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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    So console emulation then

    Following a recent comment thread in a Dark Souls article I've gotten back into the emulation scene for the first time since my MAME days in highschool. I've always had Znes on an old cd for a quick go on Total Carnage but this is the first time I've gone deeper.

    First thing to strike me is how easy it is to find. Finding the sites is easy as pie and they don't even try to hide it or require log in details. One site boasted of tens of millions of downloads a year, a claim backed by page counts and download tickers.

    Second thing to strike me is how good its become. The latest PS2 emulator is pretty much plug and play, no need to mount iso or configure individual games and with far better upscaling than any official channels.
    iM0Lq.jpg
    Left MGS 3 original/ right emulated and upscaled

    So I have two questions.
    Where do you draw the line morally? For me I won't touch an emulator or rom if the game is still legally available from the original makers. So nothing past the Playstation 1 for me. Yes I know legal is not the same as moral and yes I know it's probably illegal but that brings to the second question.

    Why isn't this official? Why don't Sony release an official PS2 emulator for PC and charge say $5 a game? They're already doing this with the download store but why consciously exclude such a huge potential market by limiting it to their own hardware. Again a single website showed the emulator above had been downloaded over a million times in the three months since release. My PS1 emulator had been downloaded fourteen million times. If Sega can do it why hasn't Nintendo? It is pathetically easy to emulate Super Nintendo and Game Boy advance games and it shows with just how many users there are. So why no official channel to get it?

    Is it just an example of executives being too busy lighting their farts and having affairs to notice this whole market or is there some fine print that actually prevents the manufacturers from doing this?
    Last edited by Bhazor; 11-11-2012 at 02:07 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I normally use the same line between abandonware and emulated games. I bought the genesis collection for a buck during the last steam sale, and still use the emulated version because their emulator is terrible.

    Nintendo is still selling hardware. Software drives people into their closed ecosystem. And Nintendo already has released an emulator - they sell most of their old games in the terrible online store for the Wii. I don't feel bad about emulating their old games because it's such a monstrously unfair service - they use a point system and you can only buy so many points at a time (which normally doesn't match the cost of the game),and if your hardware fails or you delete your game you lose it for good. Fuck em.

    Can you link to the PS 2 emulator?

    I am worried for the next generation of emulation though. I doubt the PS3 will be as easy to emulate (with all the weird hypervisor crap) as earlier consoles.
    Last edited by Internet; 11-11-2012 at 01:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    Trying to emulate publisher logic here, bear with me for a moment: If you start providing console exclusives together with emulators, that's just another avenue for piracy, and people are more likely to start downloading them for their PC instead of buying existing copies for their aging consoles.

    Man, that was painful, I hope I never have to use that mindset again. I guess if I were a sensible publisher, I'd take one look at the massive second-hand market for old console games and conclude that there's no money to be made there if my console already has a successor. Acquiring a PS2 and games for it second-hand is much easier for the average person than pirating and emulating them, so if I still wanted to make money off those old games, releasing them together with emulators seems like a pretty good plan.

    But how much manpower would you have to put into that effort, to make it a viable and legal alternative? It's easy for a bunch of hackers with additional day jobs, but a publisher (Sony especially) will want to know exactly what's in the emulator, probably stick some DRM on it, and has to make sure it doesn't violate any software patents, etc. If the programmers you put on the job are going to rake in less money than they would be when working on the next Uncharted, it might not be as interesting as an option.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    They probably don't like it because you need to extract/download a bios to use the emulator which is a whole lot of illegal if you don't own a PS2, so along with the legal issues of dealing with that, they'd rather keep selling PS2's which are still selling quite well apparently, rather than offering up just the games for it.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Hideo Kojima once wrote on the promotional Metal Gear website that we should play games while their systems are still around, because while those systems become out of production, so will be the games unplayable. But not anymore, with emulation. I always appreciate the beauty of emulation, its essence to preserve video games as part of our culture, so that games will not be, as Mr. Kojima put it, gone forever with the systems they are on.

