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Ilsyde

Console emulators (Wii U, PlayStation 3, DS, 3DS)

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Hey guys,

Sort of a related subject. While everyone is waiting for Battleforge to be reborn and/or decent games to come out on the PC, the emulator scene has made noteworthy progress on all fronts when it comes to the 7th generation and beyond. These teams are fighting a similar battle for unsupported games to stay relevant and playable, ever since the systems these run on have become or are becoming redundant. Wow, I just described Battleforge and EA's BF server. What were the odds of that?

At any rate, this topic was by no means created to condone piracy but rather to offer a starting point, shedding light on the interesting and exciting world of emulators. If you own any of the systems listed herein, chances are you're able to dump the game discs or cartridges you own and play them on your PC. Making your beloved games immortal in process. But I digress.

Let's make a start, shall we?

:: Nintendo Wii U ::

r2ca178u73ky.jpg

Might as well get the big guns out and talk about an 8th generation console that's now fully emulated. Yep, you read that one right.
You know that game everyone is on about - it's considered the best open world free roam game of the current generation. Of course you heard about it. It's the main reason why people flock to buy the Nintendo Switch. That's right. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. OK, now guess which game was the last to come out on the Wii U? The answer is indeed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

We got CEMU, the Wii U emulator that's able to run most games for the system - including the one we mentioned above - with little to no graphical glitches at whatever resolution your PC is able to handle.
There are some other cool games for the system, depending on what genres you're into of course. Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, Xenoblade Chronicles X and other Zelda games like The Wind Waker or Twilight Princess. Some of these you are able to play in split screen mode with your friends or partner, using Xbox 360 controllers for example, hooked up to your PC outputting onto a big screen TV.

The website for CEMU is cemu.info with monthly build downloads that are getting better and better. The CEMU team has also set up a Patreon page, therefore if you think they deserve your monetary support then they'd be more than happy to express their gratitude by offering patron-only updates in form of nightly builds and posts. For the most part you're only required to have a decent PC, however BotW requires a more beefy rig or it won't be up to snuff to run this gem.

:: Nintendo DS and 3DS ::

mighty_switch_force_review.jpg

Before we leave Nintendo territory, let's mention a couple of their handhelds. There is some potent stuff here, especially if you happen to own an Android device.

OK, so let's look at the DS first. This aging handheld has got quite a few strong titles despite what the name might imply. The emulator you want to be looking for is called DraStic and is available on the Google Play store. Of course there is an application for the PC as well, but this is not an all encompassing thread about emulation so let's stick to Android for now.

If you need a refresher, the DS has two screens: one that's standard, and one touch-sensitive. This translates great onto mobile phones, as you got a touch screen readily available at your eager fingertips. DraStic doesn't even require a high-end expensive phone to run the games. To name half a dozen titles to boot, you might want to look into the Kirby games, Orcs & Elves, Warhammer 40k Squad Command, Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars, Mario & Luigi games, the Dementium series and The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. So get your games and start dumping those cartridges onto your PC.

3DS. Right. For this you're going to need an adequately powerful PC for the emulator called Citra (https://citra-emu.org). Games are a lot larger and due to the stronger hardware of the original handheld, boast better graphics and 3D capabilities you -by default - won't be able to experience on your monitor, but who cares if you can re-play your beloved games? Am I right? Of course I'm right.
In case you're unfamiliar with the system, here are some of the best titles (again, subject to your genre-specific preferences) to get you started on your merry way: Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby Planet Robot, Luigi's Mansion, Mario Kart 7, Mighty Switch Force, Nano Assault, Super Mario Bros. 2, Shadow Wars and Super Mario 3D Land.
As with all emulation and resurrection - or should I say, reborn - endeavours, please consider donating to the development team of Citra in the form of hard cash or even game cartrtidges.

:: Sony Playstation 3 ::

Red-Dead-Redemption-Screen.png

Oh yeah baby. You read that one right too. There is definitely a number 3 at the end of that title.

