What was your first/formative emulator experience?

InsaneNutter

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My first emulator experience was back in 1999, you have to keep in mind Internet access wasn't exactly everywhere then. Our family had dialup internet which myself and my brother we're allowed to use for 1 hour each on a weekend, as internet access was quite expensive back then and you were charged for the time you we're online. Our School didn't even have internet access then for some context, well non students could use anyway.

Through the limited internet access we had my friend who got me in to Pokemon told me he knew someone who had this new Pokemon game that was out in Japan called Pokemon Gold and could play it on his PC with something called an Emulator. None of us really had any idea what was back then, however we managed to find a Geocities website with a download of NO$GMB and a partially translated JPN Pokemon Gold Rom. This was like wow, mind blown moment. Their was so many new Pokemon, the game was in colour and two of us could play at the same time using the NO$GMB emulator and trade Pokemon. Needless to say beyond the first couple of towns / cities the game only had the menus translated, however we still pretty much got the first 8 gym badges, not really understanding much of the story, but just been amazed by all these new Pokemon no one really knew anything about at the time.

I remember we copied the emulator and partially translated Pokemon Gold on to a floppy disk so my friends could play it at their granddads and at home too, as they didn't have internet access at the time.

That's really what got me started on Emulators, I remember emulating the Mega Drive with Gens and then the OG PlayStation with Bleem. At the time Bleem was really cool as it essentially turned your PC in to a PlayStation. My friend used to bring his legit PlayStation games around on a weekend, we put the disc in my PC and played them, I remember thinking they actually looked better than on an actual PlayStation too! I ended up buying a few PlayStation games, despite not actually having a PlayStation.
 

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What about everyone's first console-based emulator experiences?

At the tail end of the Dreamcast's life, I remember reading about the emulators available for it and I decided to buy one just for that. it's insane to think about now, but I got a Dreamcast with two controllers, a few memory cards (not VMU unfortunately, but tons of space) and SoulCalibur for just $30 US on ebay.

This was in the days when CD-R's were still kind of expensive and hard to find in stores. This combined with the difficulty of building emulator discs via complicated SBI injection led to some expensive coasters. But the first time I got one working and could play the entire NES, Master System, GB and most Genesis games on my TV was one hell of a moment.

My enjoyment of the Dreamcast as an emulation machine was the main reason I bought an original Xbox, which to this day is still an emulation beast.
 

mrgone

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Final Fantasy 5 RPGe Translation at the end of the 90s
can't remember the name of the emulator, maybe SNemul or something like that ? it wasn't one of the big names
got it from plasticman.org for those who knew that site and the emulator from zophar i think

man, that's ages ago.

the other thing was metal slug 1 on Neorage X
 

FAST6191

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What about everyone's first console-based emulator experiences?
Had a utopia disc for the DC but never got into the homebrew side of things.
Ignoring the "well technically" aspect where the PS1 had SNES emulators of a sort to do the Final Fantasy games it had then it would probably be quite late in the day for me when I got either a GBA flash cart (could look at my emails but the DS out very shortly afterwards, probably 18-19 years ago) and wanted to play GB games (goomba color was not out yet) or homebrewed my xbox (360 was almost out by this point). Though as stated in the opening post I got a box to convert VGA to something my PC/VCR would take in, and later deliberately got laptops and then graphics cards when I went tower to have svideo out (rare in the UK as everything was SCART, composite or RF, component sneaking in via plasma and a few very high end CRT, but my TV at the time had it), such that I could play things on a TV if I wanted to (rarely did as personal computer, and indeed even went the other way and got a VGA box to output VGA from consoles but that was more of a tax dodge).

The xbox stuff was mostly just to fill up the remaining few gigs of the stock drive as well for when I left it round my dad's house -- XBMC was well used there but the emulators were for fun when I was not feeling MX vs ATV, SSX or one of the xbox games on disc.

Interesting to see a few people come from the MAME/MESS side of things as well. I was aware of it but arcades were never a dominant force in gaming -- they never died (can still go to random seaside towns and play coin op double dragon, house of the dead and latest and greatest) but were also never where the playground discussions went. ROMs were also focused around sets (rather harder proposition on dial up) so that left me to ignore the entire aspect until actually comparatively recently and even now it is more of a thing I do to be broadly conversation on the area than something I truly care about.
 
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KiiWii

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Man, I had a Super Gameboy on my SNES, I would have said THAT was my first experience of an emulator on a console but it’s wasn’t an emulator: it was real hardware! (1994)

Super Mario Allstars with Lost Levels (1993) was reissues… no emulation…

N64 didn’t really have homebrew back in the day, even on DR V64… (1998)…

GameCube I had the BBA/PSO and streamed games to my console (2003-4 iirc).. but I don’t remember emulation… unless Zelda’s on the bonus discs counts?! (2003)

I would say probably homebrew on Dreamcast/bleemcast was the first emulation of a console on a console…. (2001)
 

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What about everyone's first console-based emulator experiences?
The original Xbox, I purchased one for the Emulators and Xbmc.

The hard drive was upgraded to 120gb, which was huge at the time. So it was loaded with all my favourite games from past consoles. I still think that Xbox had the best homebrew / emulation scene to date of any console.

The PSP was my first portable console loaded with emulators, that got a lot of use when I used to make long train journeys. Also made a great video player, back then smartphones were nowhere near as powerful or advanced as a PSP, the screens we're tiny in comparison too!
 

lwiz

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UltraHLE back when. It was quite an eyeopener, when current console could be emulated on PC hardware of the time.
 

ciaomao

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my first emulation was ~1997 when i found out that you could play nes games on the z64.
i remember i asked the sales at an pc shop some years before, if i could play amiga 500 games from a friend, if we would buy a pc. It was a 386 with 40MHz. to my dismay, the answer back then was no.
 
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City

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I downloaded a NES emulator for the Nokia N91. It was a demo that let you play for 30 seconds.
 

Segger

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I had a computer class in middle school where the teacher had zsnes and like a hundred games or so loaded on each machine that we could play when we were done with our dumb typing tutor lesson for the day.

I discovered a lot of interesting snes games back then, but this was in 2002 or 2003 so I definitely didn't appreciate it like I would had the SNES still been relevant.
 

mrgone

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zelda and ridgeracer64 on UltraHLe was of course mind blowing.
on the other hand, console on console the first was probably metal gear and gran turismo on dreamcast via bleemcast


/edit
i think ridgeracer64 was later, maybe nemu64 ?
 
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Minecrft24h

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Like many people of my age in the UK, my first experience with a text adventure was The Hobbit by Melbourne House… played on a ZX Spectrum when I was about ten, I guess. It managed to be both a great text adventure and an absolutely awful text adventure, for probably exactly the same reasons.

The timeline is fuzzy. It’s hard to recall if the copy of the book, that came with the game, was the incentive for my dad and I to buy the game… whether we already had the book… or even if we’d read The Lord of the Rings by then… But I guess we must’ve been Tolkien fans by then (I read LotR about ten or twenty times in primary school and I have vivid memories of our “top juniors” teacher reading The Hobbit aloud to us at the end of each day).

After The Hobbit, though, I didn’t play many other “IF” or text adventures for many years, and instead lived vicariously through the writing of people like Mike Gerrard and “Gordo Greatbelly” in the computer magazines. Mike, especially, was a great writer and really made you feel like you were part of a special gang. There wasn’t the money to buy adventure games and I didn’t play them myself until they started giving them free on the covers of magazines.

After that, it wasn’t long until I started writing them myself and joined great communities like Adventure Probe. But The Hobbit was the game that started everything off and inspired so many of us.
 
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