So, the other day, Top Hat Gaming Man put a new video up that discussed the idea of emulation and those who dislike (or even claim to hate) emulating games. The video resonated with me so much that I decided to do my own little post as a reply, of sorts.

You can see the original video by Top Hat Gaming Man here:

It’s a very interesting video that raises some very good points, in my opinion. That’s why I wanted to voice my views on this rather controversial topic.

Where Does The Money Go?

This was one point that Top Hat Gaming Man raises in his video, as well as one that I have thought for a very long time. One of the most common arguments I hear about why you shouldn’t use emulation is that you are stealing potential money from the developers of those games.

That is true… For current games that are still being released by those developers. However, when it comes to the likes of the NES, SNES, PSX or PS2 (plus anything else from those eras or before), the developers aren’t producing those discs or cartridges anymore. You’re not buying them new. So where do you think the money goes?

For example, say you suddenly have a stupid amount of disposable cash and decide to spend £900 or more on a copy of Rule of Rose for the PlayStation 2 (and yes, that is the price on Amazon). Do you think that Atlus or 505 Games are going to get any of the £900?

Well, they won’t. Instead, you’ll have paid all of that money to some random person who just happens to have a copy of the game. The developers don’t get any of it.

That also means that you’ve just lost £900 that you could have used to buy around 20 new games for the latest consoles… And the money from those 20 games would have gone to the developers. So, actually, if you’re worried about money not going to the developers, you shouldn’t be buying retro games at all. This really doesn’t seem like a valid argument when you break it down.

Rarity Is A Big Deal

Another aspect of retro gaming that comes into play is the rarity of the games. I’ve already covered the likes of Rule of Rose, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Things like the SNES cartridges and the original PSX games are all becoming rarer as more people get into retro gaming. I mean, I have a PlayStation game that is valued at over £500! These are incredibly expensive and hard to find, yet they are all great games.

The problem here is that, if you want to experience these awesome games, you’ll either have to fork out up to the price of a month’s mortgage payment or just accept that you’ll never get to play them. That is, unless you use emulation.

By getting the ROM and an emulator, you are able to enjoy these games that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get your hands on. That’s a huge plus, in my eyes.

Combatting Degradation

Let’s face it, even the newer retro consoles like the PlayStation 2, Gamecube or Xbox are all nearly 20 years old. That’s almost 20 years worth of use, wear and tear that these systems have been through. The same games for the games.

So, even the newer retro consoles are going to be on their last legs soon enough. Sure, you may be able to repair them if you’re technically gifted and able to actually do that. However, if you are like me and don’t really know how to do that, then the idea of your favourite console finally biting the dust can be a very scary thought.

That’s where emulation comes into play. You can back up all of your games digitally so that when the discs become too badly scratched, you can still play them. On top of that, most emulators let you play from the disc as well, so if you really look after the disc, you’ll still be able to use them.

As PCs are constantly upgradable, and there are always new PCs coming out, you won’t need to worry about your machine not working anymore. Therefore, when your console does eventually give it all up, you’ll still be able to use your computer to play the games you’ve collected and fallen in love with.

And That’s All Folks

All in all, I think emulation of retro games is a great tool that we have access to. The games aren’t actively produced, marketed or supported by the developers anymore, and none of the money you are spending on the used games actually goes to them. On top of this, it means that you’ll be able to continue playing your favourite games long after the consoles have died, as well as giving you the ability to try out games that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get your hands on.

So yes, I am a fan of emulation. In fact, here’s a few emulators that I use, myself:

  • RetroArch – great for multiple consoles but I use it for the PSX
  • Dolphin – for Gamecube and Wii games
  • PCSX2 – for PS2 games, although it can be a bit temperamental
  • SNES9X – for SNES games (obviously)

What are your thoughts on emulation? Let me know in the comments below!

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