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Thread: Best emulation for various consoles

  1. #1
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    Default Best emulation for various consoles

    I'd love to read what folks in this forum think are the best emulators for various systems (Ataris, INTV, Coleco, Vectrex, etc.) on various hardware (PC, Mac, Linux, GP2X, PSP, etc.).

    As I listen to the RGR podcasts (finally getting myself completely caught up!) it really makes me want to play more than I do. But honestly, given the parameters of my living arrangements (wife, small kids, low budget) I'm probably going to end up looking to emulation for most (or all) of my retrogaming.

    So what are the best emulators for each system? Please post your favorite system and where you believe it is emulated best. For my purposes, "best" means as close to the original experience as possible. Points I think matter:

    1. if the emulation can use the original controllers for the system in some way, that's better than not. E.g. running an Atari 2600 emulator on a Windows machine and using the "Classic USB Joystick" from legacyengineer.com or a USB adapter for an actual Atari stick would be better than an Atari emulator on a PSP or GP2X.

    2. If the system is emulated in a way that makes it a more authentic experience, that's better than not. E.g. running Game Boy games on a handheld would be better than running on a PC.

    3. Obviously emulators that emulate the system better than others for that system would be "better". E.g., I think the Intellivision emulator for GP2X is better than IN2X because it is able to run as full screen.


    My first (maybe only) entry:

    Intellivision - Emulated via either jzIntv or Nostalgia on a PC with the Classic Gaming Controller adapter that Joe Fisher sold for a while. You can hook up a PC to a modern TV or large monitor, have the original controllers with overlays (if you have them) and it's arguably not too different from playing the original.

    This is also just about possible with the latest builds of jzIntv on Mac as well.

    Can you tell that I'm an Intellivision guy? I'm hoping to get input from the "Coleco guy(s)", "Atari guy(s)", "Nintendo guy(s)" etc., etc.

  2. #2
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    This kinda hurts the whole "using the original controllers" thing, but get the original Xbox and mod that thing. It's a GREAT emulation and multimedia machine for the money seeing as how you can usually get one for less than 50 bucks.
    David "Dhalamar" Miller
    http://www.wastedseconds.com - Wasted Seconds
    The Wasted Seconds Podcast at http://podcast.wastedseconds.com
    iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t...st/id377809676
    PSN : DhalamarWS
    Steam : Dhalamar
    OnLive : Dhalamar

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the recommendation. I've heard that about the xbox, but never looked into it at all.

    When it's modded, does it run a version of Windows or Linux (or something else)? What platform of emulator would that be targeting?

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    It runs whatever custom dashboard someone makes for it (I use UnleashX) and the emulators generally use the Xbox SDK ... so they're generally ported to the Xbox itself.

    I've tried running Windows on it before using QEMU ... but given the Xbox's specs ... the only real reason to waste time with Windows is to say you did. I'm pretty sure there are Linux ports to it. UKMike would probably know more about this shit than I do, because you're seeing this "modding" business way more advanced than it really is. lol
    David "Dhalamar" Miller
    http://www.wastedseconds.com - Wasted Seconds
    The Wasted Seconds Podcast at http://podcast.wastedseconds.com
    iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t...st/id377809676
    PSN : DhalamarWS
    Steam : Dhalamar
    OnLive : Dhalamar

  5. #5
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    Ah, I see. So then you look around for an emulator for that variant of Xbox hack. I presume that many are ported, etc.

    I'll do some reading on it.

    I've had this idea of trying to put together an emulation machine for all the consoles I really like. A bonus would be to have original (or close to it) controllers for each console system that can plug into it as well. That kinda biases the whole thing towards a PC (laptop or otherwise) since there are many possibilities for connecting controllers via USB.


    I'm still interested in the original question also.

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure, but the Xbox controllers are just basically USB controllers with a custom connector. There's nothing saying you wouldn't be able to use a USB Nintendo controller with the Xbox as long as the emulator is configured for it.

