Retro: With emulation is original hardware worth it?

eriol33

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hey guys, I know these days video game emulation is everywhere (for retro gaming), but I wonder if it's still worth to buy the original video game hardware since emulator will never be perfect.


EDIT:
sorry I cannot to edit the title, this topic is about retro gaming and emulation.
 

eriol33

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now I regret thrashing my old psx... but I remember the lens didn't work anymore, and the body has rusted... I'm quite excited with the psx sd card project, but I wonder if it's still possible to purchase a psx with I/O port
 

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now I regret thrashing my old psx... but I remember the lens didn't work anymore, and the body has rusted... I'm quite excited with the psx sd card project, but I wonder if it's still possible to purchase a psx with I/O port


Never heart of the SD project, but i do own a PSX with I/O port and one without I/O port (and a PSOne)
 

TecXero

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I still have all my original consoles (except for what was stolen a few years back). I generally just use my Wii to emulate a lot of them, anymore. I can generally get a better picture emulated on the Wii than using the original hardware, but what the Wii can't emulate perfectly (or incredibly close) I still use the original hardware for. My Dreamcast is still hooked up, so will my Xbox and PS2 after I'm done working on their disc drives. I plan to get a PS3, as my last one died a few years ago, but I'm not in a hurry.

It comes down to personal preference. Me, I'm fine with not getting exactly the original experience (except for when I'm feeling insanely nostalgic) and actually prefer to try to improve the experience with mods and options offered by emulation and ROM patching. Though, I'm also rather picky. I still carry around my micro as there aren't any affordable portable devices that offer a better GBA experience, due to either the hardware not powerful enough to emulate it that well, or lack of comfortable controls.
 

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I do not know if I am quite ready to lump original hardware fetishists in there with the "vinyl sounds better" crowd* but it is not far off at times.

*I can recreate hisses and pops if you want and there are cases where vinyl dodges the loudness wars, mostly though....

If you want original then find an old CRT monitor (they are easy to find) and get a controller adapter (also doable for many things). Now there are certainly going to be instances where emulation falls short, however the vast majority of the time it would offer improvements (savestates, quicker load times, visual filters, recording, sound filters, easy cheats (finding and using), control remapping/turbo, no regions, possible internet multiplayer, easy application of ROM hacks, no iffy lasers or dodgy cart connectors*...). I do await more timing or even transistor (be it software or FPGA in my PC) accurate emulation, and we are witnessing the start of it now, but hey.

*no cart tilting is not the best. Though I could probably emulate that as well.

Also PS1 being retro... bloody hell I am old.
 

eriol33

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Honestly I'm not a hardware fetishist until recently I read about SNES flashcarts, and the fact that some of hardware are hard to emulate (Saturn, anyone?). I haven't played video games in emulator for long time, either I'm bored or I'm truly craving to revisit my nostalgia - playing the video games on original hardware. For you who still have original hardware, how often do you use it?

The only thing I'm afraid is the inability to use cheat though... And transferring saves between PC and the hardware
 

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Emulation never will get you the feel of actually playing the game on the emulated hardware, playing the game on real hardware is the only option for that.

While I agree on that, I wouldn't say that "the feel of actually playing the game" is worth all that much.

Here's an example: a few months back, I dug up my old SNES from the basement during cleaning. I tested it, mostly to check whether it had survived all those years. Here are my findings:
1) connect the thing to the television (and I'm glad my TV is old enough to still support the connection type)
2) first attempt to power it up fails. This was because the power adapter is semi-broken since like two years after purchase: that cable has to make a certain angle to the "brick" in order to conduct electricity.
3) the console still won't boot until after softly blowing into the cartridge three or four times
4) the game starts...yet I have to sit on the floor because the wires are too short to reach my couch (and yes, the console is on the floor as well). (it's probably worth noting that televisions have grown in size since then)
5) find out that "those good old SNES controllers" are actually clunky and not very responsive (note: of course my hands grew, and those controllers are as old as the console).
6) attempt to play Mario world, and come to the realisation that there is no quicksave and /-load, so you either keep playing to the next save point, or die because the controls work against you.
7) an accidental sneeze causes a disruption in power (see 2) ), so all progress is lost.


So...I'll stick to emulation, thank you very much. I know the complete steps to setting it up (and occasional updating) on a wii isn't much less of a hassle, but IMHO, the experience (for a SNES) is just overall better.
 

