin to see the advantages of a home arcade machine.

 

I sometimes think of my emulation rig to be a genuine console. A MAME console proper. A console that only plays classic arcade games and nothing else. It was something we always discussed as kids, would it ever be possible, how would it work, how would it take shape? Would it do the graphics and sounds the same way? What kinds of cartridges would it use? Those questions and many more.

 

(1) System maintenance utilities and organizational aids are the exception if you're doing this on Windows/Linux/DOS/Mac. Conducting system maintenance tasks is like entering back door in your console. Do your stuff, exit, and play!

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One thing for sure, some arcade games were designed to gobble quarters, and in a few instances, the console versions actually felt more balanced and playable because they're less unfair or had multiple difficulty options.

 

That's for certain. When I encountered that situation I rarely if ever played the arcade version again. Even if it was the only game in town. For miles around. And me not having had a gaming fix in days. I knew I was being suckered in and taken for a ride.

 

I still behave that way. I won't ever drop a quarter on anything "Pac-Man". And Pole Position was just as bad. $0.50 for what? 2-3 minutes of playtime? It gets even worse with Hard Drivin' and Race Drivin'. The games were nice simulators for an arcade at the time. But $1.00 per play? I spent a total of $2.00 and that was it. That $2.00 would normally get me several hours on Tac/Scan and Gyruss!

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The question of this thread basically sums up my philosophy. Now that I have a MAME cabinet, the early-mid 80s console ports of arcade games are pretty much dead to me, aside from a few notable exceptions that hold nostalgic value.

Yes, pretty much this for me as well. The Atari 5200, and to a lesser extent, the ColecoVision fit into that category. Not as good as the arcade original, but not so far from them as to feel like a whole different game.

 

Atari 2600 games are their own thing to me and many of them still have a lot of charm. VCS Berzerk is pure zen and I would like to see it again. Asteroids and Space Invaders, totally their own thing.

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