If you’re a gamer like me, it’s likely you’ve grown up playing games. You’ve probably started on something like a Nintendo NES or SNES, or maybe the Sega Genesis. Or maybe, like me, you started on something like the Nintendo 64 or the Sony Playstation. And if you did you probably have a few old copies of games for those systems kicking around somewhere. Or maybe you’re fortunate enough to still have your old console and its peripherals as well as a couple of your favorites. But the issue is it’s not always possible to hook up one of these old consoles to a modern TV set and play some Crash Bandicoot.
Of course you could always buy an old CRT style TV and it’s likely you’ll be able to hook up to that. And that’s fine if that’s the route you want to go, but there are a few issues with that like eye strain being much more common on CRT monitors than modern plasma or LCD panels. You’re also limited to what games you can play, since if you want to discover a lot of older games you’d have to go out and buy a console and the game itself, which can get quite expensive quite fast.
And here’s where the emulator comes in. While there can be some issues with some programs, for the most part you should be able to find something that you enjoy using for whatever system you can imagine. There are projects for emulators spanning decades of console releases, with programs for the NES era, SNES era, all the way up to the Dreamcast even. There are a few programs being worked on to emulate even the Playstation 2 and 3!
This does mean you need some kind of computer to run these emulators on, but considering the processing power that most of these old consoles had compared to modern PC technology it’s really not that hard to get even a cheap laptop running one of these things. You might run into some trouble with the newer consoles like the Dreamcast, and the Playstation 2 and 3 might not be properly optimized or even fully supported yet, but you should be able to still get a vast array of games for these emulators working with little to no trouble.
And best of all you can use whatever controller you like with this setup. There are plenty of online vendors that sell control pads that plug into a simple USB port and have any shape you can imagine, from the classic NES controller brick to the weird space age Sega Dreamcast… Thing…
You can find a wide variety of emulation programs on your own through a quick google search, but I’ll go ahead and list a few of my personal choices down below just to get you started. If you need games for them that’s a completely different story, and I’ll leave you to find out how that works on your own.
ePSXe Playstation Emulator: http://www.epsxe.com/
This emulator works on Windows, Linux, and Android and has plenty of neat features and ways you can customize the emulator.
These emulators by Fast Emulators are both for Android and emulate the Gameboy Advance and Gameboy Color systems respectively. One of these along with ePSXe would make a great handheld retro gaming console with an older smart phone.