As the years slip away, video games companies continuously give us new games to look forward to. But what if we want to play an older game? Unfortunately, consoles do not last forever and as we get older it seems that we simply lose the ability to play the games that entertained us as children (this statement ignores the Wii's Virtual Console, of course). However, emulators provide a solution to the problem. . . Project 64 roms give us the ability to replay full Nintendo 64 games. Read on to learn more.
What are Emulators?
Emulators are light-weight programs that act as functional substitutions for gaming consoles. They not only allow you to play existing video games, but also hack games to create new levels, challenges, etc. Emulators are mostly used for older consoles, such as the NES or the SEGA Genesis, but can used for newer consoles (though they are generally in serious need of improvement).
How do Emulators Work?
Basically all you need to know (unless you want to make your own emulator) is that the emulator program is able to open files known as ROMs or ISOs. ROMs are images of games that originally used cartridges (SNES, N64, etc. ), and ISOs are images of games that were originally on discs (PS, Dreamcast, etc. ). However, one emulator cannot play all ROMs or ISOs. To play a SNES ROM, you need an emulator that acts as a SNES. To play a PS ISO, you need a PS Emulator. To play 64 roms, you need an emulator like Project 64. Make sense? Good.
What are the Benefits to Using an Emulator?
Emulators allow you to enjoy a seemingly infinite number of games free-of-charge on your own computer, they take up a very insignificant amount of space on your hard drive (unless you're using an emulator for a new console), and they allow you to save your game whenever and wherever you see fit. I (Xalo) own the original Chrono Trigger for the SNES. However, I imagine many of you guys grew up with an N64 or even a later console, completely missing out on a legendary game. Once a console has lived out its lifespan and the only alternative is to buy it again to play on another console (which will again be replaced in about 3-5 years), what are you supposed to do? Emulators offer the only solution for gamers who just want to relive the classics they grew up with.
So They're Perfect, Right?
Well, nothing is perfect. The ESA has made it illegal (and often times impossible) to download some ROMs, making it difficult to find the game you're looking for. They make it illegal on the grounds that the Wii's Virtual Console is designed to let you relive your childhood by selling you yesterday's technology at today's prices. Also, many download sites look a little sketchy and should not be trusted immediately. Oftentimes the companies that made these original games are no longer in existence and are definitely not making any more money from sales of the game itself. So, buy the game on virtual console if you wish, but we prefer the comfort of our computers. There's nothing quite like the ability to save your state at any point in the game with a Project 64 rom. Also, if you don't want to get frustrated or have your hands burst in flames, we recommend you purchase a USB controller. They are around $10-$15 new but are definitely worth it if you plan on playing any fighting games (see Street Fighter).
So Which Emulators Should I Download?
We recommend the following emulators:
RockNESX - NES emulator
ZNES - SNES emulator
Visual Boy - Advance, GB, GBC, and GBA emulator
Project64 - N64 emulator
epsxe - PSX emulator
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The author is an administrator of http://gamegimp.net a gaming site that revolves around emulators, roms, and retro games.