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There's even times where emulators perform better than the original system. I've noticed slowdowns on some of my games for the SNES and other systems that don't occur on well optimized emulators. As long as you can find a powerful enough device that suits your needs, an accurate enough emulator for your taste, and maybe a controller you like, then you're set. Sometimes emulators can provide an improved experience in my opinion, and I don't just mean filters. I'm not fond of filters, so I don't use them, anyway.
 

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I've emulated and used original hardware and though I love the ease of emulation and having everything in one place, nothing beats original hardware. The way the games play and feel can't be matched. I'd much rather buy flash carts for the original systems and load a bunch of roms onto it and play that way. It keeps my real games safe while still allowing me to play the hell out of the games I loved or always wanted to try.

In addition: With emulation, you don't get to use original hardware or peripherals for certain games. Real hardware + flash carts do allow the use of them which to me is a big bonus
 
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Sakitoshi

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For you who still have original hardware, how often do you use it?
I have a RetroDuo+Super Everdrive and while is all hooked up I don't use it that often, but often enough to justify being around and not packed, my main reason to have it is that I like hardware accuracy.
the last game I played properly(I mean from start to finish) was Demon's Crest in October, but sure I play some pick and play games here and then(beat'em ups, shmups and the like).
now to say truth this is normal in me. I make a schedule of what to play, and I haven't added any SNES game to my list lately.

The only thing I'm afraid is the inability to use cheat though... And transferring saves between PC and the hardware
that's why flashcarts where invented son.
almost all flashcarts have the ability to extract the battery files and most modern retro(?) consoles use memory cards that can be dumped with aid of external devices(PSone/two, GC) and the last generation of consoles onward have this as a standard feature.
 

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I suggest to thrash your PS1 and use emulators ePSXe because of two reasons: loading times (UGH) and generic filters and stuff that make the games look slightly better on non-CRT monitors.
There's no "old skewl" theory that's worth discussing here: lens do get worse, and even if you have an ISO loader you are going to curse the awful loading times many PS1 games have, or the terrible memory card support.

Unless you are a die-hard fan of the console and you absolutely want to use your console as a gaming/audio system for a hipster room, stick with emulators.
 

Tom Bombadildo

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It's entirely up to the person, there's no "real" answer on which is "better".

I personally prefer emulation for most systems than I do physical consoles for various reason; the price to buy all my old classics is too high with what I make, the games are often extremely dated in sound quality/visuals/control schemes, and I simply don't have the space for 10 different consoles and 100s of different games. With emulation I can enjoy all the previous games I've played, most of them on the go, with little effort, with (arguably) better controls/controllers, with filters that make them "playable" on newer displays (or at least not look like complete ass), with better longevity (in the sense that my emulators will never degrade or have hardware malfunctions) and it's simply more convenient to own 1 device to play them all.

That said, I do think the only reason people seem to wank over that "actual hardware feel" is simply because of nostalgia, and not any actual (observable) benefit to the games themselves. Which is fine and all, but I think it's just plain silly to pretend that playing on actual is the "best" way to play older games.
 
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Maybe I am lucky, I still have all of my old systems dating back to the early 70’s, they all still work and with only a couple of exceptions they are all set up next to me in my office at home.

I do use emulators but really only on my portable systems. It’s there that I do like the convenience emulators bring to the table. It’s good being able to play through a game with the knowledge that when life needs you back you can just create a save state, stop playing and pick up later where you left off.

But when I’m at home, want a dose of retro gaming and have the time it is almost always on the original system.

For me some of the good things that emulators bring to the table are also some of the things that take the “feel” of the game away. Particularly with the really old systems, there is no feeling of utter annoyance, despair, hatred and bizarre joy than playing a game for ages, playing it better than you ever have, getting far into the game and having your arse handed to you. Only to then have to go all the way back to the start and do it again because, either by design or technical limitation, there were no game saves, continues, or any other of the little luxuries we take for granted.

Emulators take that away from me. Of course I don’t have to use the save states or the occasional cheat, but because they are there and so easy to use with an emu the temptation is often too great not to, I am human and therefore weak.

There will always be those who would prefer to improve on the original game in some way, be it graphically, performance, controller or some other way and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But sometimes I like to play them exactly as they were. Sure nostalgia will play a part but for me they should be dated, simply because they are. I don’t look as good as I did 30 years ago but I’m not going to go and have plastic surgery to make myself look better because this is how I am meant to be.

