guyrocket avatar

I appreciate that many older games are still available on Steam either "maintained" as in the article or "remastered". Someday soon I will buy Total Annihilation...again...on Steam this time.

But I do not understand why games are seen as disposable, temporary media. Sure the latest titles are flashy but there are plenty of fucking awesome older games that are still fun to play. And as physical media disappears it becomes much more important for the gaming industry to stop pulling the ladder up behind themselves. History matters. Old <> bad.

There should be an equivalent to the classic rock stations for video games. I greatly appreciate the efforts of the MAME, and Mr. Lee to keep the classics alive.


What you say reminds me of this GDC talk. There’s a great analogy comparing the experience of buying a movie from 1989 vs a game from the same year. Why don’t companies just embrace emulation and treat it like we do video codecs?

guyrocket avatar

Thanks for that link, very interesting.

Seems like the game companies sort of allow the emulation...unofficially. It should be part of their actual business and profits and emulation looks like a great path to that.

TwilightVulpine, (edited )

This is such important work, but large gaming companies now seem to want games to stop working so people will move to the next thing. That's one of the hidden business interests on tying everything to online services.

I do hope we can still manage to maintain compatibility using emulators, virtual machines and compatibility layers. Digital media is so trivial to copy and store that letting it be lost can only happen due to complete neglect.


Don't forget your remaster/remakes releases


I believe Ethan is also responsible for Wine’s Xaudio support. If you play certain Bethesda games on Linux, there’s a good chance you’re using his work.

EmptyRadar avatar

But...why? It's so much simpler and often better to just emulate the original software and hardware than to port entire games.

He's not preserving them - that's done by simply archiving the file. He's making them playable on modern software. That's something different entirely, still very cool though.

ampersandrew avatar

It's not simple or easy to spin up a VM that will run indie games from 10 years ago.

EmptyRadar avatar

I guess that depends who you ask. I emulate games all the time. Just takes a little bit of willingness to learn something new.

ampersandrew avatar

No, it takes time to spin up a VM that will run PC games from a bygone era using an old version of Windows. We're talking minutes from the time you click the VM until you can run the game, compared to seconds on a native executable. It's one method, sure, but it's not ideal. It's definitely not simpler or better.

EmptyRadar avatar

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Personally I find the process to be much simpler than what you described, but I guess it comes down to knowledge and experience in that area. Happy learning and good luck with all that!


I have a feeling you're talking about emulating consoles, which is a bit different than, say, emulating a game that only works on Windows XP.

EmptyRadar, (edited )
EmptyRadar avatar

Nope, I have been a PC gamer for about 30 years and I love emulating classics from the past. It's not as challenging as folks around here seem to think. I guess sometimes people just have a hard time accepting that there can be multiple ways of doing a thing, even if they are unaware of some of those ways. Emulating XP might seem like a big deal for someone who is new to the idea, but personally I have been emulating XP for decades, even when it was the modern OS, along with many other types of OS, so it's a matter of rote for me at this point. I wouldn't even consider XP to be old enough to be a challenge - try emulating some of the original Linux distros, or an OS you've never heard of for that matter. That's where the challenge can come in.

I love that so many people have an opinion on this subject though. It just affirms that new ideas are out there for those who want them. Happy learning!


I also have plenty of experience emulating all kinds of things, including Windows - in fact, I have an instance of Win 98 in a VM right now.

That said, I can't agree that it's in any way easy for the average Joe. It's not rocket science, but it's by far harder than just having a working executable.

If nothing else, consider the legality of it - you must have a legal copy of the specific version of Windows, often the specific BIOS, as well. These are not easy (or cheap, often) to acquire these days.

Then you likely need to make sure your CPU supports Hyper-V, then install the entire OS...

Then you often need to make sure you're emulating the specific CPU with the specific GPU, with the specific sound card, or else this specific Windows 95 game will CTD or be missing features. Old games were finicky and OS emulation for gaming is only easy on the surface.

moon_matter avatar

Emulation is the least amount of work for all involved. If some poor guy is to spend weeks or months of his time porting a game it better be worth the investment. Porting should only be done for games that are completely broken and can't run in a VM or emulator.

It takes less than 30 minutes to setup a Windows or Linux VM.

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