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emulation instructions

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emulation means to "pretend" to run an application on a system it wasn't generally designed for. this section only includes running console game (games for playstation, nintendo, etc) on windows computers (unless noted it can be run on other operating systems) i have the emulation software (and all additional software to emulate) on my download page, or you can use the external links on this page to collect the software. i only have nes and snes games on my download page, so no playstation games or dreamcast games because they take up too much room and there might be a copyright issue when they finally fix the copyright law.
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every emulator requires at least some additional instruction to set up, so i made this webpage. some emulators are very easy to operate and some are difficult. all of these emulators require some type of controller. you can use your keyboard as the controller or a game controller. the game controller can be a controller made for pc or a console controller with an adapter which changes the controller to usb (controllers like xbox 360 are already usb, so you don't need an adapter with xbox 360 controllers).
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after each system i put dvd, cd, or roms showing what type of removable media the console system uses for individual games. the dvd and cd emulators use laserdisks which are ripped to make "game images", whereas roms are cartrages named "game roms". without a lot of explaining, they are the pretty much the same as movie dvds, audio cds, and 3.5 inch floppy disks respectively. the dreamcast has an additional type of thing named a vmu, but less than 10% of dreamcast games actually use the vmu for anything other than storage.
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these are the best possible emulators.
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sony playstation 2 (dvds)

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the instructions in the link below are outdated, but they give good information. the emulator is the correct emulator, and the instructions work. you will have trouble finding games in usa now that torrents are policed. you can copy games from the game dvd and then you don't need the game dvd anymore. beware that each dvd is upwards of 10gb, so it takes a significant amount of storage space for each game.
http://www.lecksite.com/ps2.html
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sega dreamcast (cds)

