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How many of you are emulation converts?


Keatah
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How many of you switched to emulation over real hardware? Or perhaps did that and went back because of inaccuracy and frustrations?

 

I know there was a lot of hate for emulation back in the 1st decade of this century, but, now it seems to be less. People are beginning to see emulation as a complement and enhancement to real hardware, especially when disk image manipulation and curation are involved.

 

 

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I go back and forth.

 

I don't mind emulation for the consoles so I can play them at hires on my 60" TV via my HTPC, but for computers I prefer the real thing.

I do buy a copy of Amiga and C64 Forever every couple of years to help the development and support the project, but beside using it to prep a CF card or listen to mods I don't really use it.

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I use both. But I can say as definitively as I can say anything that I will never switch 100% to using emulation. All of this stuff is recreational and a big part of the enjoyment I get out of it is using the original hardware. I know we all have our own reasons for doing things, but a big part of me actually can't understand those who just want to play a game or use a program and completely ignore the original hardware it ran on. Using that original hardware is probably 50% of the appeal of doing all this in the first place for me.

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How many of you switched to emulation over real hardware? Or perhaps did that and went back because of inaccuracy and frustrations?

 

I know there was a lot of hate for emulation back in the 1st decade of this century, but, now it seems to be less. People are beginning to see emulation as a complement and enhancement to real hardware, especially when disk image manipulation and curation are involved.

I converted to emulation when I switched to PC in 94 or 95. A big reason is I didn't have time or space to run old hardware at the time.

 

Now I do have more space, but when I boot up the old hardware, it has aged. Disks may not boot anymore. It's slower and less convenient. I think I'm converted to emulation for life.

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Using the NES as a single example.. It would take me some friggin time to think of and remember all the ways to play NES emulated.. and I like all of them. I also like playing on the real deal, as well as the NT mini hardware. Yes, my "favorite" way is playing the real thing on a CRT. But I can't do that on the crapper obviously, so I have no problem playing it on a GBA or PSP there. And what? :lol:

 

Aside from the zealots on both ends, the whole "emulation vs. real" debate I think is a big nothing sandwich for the majority of people on this forum.... who obviously and freely enjoy both as applicable, while being fully cognizant of the pros and cons of each.

Edited by NE146
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I first found out about emulation (as we know it today) in the 1990's, beginning with Microsoft Arcade, and Activision's VCS ActionPacks. Not forgetting DaveSpicer's Sparcade, DASarcade, and Digital Eclipse's standalone William's games.

 

I started thinking (and hoping) if this stuff catches on I could rebuild my entire childhood collection and get to play the arcade games that I thought were gone forever. I was hooked! Eventually the emulation microcosm grew and encompassed all home computers, consoles, and arcade games.

 

Today, my reasons for doing emulation are different, and more numerous. No longer is emulation just a way to relive the early classics. One of them is reliability, especially with disk drives and expansion box connectors and likewise, no muss, no fuss. Also, convenience, being able segue between systems or play something for a short amount of time without lengthy set-up times is cool.

 

And then the most important thing is clutter. Not so much lack of space or cramming too much into too small a volume; but having it all look nice and all of it being functional and ready to roll. Emulation accommodates this rather nicely. Otherwise there is just too much stuff. Also emulation serves to complement classic computers by providing tools for disk/flash management. Emulation makes it easy to make compilation disks or work with setting up and arranging files on disk. When done, if you want, transfer to real hardware.

 

---

 

Having said all that. I still thoroughly enjoy genuine Apple II and early 486 PC hardware - and thus maintain a modest selection of that hardware. And over time I've come to think of AppleWin Emulator as a whole other "model" of the Apple II series. I call it the Apple //em.

 

The Apple //em has it's own advantages and quirks just like real hardware. And it provides and excels at certain functions better than real hardware. So it becomes complementary because of that.

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I'm typically an original hardware/software purist, but I got an RPi3 for Xmas and I've dived headfirst into the world of emulation. RetroPie makes it quite simple and I'm enamored with it. A big draw for me (besides arcade emulation of course) has been setting up optional emulators for platforms like ZX Spectrum and Wonderswan, which I've never seen before. There are thousands of foreign games that I've never really had a chance to experience before now.

