Do you remember back to the 1980â€™s? Or even the 1990â€™s? Do you remember the fun gaming consoles we had, like the NES? Well if youâ€™ve never played one of the Nintendo Classics or even the Atari 7800 games you can play them on your PC without the bulky cartridges, region-locks or faulty hardware.
What is Emulation?
Emulation has many aspects, Computer structure emulation such as PearPC allows you to run different (For Example, Power PC) processor architectures on one machine. Games console emulation (which we are dealing with today) is when you can *emulate* the hardware of a games console, allowing you to play the games that were designed for it.
What types of Emulators are there?
There are hundreds of emulators out there running a certain games console. Some of the big ones are Project64, ZSNES, FCE Ultra, Satourne and even Dolphin (Gamecube). They run a certain games console but have different features.
Now letâ€™s get to the good stuffâ€¦ The Emulators:
Nintedo Entertainment System
There is only one champion of the 1980â€™s which is the NES. Boasting some of the best games ever made the NES is one of the best consoles that you can choose to start emulating.
This is an open-source emulator which is cross-platform. It is one of the best in my books and you should try to use it to play some of your favourite games. Having netplay inside will allow you to have multiplayer games with your NES games.
One of the newest NES emulators which is Japanese. There is also an English version for those who canâ€™t read Japanese :P.
Of course to play the games, we need the ROMs. These are the files which were on the cartridges which unless you have modded an NES drive into your computer you will need. Owning the games is needed as you will have to delete it after 24 hours of downloading if you donâ€™t have it.
Google is your friend (google it :D)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Moving up the timeline somewhat 10 years later we have the SNES. Including the popular game Super Mario World it was a good console to have. But now youâ€™d have to shell out $90 to get a refurbished one.
A cross-platform SNES emulator which performs well. It features NetPlay so you can play some multiplayer games sitting at your computer. It is compatible with most of the SNES games but some mightnâ€™t work.
Snes9x is also cross-platform and does run on a Mac. Like ZSNES it supports netplay but it doesnâ€™t have a fancy GUI like ZSNES. It can run your ROMS and record a video of the game you are playing into AVI format.
Same as before, you will need to own the game if you want to get the ROMs. Or delete them 24 hours later.
Google has to be used again. 🙁
Jumping into the Fifth generation of games consoles we have the PS1. Made by Sony and was a very popular console. If you have one, and still own a bunch of games this could be one of the best you can get.
Now before we can use our emulators. The Bios required or else you will be unable to load up the PS1 games and if we canâ€™t do that what was the point in the emulator?
The PS1 Bios we will be looking up today is the scph1001.bin. I had found it quite easy to find this BIOS and found it easy to download. A quick Google of â€˜scph1001.binâ€™ had brought me a bunch of links which looked promising.
Remember if you donâ€™t own a PS1 it is illegal to download the BIOS.
We got it? Yes? Now, lets move on.
With the PS1 being in disk format instead of cartridges. We donâ€™t see that many ROM files hosted on sites. Weâ€™ll need to copy these games from the CD to the Harddrive using some tools. We will need CDRWIN to copy these games. Now once you have CDRWIN and placed your (hopefully not scored) PS1 disk into the drive go into Extract Disk/Sectors/Tracks. Press start and it will copy the game to your hard drive. Make sure you know where the files are going. Has it copied? Make sure you get the name of the file with .BIN on the end of it. Now letâ€™s talk about the emulators.
An emulator which didnâ€™t get anywhere near what I wanted. ePSXe was frustrating to get working as I needed to find the correct plug-ins. Bringing my screen size down to 800×600 each time I tried to load the BIOS, I had to get my screen size back up. But when I had it up and running it was going fine, until the Windows ME moment occurred. An error had popped up out of no where. So I suggest that you donâ€™t try ePSXe unless you are confident that you can run it.
After my experience with ePSXe I wasnâ€™t looking forward to Psx but I was surprised on how well it worked the first time. It ran in a small window instead of Full Screen, which in my case for emulation is perfect and it started the game well. The test game (Spyro:Year of the Dragon ;)) worked well but there were some issues with the sound.
