Great Games Never Die
PC Gamer, October 1997 issue, page 84.
"Great Games Never Die...
...They just live forever on the Internet"
If you've been around videogames for a long time, the "old" games in the story above (note: reference to companies releasing packs of games) might not strike you as classic just yet. For some of us, classic games may mean real industry antiques, such as Wizardry I on an Apple II, Little Computer People on the Commodore 64, or Missile Command on the Atari 2600.
But too many of those systems have seen the end of the road, ending up in trash heaps, Goodwill bins, or garage sales when a moment of cleanliness struck us, only to be followed years later by a lifetime of wistful regret.
Never fear, a whole cottage industry has appeared on the Internet, offering ways for gamers to relive the gaming greats on their current systems. The magic word is emulators.
A host of emulators can be found out on the World Wide Web, allowing you to create virtual computers such as the Apple II or Commodore 64 and run games from early videogame consoles on today's state-of-the-art PC.
Emulators work by running virtual copies of the actual code in a special protected mode. In most cases, two things are needed - an emulator program that acts as a virtual machine, and something called a ROM, which is a bit of machine code that mimics the original game cartridge, and is, in most cases, the actual ROM code.
For example, to run many of the classic Atari 2600 games on your PC, you'll need to get Stella, the premiere Atari 2600 emulator. Then, from a variety of web sites, you can download the actual ROMs as tiny pieces of software, in most cases ported over from the original videogame cartridges.
Is it legal? Emulators exist in a sort of nebulous gray area among the outskirts of the law and on the fringe of the gaming industry. The emulator program itself is not illegal. Neither are the ROMs - provided you only download ROMs for which you still own the actual cartridges. But enough people have been intrigued that a hobbyist group has grown up on the 'net.
Emulator Resources on the 'net
Many more emulation pages and repositories can be found by doing a simple keyword search for "emulators" on any of the major Internet search engines.
It's not the greatest article in the world, but I don't think they did _that_ bad a job. And since PC Gamer reaches hundreds of thousands of people, there probably will be a boost in interest in the emu scene shortly (whether for good or bad, that remains to be seen). Hope I helped, as I figured this would be of interest.
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