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What systems do you not want to admit when emulation is actually better?

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PREFACE: The thread title may be both subjective and divisive. I am mostly a pre-2000 gamer when it comes to consoles and computer games... [see, I didn't say PC games].  So subjectively, of course first and foremost, if you have nostalgia for a certain console, buy it and play on that. EVEN with access to complete rom collections, I tend to play the games I actually own or owned back in the day.   

 

 

So these are the stories I'd love to hear about from others! 

 

 

For me, the Genesis is the ultimate. My re-capped non-TMSS model 1 with a MegaSD on a CRT plays my SMS library, light gun games, Genesis, and Sega CD. I have an Analogue MegaSG as well, which I consider my triple bypass HDMI model, and my perfect-enough SG-1000, Gamegear and Colecovision (and to think of each core as an official original 1st party revision model).  32x is a different beast for me.  I have little 1st hand nostalgia beyond 3-4 games with little attachment.  I am testing the 32x library on original hardware to see if it justifies keeping vs the PC emulation route (or wait for FPGA solution). My best 32x experience thus far was Blackthorne on a PC emulator with a Genesis controller so we'll see. 

 

As a Sega fan, I now have a Saturn and self-pimped out Dreamcast (battery mod, fan mod, Pico-PSU, GDEMU), though I never had them back then. I'm waiting to judge the Saturn when I can get a Satiator or more likely, a Fenrir solution. Still, I have as a Sega fan, ZERO 1st hand nostalgia for either post-genesis system.  Now I hear the right PC specs can make the REDREAM emulator run better than the dreamcast could output even with the expensive HDMI mod.  If you had a Dreamcast back in the day, you are likely to say Dreamcast or nothing. Saturn emulation has had a rough history and I foresee the ODE on a real Saturn option to be the best until FPGA core comes true, which we may wait a long time for.

 

This is not to say I bought NO post-2000 console. In fact I bought a Wii on the release day just to get back into gaming. I had some fun, but even there, I think the Dolphin emulator has pretty much taken over the original Gamecube (again, except for nostalgic sticklers for original hardware). I just saw a video that disc rot is surprisingly most prevalent in this more recent Gamecube system than anywhere else. I even had a Gamecube [post-wii owning] and messed with homebrew.  It is cool but I missed the boat.  My Double Dash Mario Kart life was entirely on the wii's built in Gamecube mode so for me, SD ODE solutions for GC are not a wise purchase since I sold all GC games I had.  The Gamecube for me from here on is the Wii for official hardware (I think of the Wii as the Gamecube Commodore 64c -no... the C128 . Command line: Go GC) with Nintendon't on a USB HDD. I might even sell my wii though; if I upgrade a PC to optimized Dolphin standards since even the wii I am running my backups mostly.  I have no interest in current gen systems. I've held a WiiU once and know zero about its library. I have a pimped out OG Xbox that I need to give more time for and think of it as a Dreamcast 2. My modded Xbox 360 I haven't touched and should probably sell. PS2, PS3 I'd only be interested in for revised classics from Sega or arcade so emulation is fine by me.

 

Even PS1 I am struggling with for a perfect setup for me. I didn't play PS1 games until my modded PS Classic/mini image.  To compare, I'm messing with glitchy discs on a modchipped PSONE vs emulated PS3 (and PS2 fat I can play un-emulated if I get a mod chip).  For a non-original disc player like me, so far, I'd have to give it to the modded PS mini/classic emulation for ease of setup and convenient HDMI. The hit or miss burns on a real PSONE is annoying, and I haven't done the modded PS2 HDD route/modchip yet.  Not having the same passion for anything Sony, in the end, my experiments are stalling because without many physical game copies, I think my ideal PS1 will be an inevitable Mister core.

 

For Nintendo, Mist/Mister is enough, but I'd buy an Analogue 8 if it is what I think it will be. I only played Nintendo NES at friends houses and have near zero Super-nintendo memories.  The SNES core on Mister has blown me away though so that is my RGB modded SNES on a budget with no perceivable downside. I have a N64 and flash cart for now because I have yet to see perfect emulation in the trinity of Saturn/N64/Dreamcast.  Plus I can play DD and arcade games.