 

I have about a million questions, give or take, but I'm trying to figure out as much as I can on my own. My main concern, at least today, is how to get Daphne to work. Finding the laserdisc data for games like Dragon's Lair is no easy feat. I know it's against forum rules to ask, but if anyone wants to pm me, I'd love some help! I'd even be willing to put money towards it, if I know it's legit (ie, phoenixdownita mentioned mamedvds.com in another thread which looks promising...)

Edited by glazball
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Never happened even when I was largely into it, never will. Always been a tool to me, a gateway to test or whatever and still is when I use it. I loved it in the 90s and earlier 00s when so much was in development watching people learn stuff -- pop wow FDS games work, pop MODE7 works and now FF2 is playable and F-Zero, pop we got SGB colors and borders along with the added audio and so on. That was really my thing, learning more about it, growing with the development, and then after maturity they were valuable test tools to buying and trying stuff out I missed. I've saved money on garbage, bought others I didn't think would be good but were.

 

I still can' get over the hump of using an emulator box like a Pi system over original, or original+flash kit. Retron5/RetroFreak was about the max of going over the edge but still having to use original controllers, tv, and game carts.

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I tend to use original hardware a bit more than emulation, but I use both quite a bit. Not surprisingly, I use emulation most for MAME because I don't have all those arcade machines available to me.

 

I think that without flash carts, I would probably have switched to emulation almost entirely. I'm not really interested in piling up carts and software, but I do like using the original controllers and many consoles by themselves are affordable with their flash carts, so I do a lot of flash cart gaming. However, whenever I've done a comparison, I DO notice the differences between original hardware and emulation. I used to claim that you couldn't tell, but there are differences that become more annoying over time.

 

I will say that I do not collect any non-cart based systems. And if I do have one of those (C64, XEGS), I only collect carts for it. I am 100% done with collecting classic computers and magnetic media.

 

 

 

=============

Switching gears a bit. I'm not really a professional programmer, but I work in the tech industry and occasionally write code. On my bucket list is to write programs for some of my favorite systems, and I know that emulation makes this "dabbling" many factors easier. So there's that - something I don't do but would only consider doing with emulation.

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I would say I'm at 80% real vs. 20% emulation. I prefer the real deal, but I use emulation for systems I don't own now, such as the Virtual Boy. I also sometimes use emulation when someone releases a new ROM that I would like to check out, but either don't have a writeable cart or that system is put away in storage. For example, I was checking out Stunt Cycle for Intellivision a couple of days ago. I have an Intellivision, but it's put away in the closet. I didn't want to hook it up to try out a game for 10 minutes.

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Without emulation I would have never seen the great Atari 7800 games. I became a fan of that console BECAUSE of emulation.

 

And being a pinball fan with limited room in my house, I can enjoy games like these again (thanks to PinMAME). Of course it's not the real thing but it's as close as it can realistically be.

 

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The game is the thing, not the shell it was once packed in. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Depends.. for many arcade games the shell is a big part of the game, :) And I'm not just talking obvious functionality (yolks, scopes, spinners, etc.) but also in atmosphere/coolness. e.g. The flashing lights on a Space Encounters add nothing to the game itself, but what a difference playing that game emulated vs. on it's native cabinet.

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Depends.. for many arcade games the shell is a big part of the game, :) And I'm not just talking obvious functionality (yolks, scopes, spinners, etc.) but also in atmosphere/coolness. e.g. The flashing lights on a Space Encounters add nothing to the game itself, but what a difference playing that game emulated vs. on it's native cabinet.

 

Yes, true enough. I was thinking about cartridges in particular. Who needs em?

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Depends.. for many arcade games the shell is a big part of the game, :) And I'm not just talking obvious functionality (yolks, scopes, spinners, etc.) but also in atmosphere/coolness. e.g. The flashing lights on a Space Encounters add nothing to the game itself, but what a difference playing that game emulated vs. on it's native cabinet.

 

Indeed. You guys in the US are lucky that you can still buy those old arcade machines.

 

In my country (in Scandinavia) you can find pinball machines but those old Atari arcade cabinets... no way.

 

PS: Atari Star Wars is a prime example of a game that can't be emulated. Yes you can play it with a mouse but it will never feel the same without the original yoke.

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I started with consoles. I kept my old ones, and I acquired newer ones along the way. I didn't have the room to display them all. Emulation allowed me to play my favorites, while they were in storage.

