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Why I appreciate emulation and the joy and nostalgia it brings.


MaximumRD
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Glad there is this EMULATION section otherwise I'd have no idea where to post this 😏 I did this earlier today and the waves of nostalgia just brought me right back to when I was younger, in many way happier and the fascination and excitement that I would feel just enjoying some C64 slideshows, music demos etc, this would continue later on a bigger level once I upgraded to a Commodore AMIGA but still, it was all just so much fun. Specifically what I did earlier was watch a slideshow demo disk playing c64 tunes in FS-UAE AMIGA EMULATOR ON MY 2011 MacBook Pro running LINUX MINT. Because hell yeah! 😀 Now, I have the C64 and Amiga Forever packages by Cloanto on my much more powerful desktop, but I had been itching to try some AMIGA emulation on the an old Macbook Pro I found months ago, I had recently decided to throw Linux Mint on it as MacOS was getting pretty dated on it and it has been GREAT. After a couple days of researching, trial and error I finally got FS-UAE installed on it, transferred some Amiga disks (.ADF files) over and as a test this was the first thing I did with it. hearing the disk loading sounds and seeing it de-crunch the programs and immediately start playing the musical slideshow was probably the most fun I've had so far with this old Macbook. Part of me was more satisfied doing it all in this way then simply loading up the far simpler AMIGA FOREVER interface on my Desktop, it amuses me that I am enjoying C64 sight's and sounds in an AMIGA emulator on a Macbook running Linux because I am just a big nerd like that. 

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Anyone do things like this simply because they can? Go about it in maybe a less straight forward way and enjoy it more? Has emulation helped you enjoy a platform or games or operating systems that you just might not be able to enjoy otherwise today due to lack of original hardware / software or perhaps financial or space restrictions? Share any stories of emulation that bring you joy. Myself I am so thankful that the emulation of AMIGA that I laughed and scoffed at back in the day continued to grow and improve to the point I can simulate a setup I could have never dreamed of owning back in the day let alone today, I am thankful for it. 

I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

"For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday."

 - M. Bison

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I absolutely do this as well.  And it's so true that it's better when the emulation emulates the actual loading process.  For example...the "beep beep beep" sounds of the Atari 8-bit disk drive loading.  I often times will just load up a few favorite games and demos just to hear the music.  And it makes me happy.  MULE, Blue Max, and the 8-bit Robot demo are probably my most favorite ones.

Of course, not with C64 emulation though...that loading in real life took FOREVER! 

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Emulation is a good thing, granted. I use emulators for certain games. Unfortunately, it isn't perfect 100% of the time. I would love to see improvements in speed of emulation. Don't think of me as a opponent of emulation. Really, I do support it for one thing: preservation of older machines. Machines can wear out, but emulators take that threat away because you can use just about any computer that has an emulator on it to play games. However, real hardware is faster. There should be more study of the older hardware to see if it can be reproduced as exactly as possible with current technology. This is so it can be reverse-engineered and people will know how to manufacture this stuff with better technology.

I like emulation, don't get me wrong. I think it's really cool. But, sometimes it gets used too often. So, we have to be careful we don't forget the real technology in behind the creation of the emulators, and in many ways we already might have. So, emulation is something I am all for. But, engineers need to study the real hardware, too. I think that both real and emulated hardware could go hand-in-hand. Then, we would know more.

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@MaximumRD, your last paragraph summed it all up. I returned to gaming in 2016 after a very long break & I was amazed at the sheer number of emulators available. However, I am also on Mac OS so I soon discovered that some emulators were initially unavailable. (I was on Windows until 2014; my better half used to work for Apple.) While I was fortunate to own a few systems during adolescence and adulthood, I was far from owning them all. That I'm able to use an emulator suite like OpenEmu to play a variety of systems and handhelds is quite remarkable as well as thrilling. (I also don't miss the C64 loading times. Yikes.)

 

@DegasElite , I have discovered the opposite re: emulation vs. hardware, albeit based on my limited research. I believe those who are creating & updating emulators are doing so to best mirror the real hardware via research and testing. They may never reach 100%, but 99.x% is enough for some developers and gamers; a discernible eye would likely spot the minor differences.

 

And, yes, emulation is a much more cost-effective option. The pandemic has skewed the retrogaming market: I checked eBay for a Sega 32X as it was brought up in conversation recently. A used 32X with all of the cables ran for $150 used. That's just for the add-on.

