Old-school gaming - Emulators

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Retrogaming (old-school) is a trendy phenomenon, adopted by many nostalgic gamers. With emulators, it is not mandatory to dust off your Super Nintendo or look old game cartridges. What are emulators and how to use them?

What is an emulator?

Literally, the word "emulate" means "trying to
imitate". Video game emulation involves playing games on a device other than that for which it was designed (e.g playing a Game Boy game on a smartphone).

Installing an emulator and playing games

To play with an emulator, you must:
  • A support device: computer, smartphone or tablet.
  • An emulation application (which will mimic the console).
  • ROM files (games).

ROM files

Games must be the ROM ( Read Only Memory) format. They can be downloaded from several online communities
Compatibility: ROMs will work with specific emulators.
To use a ROM:
  • Download the file to the device,
  • Open the emulator
  • Select the file,
  • Play .

Note that: Some applications require that you store the ROM in a particular folder.


There are emulators for all types of consoles, from oldest to most recent :
  • Atari 2600
  • Lynx
  • Nintendo NES
  • Megadrive
  • Game Boy
  • DS

Is the use of emulators legal?

Game emulators are legal applications. However, downloadable ROM files are considered copies of the original games and are generally subject to copyright .
It is allowed to have a ROM in certain situations :
  • the user already possess the original version of the game,
  • the ROM is free of rights
  • ithe copyright of the game has expired
  • the author of the game made the file available for free download (in the case of Atari games that are no longer commercially available ) .


  • RomStation : multiple consoles, compatible with Windows OS.
  • Mac-emu: a wide range of emulators for Mac.

Smartphones and Tablets

  • SuperGNES a NES emulator for Android
  • NDS4iOS a Nintendo DS emulator for the iPhone.

Photo : © ErikSvoboda - Fotolia.com

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