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Emulation Recommendations!
Pengling May 14
With so many recent layoffs and studio closures due to unsustainable business-practises, a terrible thing is coming it's likely that a games-industry crash is on the way. When the time comes, I foresee myself diving into emulation even more than I do already and I know I'm not the only one, so I wanted to see if we can get some recommendations going before then.

No hard-and-fast rules here, other than to make sure to note what system a game is for - though for arcade titles, where there are more custom boards and systems than any sane person can be expected to keep track of, feel free to just label them as "Arcade" in order to keep things simple.

Here are a few games that I'd like to share;


Biker Mice From Mars (SNES)
An isometric racing game with RC-car-style controls, based on the 1990s Saturday-morning cartoon. Not perfect, as the higher difficulty-levels devolve into bull quite quickly, but the normal and multiplayer modes are pretty great.


Bomberman '94 (PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16)
The most re-released game in the Bomberman series, and the one that best encapsulates what the franchise is all about, with a fun and inventive single-player game, and fab multiplayer that set the standard for future entries. This was also released in English (with worse music and random slowdown) as Mega Bomberman for the Mega Drive.


Bomberman 64: The Second Attack! (Nintendo 64)
Basically what you get if you combine Bomberman with Metal Gear Solid or similar - a cinematic 3D Bomberman game with some really great writing (interestingly, the story-mode was directed by Naoki Yoshida/"Yoshi-P", who is now at Square-Enix). It's not perfect due to some unintuitive mechanics here and there (like putting ice in lava to make traversable platforms) and occasional ill-advised puzzles, but it's a criminally-overlooked title that's well worth your time.


Sonic CD (Mega CD)
One of the best platformers ever made, where Sonic gets to use his speed in order to time-travel, Superman-style. Unlike the rest of the series, the world is not designed around Sonic's abilities, adding a light puzzle element as you need to locate exactly where you can successfully jump through time in order to create a good future. This one has two different soundtracks - one JP/PAL, and one US/Win95 - both are good, so whichever one you prefer, just play this excellent game!


Star Fox (SNES)
An early 3D rail-shooter that, in spite of its now-primitive-looking visuals (which have nonetheless aged well because of their "alien" look), still plays very well. Don't try to play it at 60fps on an inaccurate emulator, though - it wasn't designed for it and the audio will desync at certain points if you do: Use Snes9x 2010 or better, or Higan/BSNES for this one!


McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure (Mega Drive)
Short-but-sweet platformer featuring Ronald McDonald as he seeks out the pieces of a treasure-map in an attempt to see where it leads. Not a lengthy or difficult game by any means (though the PAL version was made a bit tougher), but just right if you want something chilled-out to play on a lazy afternoon.


Waku Waku 7 (Arcade)
A weird Neo Geo fighting-game that parodies various 1980s and 1990s anime/manga franchises and tropes. It's a nice change from Street Fighter and its ilk, because it's a lot more light-hearted and revels in being utterly daft!

Please dive in if you have any recommendations to share - here's hoping that we can get a good list going, here!

Last edited by Pengling on 15 May 2024 at 10:11 am UTC
As your Friendly Neighbourhood Sports Emulating Spider-Man....... It is my duty to swing by and give some top sports games to emulate.....


Madden NFL 2003 (2002 EA Sports) - Nintendo Gamecube - Sports (Football)



NHL 06 (2005 EA Sports) – Nintendo GameCube – Sports (Hockey)



Triple Play Baseball (2001 EA Sports) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Baseball)



NHL '94 (1993 EA Sports) - Sega Mega Drive - Sports (Hockey)



ESPN NFL 2k5 (2004 Sega) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Football)



ESPN NHL 2k5 (2004 Sega) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Hockey)



MVP Baseball 2005 (2005 EA Sports) - Nintendo GameCube - Sports (Baseball)



International Superstar Soccer 2000 (2000 Konami) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Soccer)



NFL Blitz (1998 Midway) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Football)



NBA Jam Tournament Edition (1995 Acclaim) - Sega Mega Drive - Sports (Basketball)



Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (2006 Konami) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Soccer)



Shane Warne Cricket '99 (1998 Codemasters) - Sony PlayStaion - Sports (Cricket)



Cricket 07 (2006 EA Sports) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Cricket)



NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona (2002 Infogrames) - Nintendo GameCube - Sports (Racing)
pilk May 15
If you have a softmodded 3DS, check out Red Viper. It is, in my opinion, the best experience for Virtual Boy emulation, and an actually really neat use of the 3D slider that you almost certainly used for 10 minutes and kept off most of the time.

