View Full Version : Why and when did you get into emulation?

31st July 2007, 09:56
I often wonder what triggers people to start using emulators and begin to collect retro games.

For me it started back on the Atari ST around 1987.

I first discovered you could emulate Acorn BBC, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 games on the Atari ST when I was looking through a PD library catalogue. So I ordered a couple of the emulation disks from the library and gave them a go. The emulators back then were not that great but were fun to play around with trying to get some games to run.

But it was once I managed to afford an Amiga that I finally got into emulation more, as the Amiga emulators worked much better than the ones available for the ST at the time. The ZX Spectrum and C64 emulators worked quite well and I managed to get hold of some PD disks with quite a few games on them to play. A PD PC DOS emulator also worked quite well to run business software such as Lotus 123 which was useful for my college work, and an Acorn BBC emulator worked quite well too, which gave some nostalgia due to it being the system I grew up with in School.

But my fascination with emulation grew much more in about 1998 when I finally managed to afford a new PC and the number of emulators available for the PC was amazing compared to other platforms (and still is). And then in the 90's the PC emulation scene started to really gain ground.

I still remember getting hold of the first working Nintendo 64 emulator, UltraHLE, in January 1999 and being amazed at how well it emulated the supported games. I was lucky enough to have a Voodoo 2 card at the time so it worked really well, and Mario 64 looked better than on the real console, much to the annoyance of a friend with a real N64 at the time. ;) And UltraHLE is often referred to as the emulator that changed the scene from one of a close knit community just having fun trying to emulate different systems, to one about trying to emulate systems perfectly so games and software could be used. Therefore emulation as we know it today is less than 10 years old.

I also remember the first commercial release of MAME and being amazed by the ability to play original Arcade games on a PC. That same year I integrated MAME into a design project I was making for my end of University final major project, which was a history of video games multimedia presentation, and with MAME it allowed the user to play the games while using the presentation.

Since then I've tried every emulator I can get my hands on, and collect every file collection I can find, and I've never had enough HD space available for it all. :D

I'm currently most interested in Sony PSP emulators. It is amazing what is now available for the PSP. Emulators now exist for nearly ever retro system you can think of from the 8 and 16 bit eras, and most work perfectly. A portable Amiga. Now that is worth it alone!

So what got you start with emulation? When was it? and on what platform? And what made you start collecting retro rom collections?

Demon Cleaner
31st July 2007, 11:39
Is this the topic you also posted at Eggman's? I just read that one :)

I don't even know when I began, but remember talking to a friend at a pub in my hometown, and he told me that he was emulating old arcade games with MAME, and I immediately was like HEY, tell me about. So after a little chat, the other day when I was home I tested MAME and it was pure satisfaction, better than anything I'd seen before. That was version 0.32 if I'm right.

Then I slowly began my first steps in the emulation world, emulating Amiga, first with Fellow, as I preferred it to UAE. Then of course came the C64 and all other systems.

At that time you barely had internet connection, so I bought some CDs with games on it, as torrents and p2p were not born yet. And also I still had a C64 and an Amiga and often played on those, as I also bought a Catweasel very early.

But since the year 2k emulation has become very popular, in my opinion even too much, now everybody is emulating and getting their games just off the net. A good point of this are of course the big and complete collections we are now able to download.

And also my collection is still growing, but it's very complete, if you don't count Dreamcast, Playstation 1 or later consoles. For computers and older consoles I have all the complete sets, and also installed on my dedicated barebone PC. Games taking up to 400GB meanwhile, and imagine that a C64 game has roughly 10kB.

Collecting is more of a hobby than gaming, which is quite normal, as you'll never get the time to play all these games, but sometimes I grab my X-Arcade controller and play a bit with MAME.

Btw, I also found out how to display scanlines in the later (after v106) releases. You have to copy about 20 different png files in the artwork directory, then point MAME to it, and then there's an option where you can choose your visuals. There you can chose your scanlines png, which works just like an overlay. You now have even different kinds of overlays which you can use, quite nice.

And also thanks to Eggman's services I got some nice older TOSEC's which I don't need to download anymore now. I already had a lot, but some minor computer collections were missing. The guy is just amazing, and has everything you need. But with the time you can gather enough stuff together to make your own collection. You could just buy the whole lot at Eggman's, but that would ruin your collector's ambition. I know Harrison did order a complete set of almost everything, but mainly to get the files he was still missing, so you're excused mate ;)

That is certainly the easiest way to get a collection as soon as possible, but it's not the funniest one. Also it's not the cheapest solution. It's a lot more fun gathering all (or most of) the stuff together by yourself.

31st July 2007, 13:04
For me, I was looking for info on how to run Dragon's Lair or how to fix a corrupted disk. Somehow will all my searching, I stumbled onto this site which opened my eyes to the world of emulation :)

31st July 2007, 14:03
Glad to hear it Submeg. :)

Is this the topic you also posted at Eggman's? I just read that oneYep. I posted the topic over there and then thought I might as well post it on classicamiga as well as I wanted to see how we all got started too.

but remember talking to a friend at a pub in my hometown, and he told me that he was emulating old arcade games with MAME, and I immediately was like HEY, tell me about.

You know, I'm like that friend. Promoting emulation and inspiring others to give it a try! ;)

When I first got into emulation I didn't know anyone else who had discovered it, so I just tried out any disks and files I could get hold of for the systems I owned. Then I spent ages looking up and researching anything and everything about it once I had internet access at university. And I discovered many early rom collections which I hoovered down on their fast connection and stored on Zip disk (CD-R was too expensive in 1998!). I remember an amazing day when I discovered a site with a very large (for the time) CPC games collection, and another famous site for the Atari ST, called the Little Green Desktop. I downloaded the complete contents of Little Green Desktop, and then printed out every page from the site using the University laser printers! So I had a reference to the contents of all the files! ;)

And then I started to tell others about emulation and all of the video game fans all wanted to know more about it. And with MAME and Amiga emulation especially I've helped a load of people over the years get into emulation.