Video game emulators

An "emulator" is a program which reproduces one system on another. Or put simply, in the case of games, it means running old machines on new ones. It's an amazing way of preserving history. You can travel back in time, virtually, to use old consoles, arcade cabinets and computers.

The world of emulators goes deep and fills many, many websites. It's definitely worth exploring these interactive museums of gaming. (And yes, video game museums are a thing.)

It's completely possible to walk around with an entire eighties arcade, a room full of retro computers and a suite of classic games consoles, all in your pocket, working faithfully on your phone or tablet. It's great for train journeys but drains the batteries!

Info about emulators on Wikipedia.

 

Linux, Mac and Windows.

(Androids see here.)

Here's a selection of free, open-source retro-gaming systems, made by the community:

 

Classic NINTENDO systems

Super Nintendo / Super Famicom (1990)
Higan

Nintendo 64 (1996)
Mupen64 Plus

Gameboy Advance (2001)
VBA (Threats: Crsspxl, Google Analytics, Pro-market.)

Gamecube (2001) & Wii (2006)
Dolphin (Threats: Doubleclick, Google Syndication, YouTube.)
 

Classic SONY systems

PlayStation (1994)
PCSX-R (Threat: Microsoft.)

PlayStation2 (2000)
PCSX2 (Threat: Facebook, Google Analytics, Google Syndication, Twitter.)

PlayStation Portable (2004)
PPSSPP (Threats: Facebook, Google Syndication, Twitter.)

 

THE NECESSARY LEGAL BIT

Generally, emulators are completely legal. You may install them without worry. However, they require games and sometimes copyrighted hardware code.

So...

The only way to be perfectly legal is to own the original game and "dump" (digitise) it yourself.
The same goes for hardware.

Of course, sharing copyrighted files with others is not legal. That's called "piracy". Make sure you have the right to share any file.

It's often illegal to download "BIOS", "ROM", "ISO" or similar game files, unless they are "abandonware" or "homebrew". Downloading copyrighted files is also "piracy". Make sure you're allowed to own a copy of any file.

We don't endorse piracy but we totally endorse the communities of people who can unravel an old piece of hardware and then make it come alive again inside a window on a PC or phone. Wizards!

That's about it really. Have fun!