    But first thing first, if they permit emulation, there would be no use for game console platform in the first place. That makes perfect sense for the platform owners to aggressively hunt down any attempt to emulate their systems.

    Microsoft is probably the ONLY platform holder to feel very comfortable with emulation, since no one really bothers to emulate Xbox - most of the Xbox games that you would want to play should have been available on PC anyway.

    Any effort to make video games free of platform constraint should be highly appreciated.

    Edit: I hear around that Playstation 2 has been out of production. So, feel free of moral problem, because there is any already.
    Last edited by squirrel; 11-11-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    I'm not talking about emulating commercially available hardware (Nintendo DS, PS3 etc) but hardware that stopped making money a decade ago. Hardware and software only available second hand. To me emulating new stuff *is* morally wrong, or at the least very rude.

    @ Internet
    Again this whole thing is illegal so I don't want to get the thread blocked. Suffice to say a five minute search for PS2 emulators will turn one up.

    @ Woundedbum
    "They probably don't like it because you need to extract/download a bios to use the emulator which is a whole lot of illegal if you don't own a PS2, so along with the legal issues of dealing with that, they'd rather keep selling PS2's which are still selling quite well apparently"
    Don't the manufacturers own the Bios? More importantly don't manufacturers lose money with each console? Wouldn't they much rather I pay $x for an official emulator at zero cost for them?
    “People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic”
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    I don't really look at it from any sort of moral angle.

    I like ePSXe but it's been a long time since I've used a PSX emu. Is that still a good one?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    Why isn't this official? Why don't Sony release an official PS2 emulator for PC and charge say $5 a game? // If Sega can do it why hasn't Nintendo?
    Sega actually have a clue what they're doing with online stuff. Mocked as they are, it actually is an achievement that a sizeable portion of their catalogue is available on almost every current item that can play games. With Wii games, you'd have to send in your save game to Nintendo so that they could poke around with it. They've only just started doing DLC too. Also, some joke about Nintendo re-releasing the same games each console blardy blah. With Sega's recent financial standings and their focus on digital distribution, it's certainly a pause for concern, but this is a publisher that knows what it's doing, so the blow is lessened somewhat. I just think the brass at Nintendo have no real grasp on this, at all.

    I agree with the sentiment that if the game is no longer made (and/or reasonably obtainable), that emulation is 'okay' (in the strictest understanding that yes, it's still illegal, but the moral element is perhaps wavered). I believe it was a couple of months ago that the final SNES game to be emulated had been done so, meaning the entire SNES catalogue is now preserved online. I do believe that is an incredible achievement (some 1100+ I think) and it does speak to the notion of preserving cultural artefacts.
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Nintendo doesn't really rerelease games though. They just put the same characters in a new, totally different kind of game, and call it a sequel.

    I do still have ZSNES and though I haven't played with it in a while I've had great fun with it. Chrono Trigger, FFII, Super Mario World, oh crap I can't list 'em or this will be one huge WOT. My SNES doesn't even work anymore.

    I tried an NES emu once but I couldn't tweak the frame rate to feel correct. By default it ran crazy fast.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    I'm not talking about emulating commercially available hardware (Nintendo DS, PS3 etc) but hardware that stopped making money a decade ago. Hardware and software only available second hand. To me emulating new stuff *is* morally wrong, or at the least very rude.
    As a user of Dolphin, who does not own a Wii, I can definitely see how I would be considered to be on morally unsound ground. However, I have purchased the three games I've played on it and also bought an official Wii remote, so Nintendo have seen some of my money. They have definitely done better out of me then if I went and picked up a second hand Wii with a bunch of games. Also, I believe that Dolphin does not reverse engineer anything from a Wii, so it is actually not technically illegal, which is probably why it has received a fair amount of mainstream attention. Even this site has linked to an article in The Sunday Papers that encouraged everyone to play Xenoblade Chronicles at 1080p through Dolphin.