 

I'd sell my recapped 3DO in a heartbeat if a Mister core were released, and wouldn't blink about using a Genesis or Saturn controller for all 3DO gaming from then on.  

 

CD-i - This system still has little in terms of emulation in 2020 and I think a Mister core would be the one chance to make it more mainstream.

 

So what do you think of better to emulate than not ideas? CD32? CDtv? Jaguar? when is it better to emulate based on the given emulator performance vs hardware solutions?

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I personally wouldn't say it's "better" (easier to maintain maybe) than legacy hardware, but can see why some might, as Amiga emulation is *very* good actually. Software for it is mature and easy to customize. I have a little dedicated PC that boots directly into Amiga mode and can emulate many different configs... 040, AGA, OCS, CD32, any Kickstart, etc. and runs great. Feels as close to the real thing as possible, all things considered.

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  Personally what I usually hate about emulating is keeping track of Directory folders and such (can be a major pain on OG Xbox/Mame, almost all emulators). While I find most emulator do there jobs really good juggling files and such is pain than having the media for said system and putting in for said system. However when it comes to media Decaying such as floppy's and such. I believe this is where emulation is key since it will fail sooner or later but everything fails overtime.

 

 My favorite version of emulators are things like the NeoGeo X, plug n plays while they accuracy might not be 100% the easy of use makes them a variable options. I hate juggling files, file types, software on top of software and burning to certain format that becomes a big pain for me. I like most console emulators like Intellivision lives, Midway hidden treasures, Mega man collections as they are simple to use as you just have to put disc into system with out configuring.

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For me, emulation is almost always better, unless you have a system that lacks near-perfect emulation (like Jaguar)

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59 minutes ago, zzip said:

For me, emulation is almost always better, unless you have a system that lacks near-perfect emulation (like Jaguar)

Interesting.

 

Emulation for me is good, especially on later system, but on older system, there is always a point that is lacking : the controller.

Say what you want, but a SNES-like USB pad or a Xbox 360 is absolutely not up to the talk of emulating the joystick of a Bally Astrocade or a Channel F first model.

You won't get the feeling of a rotary pot with a joystick anytime.

Many games on the 1292 AVPS console have been programmed with the fact that the joysticks are NOT autocentered (which make many games harder to play on the Interton VC 4000 since it got auto-centered sticks) and again a joystick can't emulate this.

 

As for system that are better in emulation? Well I do'nt know, it's a strange question. I can't see how emulation can be better unless we're talking about a fragile system with finicky medias, controllers or hardware.

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19 minutes ago, CatPix said:

Interesting.

 

Emulation for me is good, especially on later system, but on older system, there is always a point that is lacking : the controller.

Say what you want, but a SNES-like USB pad or a Xbox 360 is absolutely not up to the talk of emulating the joystick of a Bally Astrocade or a Channel F first model.

You won't get the feeling of a rotary pot with a joystick anytime.

Many games on the 1292 AVPS console have been programmed with the fact that the joysticks are NOT autocentered (which make many games harder to play on the Interton VC 4000 since it got auto-centered sticks) and again a joystick can't emulate this.

 

As for system that are better in emulation? Well I do'nt know, it's a strange question. I can't see how emulation can be better unless we're talking about a fragile system with finicky medias, controllers or hardware.

I emulate on a PC, so I can use whatever controller suits the needs best, but in all honesty, usually the keyboard does a better job emulating those old controllers than an actual gamepad, for the reasons you describe.

 

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1 hour ago, CatPix said:

As for system that are better in emulation? Well I do'nt know, it's a strange question. I can't see how emulation can be better unless we're talking about a fragile system with finicky medias, controllers or hardware.

 

The original consoles will of course be better in terms of accuracy be default just for being THE thing and not the copy. Maybe the question was strangely worded. What experiences do you have if playing a wide selection of games, do you want to like original hardware more, but for whatever reason, you still prefer emulating it?  Maybe you don't want to deal with bad lasers anymore, maybe you prefer the Dolphin emulator for getting sharper results from upscaling on a modern screen with a beefy PC you just can't get from a GC or Wii.  Maybe it comes down to monitors... many feel the only way to play the retro systems is on a CRT, but if you only dabble in modern gaming, the switch to LCDs and flat screens lessens your requirements for read hardware so your flat PC monitor with an emulator works better for you if playing Sony PS2/3/PSP or Xbox 360.

