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Emulation Overload

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With almost every console up to the Ps2 and maybe beyond (not to mention computer systems) being able to be easily emulated (depending on your hardware) how does anyone actually find a game to play?? I find myself just continually scrolling through thousands of games on dozens of platforms trying to find one that I want to play? Sadly, I almost always just default to one of the games that Im very familiar with and have been playing for the last 30 years or so.

 

So, do you guys keep full romsets so you can play anything that might tickle your fancy, or do you just narrow the field down to games you think you will actually play?

 

How do yall overcome emulation overload?

 

 

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Well. I like the favorite VCS games I had as a kid in the 70's. And I like some of their variations. Like Phoenix on the VCS, I also like Flacons on the Apple II. I have fun by playing different ports of the same game. Star Blazer on the Apple II, Sky Blazer on the Atari 400/800. Saturn Navigator on the Apple II, then Orbiter on the PC. Flight Simulator on the Apple II, X-Plane on the PC. Recently I just got off of a 3-day Doom marathon, working through each level methodically and carefully. Won't do that again for several years. And round and round it goes.

 

Mainly I reference back to what I liked as a kid. And it's perfectly ok to only have a few select favorite titles. The time to play them all in-depth would exceed your lifespan.

 

If that doesn't help, then maybe pick a genre and explore all it has to offer.

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"Too much choice" is only a problem if you are choosing randomly. You wouldn't do that with music (would you?), so seek out some curation and make your own playlists.

 

I like

  • the "games that defined the..." lists from www.racketboy.com
  • Retro Gamer Magazine (subscribe, or look for their compendiums of back issues)
  • old magazine reviews from Archive.org -- nothing quite reading the breathless reviews from back when the things were new to get excited for them (beware for when reality comes crashing in, though)
  • List threads and Top Tens from discussion sites like this one
  • YouTube and podcasts (though with videos, you might find you don't "need" to play some stuff when watching can actually be more fun)
You could narrow things down by system, year, publisher, genre, label color ... or by the things you actually played and enjoyed as a kid (if you were into gaming as tween, this is a very formative time for your personality)

 

Things like the Nintendo Classic Mini and Atari/Sega Flashback machines are nicely curated collections. If you don't know where to start, you could do a lot worse than beginning with the games on those.

 

Less is totally more. Make lists of faves, try to stick to one thing at a time, avoid the impulse to overdo it. You wouldn't stuff yourself past the point of comfort at a food buffet (would you?) so don't do it with games. Try to put yourself into the mindset of someone who paid between twenty and sixty bucks to buy a home game, or put a quarter in per play of an arcade game.

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So, do you guys keep full romsets so you can play anything that might tickle your fancy, or do you just narrow the field down to games you think you will actually play?

 

Most front ends will allow you to flag Favorites into their own list - I use a front end called GameEx. In this way I actually do both things you suggested. :)

 

The games I love to come back to or have a real nostalgia connection to are in my Favorites list. For family, friends or just exploration of the systems in question I still have the full romsets. Your nostalgia never quite seems to match anyone else's and in this way when I have people over I can dig up their favorites to replay as well.

 

Another fun thing to do is go to Google and do a "Top ten <system> games" search. Everyone has a different list and in that way I find new, interesting games to play.

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So, do you guys keep full romsets so you can play anything that might tickle your fancy, or do you just narrow the field down to games you think you will actually play?

 

You pick and choose favorites over time. I'm still discovering gems from the 1970's.

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With almost every console up to the Ps2 and maybe beyond (not to mention computer systems) being able to be easily emulated (depending on your hardware) how does anyone actually find a game to play?? I find myself just continually scrolling through thousands of games on dozens of platforms trying to find one that I want to play? Sadly, I almost always just default to one of the games that Im very familiar with and have been playing for the last 30 years or so.

 

So, do you guys keep full romsets so you can play anything that might tickle your fancy, or do you just narrow the field down to games you think you will actually play?

 

How do yall overcome emulation overload?

 

 

 

I only collect roms for games and systems I used to play BITD, and don't bother with much else. I've also been building my collection since around 96, right when the emulation scene first took off, so I was never really overwhelmed. But I can see how that might happen now!

Edited by zzip

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I agree completely. I have emulators setup on various computers, consoles, handhelds - all with large rom sets. I find myself playing the same subset of games over and over.

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That's 21 years of drip-drop curation. 21 years to refine and build a collection of favs.

 

I rather operate like a traditional disk and local memory storage system. Everything is stuffed into main storage disk, archived, and partly organized, and set up like a catch-all. Everything and anything goes there. Then my favs are pulled from there, organized, and configured nicely.

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It's more than just a museum. It's the last bastion upholding all things classic gaming & computing. Likely the only collection to survive a world-wide catastrophe, an extinction level event.

 

It's not shoebox of disks stuffed under the bed.

Edited by Keatah
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That's 21 years of drip-drop curation. 21 years to refine and build a collection of favs.

 

I rather operate like a traditional disk and local memory storage system. Everything is stuffed into main storage disk, archived, and partly organized, and set up like a catch-all. Everything and anything goes there. Then my favs are pulled from there, organized, and configured nicely.

