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randombullseye avatar 6:03 AM on 12.01.2009  (server time)
Old School Games Ė Emulation

During my inagural run of the internet on Starcraft, I met a guy who told me that he liked playing all certain game X on his computer. I explained I never played 2 or 3 and he said he could just send me the ďrom.Ē What? A rom? Really? All I had to do was get an emulator, which he could also send. Bullshit. But sure enough, in this tiny little screen and with my keyboard I could play 16-bit console. Then he told me how to make it full screen, map controls how I wanted, and explained that every old game ever was available.

Furthermore, upon realization that not only could I play this, but I could play it for free with no hassle. I can get any game. Any game. All I have to do is find it. So every game I bought the re-release of on playstation, you know those RPGs, all were there. Free. And wihtout load times. Compilations and re-releses were entirely moot. So after the Super Nintendo, I quickly learned that the major consoles were also available. Even finding out that the 32-bit systems were playable on great computers blew my mind. My friend went on to start a rom site under another alias and I went on to do comics, eventually finding my way to every hotspot of the internet. But no matter where I went, I always loved emulation. Itís the greatest thing ever. So not only can you play any game you can think of, for free, it almost always works perfect. No blowing in a game slot. No hassle with cords. Just pick the game from a list and play. Holy shit. I need to post another head exploding.

Just in case youíre still in the dark. Emulation is a word that means to pretend. So these programs pretend to be these old consoles. The roms are the read only memory from these games, that people much more intellegent than myself managed to put on the internet. Furthermore, not only that but all the games are free. You can save anywhere in the game at any time with ďsave states.Ē You can actually speed up the game too. For example, walking around fighting battles in an RPG takes hours right? With emulation you can grind at an extreme pace. In an even crazier twist, online play is possible. Yeah, I know. You can play two players for free, or more than two players even, online. Oh yeah, I didnít mention that you can get Arcade games did I? Itís totally possible to play all the arcade classics for free, with as many quarters as you want. Just press a button and the computer inserts them. And you can keep playing. I know itís a little cliche to post a third one, but the joke isnít hammered in yet.

So how does this work? I want to explain very clearly that this is not piracy. I donít advocate (speak on behalf, approve of) piracy. Iíve found many games that I really love from emulation and had to own. Even if I never play it hardly, I still just had to own it. To play it and hold it in my hand. A real copy. In talking with old school game store owners, I found that thatís actually quite common. He explained that that originally would have hurt buissness he thought, but really it just creates interest for an actual copy. I mean yeah, itís great to play on the computer, but itís something else to play on a TV. At least for me. Anymore when I play some old consoles it cramps my hands. The paddle is just too small for me. Iíve grown too big to play it comfortably. But if I play on the computer itís not as much of a hassle. I can jump from game to game so quickly, I can spend an hour playing everything. Free!

Recently, one company began re-releasing older games on their console virtually. Now this wouldnít be so bad if the prices were more reasonable, but some of them are quite pricy. Considering how much I love to share games, thatís bullshit. I canít just hand over a copy of new digital download games either. But on the computer, I can tell anyone to go get a rom. And they have it. They play it. And we can talk about it. But playing legitimately bothers some people. I hate to be an asshole, but I think this needs to happen. The same way old comics should be online for free, old games should too. It makes sense to me. Itís something that only certain people will really cling to. Most people will just want the handful of games they used to play, but for a guy like me this is heaven. This is literally heaven. In my head I pictured heaven being full of naked women and a video game machine that could play everything. Now I have that. And itís incredible.

Occasionally, companies make this feel like itís wrong. That itís a bad thing. Iím of the opinion that older material isnít going to be the bread and butter of anyone. Itís just there. Itís over and done with, there isnít any reason for them to try and milk more out of these without releasing new versions or sequels, so why bother. Why bother a poor guy who just wants to feel his own personal heaven. Who wants to play fighting games online or shoot bad guys all night. Play RPGs that would cost a fortune, and were never translated by official companies but by the fans who love these games, and enjoy them. Isnít that the main reason companies make games? Or why movie companies make movies? Or is it all just a commercial product. That they see this as piracy and thatís the end of it. I can see where they would argue that, but Iím arguing the opposite. This isnít theft, itís preservation. I might be able to find a copy of a game and pay some person that these companies never met for a copy but they arenít selling original new copies that give the company any money or incentive. These digital games are the greatest thing ever. And without them, I doubt the internet would be worth using. Except for porn of course.

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