Thoughts on Emulation



  • Before beginning, I'll remind you to keep in mind the forum rules on emulation. Basically, no talking about how to emulate or where to find any of the required parts for emulation. With this in mind, it is also probably best to present thoughts as your opinions rather than your practices.

    This is a big subject. From legal/ethical debates to the battles over purity and accessibility to opinions on Sony using an open source emulator to create and sell a product, there are a lot of ways a discussion on emulation could go. I'm good with any type of explanation but I really am just curious what Allies' opinions on emulation are and how those opinions have been formed.

    My personal point of interest is in the emulation of older games that are no longer in print and unavailable from the developer or publisher themselves - either in hard copy or via download. When such a game becomes popular, the price usually blows up to an absurd number and anybody wanting to play it has to either emulate, buy a bootleg or pay up. And the obvious kicker is, no matter which they choose, the creator/developer/publisher will not see a penny. This of course opens the can of worms that we can't expect that every person would only download such games and that the emulation of these games only promotes emulation as a whole and so on so I'll stop here and leave it to the allies.



  • I have zero problems with emulation as outlined in your third paragraph. Stuff that's out of print or not for sale by a publisher or digital store, I say go for it. As far as that popularizing emulation, I mean maybe, but it also popularizes the games themselves as well. You can bet that there are a lot of cult classics that wouldn't be as popular or well-regarded without emulation (think of the Mother series for example), and the democratization of game ROMs actually helps to preserve the games themselves.



  • For my view, Emulation should only be used for games that are physically not available in your country, games that are no longer purchasable, or to safe-guard certain games from being lost to the annals of history.



  • The whole Sony debacle is a bit overblown imo. Nintendo sells you ROMs they ripped straight off of the internet on their online storefront. This isn't a new thing by any means.



  • @el-shmiablo said:

    Nintendo sells you ROMs they ripped straight off of the internet on their online storefront.

    That was actually disproven.



  • I'm not gonna argue legality but from a moral standpoint, far as I'm concerned anyway, anything more than like seven or eight years old (or just a console generation) is free game. They've made their money. I can't buy a new copy, and a used copy ain't giving the developers or publishers money. For rereleases on a digital market or Virtual Console or the like it's murkier, but the older you go the more likely the people who actually worked on those games are long gone from the company. That's assuming the developer as a whole isn't shut down and sales aren't going to god knows where. Even if Nintendo isn't just ripping ROMs off the internet, they're still selling you games you've probably bought in some way shape or form like five times at this point anyway. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy them, I know I get Mega Man X any chance I can (except that godawful phone port.) I'm just saying I don't feel a pang of guilt when I load it up in an emulator instead.



  • @e_zed_eh_intern said in Thoughts on Emulation:

    I'm good with any type of explanation but I really am just curious what Allies' opinions on emulation are and how those opinions have been formed.

    Emulation is legal, but I think everyone understands the question to have used the term "emulation" as a shorthand for piracy / illegal downloads, which is a civil crime (copyright infringement). Emulation is the enticing factor that induces to the underlying issue, because if you download a rom you usually want to play it, right?

    Anyway, I think I have a few main views on this subject.

    1. Always feel some amount of guilt for piracy. I'm not going to tell people how less guilty they should feel if the game is really old or even if it is impossible to purchase second hand. But it is still a crime, so people should feel guilty even if that amount of guilt is the lowest possible value on their internal scale that they can possibly imagine. The duration of copyright, especially as it applies to software, are not the laws that I would have written, but that's what we have right now until they are changed. Feeling zero guilt about breaking them is unhealthy. The country was established upon the belief that we are "a government of laws, not of men" and "no man is above the law".

    2. The more limits you can place on yourself, e.g. like never allowing yourself to pirate a game if it is less than X years/generations old, the better. I can't comprehensively say for every person in every situation what different limits they ought to place on themselves. You have to negotiate this with yourself and take responsibility.

    3. Everyone knows emulation is a widely done, especially when talking about old games. But if gaming is your main hobby and you hang out in general gaming forums or sites dedicated to specific franchises, it's a really crappy thing to proudly advertise your own emulation/piracy. And more generally if you can avoid indirectly admitting to it, you should.

    This has always been the tradition, but perhaps people don't think about why that has been so. I'd argue it is because the biggest fans of a thing feel a moral compulsion to not unnecessarily corrupt newcomers to that thing. Every year, millions of young new kids play their first game, become fans of their first companies & IPs, enter their first online gaming communities, etc. The default environment they walk into should be one where there isn't open encouragement of piracy, and where admitting to piracy (much less boasting about it) is at least somewhat shameful.



  • I have no real issues with emulation, but I loathe piracy. Unfortunately, the two just seem to go hand in hand. I don't care how old a game is, in fact I don't see that as relevant at all, unless the game has officially been released as freeware, games you wish to play should be paid for.



  • @sheria
    Except some games have yet to get any modern re-release, like I'd love Ninja Baseball Batman to be on Switch or PS4 but I dont see that happening as the developers went bankrupt long ago last I heard, same with something like Shadow Hearts series.



  • @dmcmaster said in Thoughts on Emulation:

    @sheria
    Except some games have yet to get any modern re-release, like I'd love Ninja Baseball Batman to be on Switch or PS4 but I dont see that happening as the developers went bankrupt long ago last I heard, same with something like Shadow Hearts series.

    I don't see that as justification for getting to play it for nothing, I'm sorry.



  • So because no one can figure out who's supposed to be paid, no one should play it



  • I have no rights to play it, nor am I entitled to, so yes, loosing out on it is the correct option over piracy. I'm not saying that there aren't ways we can look at in oder to help preserve older games, but just nabbing free stuff "just because" isn't it.