 

I suppose a part two question is what systems do you feel are two modern for your tastes to try playing them on a CRT, regardless of picture quality.  Maybe it just feels wrong or out of place.  Then the middle road systems, depending on if you had them in the day, you could go either way.  OG Xbox and Dreamcast come to mind.  I have an early  1080p LCD LED 40 inch flatscreen that has VGA input, but man does Dreamcast look great on a mid-90's VGA CRT.

 

For me, I'm messing with the 32x library on real hardware, but finding a reliable one is hard. In my case, even when recapping. Will I keep it when I'm done playing all the games? I burned through AfterBurner and Spider-man Web of Fire today. I don't like having to swap the 32x in and out so there is one con. Then, with the small library, a handful won't run on my USA NTSC model, so I will have to emulate those and the Sega CD 32x ones unless the MegaSD gets the expansion slot adapter. So the 32x is on my purgatory watch list for now.  A MiSTer or future FPGA solution would make me get rid of it right away.  A PS1 core will make me stop experimenting with the PS1,2, and 3 probably.

 

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10 minutes ago, seastalker said:

 

The original consoles will of course be better in terms of accuracy be default just for being THE thing and not the copy. Maybe the question was strangely worded. What experiences do you have if playing a wide selection of games, do you want to like original hardware more, but for whatever reason, you still prefer emulating it?  Maybe you don't want to deal with bad lasers anymore, maybe you prefer the Dolphin emulator for getting sharper results from upscaling on a modern screen with a beefy PC you just can't get from a GC or Wii.  Maybe it comes down to monitors... many feel the only way to play the retro systems is on a CRT, but if you only dabble in modern gaming, the switch to LCDs and flat screens lessens your requirements for read hardware so your flat PC monitor with an emulator works better for you if playing Sony PS2/3/PSP or Xbox 360.

For me it comes down to:

original hardware takes up too much space to have it set up, technology moved on, it is hard to get the necessary hardware to connect some old systems to modern TVs.

 

When I last dug out my old hardware, I discovered that many disks/carts would no longer boot,  the cables had become brittle and other signs of hardware aging.   I don't have the time/knowledge to refurbish this stuff.   And I really just want to play the old games without hassle, so that's why I prefer emulation

 

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Those are good points indeed. Tho I had named fragile hardware and medias :)

 

Well I can think of at least one system that is better emulated for me than played for real; it's the Supergrafx.

I have the PC-Engine, the CD-Rom² attachement, and the Arcade Pro card. But no way I'll spend money on getting a Supergrafx... for there are only two unique games to it. That's simply a too high cost-to-fun ratio for me to do it. Plus you also need adapter to plug the CD-Rom² so it's not even a seamless upgrade.

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I have very limited experience with original hardware (I never actually owned an NES, SNES, or Genesis -- my experience with actual hardware is limited to an occasional few minutes with store demo systems), so I cannot really comment on how much better (or worse) emulation is.

 

For me, the main benefits of emulation are storage space and additional features. I currently do not have the space to set-up multiple gaming systems; my entire Atari 2600 collection has been boxed-up for many years now, and even most of my PlayStation and PS 2 games are packed into my closet.  The other thing that I love about emulation is features like save states. I am a big fan of RPGs. I am currently working through the NES Dragon Warrior series, for example. It makes the game so much easier to be able to save wherever/whenever I want, rather than struggle to reach a designated save point.  

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, jhd said:

The other thing that I love about emulation is features like save states. I am a big fan of RPGs. I am currently working through the NES Dragon Warrior series, for example. It makes the game so much easier to be able to save wherever/whenever I want, rather than struggle to reach a designated save point.  

I second this. Save states are great to be able to come back to any point in the game. The only problem i have with them is: is it considered cheating if you save a game at a particular spot, then die in the game, then load that save state and continue the game from that particular spot? The developers didn't have it in mind to start games from any "loading state" you want, and it definitely makes games easier to complete that's for sure.

 

Other than that, I like emulation because it gives me the ability to play multiple consoles and its libraries, without any hardware other than a controller/laptop.