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this is the most complicated emulator to set up of all the emulators on this page.
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using nulldc https://code.google.com/p/nulldc/ you need to acquire a dreamcast bios. to download a bios i suggest this website http://www.emuparadise.me/links-and-downloads/BIOS_Files/Sega_Dreamcast_Chankast_Recommended_Bios_set/2 . after extracting the downloaded file with 7zip or another zip extractor, you have 4 folders. you have to choose a dc_flash.bin and a dc_bios.bin to use. remember j means japanese, and i think u means usa and e means europe. if you get the bios from a different website that's ok. it might not be the correct name though. if it's not exactly named dc_flash.bin and dc_bios.bin simply rename the 2 files to dc_flash.bin and dc_bios.bin, and it will work. So after you have successfully installed nulldc, inside the nulldc folder there are 2 subfolders and some files not in folders (it's ok if the structure of nulldc isn't exactly the same, just use common sense to follow these instructions). inside the "data" folder you want to put dc_flash.bin and dc_bios.bin. i suggest running nulldc now to make sure it works, so if it doesn't work you don't waste time and need to go back. you need directx 9.0c and visual c++ installed to get this emulator working (see the nulldc website for links) you don't need to install directx or c++ if nulldc starts up without any popup box error messages. i suggest only installing directx or c++ if you get an error. most people don't know if they have directx or c++ installed, let alone if it's the most current version. now run the file named something like this "nullDC_Win32_Release-NoTrace.exe" a successful run will open up a command prompt window and then shortly afterwards a larger window with the word nullDC in the middle. Assuming this all works, now it's time to download a game. you will want to look for a game from a website even if you have dreamcast games. i don't know how to correctly rip dreamcast cds, so just download the cd images from a website like http://www.emuparadise.me/roms/dreamcast/ . if you don't use this website, or one of the games you downloaded is in .iso form, you want to use http://www.crystalidea.com/anytoiso and create bin/cue image in the "cd/dvd disk to iso" tab. nulldc WILL ONLY RUN GAMES in .cdi, .nrg, or .bin/.cue form. nulldc WILL NOT run mounted images, physical dreamcast cds in a cd rom drive, or .iso files.
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now you have successfully accomplished setting up your emulator and it works. in order to run games open up nulldc (remember it's "nullDC_Win32_Release-NoTrace.exe") click on "file" and then on "normal boot" to play the game. make sure you configure your game controller controls first.
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you can only use a keyboard upon default. you could run a program like joy2key to turn your controller inputs into keyboard inputs, or you can configure the emulator to recognize your game controller. here are instructions to configure the emulator to use a game controller. you have to run nulldc (remember it's "nullDC_Win32_Release-NoTrace.exe") and then click on the "options" tab and then on "select plugins" button. under the "maple (input/saves) plugins: " header change the topmost dropdown to "purupuru dreamcast controller v0.1 falcon4ever [aug 21 2011] (purupuru_win32.dll:0)" and then change the next 2 dropdowns to the same thing "nulldc vmu logitech friendly version (aug 21 2011) (drkmapledevices_win32.dll:2)" this will allow your controllers to be used if you decide to use a controller to play these games.
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for completeness, nulldc may or may not allow 4 players at once. crankast is an older emulator and crankast does apparently allow 4 players if you install the howard plugin, but crankast is even more complicated to set up than nulldc and crankcast isn't supported or updated anymore. so crankcast doesn't allow 4 players by default. crankcast is designed to work on windows xp, so you need to use compatibility settings if you are using a newer version of windows with crankast.
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sony playstation 1 (cds)
emulator is http://www.epsxe.com/
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you need to download a bios for playstation 1. you need to mount the games on a virtual cd rom in order to play them. i suggest virtual clonedrive to mount games http://www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html
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nintendo 64 (roms)
the emulator is "project64" http://emulator-zone.com/doc.php/n64/project64.html
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super nintendo (roms)
the emulator is http://zsnes.com/
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there are emulators for super nintendo for every operating system including mobile operating systems. zsnes only supports machintosh and windows as i understand. your games can be transferred to other operating systems but probably not your savestates.
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sega genesis (roms)
this isn't the best emulator, but it works fine. the problem is that it crashes every time i take it out of fullscreen on one computer and might not work on windows 8 without compatibility settings. it does work fine on 1 version of windows, but i forget which version of windows that is. i haven't taken the time to test this emulator fully obviously.
http://www.carpeludum.com/kega-fusion/
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nintendo (roms)
the emulator is nestopia http://nestopia.sourceforge.net/
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this is probably the most common emulated system on earth.
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this emulator can be used for almost every operating system (make sure you download the correct operating system version, so the windows version will not work for other operating systems). occasionally a game will not work in nestopia but will work in ubernes. if you have a slow computer, the second best emulator is ubernes. ubernes takes a little more time to set up and learn and ubernes only works with 80% of games, whereas nestopia works with 98% of games. ubernes runs games slightly faster than nestopia. ubernes is the fastest windows emulator because it functiosn off of an optional database system integrated into the emulator.
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using linux, it might be easier to download nesticle for windows and use wine in linux, instead of downloading the linux version of nesticle and installing nesticle for linux. Both ways work fine, but chances are if you don't consider yourself a master in linux, one way will be easier than the other to do for you.
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nintendo games can be run from dos if you want to use a 30 year old computer for example. there are dos based emulators for nintendo. see my linux page for instructions how to install dos and linux.
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arcades
http://www.mame.net/ is the best emulator by far. each arcade has its own setup. i forget if you need a bios for mame. i'll update this section later.
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every game is essentially unique, so try not to get frustrated if you run a game and don't know the arcade version has an unusual interface like a huge trackball for example.
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q: what happened to the wooden car with wooden wheels, a wooden engine, and a wooden steering wheel?
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a: it wooden go
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-a joke from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuizUp
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best video games