Despite being a miserable failure of a system, I figured out that it had quite a few pretty good titles in its (very miniscule) library.

Some games I'd recommend checking out are Jack Bros, Panic Bomber, Virtual Boy Wario Land, and Mario Clash.

I might recommend some other games as I think of them later, but I wanted to shout out Red Viper.

Last edited by pilk on 15 May 2024 at 12:19 am UTC
missingno May 16
Arcade:

  • Capcom vs. SNK 2: The Groove system is one of the coolest dynamics to tailor the game to your playstyle. Is it balanced? Hell no, but I love this game casually.

  • The King of Fighters 2002: KOF fans will tell you either 98 or 02 were the absolute pinnacle. I side with 02 because it has Kula in it. Also note that 98 and 02 both have updated rereleases with an extended roster and rebalancing, but those are Windows-only.

  • Puzzle Bobble 1/3: You've probably played some flash game clone of this. IMO I think 1 was best for its simplicity, I'm not as fond of the garbage patterns introduced in later titles in an effort to give characters some asymmetry. But PB1 does not have AI opponents, singleplayer is only the stage clear mode, so if you don't have a human to play with try PB3 for the next best thing.

  • Soldam: The singleplayer modes are nothing to write home about, but it has one of the most unique versus modes I've seen in a puzzler. Shared piece queues are normally horrifying, but Soldam makes it work by giving P1 the objective to match red while P2 matches blue. So if you want to snipe pieces that are desirable to your opponent, that means taking pieces undesirable to yourself. Garbage is also based on how you clear lines, so crafting maximally disruptive garbage gets interesting. The catch, unfortunately, is that there is no AI. But if you can play this game with a human, do check it out.

  • Tetris: The Grand Master 1/2/3: The only good Tetris, do not @ me. Start with TGM2's Novice Mode, then once you can clear that go back to TGM1.

  • Vampire Savior: Aka Darkstalkers 3. This game is fast as hell and it's a blast. Like with any classic fighter, good luck keeping up with FightCade folks who really know what they're doing, but I love it casually.

  • Waku Waku 7: This game's mechanics are honestly borderline kusoge, you can't even cancel normals into specials. But I love the design and atmosphere so much. Tesse is really fun to play even in spite of the system mechanics.


NES:

  • Fire 'n Ice: A very rad little puzzle game.

  • Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!: Just an absolute blast. I won't bother listing them seperately but also check out Super and Wii. Super's kinda the black sheep of the series, but it's still a good game, just not as good. Wii is an absolutely top-notch successor and I'm sad it didn't get any more sequels after that. The two arcade predecessors are honestly forgettable.


SNES:

  • Chrono Trigger: I am hesitant to recommend most JRPGs from this era if you did not grow up on them, because many of them haven't aged so gracefully. Chrono Trigger is the exception, this game is a fine wine. You may want to check out one of the rereleases though, or at least a retranslation patch, because the original translation was made on a rushed deadline and bound by heavy technical limitations.

  • Kirby Super Star: Definitely the peak of the series, giving every copy power an entire moveset is a blast. Has an updated rerelease on DS with added extras, I do highly recommend this version, but DS can feel awkward to emulate so SNES is fine.

  • Wario's Woods: The NES version is more well known since it was the system's last first-party title, and for whatever reason it's the only version Nintendo ever rereleases. But the SNES version is a notable upgrade, biggest thing it has is AI to play versus mode against. Versus mode is wild as hell, so if you've never seen it please check out the SNES version.


N64:

  • Dr. Mario 64: Best version, but can be notoriously difficult to emulate. If you have issues with it, SNES is a good alternative. Don't play NES.

  • Mario Party 2: Still the best in the series.


Gamecube:

  • F-Zero GX: It's been over 20 years since the GOAT dropped and all we've had to show for it is that damn 99 game. Go play this and weep that we'll never see another like it.

  • Kirby Air Ride As a racing game, it's okay. But City Trial mode is one of the best damn party games ever made. Check out the hack pack for extended goodies.