Emulation helped me to experience individual cart games I didn't yet have, as well as homebrews!

 

I remember when I saw my first emulator though. It was an arcade game I'd never heard of previously (StarForce?).

Shortly thereafter, Pac-Man and Crazy Kong (took longer to get DK emulated properly) showed up.

I remember they'd get the games working. Later they'd figure out the sound and color mapping. It was an exciting thing to watch grow. Amazing what emulation has become today!

I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven, back when I could play the REAL Pac-Man on my PC!

 

Emulation followed me to my Gp2x, DS, PSP, and Android devices.

 

I suppose, at one point, the tables flipped, but I am nowhere close to anti-emulation. I am now able to display all of my systems. The Harmony, AtariMax (5200 & CV/Adam), Everdrive (NES, Genesis, SNES, N64), TheCart!, and a couple sacrificed 7800 carts (one with Pokey; the other for higher memory games), have flipped the table. it's still sometimes simpler to double click an emulator. Fortunately, I've been able to put my emulation ROM collections toward my physical systems. I actually own a lot of the cartridges. I just HATE having to get up to switch games.

 

As for emulation, I set up my PC emulation to look and feel as close to the real thing as possible. I don't feel too lacking when playing consoles via emulation. I still like emulation for a quick 5 minutes of going back to 1983! MAME is the same, with a few exceptions. I managed to grab a few of my favorite arcade machines. For arcades I still like MAME for a quick 5 minute time warp. However, playing on a 4-way, notched, Nintendo joystick can't be emulated. Pac-Man's 4-way stick has a distinct "feel". Playing Asteroids on a real Vector monitor, with the arcade button layout, cannot be emulated. It's a different level. Even though it's kind of the same with the consoles, it's not the same intensity. I can take or leave console pads and sticks. However, the arcade machines actually feel different. Again, sometimes emulation is just simpler than going downstairs and firing up the games.

 

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Over the years I've learned to not be fussy about what game uses what controller. It's perfectly fine to play Star Wars with a D-Pad or Mouse. And Tempest with a mixture of mouse and keyboard. Sacrilege? Perhaps.. Though I do have a set of X-Arcade sticks and other custom controllers and a selection of various hand controllers for when I really get into a game.

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Both have their uses. I prefer real hardware, and real cartridges in real boxes. But when I just want to play a game for a couple of minutes, it's more convenient to fire up an emulator. Or when I'm on the road, I'm not going to lug a 1200XL and a 1050 with me, but my computer will emulate them both pretty well these days and it's always with me anyway.

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Over the years I've learned to not be fussy about what game uses what controller. It's perfectly fine to play Star Wars with a D-Pad or Mouse. And Tempest with a mixture of mouse and keyboard. Sacrilege? Perhaps.. Though I do have a set of X-Arcade sticks and other custom controllers and a selection of various hand controllers for when I really get into a game.

 

I don't care about controller purity, but I find star wars arcade hard to play under emulation no matter what controller I use. it's hard to aim properly. Unless I just haven't configured it right

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Controller feel and configuration is a highly personal thing and what works for one person may very well not work for another. You can try direction flipping and linearity/sensitivity adjustments for tweaking Star Wars mouse. I use the keyboard to fire, because pressing the mouse button constantly is fatiguing. That's all I can suggest.

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Over the years I've learned to not be fussy about what game uses what controller. It's perfectly fine to play Star Wars with a D-Pad or Mouse. And Tempest with a mixture of mouse and keyboard. Sacrilege? Perhaps.. Though I do have a set of X-Arcade sticks and other custom controllers and a selection of various hand controllers for when I really get into a game.

 

Yeah... look at my signature. I've played about 2 mil with a mouse (with easier dip switches) but I can play the real thing as long as I want (my record is 30 million and then I just quit). There's a big difference in the aiming and precision. Yoke is superior.

 

ESB can be played with a mouse just fine, but not the original one. At least I can't. There are moments during the tower shooting that you have to move extremely fast on the either side and shoot to the corner. Also the later level trenches are very hard with a mouse.

 

Tempest, Centipede, Pole Position, Marble Madness... they're all just as playable with an alternative controller. Star Wars (imho) is the only one that doesn't feel the same. But then again I don't mind the extra challenge, either. Cheers. ;)

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