Retronauts Episode 609: The State of Emulation

This podcast contains zero ROMs, for the record.

The topic of emulation remains controversial amongst publishers and console makers, but as people who love to play and talk about video games—especially old games—we here at Retronauts owe a tremendous debt to the hobbyists and collectors out there doing all they can to ensure digital history remains intact.

This week on our podcast, host Bob Mackey looks back at the state of software emulation, reflecting on what's changed and what hasn't in the past 30 years. Joining him are PC Gamer editor and Read Only Memo author Wes Fenlon and Zophar, the semi-anonymous user who shared so much with the internet at large via Zophar's Domain.

Description: While it started exclusively as an activity enjoyed by a small demographic of ultra-nerdy young people with knowledge of obscure websites, emulation has gradually blossomed over the past thirty years into something we all do regularly—often while obeying copyright laws. Without emulation, most retro games would be entirely inaccessible to all but the select few with the cash available to purchase pieces of decades-old plastic that are only increasing in price and decay. And would our little podcast even exist without emulation? It's a thought too terrifying to dwell on. This week on Retronauts, join Bob Mackey, Read Only Memo's Wes Fenlon, and Zophar's Domain founder Zophar (check out his YouTube and Twitch channels) as the crew discusses the many big moments from emulation's history—and how the subject has recently become more relevant than ever.

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As with all of the episodes Bob produces, this week’s cover art is by Nick Daniel. Check out his Twitter, or patronize his Patreon!