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9 minutes ago, Marco1019 said:

@MaximumRD, your last paragraph summed it all up. I returned to gaming in 2016 after a very long break & I was amazed at the sheer number of emulators available. However, I am also on Mac OS so I soon discovered that some emulators were initially unavailable. (I was on Windows until 2014; my better half used to work for Apple.) While I was fortunate to own a few systems during adolescence and adulthood, I was far from owning them all. That I'm able to use an emulator suite like OpenEmu to play a variety of systems and handhelds is quite remarkable as well as thrilling. (I also don't miss the C64 loading times. Yikes.)

 

@DegasElite , I have discovered the opposite re: emulation vs. hardware, albeit based on my limited research. I believe those who are creating & updating emulators are doing so to best mirror the real hardware via research and testing. They may never reach 100%, but 99.x% is enough for some developers and gamers; a discernible eye would likely spot the minor differences.

 

And, yes, emulation is a much more cost-effective option. The pandemic has skewed the retrogaming market: I checked eBay for a Sega 32X as it was brought up in conversation recently. A used 32X with all of the cables ran for $150 used. That's just for the add-on.

True. It is more cost-effective. Yeah, the pandemic is a disaster for the market for sure. Still, I would love to see more hardware options for older machines. I know they are getting manufactured, but there is this chip shortage until about at least 2023. I am a proponent of emulation, don't get me wrong, but I love the real hardware experience, too. I think if real hardware can't be used, then emulation is the viable option. But, I think we should go back and do more reverse-engineering of the real hardware and try to preserve that technology using modern options. If it is infeasible, then use emulation. Or, you could have a combination of both, and there is. Let's just say I like both options.

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On 9/9/2021 at 4:29 AM, MaximumRD said:

Anyone do things like this simply because they can?

Not really. It's a chosen way of life for me.

On 9/9/2021 at 4:29 AM, MaximumRD said:

Has emulation helped you enjoy a platform or games or operating systems that you just might not be able to enjoy otherwise today due to lack of original hardware / software or perhaps financial or space restrictions?

Absolutely. Not too much on the financial restrictions - but we don't appreciate the recent inflated prices, WATA grading prices, "because Apple" syndrome prices, "because old" prices. Scalping. Speculating. Extra outlet for thrift stores being not so thrifty. Not interested in watching bids and hunting for the cheapest. Not anymore. So time consuming.

Additionally having arcade games through MAME alleviates 2-hours worth of driving to get to the not-so-local arcade. And they're not likely to have StarJacker either. There's the creature comforts at home. Instant snacks. A clean toilet. My choice of music. Fresh air. Sit. Stand. Recline. Controls always in top shape. Adjust the screen & sound effects however you see fit, if that's your gig.

I've got my hobby room. It's filled with electronics lab stuff and books and other paraphernalia, so there's really not much space for loads of consoles and carts. Emulation takes up but a tiny corner. Necessary hardware fits in with the rustic decor theme because its unobtrusive. Think NUC and MiSTer and R-Pi sizes.

So many practical things add up in favor of emulation.

On 9/9/2021 at 4:29 AM, MaximumRD said:

Share any stories of emulation that bring you joy. Myself I am so thankful that the emulation of AMIGA that I laughed and scoffed at back in the day continued to grow and improve to the point I can simulate a setup I could have never dreamed of owning back in the day let alone today, I am thankful for it.

Well. I can enjoy a 1000 FPS 900 MHz Apple //e via AppleWin. Certainly not practical for action game playing, but perfectly amusing for working with disk images and recreational Applesoft BASIC programming. Among other experiments and just farting around. Back in the day a 3.5MHz Transwarp accelerator was astounding!

I remember writing short Sci-Fi stories and we never thought that far ahead in speed, most we guessed would be maybe 100MHz.

In the Amiga ecosphere, hardware was not easy to acquire back then. It was always too expensive, all through mail order, and not always compatible. Adding in an accelerator would break other things. And the Bridgeboards couldn't do all PC software. So lots of caveats and trip-ups. Some software needing KS 1.2, other needing 1.3, or a new WorkBench. Granted PC was that way with DOS and WINDOWS 3.1, 98, and XP, but hardware was so cheap and available everywhere. Common to have 2 rigs going.

So here, emulation makes the Amiga a more enjoyable platform. Virtual add-ons that don't play nicely in one configuration can simply have their own as necessary. Any version of ROM, KS, WB is but a few clicks away.

Emulation has evolved and changed so much for the better over the last 30 years. Each platform is like a full-featured virtual machine module.

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