The main problem on psx was the save states every time I tried to load one up it crashed Psx. The Memory cards I had running worked fine. So Comparing ePSXe to pSX, I would rather use pSX.
There is a good range of N64 emulators. There was one game which required a good PC to run, this was Goldeneye 007. Since this is a test I decided to use it as the test game.
This was the first (games console) emulator I had ever used. As standard with most N64 emulators it has a Gameshark built-in, this is useful for *exploiting* the games memory so you can cheat. What P64 doesnâ€™t have which is featured in the other emulators I have talked about is netplay although there is a P64k version which supports net play. In playing Goldeneye on this I was quite satisfied with what I was getting and there are the Super2xSal textures. So P64 is a worthwhile emulator to get.
UltraHLE stands for Ultra High Level Emulator. Being the first successful emulator (as being described by the emulator zone) I gave it a try. When I first started up the emulator I had been presented â€˜The application has failed to start because glide2x.dll was not found.â€™ I knew what this was after reading up about it after acquiring the DLL I extracted it into the UltraHLE folder I had. This severely lagged up my system and after loading up the Task Manager I ended the UltraHLE program. So unfortunately I havenâ€™t been able to play it. But if you have a VooDoo based graphics card give it a little go.
This time I actually got to play on the emulator unlike UltraHLE. This one impressed me and had what Project64 didnâ€™t NetPlay which means I can connect to a server and play Goldeneye online (although I havenâ€™t tried that yet). Playing Goldeneye was a painless experience not one sign of a crash was there. It was kinda simple to use but still gets my thumbs up. Nemu is unfortunately discontinued of 2003.
Yeah you guessed it same rules with ROMs apply to the n64 games.
You’ll have to google for these roms.
Game Boy Colour
The Game Boy Colour was the first games console I had ever owned and I loved it! For any of you Pokemon fans the original games were made for this (Pokemon Red in mind) and it has a huge range of games to play with.
First GBC emulator I set my eyes upon. TGB Dual is a worthy emulator which does exactly what it says on the tin. One of few GBC emulators which features the SYSTEM-LINK! This allows you to play two player games (Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is good) on your computer. Now in playing a game for one hour on this thinking it was half that Iâ€™d say this is good fun and you can try to use it.
Similar to TGB Dual and has the same fun factor. Also featuring TCP/IP Link play you can have the same fun with this as TGB Dual. It can run full screen as well so you can sit back and mess with your Game Boy games without having to squint :D.
Whatâ€™s this? Your joking right? Its still illegal to download these roms without owning the original but you can delete them 24 hours later?
Google these ROM’s
Emulation: Taking it one step further
Iâ€™m sure you all love your keyboards, typing away on them. But playing with some emulators itâ€™s not that great. For the N64 you can buy the Adaptoid. An Adaptoid is a N64-USB connector which allows you to use your N64 Controller with your PC. They cancelled production until another company (ZTNet) began making a small production line at the beginning of December. I preordered mine and received it a few days prior to writing this. Its great fun to use and gives me a little bit more freedom playing Zelda games. For the NES (and GBC) I found myself looking at a Bluetooth device which is white and comes with something beginning with W. Yes, I found myself using the WiiMote and a Bluetooth dongle to play my games if you think Iâ€™m lying google GlovePIE which allows you to use it with your PC. The SNES has a similar option too, the Super Smart Joy although I havenâ€™t used one myself Iâ€™m sure it works fine. You can even buy these adaptors for the Xbox controllers. Which brings me back to the PS1 emulation, guess what? You can buy an adaptor for the PS2 Dual-Shock controllers which can be used with the original PS1 controllers.
So I hope you liked this article on emulation and I am open to some ways I couldâ€™ve improved it so I can work a little better on my next article. If you are willing to play on some of the GBC games in TGB dual maybe I could play a multiplayer game with someone. Thanks for reading this article.