    Excluding Dolphin, I've dabbled in emulation a little bit, but only really with SNES emulators and a little bit with an Amiga one. I would definitely like to see companies release legal ways of acquiring their older games and it is something I would imagine will be common place on the digital stores of next gen systems, but I'm not sure whether that will find a way to the PC. It is interesting to note the only company that has released an official emulator for PC is the one that doesn't make hardware anymore.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    Where do you draw the line morally?
    ...oh wait, you're serious? Let me laugh even harder.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post

    @ Woundedbum


    Don't the manufacturers own the Bios? More importantly don't manufacturers lose money with each console? Wouldn't they much rather I pay $x for an official emulator at zero cost for them?
    I'm not sure who owns the bios, just that it's illegal. Unfortunately for the emulating scene, Sony do still make quite a bit from PS2 sales especially in Japan. They haven't lost money on it for ages.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    I know it was MS who said they lost money on each sale. The idea of the console is to get it into your living room, then the money starts coming in when you buy games, but the hardware is priced to sell (?) because if it was priced to recoup costs it would be too expensive for the target markets.

    I don't know about Sony, but I'm sure it's the same idea. Even if they do make profit selling the hardware, the idea is just to get that into the home so you'll start buying games. If you're not downloading ROMs then using an emulator would be the same idea... you've now got the system in your home and you will be buying games you otherwise wouldn't.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    I think MS made a profit fairly quickly on their consoles, I remember Sony struggling for an age to actually sort out their manufacturing.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    I like ePSXe but it's been a long time since I've used a PSX emu. Is that still a good one?
    As far as I know ePSXe is still the best PSX emulator you can find. Depending on the games you want to play, you might have to play around with the different plugins a bit, though.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    The reason most people bought a PS3 in the first 18 monthes was that it was cheapest way to get a Blu-Ray player so I'd say they were selling it at one hell of a cost.

    Even with falling hardware costs I'd imagine whatever they're selling the PS2 at they can barely be making $10 a pop and they're making zero on the second hand games people buy with it. Again why not sell a emulator and rom pack? Zero hardware costs, no delivery costs, world wide audience.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 11-11-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    “People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic”
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  17. #17
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    For how much the Wii, DS, PSP have been pirated I would say they are pretty bitter during the current generation to provide allow abandonware for free.

    Nintendo seems to have the best classic release from their Virtual Console. Sony has gotten some PSOne stuff out but what they really need is more of the third party games.

    If I can't buy it New/Digital and its a couple generations behind I have no problem with it (tho haven't touched an emulator in ages, GBA one on my phone). Now I bought a Saturn for the likes of Dragonforce, Shining Force(imports), and Panzer Dragoon Saga(borrowed), but you end up spending a lot towards some random person and not the game publisher. Square is good in re-releasing/updating FF 1-6. Easy to sell. They even putting them on phones now.

    I would pay in a heartbeat for PS2 emulation on my ps3.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moraven View Post
    I would pay in a heartbeat for PS2 emulation on my ps3.
    I think we all would. Provide us with a convenient service and we'll use it - stuff like Steam, e-books and itunes prove that. There's a huge untapped market of old games which can be cheaply converted and distributed. It would be like printing free money. Thus far the market has inexplicably been cornered by a few eBay sellers and GoG.

    Of course, if every game is immortalised online, then any future plans I had to sell off my collection in 50 years time for obscene amounts of money might be ruined.

    P.S. Dragon Force is the bestest game everest.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    People still use ZSNES for SNES emulation? I never used BSNES per se but I heard that it's the best emulator around for it. Apperently, it fixes some latency issues, speed and pretty much a lot of things but it takes a huge chunk of memory to do it
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rauten's Avatar
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    BSNES, AFAIK has the upside and downside of being a "pure" emulator. Translates every single SNES command to x86 and viceversa with 100% accuracy, no shortcuts or hacks.
    This means perfect emulation, but the system requirements are off the f'ing roof. It's very own site recommends a Core 2 Duo. A dual core 2Ghz+ processor to emulate a machine that used a 3.58Mhz CPU. Yeah.

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