We're firmly of the opinion here at Time Extension that we've never had it better as retro gamers. There are so many ways to experience and enjoy classic titles these days that we almost feel spoilt for choice; outside of using the original hardware, you can choose to play via software emulation, FPGA, micro-consoles, flash cartridges, Optical Disc Emulators and even devices which combine some of these options – and it's even possible to play vintage titles on modern systems, thanks to the efforts of publishers and IP holders who are keen to leverage their back catalogues to loosen the purse-strings of players of all generations.
The various ways we can enjoy retro games are all perfectly valid, and we're not for one moment suggesting that one is superior to another, but it's worth asking the question: how do you play your retro games? Are you a purist who will only play original carts on original hardware, or do feel that emulation (legal or otherwise) is the only way to really experience and appreciate the whole of gaming's history? Perhaps you're somewhere in the middle, and love the fact that FPGA-based devices like the MiSTer can deliver 100% accuracy without having to worry about expensive (and often volatile) physical media?
Let us know by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment!
For me personally, I don’t care how the software is presented. The hardware in the other hand has to be the original, and hooked up in modded to the highest quality that it supports.
I have a fair amount of hardware and games for classic systems but without a CRT in the house and the cost of collecting, too many games are now unobtainable. Combine that with the explosion of retro themed devices that can play old games via solid emulation and I tend to back up and play there.
I have an original NES and Gamecube, but don't have the TV setup to play them, I'm going to get a Carby or something for my Gamecube at some point. At the moment I use modern mini retro concoles and my Switch.
I try to use original equipment with the originals games I have I but will use sd readers, flash carts to play stuff as well.
I do tend to use emulation for more awkward to get systems.
I’ll play retro titles anywhere I can!
I like to use original hardware whenever it's not crazy expensive otherwise I like to emulate via official means. I'm too lazy/not enough time to mod things so if I can't play something one of these ways, then that's that.
I would prefer to have all of consoles hooked up, but do not have luxury of space (or Plug Sockets) for this.
I also do not have the time for updating my consoles for HDTV compatibility, also do not have time to mess around with fine tuning emulators.
I have a Polymega on pre-order so I can play my retro (most of) collection in the living room, without upsetting the Mrs.
Still waiting for delivery shipment date on that.
I used to be original hardware with original media but during the pandemic I started on a project to back up my games, and that led to me trying out emulators on my phone and being incredibly impressed with the experience on stuff like Redream, PPSSPP, and AetherSX2. Just having save states and being able to fast-forward has helped me enjoy games like Ikaruga and Skies of Arcadia in ways I wouldn't have been able to before.
I play mostly collections on the modern systems like the TMNT Cowabunga Collection for example or Disney Afternoon collection and FPGA consoles with original cartridges. As much as I like the original hardware I am afraid that one day I will go to play it and it won't work anymore.
I definitely prefer original, but I have been in the process of backing up my older games as legally as possible. It’s a bit pricey, and time consuming, but fun to learn the ins and out. The NES games were a bit of a challenge, and there are still a few I haven’t successfully dumped, but I have enjoyed the process quite a bit.
I have been impressed with RetroArch overall, but for 64 games Project 64 is super impressive. I prefer 64 emulation in many ways over the original hardware due to graphic fidelity.
Original is best in my opinion, and I have a couple pretty great CRTs (just one pictured) for the older systems. It’s a great trip back in time to the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.
Handheld emulators for me. I only care about playing the games and I try to keep as minimalist a place as I can. I ditched all game boxes along the way and keep my - hundreds of - PS3/360/One discs in organizers. One thing I can't stand is playing 4/3 on a 16/9 screen so everything up to PS1 I keep on my RG351MP&V. For the rest I use the Ayn Odin Pro and I also have my VITA and 3DS on the side. Everything other than the cds fits neatly into a plastic box.
I did side by side comparisons of my physical consoles to emulation last year, and ended up getting rid of the consoles. I couldn’t find any differences in the quality, and since retroarch has settings to eliminate input latency and grants the ability to run patched games/translations, the obvious winner is emulation. I’m so much happier not having a dozen consoles + cartridges lying around, collecting dust.
I'm 45 with failing eyesight. While I love my old consoles with the original cart plugged in, I can't tell the difference between that and a fairly decent emulation. Most of these side-by-side comparisons look the same to me. Even when Digital Foundry have a 3 way split screen for PS/Xbox/PC and are bemoaning one over the other... They all look the same to me. So I'm leaning towards the convenience of Retroarch on a laptop. All in one place, easy to transport etc. Retroarch on my PS Vita is even more portable.
@Landstalker I'm right there with you. 45 and my eyesight isn't nearly as good as it used to be either. I guess the positive is that as long as I can see it, it looks good to me!
I play all original on my CRT.
I'm 51 so even new HD consoles look like N64 quality to me
Modern consoles when available, original hardware otherwise. I just really enjoy the convenience of HD ports, even though they're almost always emulation, especially considering the headaches I have to deal with involving my old consoles + upscaler + UHDTV. The input lag is often very problematic. (I don't have a CRT nor the space to keep one.)
Has to be original hardware and CRT for me. I’ve tried hooking them up to HDTVs with various gizmos but no matter what anyone says, they just look rubbish in comparison.
It has to be original hardware and controllers as that’s part of the experience for me. Anything else just doesn’t feel right.
I do use flash carts though (and Verbatims for disc based systems). While I do have original cartridges and discs, I just like the option of being able to play any game that takes my fancy without worrying if it costs hundreds of pounds or not. But I do have most of the games I liked as a child, the boxes and manuals for those games is part of the nostalgia.
I do play on original hardware sometimes, but I find it so much more convenient to play retro games on modern hardware. I know you don't get the same experience, but, hey, I'm just looking to enjoy the game itself.
A mixture of original hardware, emulation and modern ports on modern systems for me.
I’ve held onto nearly all my old systems and have them there ready to set up and play if I want to. However, having finally gotten around to modding a spare Wii that now gives me access to a decent library of retro systems and games from the Virtual Console. I have enough space to have a 32’ flat screen and a 26’ wide screen crt tv side by side so between the Wii and Switch/Xbox One and the various mini consoles I’m covered for a huge number of retro games.
I’ve never sold a system; by my count I have 18 now, going back to my childhood NES. But the truth is I rarely play on the old original hardware. Some of the consoles don’t work, and the rest don’t display well on modern tvs. In practice I have been using emulation and releases on modern platforms for almost all of my retro gaming for at least the last five years or so. Someday I’d like to get a game room with a crt, I’d refurbish the old systems, and I would use the original hardware again, but that’s not in the cards for now.
I'm definitely a mixture, but my preference is generally original hardware and controllers but using flash drives/ODEs instead of original media. The main advantage being I don't need to have walls of cartridges and CDs to play all those old machines! 😅
I’ve tried all of them. At the moment I’m settled with an Analogue Mega SG & original carts and a PS1 hooked up with a retrotink cable from retrogamingcables which is awesome. Also have a switch with its emulation offerings but I’m using it less & less tbh..
I'm not like super into collecting but I have a nice little Game Boy collection and I play those carts on Game Boy hardware. Usually my GBA SP for the lit screen but occasionally my Pocket or Color if I'm feeling extra nostalgic. The closest I get to emulation is NSO/VC. I have a mental preoccupation with my games being played in an official capacity. Downloading ROMs and using emulators just feels wrong to me, and I just can't get into a game if it's played in this manner.
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