This one is without a doubt my most anticipated project of the bunch. As much as I love playing Mario Kart 8 in split-screen on my PC, nothing comes close to 7th generation console exclusive titles for the PS3 (or Xbox 360, for that matter). Red Dead Redemption, anyone? Need I say more?
I mean come on, that game blows all the Grand Theft Auto titles out of the water including San Andreas and Vice City. Not to mention most other games in existence, irrespective of genre.

Keep you knickers on though, as things aren't that magical. As opposed to CEMU - you remember, the Wii U emulator? - that eats emulates its games down to a T in wonderful high-definition, the Playstation 3 emulator has only just started spreading its wings. Going back to Red Dead Redemption... the game does boot up with a whooping 1 digit frames per second, is no means playable as of yet. The team of RPCS3 are making fantastic progress though. There are several triple A titles that work fine and are enjoyable with the right setup such as Catherine or Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch that looks like a game made by Studio Ghibli, probably because they're indeed responsible for the animation.


However, the time is now to dust off those PS3 games you got on the shelves and start dumping the disc contents onto your hard drive.
Just look at the progress they've made in the past month, and how far the team has come in emulating this unquestionably brilliant, but now discontinued console. More and more games boot up and become playable. As I said, you do need a hefty PC to get the more demanding titles to run but that should come as no surprise. PS3 games are still very good looking.

This is the part where I'd mention some titles worth considering, however this system isn't that old therefore most of you should be familiar with its library. Not to mention all the RPGs I've no interest in playing... you surely know better what those are than I do. Alright, let me throw around some game titles then: Okami HD (the best Zelda game that's not a Zelda game), the Sly Collection, Dragon's Crown, Fat Princess, Journey, Diablo 3 (don't write this one off, the local multiplayer and unique movement exclusive to consoles makes this worth of attention), the Condemned series and of course Red Dead Redemption. You should own that game even if you never had a PS3. And now it makes sense to.

I'd strongly advise anyone who has the means to support the fine people at RPCS3 to do so. They have a Patreon page set up and truly deserve credit (literally) for what they're doing. Visit the RPCS3 website and their forums. The community is very friendly and informative.

 

honorable mentions

Dolphin, the Nintendo Wii and Gamecube emulator

PPSSPP, the Sony Playstation Portable emulator for both Android and the PC

Xenia, the Microsoft Xbox 360 emulator (still in early stages requirng a Vulkan capable GPU meaning a very powerful PC)

 

want to know more?

Visit the links in my post (all the underlined texts) and get onto Youtube. Enter the emulator's name with the title of the game you're interested in and hit search. Plenty of resources around to get you going.

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So far CEMU is the best to follow I'd say... Showing a lot of progress in a less amount of time compared to others (due to the patreon, that's for sure, but still)

The PS3 emulator is here since so many times and it's still not in a playable state for 70% of games if note more, that's really a shame (it's like the XBOX360 one so far to me)
So yea, I'm following CEMU so far, rest is not worth right now for me. ^^
 

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Dude,

if it were for the old Gameboy or the N64 then fine, these are not getting sold by the original creators anymore.

But WiiU and 3DS games and Consoles (at least the 3ds) are still beeing sold (not sure about PS3). So saying that that is not a call to support piracy is pretty far fetched.

I'm not 100% against piracy and I know some developer see it similiar (CD project red for example) but that is only (in my eyes) if you want a demo or to bridge the time until you can actually buy it. Saying these consoles/games are not on the market anymore and asking others to pirat them or put their games out to make it possible to pirate them is supporting piracy and has nothing to do with making sure these games stay relevant and playable. At least wait until they are really not sold anymore.

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2 hours ago, Tam Hawkins said:

Dude,

if it were for the old Gameboy or the N64 then fine, these are not getting sold by the original creators anymore.

