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Emulator Console

How to go from needing a new console every 5 years to buying games for 9.95
  [vote for,

(I'm sure that the idea of computer-as-console must have been tried here many times before, but I hope this idea is more detailed than 'a computer that plays my Saturn games'.)

Recently, my Playstation went kaput. We got it used, and battered; many times, the lens had to be replaced, until finally, we lost the entire thing. (That, and the fact that some puppy piddled on it and an unnamed rodential ex-pet chewed up its wires.) So now we had this library of games without anything to play them with.

So, I download a Playstation emulator. It's very small -- with all the plugins needed to work on my graphics card and operating system, I'd say it's easily under 4 megabytes. And it runs my Playstation games like a dream: ironically, it slows down on 2D games, but 3D games work just fine.

Which gave me the idea. For illustration purposes, let's say the name of the company is Foobar LLC.

Foobar LLC releases their console 'emulator' as a free download on the Internet for various platforms: Windows, Macintosh, Amiga, &c. These console emulators only will run game programs from the CD drive with their own unique formatting -- i.e., even if the program were small enough to make a p2p program practical, you would have to load from a Foobar-formatted CD, not any old CD-R. Even to emulate a competent 32-bit system like the 32X, Game Boy Advance, or the Playstation, system requirements are low, and since the Foobar Emulator won't have to bend over backwards to fit into another company's design, it'll be that much smoother in operation even on moderately endowed computers.

The way Foobar LLC makes money is by licensing the format of their disks, just as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony do with consoles now.

The gamers get a free console system -- since there's no need to plunk $400 on a new hunk of plastic and processors -- plus a computer game that can be dropped in and played even on computers of different OS; as long as the computer has access to the Internet and a two hours (assuming a nowadays-dismial 28.8 modem), they can play their Foobar Emulator games on that computer.

Almafeta, Feb 03 2004

Atari: The 80 Classic Games. http://www.amazon.c...104-7013698-5298339
This software has a built-in emulator. Mouse controlled games jump all around, uncontrollable on my computer. And I have a "pretty good" PC. Just a case in point -- I fear an emulation system would be super glitchy. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004]

Adaptoid http://www.wishtech.com/
Worth every nickel [Mr Burns, Oct 04 2004]


       Just keep using your computer, and get a control pad type of controler. If you wanted to you could even get a graphics card with a TV output. You'd never tell the diffrence.
KLRico, Feb 03 2004

       //it slows down on 2D games//   

       Aye, there's the rub. Even if it runs flawlessly, the controls are all wrong. It's just not the same on a home computer.   

       By the way, if you do iron out all the bugs, including authentic controllers, I'll be first in line.
Amos Kito, Feb 03 2004

       [Amos] You can get usb adapters that let you use console controllers on PCs.
benjamin, Feb 04 2004

       [ben], the idea as I understand it (and I probably misunderstood), is to use a PC as the game system, in lieu of the actual system. Most game controllers never had a USB adapter, even if you could still find those controllers. Sure they can make facsimiles of the old controllers.   

       But it takes much more than just plugging in a joystick, to recreate a game machine. What about multi-player link? What about machine-specific accessories? Emulating control of a Gamecube from a Gameboy would be quite a challenge. And bear in mind the game machine had a specific processor optimized for games. My experience with emulators [link, for just one example] is that they are a supreme disappointment. The arcade versions are even worse -- when was the last time you saw a rotary control for Tempest, or a decent trackball for Marble Madness? There will be features missing from the emulator, and people who liked a certain game may need to find the real game system to play it on. In which case, it’s much simpler to hang onto the old system, and keep it playable. Many people buy a video game system to avoid the hassle of setting up games on a PC.   

       I'm still neutral on this idea. It won't work, but on the other hand, it's pretty cool.
Amos Kito, Feb 04 2004

       I don't see why consumers would rather buy your games rather than native PC games, especially as PC games tend to be cheaper than console games. And it's a hell of a lot cheaper to buy a console every 5 years (as you suggest) than a PC.   

       This wouldn't work with specially formatted disks, because you'd still have to be able to read them in a standard CD-ROM drive. However, it might be possible with some kind of DRM (ick).
kropotkin, Feb 04 2004

       You know you can sell your old games if you don't want them anymore. Or you can get another playstation for pretty damn cheap.   

       I've got a disc that plays in my dreamcast that has evey NES game ever made--including japanese releases I will never figure out. Got the dreamcast on ebay for $30. Divided by 900 games, that's 3.3 cents per game.   

       How does your emulator run more smoothly than others?
yabba do yabba dabba, Feb 04 2004


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