“It’s Just Emulation!” – The Challenge of Selling Old Games


A very interesting presentation from the 2016 Game Developers Conference by Frank Cifaldi, whose company Digital Eclipse recently made the Mega Man Legacy Collection for Capcom. Topics include the historical importance of old games and the need for preservation, the legality of emulation, and the business of reselling old games.

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that videogames and the culture surrounding them need to be documented and preserved for future generations to study and enjoy, the topic of reselling old games is harder to have a solid opinion on. I’d love all games from all previous formats to be individually available for purchase on any system capable of running them, or a monthly subscription service which allowed you to play any games rather than buy them outright, but the complete lack of care and interest that almost every videogame company has shown toward their back catalog of games has allowed the retro gaming and emulation scene to blossom as a hobbyist pursuit and not a commercial venture. Gamers, not game companies, have kept old games playable for many years by creating emulators and roms for free, so when the likes of Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft try to sell you the same experience (or something worse, as is often the case), it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of any savvy consumer.

Indifference seems to be the culprit of this modern conundrum of how to resell old games. If emulation was not something to be embraced and nurtured by game companies to use as part of their business model, then it should have been shut down completely. Instead, emulation and roms have been readily available in a weird grey area of legality for over 15 years. I’m 34 now and I distinctly remember playing Secret of Mana 2, Final Fantasy VI(3) and Super Mario Excitebike on my Dad’s PC as a teenager, when the Internet was a new thing and my SNES was still a permanent fixture under the TV. I didn’t consider it piracy, as neither game was released in the UK. I later bought FFVI when it was released for PS1 but still barely scratched the surface of it. 



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Da22 says:

    Have you played rare replay? So much love has gone into thay collection and at a reasonable price, there’s your answer to how they should be resold. I have made the opinion known a few times that ninty should run a subscription model on their new console, I’d buy it solely for that purpose alone! Emulation is good but playing console games on pc just feels wrong, I just don’t know why..


    1. acidbearboy says:

      I’ve not played it, no. Not that fussed on Rare’s games generally. Do you know if they are emulated or ported? How well did it sell?


      1. Da22 says:

        Sold like hot cakes, so much love put into it. Not sure how to tell if it’s ported or emulated?


  2. acidbearboy says:

    Wikipedia says emulation. What would you expect from your Nintendo subscription and how much would you pay per month?


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