Emulation is a world that never stops evolving. We have all done our experiments with emulators of classic 16-bit consoles or even older, available for all sorts of platforms. But what many people don’t know is that, just as technology progresses and new and more powerful consoles are continually released to the market, new emulators are also coming out that are ever more refined and will let you play titles for even the more contemporary consoles on you computer. Here are a few emulators you can use to play games for PlayStation 1 and 2, Dreamcast, Gamecube, or Wii.
Sony PSP – PPSSPP
Although its successor PSVita eventually eclipsed this handheld console, the fact that games for PSP are still being released a decade after its birth says a lot about the platform. The PPSSPP emulator lets you rescue all of those games to play on both Windows and Android, with impressive results. The emulator doesn’t require long, annoying configurations or BIOS searches to work; its graphics are completely customizable; and its menu system outdoes even the one on the original Sony device itself. And best of all, it doesn’t require a potent machine to work, running most games at full performance on moderately humble computers. We’re talking here about a Vaio laptop with an i3 processor running games at 60 frames per second. Miraculous!
Playstation 2 – PCSX2
Although rather more demanding in its specs, PCSX2 is practically the only alternative out there for emulating the second home console from Sony. Its compatibility list is enormous, and its configuration options let you adapt the render quality to your own expectations. That said, on any machine less powerful than a Dual Core at 2.4Ghz, there’s not much that can be done, not to mention that the performance is quite inferior on AMD graphics cards. But if you can meet these requirements, you might as well stow your PS2 in the attic once and for all (if you haven’t already), because with a PC you’re now more than set.
PlayStation – ePSXe
Some things never lose their appeal, and the queen of fifth-generation consoles certainly deserves to be remembered. This emulator’s history in this arena began early in 1999 with the already-old school Bleem! So you could say that when the original console was basically still current, there was already a more than acceptable emulator for it. ePSXe is the grandchild of long line of emulators that have over time refined the process to perfection. This program can handle anything, and can even run on absolutely ancient machines. Here’s to giving Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and company their due!
Dreamcast – NullDC
Lots of us are still in mourning and crying every night over the demise of the late SEGA console. With a catalog based largely on arcade classics, Dreamcast suffered a premature death that made the console wind up in a drawer long before its time. Luckily, NullDC is an emulator that is so optimized and gives such good results that you’ll be thrilled to dust off your old console games and spend some more good times with Crazy Taxi, Soul Calibur, or Sonic Adventure. That said, if you want to use a pad to play (which I’d recommended over using your keyboard any day), you’ll need to map the controls using a software such as Joy2Key.
Gamecube / Wii – Dolphin
The most recent Nintendo consoles also have their own trusty emulator sidekick. Although this program is more demanding if you want to play at higher resolutions or use extra filters, its emulation is so faithful to the original that it’s practically like having a Wii in HD. Its configuration options, above all when it comes to the controls, are rather more complicated, particularly for video games that require a Wiimote or Nunchuck instead of a traditional gamepad, in which case you’ll have to assign certain gestures that you’d make with the accelerometer on the original controller to particular buttons. This article explains Dolphin in greater detail.
Sega Saturn – Yabause
Another contemporary of the first PlayStation. In its heyday, SEGA dominated the market with a catalog focused on the 2D titles that this console was invented to showcase. Its emulation has always been eclipsed by other emulator platforms, but Yabause remains an efficient program for taking you on a trip down memory lane with those old favorites.