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Retro Redux

This past weekend, we learned a very painful lesson in emulation – sometimes, it just plain doesn’t work.  My wife had been wanting to play Silent Hill 2.   We had looked into the recently released HD collection, but since all reports I’ve read say it’s a disaster we decided to go another route.  I own it for the PS2, but my original model PS3 with PS2 backwards compatibility died a couple of years ago, and it’s kind of a pain to hook up the PS2 in the living room.  So I found what I believed to be the best alternative – Silent Hill 2 for the original Xbox, which was listed as one of the games that is backwards compatible with the 360.

Silent Hill 2

The only thing more terrifying than Pyramid Head: losing your save.

At first, it seemed like this was the perfect solution.  The game seemed to run great with no slow down or glitches.  It looked fantastic, thanks to the upscaling the 360 was doing to it.  And it was super convenient for us since my wife could just pop it into the 360 and play.  Then, a little over 5 hours into her game, disaster struck.  It just stopped working.  She would try to boot up the game only to be greeted with a black screen.  No error message, no nothing.  Everything else on the system was still working fine.  So I did a Google search and quickly discovered that this was a common problem.  The only solution I could find?  Delete your saves & start over.  Yikes.

Dreamcast Sports Edition

I have one of these collecting dust in the closet – but soon that will change!

You see, the truth is that no emulation will ever work exactly like the real thing.  Sometimes this can be a good thing, like when a game works flawlessly on the PC PS2 emulator.  But often nasty bugs and crashes will rear there ugly heads and spoil any graphical benefit gained.  Some may be thinking about now that I’m a hypocrite due to my recent post about how great HD collections are, so I want to say that I’m not talking about HD collections here.  Those are games that were specifically ported and made to run well on new hardware.  With rare exception, like the previously mentioned Silent Hill Collection these all run as good as or better than the originals, because effort was put into them to make them work.  What I’m talking about is blanket emulation and backwards compatibility.

Of course, even when everything DOES work flawlessly, there’s something to be said for the real deal.  Call is nostalgia, but there’s something about popping that cart or disk into the original console and holding the original controller.  To this end, we have decided to assemble a retro gaming room.  We’re going to be tracking down a tube tv – because let’s face it, non-hd games do not look as good on an hd-tv – and hooking up all of our old consoles to it.  This certainly isn’t an original idea, a lot of people have done this – but it’s new for us.  Because we’ve finally gotten to the point where reliving some of those old games the way they were meant to be played is something we want to be able to do.  So look out yard sales & flea markets – we’re coming for your old carts, systems and controllers.  Game on!

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