Why does emulation garner so much hate?

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scotland
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Re: Why does emulation garner so much hate?

Postby scotland » July 24th, 2016, 6:59 am

Herschie wrote: an SNES flash-cart so that I can play it the way that it's supposed to be played.


crimefighter wrote:I doubt there's any real hatred of emulation - a lotta times playing a game on an emulator is the only way you will get the chance to play it at all considering how rare particular games have gotten. In some cases, a physical machine or cart is one of a kind and thus you won't get to possess one.


There are several things here - emulation, flash and multicarts, nostalgia and 'supposed to be', and those pesky ROMs.

As Kickass Torrents is in the news, you can see the issue of ROMs is still remarkably divisive in the gamer community. Emulation, flashcarts and ROMs all becomes joined in the conversation.

I agree with Crimefighter. Many old systems and games, like old mainframe games or some arcade games, would be lost as playable games. That collective right to preserve our culture in playable format should have consideration, legally and morally. I also appreciate emulation as collaborative nonprofit efforts, carrying on that early computer hobbyist tradition.

"Supposed to be" is tricky. I saw Jaws originally at a drive in theater. Its not practical to try to say Jaws is supposed to be seen only at a drive in theater, or a 1970s indoor theater. Drive ins are mostly gone, and indoor theaters today are much much nicer than in the past, just like tvs are better. My old Atari 2600 is like a drive in theater, and I don't begrudge someone playing Atari 2600 games on different hardware.

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scotland
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Re: Why does emulation garner so much hate?

Postby scotland » July 24th, 2016, 12:32 pm

Emulation and Flashcarts also have an issue in enabling superficial play.

Emulation and flash carts are a paradox in that they are both a kindness and a kind of disservice by making hundreds of games so easily available, and therefore disposable. "The way it is supposed to be played" sometimes meant playing a small library of games, even pretty bad games, deeply. I have multicarts, and its great to sample a lot of games, but its often a shallow experience. Its like doing a European tour of 14 Capitals in 14 days kind of thing.

This is not unique to emulation and flashcarts, but also something PC Gamers say about Steam. Here are games which are legally purchased (so toss out any qualms there), but purchased in large gulps and often pretty cheaply. Within a year or two, gamers have large backlogs of games they now think of as old instead of new. They may never play them or they may only sample them, not be immediately satisfied, give them up as bad nuts and move on.

Its an odd thing - like getting keys to a candy store. Sure the candy is dandy, but after awhile, its just not as nice as it sounds.

Wallyworld
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Re: Why does emulation garner so much hate?

Postby Wallyworld » July 27th, 2016, 1:07 am

I love emulation. I use it as kind of a shopping catalog to try a game before I buy a physical copy. It kind of took the place in my heart of renting a game to try it before buying when I was a kid.

Kind of funny a lot of these old games are worth as much today as they did at release (sometimes more)!

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scotland
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Re: Why does emulation garner so much hate?

Postby scotland » November 28th, 2016, 10:18 am

A recent article on "How Emulators Are Preserving Video Game History" by Conrad Crisman
http://www.mccauleyscolumns.com/news/2016/11/22/how-emulators-are-preserving-video-game-history

Its an easy to read article, but the jist is that capitalism is not interested in preservation of the past. Copyright and Trademark law is often on the side of the content creators, and unlike, say a historic building, there really is not law on the side of preserving games in a playable form.

Companies are being stingy about what products they release while fiercely protecting their copyrights, and gamers are demanding a way to play older games without paying premium prices. So how are emulators addressing the problem? By focusing on the five points that make playing/collecting video games so frustrating.


The points are (I think he really worked the same point twice, so I see just four points)
    Cost - original copies can be rare and therefore expensive, but emulation makes it cheap.
    Availability - Rare games are expensive, but nothing is rare to emulation.
    Companies do it for their benefit - Nintendo, Sony and MS have all used emulation when it suits them.
    Decay - Hardware breaks down, and many media formats do also. Emulators preserve them digitally.

I'll make a few more points. First, emulation preserves games communally and publicly. There is a difference between preserving something in a museum or by a collector, and preserving it out in the daylight, easily traded and kept alive. Many arcade games might only be preserved in a museum or collection, but MAME lets them live in MAME cabinets all over. Second, emulation preserves games *as games*. Its not enough to preserve code, or gameplay videos - the gameplay needs to be preserved.

The flip side is a company, say Nintendo, should have some say in what old products they release or not. For instance, Disney does not want "Song of the South" to be seen anymore. Nintendo is certainly making money on their new NES mini, but what's inside that NES mini but an emulator? If people did not emulate their games, they would have no idea of the demand. People are willing to pay for the Nintendo branded product and to know they are being above board with the law, even though the original developers will probably see no compensation. The NES Mini is not so much competing with emulation as co-existing with it, and doing so profitably for Nintendo, although maybe not for the original developers.

Emulation is a sticky wicket, but from my view, its something I'm thankful for. The hardware is breaking down or becoming less compatible with modern televisions, and helps preserve our hobby's history, and a smart company can still leverage that for profit or PR if they choose.


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