Recently I have been emulating old games and been very excited to gain access to many old classics which I have been unable to play for years. For me, this is pretty significant because in the past I would never access any fiction or media without first officially purchasing it. As a creative person mysellf, I can understand the importance of paying for things like these.
However, video games present a very frustrating hurdle. Let’s say a book was published for the first time three hundred years ago. To this day I am sure I’ll be able to find a way to buy it quite easily and reading it will be no difficulty. Now imagine a game was released only twenty years ago. It will be hard to find working hardware to play it properly and it might not even have the capacity to save anymore. This will be even worse in the future, when certain games which have only been released digitally are no longer offered by their publishers.
I know a lot of digital services are providing options for people who wish to download older titles and, when I can, I always go for these options. The problem is that copyright issues seem to get in the way and so a lot of significant games never get released. I’m hoping such services will be more extensive in future.
When they don’t get a digital release, to “officially” play a game, I’d first have to spend loads of money on old consoles and controllers, only for the game itself to probably end up costing a lot more than it originally did as well. If I go to all that effort, who really benefits? Not me, not the original creator – just a shrewd online salesperson.
With all these factors holding me back, I decided to bite the bullet and go for emulation. I am having a lot of fun and, as I think about it, the people who poured creative energy into it would probably be happier knowing people were playing it for free, than knowing most people would never have the chance to do so (even if the soulless business who owns them would not.)