What was your first/formative emulator experience?

AkikoKumagara

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I played on NESticle when I was very young at one of my mom's friend's house. I didn't yet know what an emulator was at that point. When I got into emulating things myself, Project64 and VisualBoyAdvance were pretty hot.
 

VinsCool

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I think it was in 2005, I found out about what emulators were, and the first thing I did was downloading snes9x and found a .zip with a bunch of SNES ROMs that were for the most part either hacks or bad dumps, so many of them were not running properly lol
 

ChiefReginod

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Definitely Nesticle and Genecyst. KGen98 and ZSNES were great, too. I remember having to reboot into pure DOS mode for a speed boost. Windows-only emulators were disfavored at the time. I was crushed when Bloodlust Software announced they were ceasing development. The announcement was fairly sudden from what I remember, and it coincided with the release of the final versions.

Also, two words... Zophar's Domain. What separated it from most other emulator sites was that they hosted emulators but not ROMs. This was during the days when copyright wasn't really policed online, so it actually seemed like a strange decision at the time, but in hindsight they were ahead of the curve.
 
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vb_encryption_vb

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N64 UltraHLE, late 90's early 2k, I remember this because I remember wanting/needing a voodoo graphics card to get things to run properly.

A few years prior to this I was introduced to modchips via Playstation, that was the start of my modding days, I was around 14 years old at the time, possibly 15ish. I know I ran into emulators years after when I was teaching an old friend the ways of modding playstaion, I believe this was around the time there was an external modchip for playstation.
 
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around 2016, I downloaded a GBA emulator (I forgot which one) becuase I wanted to do a let's play of Pokemon Ruby, I don't know how to actually make a let's play + I hate the sound of my own voice so that never ended up materializing.

Also around the same time I was really obsessed with Professor Layton after playing Unwound Future on my 3DS so I downloaded a .nds of one of the other games in the franchise (I think it was Last Specter) and played it on Drastic.
 

godreborn

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mine would be searching the internet for a rom, not a romset, but a rom, just to play it on the pc. it would also take over an hour in some cases to download the game, crossing your fingers that it didn't lose connection. this is back during dial up. yeah, I'm that old. :P
 
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ChiefReginod

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mine would be searching the internet for a rom, not a romset, but a rom, just to play it on the pc. it would also take over an hour in some cases to download the game, crossing your fingers that it didn't lose connection. this is back during dial up. yeah, I'm that old. :P
I remember how that went. I always had to hope no one would pick up the phone since it would disconnect the internet. I got around this by doing most of my downloading at night when everyone else was asleep.

Nowadays you can download entire ROM sets for multiple systems in the same or less amount of time it took to download a 4MB ROM back then. I kind of miss it, though. It was exciting in a way that it isn't now.
 

g00s3y

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Late 90's, I think the first thing I ever tried to play was mario 64 on ultraHLE. From there, I went back through NESticle/ZSNES/No$GBA and played a bunch of games I never got to when I was younger.

Damn, i'm getting nostalgic just thinking about all this.
 
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Plazorn

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My first emulator experience was when I discovered one of those crappy flash emulator websites that ran in Chrome. It was like 2012-2014 so the latency was trash, but it opened a whole new world for me.
 
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Oooh I just remembered when I was really young and watching a Vsause DONG video where he brings up this online site that allowed you to play Nintendo games in your browser. I vividly remember playing Link to the Past and "Pokemon Jade" (Telefang) and not knowing what was going on. I forgot what the site was called and looking back on it now that site seems shady
 

fvig2001

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Finding out about emulators from a classmate I didn't like, I think he left a diskette that somehow made its way to my bag. It had Gameboy roms + emulator.
 

Amici

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I copied and pasted one of my reddit comments, I think the question was which game did you first emulate? Or something. Anyway:

This is gonna sound weird, but Pokémon. Back when I was a wee boy, I was an exclusively PC gamer (since dad was a PC nut and setup my desktop as always). However I always felt out-of-place whenever I heard some of my buddies talking about this "cool new Pokemanz game" on their Gameboy. I didn't have a Gameboy at the time, so I was shit outta luck.

Until I discovered that you can allegedly play Gameboy games on PC (!!). I downloaded myself a .gb file of Pokémon, and struggled with it trying to "play it" (including renaming the file to .exe lmao, stupid child me). Eventually enough research led me to this app called "Hgb", which I didn't know at the time was an emulator. Didn't know how it worked but I managed to load the ROM on it; the rest, as they say, is history.

Using emulators may seem like a simple thing to everyone, but back in the early 00s there was hardly any information about it for casual users. And I was also a dumb 13 year old kid at the time who chanced upon the treasure that is emulation gaming. Because of it I discovered so many more legendary games like Zelda, Chrono Trigger, that I wouldn't have played if I remained ignorant of emulation. Thank you ZSNES, Snes9x, Gen, NESTicle, No$GBC, Connectix VGS, Bleem!, etc etc. All of these were a huge part of my childhood. (Also I was never a fan of those "one app emulates all" emulators like Retroarch :P).
 
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SaberLilly

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my first experience with emulation came in the mid to late 2000's, 06 or 07. my cousin's ex had given me a CD that had a copy of SNES9X on it and about 30 games and i would play it on the school computers in my downtime and i cherished that disc because I had no idea how to get the files myself at the time.
 
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TraderPatTX

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The beginning for me was Nesticle, ZSNES and MAME. What a magical time the late 90's were. Between emulation and mp3's, we had it made back then. The most special day for me though was when CPS2 encryption was cracked and I could finally play Street Fighter II with Nebula or Winkawaks.

Those were simpler times.
 

Chary

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Would have been on a clunky 2005 Acer laptop running Vista. I wasn't allowed to install anything on the family PC, so when I got my laptop for Christmas, I finally got the chance to see what all these cool emulators were. First thing I ran was Pokemon Emerald, I think on Nocash GBA? It was the most amazing experience, just playing a handheld game on a well-lit screen.
 

HippyJ3

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Booting up EPSXE for the first time back in 2008 on a PC running on Windows XP, it took me a lot of work to get it running since I don't have my own PC at home and was just renting a PC on a public internet cafe and have a time limit of 30 minutes a day to figure everything out, I was totally clueless at the time how bios and plugins work, it took me at my wits end on how to make it work and when I finally got the emulator to boot through trial and error, I literally cried tears of joy because I can finally play Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy 8 again after 7 years since my PS1 kicked the bucket, unable to hold back my excitement, I saved the emulator on a pendrive, stored it on my closet for the time being and bought a dual core PC once I earned enough a few months later, felt like it was one of my life's biggest accomplishments
 

CraddaPoosta

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I love this topic.

I think my first experience was with ZSNES, which I still consider to be one of the greatest emulators ever made.

This is the first platform, PERIOD, that I ever played online against someone else. Over fucking dial-up. And it still ran exactly the same as Ultra Street Fighter II on Switch. Except I was trying to throw Hadoukens with a keyboard.

You have to consider that this was in 2001. The Super Nintendo was literally still available to purchase from retail stores. This was also the time when Electronics Boutique was still in existence. Who here remembers EB?

Imagine how much I felt like a kid who just won a shopping spree when I discovered that I could have all of the everything, for free. Imagine how many virii I got on my computer from trying to download ROMs from shady sites before MalwareBytes existed.

I remember when it was pretty cool if you had a friend come over, and you could show him Super Mario World on your IBM-compatible PC. The real ones know.
 

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