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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


Emulation Is Saving Mario

Video game emulation is actually preserving the fading history of gaming

Gaming is one of the longest-running hobbies out there. It dates all the way back to 1958, with the first introduction being a simple tennis game

But what does a person have to do to play one of these older games? These days there are hundreds of games that are, at this point, much easier to emulate than they are to play on their original console, which might be an antique and can cost a couple hundred dollars to buy.

In the gaming industry, there have been a large number of consoles that have been manufactured, and many of them have been discontinued. One of the main reasons to buy those consoles is for their exclusive games. So when a console’s manufacturing has been stopped, that means that the common consumer will not be able to play that console’s games for some time.

When these games are no longer available, there is not much more a person can do, other than just wait for the company who developed those games to make them available for online purchase. Oftentimes, companies do not do that, and that is where emulation comes in. 

A third party developer can obtain the code for a console game, and they can then make a program that can read that code. That way a computer can basically act as the intended console.

In rare cases where the game code is no longer available in any way, shape or form, the developers can reverse-engineer the game. They try to see how the game was made, and the process of duplicating the game begins. Often the game code is improved or changed for a better overall player experience, and sometimes this step is necessary anyway, because the original controller used for that game is no longer available for purchase.

At this point, you may be asking, “Is all of this legal?” Well, the answer is complicated. 

The whole emulating process is covered in gray areas. If you own a physical copy of a game, you can legally emulate that game, but you cannot share the code online for someone else to download. You can also emulate a game when the company is no longer producing the game or has not made it available online.

Emulation is not only made by third party developers, but is also made by the companies themselves. Nintendo, for example, just recently leaked the news that the Switch might be able to emulate old Game Boy games. But Nintendo is not the only one who has done this, because both Sony and Microsoft have added games to their libraries from previous console generations.

All in all, emulation is one of the reasons why many older, harder-to-find games are still available to this day. Both big-name companies and smaller developers produce emulated games, because those games are really good and many players still want to play them. Also the speedrunning community spends hours trying to complete older games the fastest way possible, just for the sport of it. 

No matter how you look at it, emulation has had a positive impact on the gaming industry, and it is a good way to preserve games from the bygone era. There are hundreds of great games out there, Nitros, so go out there and find them!

About the Contributor
Maxim Arutunian
Maxim Arutunian, Staff Writer
Maxim is a senior at Glendale High School. Currently he is a leader on the GHS track & field team, and he helps the newbies to get comfortable in the sport. His favorite hobby is to play video games, which are a big part of who he is.
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