Edited by Nintendo64
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I float between all means of playing games without much regard if I was being quite honest. However I really like emulation in particular for playing old RPGs so that I can speed through battles and save anywhere. 

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Emulation has only been good for one thing for me, to let me try games I'd eventually buy, so I'd not blindly buy games. The only things I'll still play in emulation are games that just cost too much to buy physical copies of.

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If emulation of a system is better than the real thing, why wouldn't I want to admit it?  :ponder: :D

 

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The N64 looks pretty rough on original hardware, but several games are broken on popular emulators, so even that is better on OG for me.

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For me emulat Game Gear is better due to endless sound and picture problems... EXCEPT... I'm happy to admit it.

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7 hours ago, Pixelboy said:

If emulation of a system is better than the real thing, why wouldn't I want to admit it?  :ponder: :D

I am stirring the hornet's nest a bit for the question.  Say you've invested in OG hardware on something you thought you'd have the passion for, then spent money on playing it on a modern screen (like an OSSC or Retrotink) and then had to admit not to others, but yourself that you'd be fine with emulation.  Example, I bought a 3DO,  and it is cool. I even recapped it to fix an audio problem. I need to test it against the 4DO emulator to see if it is worth keeping or get it to someone with a bunch of original 3DO games.  If a Mister core gets released, again it is a fair argument just for not dealing with optical media.

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I think it's an interesting question, and I keep coming back to it, even though I don't have an answer that meets the criteria. Hardware, in the best case scenario, is fixed, doesn't change. In the worst case, it gets less reliable or breaks entirely. In theory, emulation should get better all the time, assuming it's still being developed. I'm sitting on some old hardware like your 3DO which I bought when it was the only option. Every day I hang onto it without enjoying it increases the risk that it's going to stop working, so I should let it go. 

 

Right now I would say the OG GameBoy Advance SP with the nice bright screen is hard to beat for ruggedness and just feeling "nice." I've bought way too many cheap Ingenic-based clone machines for emulating the games than anyone should, but they're just not quite as good. I'm hopeful that the Analogue Pocket will end this nonsense, and that it's not SO nice I'm not afraid to take it out of the house. 

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Ok, so after scanning this thread, I think I finally understand the question being posed by the title:

 

What systems do you not want to admit when emulation is actually better?

 

Rephrased: Which systems convinced you they are better on emulation?

 

The answer for me is probably limited to arcade games.  Although I pretty much accepted MAME right from the very beginning since those games are so hard to obtain.  In most cases, I find I generally appreciate a hybrid solution where a flash cart or similar device is used to provide software, and I can still use the original hardware.  Don't get me wrong, I like emulation, but the hybrid solution is the best for combining quality and convenience in my mind.

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21 minutes ago, seastalker said:

I am stirring the hornet's nest a bit for the question.  Say you've invested in OG hardware on something you thought you'd have the passion for, then spent money on playing it on a modern screen (like an OSSC or Retrotink) and then had to admit not to others, but yourself that you'd be fine with emulation.  Example, I bought a 3DO,  and it is cool. I even recapped it to fix an audio problem. I need to test it against the 4DO emulator to see if it is worth keeping or get it to someone with a bunch of original 3DO games.  If a Mister core gets released, again it is a fair argument just for not dealing with optical media.

I see. Well then, it all comes down to your definition of "better". If "better" means "more advantageous", then emulation will always win as long as emulators keep being released and updated, since they can then outlive the real hardware. If "better" relates more to the gameplay experience, then aside from a sharper picture, it mostly comes down to the quality of the controller you're using to play a game under emulation.

 

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I've started emulating all the old classic computers (Atari, Apple II, black and white Mac, Amiga, etc) on MiSTer with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and it's pretty great. Consoles, too.

 

As long as there's not a ton of audio lag (like there is on the Raspberry Pi 4 running Lakka) or a lot of input lag, I don't mind emulation. It just needs to look and sound like the original. Analogue's FPGA systems do this, MiSTer does this, and a relatively fast PC does this, but all the little micro consoles, Nvidia Shield, and the Pi just cannot do it to my satisfaction. 

