Emulation on Consoles


Seeing this video about how the Xbox Series S (fdafsfffdafdsa these garbage names) is also an ideal Retroarch console makes me wonder what other consoles have had great emulation?

Through the late 2010s, I used the Vita as a portable Puzzle Fighter, Genesis, and GBA Pokemon hacks-playing machine and it was glorious with that delicious OLED screen. And I remember back in the day everyone on IC/SB swore that using an original Xbox was the best way to emulate on the big screen.

What else was the console of choice for emulation? What are the oddities? What were your personal favorites? I don't want to hear about using your Androids phones or PCs to emulate, I want to see the power of the console/handheld perverted to become a wielder of fine emulation arts!!

The Wii. With one caveat. Only if you have a CRT. Especially a CRT with component input. The 240p you can get out of the Wii via Retroarch is stunning. It runs all of Neo Geo and CPS2 with a little fiddling. The OG Xbox is also got and can handle Sega system 16 and 32 via Mame, which the via most certainly can not. Sadly the Xbox cannot output 240p and only goes as low as 480i. But it can upscale to 720p. So it‘s really all a call of what your set up is. Also gonna throw in for the Ouya as a fine little machine to run Retroarch on. Hdmi out and takes PS3 fight sticks. Definitely don’t use the controller it comes with though.

The obvious answers are the Wii and the PSP, although I don‘t know if that’s because they‘re particularly well suited to emulating older consoles or because they’re super easy to jailbreak. I installed homebrew on my Wii earlier this year, for example, and the closest I‘ve come to emulating anything with it was playing that Druaga port for the GameCube. (For those who aren’t aware, the game is literally the Famicom port of Tower of Druaga and an emulator to run it.)

I very specifically bought a PSP off of someone in college just for portable emulation (and Mega Man Powered Up). From there on I ended up mostly playing a lot of Mega Drive and SNES games on the go in between classes, and it was the system I would eventually play all the way through Snatcher on. A small hand held with Snatcher felt perfect, additionally PSX emulation utilizing its own built in emulator was ridiculous.

After that I would end up primarily using the Wii once I was out of college and not leaving the house as much. It was nice having a little set top box that "just worked" instead of attempting to hook my old computer up and mess with controller settings (what I do now, minus the fuss thanks to Steam's controller support and RetroArch).

Much later on I'd end up with an Nvidia Shield Portable from a GDC trip, which was a beast for portable emulation at the time, and was able to run up to N64 emulation smoothly! The nice built in controller was super comfy too. It's too bad the screens will eventually fail on them and Nvidia seemed to have had no interest in doing something like that again with the Shield line outside of a tablet.

A pet project of mine for the last little while has actually been setting up an OLED Vita to be an emulation machine for PS1 stuff! There are a lot of classics I missed out on that I want to go back to. Xenogears, Lunar 1/2, Alundra, Incredible Crisis, P2 EP etc. I just love holding the Vita and it has enough physical buttons/sticks on it that it can handle playing games from pretty much anything. Something I‘ve become increasingly pig headed about is needing my emulation machines to “feel” right to me. I absolutely hate playing emulated games on a PC as it feels too rigid and easy to just…get distracted from. I don’t feel like I‘m in the games. Having a Vita though scratches all the weird lizard brain itches I have that come from having real hardware, real interface, real intimacy with the hardware. The person who made the current PSP/PS1 emulator on there is working on a feature complete port of PPSSPP for the Vita too which should help PSP games at least look cleaner on the thing. I’ve been genuinely very impressed how well it‘s working for my needs. Retroarch on there means I’ll be able to play some of the fan translated stuff I never got to check out like Live A Live and SMT1/2/if.

My only complaint is that you need to use the front or back touch panels for the R/L 2/3 buttons.


@sabertoothalex#9675 Something I’ve become increasingly pig headed about is needing my emulation machines to “feel” right to me.

I very much get this. It's part of the reason I play my portable emulation on my phone, and don't have a dedicated emulation handheld (as much as I want one). Nothing seems to be good enough, so I carry on with something that definitely isn't, but is in my pocket already.

