Reliving those retro game memories

November 5, 2008 Off By Chris Hinton
Sonic 3 on Megadrive / Genesis

Think back to your childhood… I’ll give you a moment ๐Ÿ™‚ Were there computer games then? When I do this I think of my old Commodore 64, the Pac-Man coffee-table arcade machine, or my friend’s Spectrum and Amstrad. Moving on a bit, though, the first console I ever owned was a Sega Megradrive (or Genesis, as it was also known). Ah the joy of swapping cartridges with friends, knowing that when you died that was it (very few games had a save facility, which we always called a “battery backup”).
I’ve recently been reliving some of those Megadrive games with the help of Genesis Plus, an emulator I downloaded from The Emulator Zone. For the uninitiated, an emulator is a piece of software that creates a software version of another computer so that you can run programs designed for one machine on the one you actually have. In effect, I’m running a software-only Megadrive on my Mac.
So, if you want to relive some of your old gaming memories, just Google an emulator for the machine you want to resurrect – I’ve used Commodore 64, Megadrive, and SNES (Super Famicom) emulators all with acceptable results (I’ll say a bit more about that in a moment). Once you have your emulator installed, you need to search for the correct ROMs – the “programs” your emulator will run. Again, Google is your friend here and I picked up a few from ROM Nation that fit the bill nicely. The next step will vary from emulator to emulator, but you need to load the ROM into the emulator and away you go.
And about those “acceptable” results? The machines of yesteryear ran on televisions. Low-resolution was the norm. Add in a liberal dose of rose-tinted specs and you’ll no doubt be remembering your old games as looking awesome whilst having a full orchestral score. Loading them up in an emulator on a high-resolution monitor can be a slightly disappointing experience at times, especially when the emulator may mangle the sound a little and/or be a bit jerky. But despite all that, it’s still fun to play Sonic 3 again or to sit in front of that Commodore blue screen typing in simple BASIC commands. Get past the rose-tinted specs and you might just rediscover your childlike inner gamer.