Emulators and Digital Preservation
Growing up, most people remember a video game they were attached to in some sort of way. For myself, it was the Super Mario Bro series. Looking back at my time playing those games I am filled with joy and nostalgia because it played such a big role in my childhood. With remembering these feelings, sometimes I wish I could rewind the clock and play these old games one more time. Well it turns out I can, with the help of an emulator. An emulator is a program that simulates a different kind of device. For example, on the program Dolphin, you can play Nintendo, Gamecube, or Wii games right on your computer. Now, this is great a variety of reasons: entertainment & history preservation being the biggest two factors, but what are the drawbacks of this technology?
The first drawback with emulators, is that it tends to be extremely buggy. From the graphics, in game movement, and loading times, certain games seem to not run smoothly, and that takes away from the original work. This leads me to the question, “How are these platforms getting permission to host these games? Are the violating any copyrights? Are they committing piracy?” This is important to understand because if classic games such as, Pac-man, are unplayable do to bugs, then all it is doing is hurting the legacy of the game series.
Additionally, there is the threat of viruses damaging your software whenever you have to download from an untrusted source. The internet archive is an example of a platform where you can download and play these old games on your laptop. However, off of first glance I would be hesitant to download anything because to me, it seems outdated and the digital design is not appealing.
Talking about emulators in the entirety of the digital world leads to an interesting conversation about preservation. I believe emulators used for video games is a great tool where these once lost games now have a platform to be revived on again. This idea should be transmitted to fields outside of video games. Now, I do not know the logistics behind this technology, but it would be interesting to see this technology replicated for important areas of work in society, like the medical field. If data bases could emulate that of another system across the globe, lead times would decrease drastically and it would benefit both the healthcare workers and the average person.
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