But WiiU and 3DS games and Consoles (at least the 3ds) are still beeing sold (not sure about PS3). So saying that that is not a call to support piracy is pretty far fetched.

I'm not 100% against piracy and I know some developer see it similiar (CD project red for example) but that is only (in my eyes) if you want a demo or to bridge the time until you can actually buy it. Saying these consoles/games are not on the market anymore and asking others to pirat them or put their games out to make it possible to pirate them is supporting piracy and has nothing to do with making sure these games stay relevant and playable. At least wait until they are really not sold anymore.

Can you really pirate hardware though?  Personally, I'm more than happy to pay for the games, but I'm not going to spend money on hardware that is redundant with, and in every way inferior to my PC.  Nobody said anything about making pirated games available... this post was about emulators, not games.

If console sales drop because of emulators, that's great.  That means the console market will suffer, game publishers will stop making console exclusives in the future, and we will eventually have a unified gaming platform (PC).

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Do I hear "PIRACY"?

pirate_monkey_yar.jpg

 

On a tad more serious note: To hell with consoles. They are basically just a butchered version of a PC, with an extremely limited library, have a narrow specific usage for games, specs are lower and worse than average, and just can't compete at all when it comes to markets. Instead of making new consoles, make GAMES. All you have now for the most part are FPS games and some RPG games. 10 years ago you had everything from MMO's to FPS to RTS to RPG/JRPG. The library were worth getting a console for, not to mention a lot of people also having a console. Now it's basically just HALO and Crap Of Doody.

If or when they start focusing on GAMES instead of just getting a new console out every few years I might, just might, be more inclined to mingle with the peasants. But, for now: #PCGamingMasterRace.

 

On the topic of emulators itself, good. Emulators have been around for a long time. I don't use emulators often, but when I do it's basically for Pokemon.

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Why did you give a shout out to Dolphin but not to my 2 main Childhood emulators

Visual Boy Advance : For all your Gameboy Advance needs
ZSnes : For SNES Multiplayer fun! (Seriously I still sometimes boot this up on netplay with some friends to play Mario Kart or other good ol SNES multiplayer games.

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Thanks guys for the replies. There is a lot of pent up energy being released in this topic! I guess that's inevitable when talking about consoles in a - first and foremost - PC environment. 

Most of the concerns have been answered or reacted to already. I personally don't mind consoles as much as I used to several years ago. The only thing that really bugs me though is their shelf life. Once support is pulled, you can eventually kiss goodbye to your favourite games on that particular system. Their lifeline is the manufacture system (i.e. production of hardware) and development of software/games. 

The Wii U and PS3 are now discounted, no more of these consoles and/or games  are being released to the public. Emulation is great, as it lets you experience games that aren't being pressed onto discs, on hardware that's now discontinued by their manufacturer. Or in the case of CEMU or Citra, allowing you to play them in 4k with graphical tweaks to make them stand the test of time. 

The idea is to get the games (used or otherwise) then archive i.e. dump them thus making them future proof. Yes you can buy a used console which is probably cheaper than any beefed up PC capable of emulating some of the console hardware, and yes you can acquire these games by more nefarious ways but that's no different to any other media or platform. 

@InsaneHawk Agree, CEMU isn't incredible. You can throw nearly anything you want at it, and it won't break a sweat. The devs do get paid handsomely to keep the project going. 

@Tam Hawkins You're correct of course, the 3DS is still alive and well... At least better off than the Vita! Playing some of those games on the PC has its advantages though. 

@Shotty This topic was sort of a taster for 7th gen and up. I love Kega for example, and though while owning a SEGA Megadrive I do prefer playing my games on the PC due to graphical enhancements and quicksave. Though I use my Saturn controllers, not a keyboard and mouse :)

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On 7/8/2017 at 12:40 PM, Yakamaru said:

with an extremely limited library

What have you been smoking? There are more console exclusives then you can play in a lifetime. To name a few: Metal Gear Solid, Final fantasy, Halo, God of War.

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