 

I never interended that. There were only a relative handful emulators around in 96, and they could only play a subset of what they can today. So I'd add new games as new emulators came or games became playable.

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A combination of just being in the mood to play certain games or maybe a certain type of game, or sometimes just hitting the "select random game" in Launchbox a few times to see what comes up and catches my interest. I've become pretty good about focusing on a small number of games at once and not allowing myself to get distracted so much that I can't finish anything.

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Thanks guys! I appreciate all of your input!

 

I guess I need to slow down and find games that I really enjoy playing and make a favorites list. Then when I actually have time (im in grad school right now) I can try some new and different games to see if I can add to my faves.

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I haven’t overcome emulation overload. I’m in the same boat as you. I sometimes think I spend more time updating and configuring emulators than playing games....

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I haven’t overcome emulation overload. I’m in the same boat as you. I sometimes think I spend more time updating and configuring emulators than playing games....

 

That's a game, too!

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This was a problem for me maybe 20 years ago. Not only via emulation/roms but also with bootlegs and finding myself with spindles of PSX discs, and then not playing any of them. Even with legit games, e.g. buying Gamecube games, starting up something like Metroid Prime, and not getting more than an hour in there, before being distracted by something else. This went on for a long time before I realized 1. I wasn't having any fun playing video games anymore like I used to and 2. I started to not even like them, period.

 

When I was younger, I'd could only afford a single game at a time and then I'd play it until I'd finish or master it, and I always had a blast. So I'd say it was maybe within the last decade I made the decision to try to go back to that mindset, before I had game overload. i.e. "One game at a time". or more accurately "One game at a time per system" (e.g. GBA - Pokemon Fire Red, Switch - Zelda, Xbone - Call of Duty, etc.). Yeah it requires a little mental discipline, but I'd say I'm much more happier enjoying gaming this way. I don't torture myself though. if a game sucks or I simply tire of it, I move on. But if I choose something on a console, I try to stick with it when I play that console.

 

For VCS and emulated arcade games, it's a little simpler since often they're meant to be played pretty quickly. The only thing is I give them the good try and not "5 minutes, and.. next". Gotta dive in man. :)

Edited by NE146
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I admit that I will sit down and play a bunch of games, but only through the "first man". Once I "lose a man" I will quit and play another game.

 

Short attention span... Can't solve that. :)

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I think it's common - to move into and explore the complexities of emulation, and pc configuration, and other things like experimenting around with networks and stuff. Emphasis on experimenting. There's only so many rounds of Basic Math you can play on the VCS before you want more. And discussing the politics of the videogame industry has become a popular thing, too.

Edited by Keatah

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Another good way to discover games while going through a consoles library is listen to gaming podcasts. This will give you a more in depth explanation of some games and even get you into some you might not have tried! Here are some of the ones I like:

 

Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast - http://2600gamebygamepodcast.libsyn.com

 

Intellivisionaries - http://intellivisionaries.libsyn.com/

 

Colecovisions - http://colecovisionspodcast.blogspot.com/

 

Intarivisions - http://intarivisions.blogspot.com/

 

The systems covered for the above should be self-explanatory. However, the Intarivisions podcast compares games from all three systems. It's one of the more humorous podcasts. Enjoy!

Edited by atarifan88

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Intarivisions sounds great, I like comparisons of ports of old games, and those people are fun. Also, there aren't a zillion episodes! Subscribed.

 

"Discovery" is never a problem for me, in fact it often leads to FOMO. Need more play time!

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So, do you guys keep full romsets so you can play anything that might tickle your fancy, or do you just narrow the field down to games you think you will actually play?

For me, it's a little of both. I start with full romsets (not Good ones), and trim out most of the garbage games, the foreign language stuff, and ROM revisions.

 

On my Everdrives, I like to sort everything chronologically...so if I'm not really in the mood to play one particular game, I can take a little stroll through history, like in the Retro Game Challenge series on the DS. I think it would be fun to get some friends together and actually make some challenges to go along with it.

 

When I was younger, I'd could only afford a single game at a time and then I'd play it until I'd finish or master it, and I always had a blast.

Ditto here. When we only had three games, we had a much higher tolerance for garbage. Same thing when we'd go over to friends' or relatives' houses. How was I to know how stinky the NES version of Ghostbusters really was?
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I haven’t overcome emulation overload. I’m in the same boat as you. I sometimes think I spend more time updating and configuring emulators than playing games....

Right now, most emulators run well enough that I only update them once every year or two, and I do them all at once. So I don't spend a lot of time on it.

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Intarivisions sounds great, I like comparisons of ports of old games, and those people are fun. Also, there aren't a zillion episodes! Subscribed.

 

I love the hosts, but the podcast is an unorganized mess of free associations. Unsubscribed!

 

Right now, most emulators run well enough that I only update them once every year or two, and I do them all at once. So I don't spend a lot of time on it.

 

 

Many of the best emulators don't seem to have been touched in several years. That's OK, they're mostly as good as I need them to be.

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Many of the best emulators don't seem to have been touched in several years. That's OK, they're mostly as good as I need them to be.

 

Everything runs the way I want. I unplugged my arcade cabinet from the router last year and I'm ok with that. :)

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