  • Nintendo Puzzle Collection: The best version of Panel de Pon, but SNES is a close second if you wanna play on a device that can't run Dolphin. GBC is also kinda noteworthy for having a unique singleplayer to work around platform limitations - opponents have a lifebar rather than a board. Just don't bother with 64.

  • Tales of Symphonia: This game got a PS2 rerelease with some extra content, and the HD remasters are based on that version. But the catch is that they were downgraded to 30fps, and yes that includes the so-called remaster. So I still recommend playing the Gamecube original at 60.


Wii:

  • Puyo Puyo 20th Anniversary: The absolute pinnacle of the series (by which I mean it's all downhill from here, I will never forgive Sega for what came next ), crammed with a whopping 20 game modes. I really love the challenges where you have to chain under bizarre restrictions. I recommend the Wii version for its 480p assets, and it's the easiest to emulate, but if you care about story mode the translation patch only exists for DS.


GBC:

  • Game & Watch Gallery 2: Holds a special place in my heart as the first game I ever owned. Has the best lineup out of all the collections, with 3 and 4 you can kinda tell they had used up all the heavy hitters.

  • Mario Tennis: An incredible tennis RPG. And Mario doesn't even show up until the postgame as a bonus boss, which I find hilarious. Has connectivity with the N64 version if you can get that running, lets you transfer your RPG mode character and unlock more content on both titles.


GBA:

  • Boktai series: These games were so near and dear to my childhood, especially 2. Really though you want the Solar Sensor hardware for the full experience, but I love these games too much not to plug them anyway. Emulating them is worth it over not playing them at all. And for the third game, you'd have to pick between original hardware or the translation patch anyway.

  • Golden Sun: These games were way ahead of their time for how they designed a combat system that encourages you to use all of your tools and not just click basic Attack as if you gotta hoard your MP for a rainy day. Fantastic puzzles too.

  • Mother 3: Surely you have already heard of this game and do not need me to tell you to go play it. Have you not played it by now? Why not?

  • Rhythm Tengoku: A wonderful game about pressing the A button. Sometimes you press the d-pad too. Translation patch.

  • Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 1/2: If you've ever played the classic 2D Tales games, these are excellent spiritual successors to those. There's a third game that's JP-only, translation patch is being worked on but it's been stuck in development hell for years...




Romhacks:

  • Celeste Mario's Zap & Dash (NES): SMB1 turned into a Metroidvania with Celeste mechanics ported in. I think what impresses me the most is that they got 4-directional scrolling into this engine.

  • Super Metroid and A Link to the Past Crossover Randomizer (SNES): It's an absolutely incredible technical feat that this even works. SM and ALttP smashed together into a single ROM, with a few doors that take you from one game to the other, then the item pools are shuffled together so you have to go back and forth to find one game's items in the other. Unfortunately because ALttP is a much bigger game with a lot more items it kinda overshadows SM, you may not find this to be as replayable as the standalone randos. But I recommend trying it once because it's just so cool the first time.


Last edited by missingno on 16 May 2024 at 5:55 pm UTC
Its your Friendly Neighbourhood Sports Emulating Spider-Man again....... Swinging by to give you even more top sports games to emulate.......


NHL Hitz 2003 (2002 Midway) - Nintendo GameCube - Sports (Hockey)



NFL GameDay 99 (1998 989 Sports) - Sony PlayStation - Sports (Football)



All-Star Baseball 2001 (2000 Acclaim) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Baseball)



NBA Live 98 (1997 EA Sports) - Sony PlayStation - Sports (Basketball)



WWF Wrestlefest (1991 Technos) - Sports (wrestling)



ISS Pro Evolution 2 (2001 Konami) - Sony PlayStation - Sports (Soccer)



Tecmo Super Bowl (1991 Tecmo) - Nintendo Entertainment System - Sports (Football)



Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (2003 Tecmo) - Microsoft Xbox - Sports (Beach Volleyball)



NBA Give 'n Go (1995 Konami) - Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Sports (Basketball)



Mutant League Football (1993 Electronic Arts) - Sega Mega Drive - Sports (Football)



Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey (1996 Midway) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Hockey)



WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 (2006 THQ) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Wrestling)



NBA Courtside 2 Featuring Kobe Bryant (1999 Nintendo) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Basketball)



WWF No Mercy (2000 THQ) - Nintendo 64 - Sports (Wrestling)



Rugby 08 (2007 EA Sports) - Sony PlayStation 2 - Sports (Football)
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