 

Since I don't want a PC in the living room, I use a DE10-Nano for everything it can do and have original hardware (or backwards-compatible hardware) for the rest. PS1-4, OG Xbox, Xbox One X, Dreamcast, Saturn, Switch, and WiiU (with vWii and Game Cube compatibility). 

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Games are always best on original hardware, end of story.  That assumes of course that everything is in working order.  Over the last 2 years I have started toying with emulation (RetroPie, then Hyperspin) and I would say the main draw is the convenience.  If I pull out a cart, for instance, I have to clean it with 91% alcohol/Q-tips before I even start it and that shit takes time away from gaming.  NES carts are usually the dirtiest!  It's still my preferred way to play though, even with the hassle.

 

I adore emulation for MAME and older (or foreign) computers that I don't have.

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The initial question is just a bit of fun and my example answers (3DO 32x) are my own journey.  Am I alone in seeing how serious the answers are here as an indicator of how this question needs to be asked? 

 

derFunkenstein, what a great comment: "Since I don't want a PC in the living room, I use a DE10-Nano for everything it can do and have original hardware (or backwards-compatible hardware) for the rest. PS1-4, OG Xbox, Xbox One X, Dreamcast, Saturn, Switch, and WiiU (with vWii and Game Cube compatibility)." 

 

This is a great example where OG hardware may sit in a closet for "one fine day" but the MISTER is like a RGB mod for many OG systems and computers and much smaller without software emulation of any kind. I want to know one individual who is still rocking a DEC PDP-1 computer to play Spacewar. That may be the broad end of the spectrum, but it makes the point here for discussion of when is it OG or broke and when is it emulation above all and when is there place in your heart for OG hardware?

 

Here is another example:  I had a GC for many seconds AFTER getting a Wii.  I modded both and had hard-mod tech for the GC and DS around the same time.  The point is things change all the time. The GC is hardware built-in on a wii - this is like a PS1 built in on a fat PS2 and the early slims before PS1 was relegated to official Sony emulation. The GC load times never made me need a GC, and after Nintendont, loading Wii, GC, and then arcade Triforce games from USB hard drive made me not look back.  I never had a GBA other than my DS lite with a M4 flash cart. I learned of the GBA player attachment for the GC. Cool, yes but I was fine with emulation for not having the system.  Now, the GBA player is cool, but there is the option of GBA consolizer if you have carts, or again, MISTER now takes over for the GC attachment need.  The Analogue Pocket may be the new hardware killer for a battery eating, McWill mod needing Lynx, GG, and even the NGP, NGPC and entire GB line. So yeah, FPGA hardware is definitely a consideration in this topic as well. 

 

Currently, though I am experimenting with PS1 games on real soft and hardware modded PS1/PS2/PS3 systems, my current favorite way to play PS1 games is on a PS1 classic image - you get the totally acceptable factory emulator, and for sticklers, the Retroarch core on a piece of plastic and controllers that look like the original.  I thought I'd like OG PS hardware but am finding I most enjoy the experience in emulation so far. A jailbroken Analogue PS system or Mister core, and I am done with anything else probably. I never got an acceptable PS1 emulation experience before the classic (modded).

 

So I will poke the stick more - in 2020, for you personally, are you ok with Saturn, Dreamcast and N64 emulation or for you are they still not where you need them for accuracy?

 

And glazball: "Games are always best on original hardware, end of story." Yes, the point of this fun is to see though the real word cases where the hardware woes don't justify the upkeep, or the setup pain in the ass doesn't, etc.

Edited by seastalker

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I softmodded my Backward-compatible PS3 but Webman and PS1 disc images are not as convenient as my PSIO-equipped PS1. I feel the same about my HDD-equipped PS2 phatty. My PS3 mod is only really good for PSP games at this point based on the hardware I own. 

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On 2/9/2020 at 7:27 PM, save2600 said:

I personally wouldn't say it's "better" (easier to maintain maybe) than legacy hardware, but can see why some might, as Amiga emulation is *very* good actually. Software for it is mature and easy to customize. I have a little dedicated PC that boots directly into Amiga mode and can emulate many different configs... 040, AGA, OCS, CD32, any Kickstart, etc. and runs great. Feels as close to the real thing as possible, all things considered.

