Amazing Kids! Magazine

Emulators Review

By Daniel Boerschig, age 16, New York, USA

 

Emulators are one of the best ways to play video games both easily and cheaply right on your computer. Emulators are downloadable software that allows people to play most video games right on a computer or laptop rather than a home console or other gaming device. Playable games range all the way from arcade and Atari games to Xbox 360 and PS3 games. Both easy to download and use, emulators are much better than buying old consoles and systems.

Emulators are free downloads and are generally available on a number of reliable websites but always check the website against your antivirus software or ask your parents for help. Each gaming system has its own emulator but each emulator can play any game for that system. For example, all Gameboy games are playable on a Gameboy emulator. Different emulators are compatible with different platforms like Windows, Apple, and even mobile devices. The emulators have a large range of features including control, sound, and video customization as well as quicksaving/loading and a “cheats” option for gameshark, action replay, and other cheat codes. Games are also free downloads in the form of ROMs and are typically available on the same websites as the emulators. All of the programs are free, fast, and easy downloads of small files.

The alternatives to emulators are to locate and buy old games and systems for playing at home. Not only is that expensive, but also wasteful and inconvenient. Old games and systems are rare, expensive, and voluminous. To play old arcade games, one would have to find an arcade machine, repair it if it doesn’t work, and find a place to store it. On the other hand, one could download an emulator and play the game for free on a computer. The small files take up almost no hard drive space and one can download and play as many games as he/she wants. It is much easier and cheaper to use emulators than the actual systems and games themselves.

However, there are some drawbacks to emulators. Emulators are downloaded online so some may contain viruses and/or corrupted files that may be harmful to a computer. This can be avoided by checking if the website and files are safe before downloading. Some newer games require a good computer to run because of complicated graphics and controls. Fast paced games may be difficult to play due to lag and freezing. A good, newer computer with plenty of memory will run emulators better than older ones, but this is only true for newer systems and games. On older computers, SNES and Gameboy Advanced games will run better than Xbox 360 games because the games and emulators are smaller files and less complex. Also, some game controls are difficult to do on a keyboard because the games were made for controllers. Fast paced games need a good memory of the controls to play and the arrow keys make platformers, like Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario Bros, difficult to play due to fidgety and confusing keyboard controls. However, the control settings can be customized and controllers can be plugged into a computer if need be. The only drawback that cannot be avoided or fixed is that it takes a while to make emulators and ROMs for brand new games and systems. The PS4, Xbox One, and the Wii U do not have good emulators and will probably not be available for some time. Still, all the other problems are preventable and/or manageable.

Emulators are the best way to play old video games. The downloads are free, fast, and easy and the emulators themselves are typically well made and convenient with unique and fun extra features. Whether one wants to play an old nostalgic game of one’s youth or a rare or expensive game that seems fun, emulators are the best way to go.