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Download ROMs

You’ve seen it. Maybe it was on an airplane, maybe it was at a friend’s house, but you saw people playing old Nintendo, Sega, or even PlayStation games on their computers. And yet, when you searched for those particular games in Steam, nothing comes up. What is this witchcraft? What you saw, my friend, is called emulation. It’s by no means new, but you shouldn’t feel bad for not knowing about it. This isn’t exactly mainstream cultural knowledge, and can be a little confusing for beginners. Here’s how emulation works, and how to set it up on your Windows PC.What Are Emulators and ROMs? To play old school console games on your computer, you need two things: an emulator and a ROM. An emulator is a piece of software that mimics the hardware of an old-school console, giving your computer a way to open and run these classic games. A ROM is a ripped copy of the actual game cartridge or disc of yesterday. So an emulator is a program you run, the ROM is the file you open with it. When you do, your computer will run that old school game. Where do emulators come from? Generally, they’re built by fans. Sometimes it’s a single obsessive fan of a given console, and sometimes it’s an entire open source community. In almost all cases, though, these emulators are distributed for free online. Developers work hard to make their emulators as accurate as possible, meaning the experience of playing the game feels as much like playing on the original system as possible. There are several emulators out there for every retro gaming system you can imagine.
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