 

It is, is it not? Very good.. I've done similar with most of my emulation rigs. You boot, nearly instantly thanks to NVME, straight into a blank desktop. Only thing visible is a set of larger-sized icons that take you to the system of your choice. Most of my rigs (Shuttle XPCs and Intel NUCs) host 15 or so more or less systems each.

 

On 2/10/2020 at 12:51 AM, skaredmask said:

  Personally what I usually hate about emulating is keeping track of Directory folders and such (can be a major pain on OG Xbox/Mame, almost all emulators). While I find most emulator do there jobs really good juggling files and such is pain than having the media for said system and putting in for said system.

Really? I always think that to be a huge advantage of emulation - the ability to organize and customize and compartmentalize thousands of items according to your own mind-map-like layout.

 

Quote

However when it comes to media Decaying such as floppy's and such. I believe this is where emulation is key since it will fail sooner or later but everything fails overtime.

Absolutely. On this point there is no contention and never will be. I just lost an emulation drive this week. Had it for 10 years, with ~ 45,000 hours on the clock. It was a no-brainer to pull from last month's backup and continue on my way. The only cost being a couple of hours and $50 to replace it.

 

Data migration, continuity, back-ups, redundancy.. Big scary words.. Not! Just a collection of common sense ideas that's nothing more than insurance for longevity.

 

 

On 2/10/2020 at 6:23 PM, Nintendo64 said:

I second this. Save states are great to be able to come back to any point in the game. The only problem i have with them is: is it considered cheating if you save a game at a particular spot, then die in the game, then load that save state and continue the game from that particular spot? The developers didn't have it in mind to start games from any "loading state" you want, and it definitely makes games easier to complete that's for sure.

Not really. It eliminates a lot of the senseless grinding prevalent in so many games. There are times I would rather start at level 25 of some game. I can either use a memory patch or a saved-state that I worked up to myself..

 

You ALWAYS have the option of playing straight through without using save-states. As the developer intended.

 

Quote

Other than that, I like emulation because it gives me the ability to play multiple consoles and its libraries, without any hardware other than a controller/laptop.

And thus the remarkable, relaxing, environment that isn't cluttered up with crap. Yes.

 

6 hours ago, derFunkenstein said:

I've started emulating all the old classic computers (Atari, Apple II, black and white Mac, Amiga, etc) on MiSTer with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and it's pretty great. Consoles, too.

 

As long as there's not a ton of audio lag (like there is on the Raspberry Pi 4 running Lakka) or a lot of input lag, I don't mind emulation. It just needs to look and sound like the original. Analogue's FPGA systems do this, MiSTer does this, and a relatively fast PC does this, but all the little micro consoles, Nvidia Shield, and the Pi just cannot do it to my satisfaction. 

When I introduce someone to emulation I always start them out with a fast tiny PC. Like a NUC or Shuttle XPC. Not only can you fit multiple systems in there you can do PC things, too. Since I focus on the emulation part, they're always pleasantly surprised to find it can run "deluxe" browsers like FireFox, or PC applications like Office and Photoshop and such.

 

R-Pi is a specialty thing and a game in and of itself. How far can you go on low-cost, low-power..? Things a beginner doesn't need to deal with. So away with that! No half-assed get-me-by experiences. I want you to enjoy the machines to the best of a given emulator's capabilities. Hence an i7 or i9.

 

Quote

Since I don't want a PC in the living room, I use a DE10-Nano for everything it can do and have original hardware (or backwards-compatible hardware) for the rest. PS1-4, OG Xbox, Xbox One X, Dreamcast, Saturn, Switch, and WiiU (with vWii and Game Cube compatibility). 

We don't have PC's in the living room, aside from a NUC or two. Emm. These are small enough and hide just about anywhere, being 4"x4"x3". Places like under the TV stand, behind the TV, a small cut-out in the wall, behind some other doodad or somewhere are perfect spots. I personally like having mine in plain sight. It's an impressive little brainbox! It fully brings to life a childhood dream of having all my "Atari" stuff in one unit.

 

I had all kinds of frustrating fun imagining and wondering how I could get my 20 consoles into one box that didn't look like a shitstorm. Knew it would happen, but it would take time for the tech to mature and become affordable.

 

Edited by Keatah

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