    Granted, I've never actually tried this before seeing as how it would require wiring shit that I'm not good at. lol
    David "Dhalamar" Miller
    http://www.wastedseconds.com - Wasted Seconds
    The Wasted Seconds Podcast at http://podcast.wastedseconds.com
    iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t...st/id377809676
    PSN : DhalamarWS
    Steam : Dhalamar
    OnLive : Dhalamar

  7. #7
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    There's also the Dreamcast. It's not as nice as far as emulation goes as the Xbox since it isn't anywhere near as powerful ... but it doesn't require any funky modding. You just stick the CD in and go.
    David "Dhalamar" Miller
    http://www.wastedseconds.com - Wasted Seconds
    The Wasted Seconds Podcast at http://podcast.wastedseconds.com
    iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t...st/id377809676
    PSN : DhalamarWS
    Steam : Dhalamar
    OnLive : Dhalamar

  8. #8
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    Console emulation : The PC is the single best way to go (especially if you have those USB controllers and either S-Video or HDMI out). 2nd, the Xbox, 3rd the Dreamcast.

    Arcade emulation ... First a PC with a CRT monitor and an arcade stick. Second, Xbox with ... again ... an arcade stick. I used to play Killer Instinct 1 all the with that sucker. :P Dreamcast is a distant third for me because MAME is a system hog. MAME doesn't care whether or not the game runs WELL, it only cares if the game runs RIGHT. heh

    Handheld emulation ... Can't comment on something like the GP2X one way or the other. The only handheld I've ever used an emulator on was the PSP and it works brilliantly. With systems like the SNES, the controller is already laid out like that anyway, Genesis is a little weird. And I'm sure there's a way to hack the PSPGo now, it has bluetooth so I'd imagine external controllers like the stupid WiiMote thing would work.

    Or just get an R4 card for the DS (or whatever the GBA uses), although I don't know if it'll run original Game Boy and Game Boy color games. And I'm not sure how well it would run emulators ... given the limited hardware in that thing I'm not getting my hopes up there. lol Other people could probably comment on that one better.

    You're never going to get an "authentic" experience with emulation, even if you use the controller that's meant for whatever system you're emulating. I'd personally rather have one controller set up with all the emulators than 50 different controllers.
    David "Dhalamar" Miller
    http://www.wastedseconds.com - Wasted Seconds
    The Wasted Seconds Podcast at http://podcast.wastedseconds.com
    iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t...st/id377809676
    PSN : DhalamarWS
    Steam : Dhalamar
    OnLive : Dhalamar

  9. #9
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    I'd like to comment that the PS3 is a great system for emulation. It's cheaper then most computers and it has usb ports for the use of classic controllers. The only problem is that they haven't cracked the latest firmware yet so until they do you would have to use one with firmware 3.55 or older. Another advantage over the xbox is that you can still buy these things new and it's easy to find an hdmi cable to improve the resolution. I have looked for original component cables for the xbox and had no luck. The repro cables they make cause the image to look terrible on the xbox. Modding a PS3 is much easier then modding an xbox and since the xbox scene is pretty much dead the PS3 modding scene will only get better and better.

    As for portable emulation the psp wins hands down. It is the one device that can emulate almost anything. That said if you want to emulate something like the N64 it can't do it but an android phone with a decent processor can. There is now an N64 emulator for android that works quite well and emulates most games but you would really need to get one like the Xperia play if you wanted to use real buttons.

  10. #10
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    I use the GP2x wiz for emulation. Its a handheld but there are lots of emulators for it. Its open source so you don't have to fight Sony to use it for emus. The PSP is more powerful, but emulation on a device is often bound by software and not hardware.

    If you are interested in original controls you should ask yourself exactly HOW interested you are because you can put a lot of work into trying to achieve those controls. My advice would be to pick the systems you are really interested in and then investigate the choices - for everything else, just use the orig XBox or your PC. In my opinion a PC and a $10 USB gamepad handles everything from the NES forward great. There are also adapters to let you use some console controllers on the PC.

    One thing that you will be tempted to do is to build/buy a MAME rig. This is pretty awesome if you are into the 'cade games. You can also put other emulators on a MAME computer and make it a sort of emulation station. Most Atari 2600 games work great with arcade controls and you can easily play any game designed for a single button joystick (C64, Apple 2, Amiga). You don't really need a whole cabinet to accomplish this either - just put a computer under a podium with a monitor on it, plug in your arcade stick, stand and play.

    Some platforms cater to your desire for original controls. Check out the atariage website to see all the fans Atari systems still have. They offer something called the Harmony cart that lets you play cartridge ROMs on the original hardware.

    One last thing to mention is the MCC which offers emulation of 3 classic systems in a small package. You can use your DB9 joysticks with it too: http://mcc-home.com/

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