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last updated
011715
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here is my list for the best overall current and retro (retro means old) video games. i'm partial to rpgs, so most of the games i consider the best have some progression (rpg elements). i think a movie, game, and book should not be "one and done". if you like a game, it should take time to beat it, and it should be fun in the process. games without progression you can master in less than 1 hour if you are very good at games. games with progression take many hours and days to finish usually. if you aren't the type of person who plays games, the genres which would be best considered "games" are action, racing, and shooter. when you sit down to play a video game, some people don't consider playing poker against people over the internet a real video game for example. poker against people is more like playing a card game, but using a computer instead of cards and chips.
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best games in the major type
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single player (1 person only possible)
without a lot of explanation, best current game is "final fantasy X". best retro game i'm not sure.
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multiplayer (1+ possible players with player interaction)
best current game "diablo 2" for computer. best retro game "tetris".
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massively multiplayer (64+ players usually in a virtual world which is online 24/7)
"world of warcraft" is marginally the best mmo. mmos cannot be "retro" because they have to be hosted by a server.
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best games in the major genre
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action
even though i haven't played them, the most current soulcalibur games are probably the best current action games. the best action retro games would be "sonic", "super mario bros", or the "double dragon" games.
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shooter
the current shooters are best, but usually are expensive and have a lot of angry people who play. for a true retro shooter, people would argue halo is best, but i say "quake 3 arena" is best. if you have a lot of people playing "counterstrike" is best, because counterstrike doesn't have artificially controlled players.
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Action-adventure
retro is "prince of persia" or "metroid" games for nintendo and super nintendo. half retro is the "mechwarrior" games starting on playstation 1 and continuing on playstation 2. current i'm guessing is "assasin's creed" games even though i've never played the assasin's creed games.
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Adventure
call me old fashioned... "7th guest" and "11th hour" for windows/dos i consider best. the games take place in an old mansion where you solve puzzles in order to progress. what makes these games so good is the presentation and diversity of the puzzles. if you want a newer game, "koudelka" for playstation 1. people would argue portal 1 and portal 2 are best, which are on consoles. people would argue the zelda games are the best retro games, but the zelda games don't fit into the adventure genre well.
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Role-playing
current is "final fantasy x" playstation 2. retro "wizardry 6-8" available from my download page only. (i don't suggest trying to install wizardry without my installation instructions, or playing without my walkthroughs). "baulders gate 1-2 and neverwinter nights 1" for computer are the second best retro rpgs, are easy to install, and do not require walkthroughs to finish.
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Simulation
a true simulator means to put you as closely into the role as possible. there are a lot of car sims, and first person shooter sims aren't fun, because first person shooter games are close enough to reality to give you a good simulation. space sims are less known, so i'll write the best space sims. "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Starship Bridge Simulator" for super nintendo is the best space sim i have ever played. best current sim is "star conflict" for computer
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Strategy
even though "final fantasy tactics" for playstation 1 is retroish, i'm considering it the best current strategy game, because i've never seen a better game as of yet. turn based multiplayer is a current game named "battle for wesnoth" for computer. the best real time strategy is any current rts game. the best retro strategy game is "puzznic" for one of the old nintendo consoles.
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Sports
the current sports games (madden, nba, nhl, fifa) are always the best. the best retro sports game is "fifa 98" for computer.
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Racing
i don't know the best current racing games, however "top gear 3000" is the best overall racing game made before 2000. it's for super nintendo. the graphics aren't perfect and the framerate actually is about half as fast as optimal, but there are no major faults in the game. i suggest improving the resolution and making it brighter when you play this game.
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i'm not going to list the best games in every subgenre. these are the subgenres according to wikipedia.
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Action
Ball and paddle
Beat 'em up and hack and slash
Traditional Fighting game
Mascot Fighting game
MOBA
Maze game
Pinball game
Platform game

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Shooter
First-person shooter
Massively multiplayer online first person shooter
Light gun shooter
Shoot 'em up
Tactical shooter
Rail shooter
Third-person shooter

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Action-adventure
Stealth game
Survival horror

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Adventure
Real-time 3D adventures
Text adventures
Graphic adventures
Visual novels
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Role-playing
Western RPGs and Japanese RPGs (JRPGs)
Role-playing Choices
Use of fantasy in RPGs
Sandbox RPGs
Action RPGs
MMORPGs
Rogue RPGs
Tactical RPGs

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Simulation
Construction and management simulation
Life simulation
Vehicle simulation

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Strategy
4X game
Artillery game
Real-time strategy (RTS)
MMORTS
Real-time tactics
Tower defense
Turn-based strategy
Turn-based tactics
Wargame
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Sports
Racing
Sports game
Competitive
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Other notable genres MMOGs
Casual game
Music game
Party game
Programming game
Puzzle game
Trivia game
Board game / Card game
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