The way games performed on the original system, how they handled, how the controller (for better or worse) felt in your hands, how they looked, how they challenged you. I’ve never played an emulator that actually recreates all of that perfectly, personal preference of course.

There are also some people, you know the lucky ones who are young, missed out on the old days completely. I think it’s a good experience for them to see, hear and feel just how good and bad things could be back in the day. An emulator just cannot, pardon the pun, emulate that properly.

All of which is a long-winded way of me saying I don’t think there is a yes/no answer to this question really. If you want to see what it was like back then because you missed out, have the systems already, or have the money to throw around, then I will always say the original is the best way (just don't try hooking them up to a 55" screen, you won't like the result :lol: ). If not, fire up a good emulator and enjoy some of the timeless classics that you love or missed out on.
 

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Emulation is great, it's easy as you've got access to whatever you want on yer 3DS/Vita PSP mode/Wii/360/PS3/Phone/whatever.
But it'll never ever come up to the original hardware.

I must admit, I rather play San Andres on me 360 then me xbox, purely cus the controller of the 360 is superior to the old Xbox.
But other games I rather play on the good old box.
Same goes for GBA titles and PSP titles n DS titles etc.
 

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If you're the kind of individual that likes a genuine experience then i would say go for the original hardware. But i'm going to give a fair warning about getting into this, depending on your budget you may have to go with flashcarts, you do not want to know what people will pay for retro Nintendo games these days, and Sega games are starting to follow close behind.

I also disagree about "more features" with emulation, most of them serve as a distraction or crutch rather than enhance the experience, it's not like every game back then was as difficult as Battletoads or Gradius 3. Also GET A CRT THEY ARE CHEAP AND STILL BEING PRODUCED.
 

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It's a conflict of convenience versus nostalgia, really. I prefer to own the original system, but that mostly springs from my love of hardware.
 

Psionic Roshambo

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I like emulation for playing my games as it's just very convenient. I like having the original hardware and games because I am a collector. Also I like the advertisements and manuals and all the weird stuff that came in the boxes for the same reason.

I guess for me the nostalgia factor is pretty high as I am old enough to remember when all the game systems where new and got to open most of them new, so just having them around to look at when the mood strikes me is worth every penny I spend on the stuff :)

Some of my pro's and con's.

Emulation in some ways can be better than the original hardware depending on how good the emulator is, right now my gold standard is ePSXe for Android. That one is worth every penny it's simply fantastic, combined with a PS3 controller via Sixaxxis makes for an unbeatable combo. (It really feels like your playing on a PS1)

In the same breath bad emulation can leave a lot to be desired and in those cases actual hardware wins out. I find this really true of controllers or games that featured some add on's. Trying to play Intellivision games or Colecovision games by emulation can be a pain in the ass to put it mildly. Those overlays :(
 

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While I agree on that, I wouldn't say that "the feel of actually playing the game" is worth all that much.

Here's an example: a few months back, I dug up my old SNES from the basement during cleaning. I tested it, mostly to check whether it had survived all those years. Here are my findings:
1) connect the thing to the television (and I'm glad my TV is old enough to still support the connection type)
2) first attempt to power it up fails. This was because the power adapter is semi-broken since like two years after purchase: that cable has to make a certain angle to the "brick" in order to conduct electricity.
3) the console still won't boot until after softly blowing into the cartridge three or four times
4) the game starts...yet I have to sit on the floor because the wires are too short to reach my couch (and yes, the console is on the floor as well). (it's probably worth noting that televisions have grown in size since then)
5) find out that "those good old SNES controllers" are actually clunky and not very responsive (note: of course my hands grew, and those controllers are as old as the console).
6) attempt to play Mario world, and come to the realisation that there is no quicksave and /-load, so you either keep playing to the next save point, or die because the controls work against you.
7) an accidental sneeze causes a disruption in power (see 2) ), so all progress is lost.


So...I'll stick to emulation, thank you very much. I know the complete steps to setting it up (and occasional updating) on a wii isn't much less of a hassle, but IMHO, the experience (for a SNES) is just overall better.

The SNES controller is pretty good, but I guess it is dusty as heck. I opened mine and cleaned them, now they are great. (Also game mode on TV helps, since newer TVs are damn laggy for old games. :P)
 

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