I did have one system that I really enjoyed using for emulation - the 3DS once cracked runs GB titles just fine. I'm not even sure what else it can run, I got too caught up replaying GB games I loved and trying out ones I hadn't experienced before.

Definitely Wii if you have a CRT. Wii U if you don't!

GP32 was the first.

I had a great time playing Genesis games on the go.

It was good for NES and Genesis, which was exciting at the time.

The PSP was a really good successor. I had the original at one point and a Go at another point.
Didn't have any trouble with NES, Genesis, PC Engine, or PS1 games, and SNES was often playable though rarely perfect.

Worst for a strange reason was probably the Xperia Play.
At the time the Play was my game system and my phone. I liked it, but I'd run down the battery playing games, so my phone would always be either dead or low battery. It definitely turned me away from the idea of ever using my phone as an emulator system. I don't like having to be mindful of charging my phone. This wouldn't be an issue for someone who charges their phone more regularly.

OG Xbox is pretty good too (there's another MVG episode where he covers that), but the Wii is just so dang easy to find mod it‘s hard to not go with that. Using it’s built in version of emulated games (Virtual Console) is another plus, albeit with cases of input lag and reduced color saturation.

Wii and original Xbox seem to be the most popular choices.

It's always fun to see what you can emulate on what console.

Zophar's Domain keeps a nice list of these

@hellomrkearns#9683 My recent discovery has been just how far you can push arcade emulation on the Gamecube. It can do early Neo Geo, CPS1, and like TMNT the arcade game and a bit stuttery Sunset Riders.

The Dreamcast can also do okay-ish emulation of most older systems, but the one thing it excels at is Neo Geo CD emulation due to both of them having similar RAM limits. I think it has faster loading (esp on an ODE), and you NEO4ALL is built to output a crisp VGA signal.


I haven‘t got hog wild with EMU on a console since the PSP. I’ve heard about RetroArch on the Xbox platform and have always been curious about it. How does it handle downloading new cores, etc?

(i suppose i could watch the video, but I am watching a different video) We need an eye tracking app that will pause and play videos based on your gaze. I read multiple articles at once by flipping around, videos would benefit form the same thing.

For a while the original Xbox was the the choice for emulating consoles on a console, given the flexibility of XBMC and even custom front-ends geared towards it. Most of it was very DIY since this was the days before EmulationStation & RetroArch. If you were lucky you could download some local Python scripts to help navigate getting thumbnails/etc set up automatically. With that said, I probably spent more time doing all this setup and optimization than actually playing the games. . .

Finding heavily modded / pimped out Xboxes at Goodwill was a fun hobby for a bit in the late aughts (see also: https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/13-weird-games-i-found-on-my-xbox-a-thread).

Oh shoot! Got it. I thought you could like, install RetroArc on an Xbox through the windows store or something.

Yeah, I was going to mention the GP32 - I've done very little console emulation outside of that, and very little emulation in general, but there used to be something really fun about seeing a game on the “wrong” console - like when folks got a SNES emulator running on the Dreamcast.

@exodus#9741 I think I have played more PC Engine games on a Dingoo than on my actual Turbo Graphx 16. Save states definitely made Cadash and Splatterhouse doable. Its funny because its the portable I would always take with me for holiday family train trips. I should be playing my Dingoo this weekend darn it!

@exodus#9741 haha…I got a thread for that, but this one is more about hardware


for a while i was attempting to 1cc the pc engine version of tatsujin on a gameboy micro until my entire forearms felt like permanent damage was imminently setting in


@downchasm#9755 a good 15 years ago, my uncle, whom i was not aware had any interest in video games, pulled one of these famicom gameboy micros out of his pocket and handed it to me while we were engaging in some prolonged waiting

he said “would you like to play a game?”

i’ve only encountered him maybe three times in my whole life

what a cool guy

i have no memory at all what the game was though. definitely no emulation unfortunately! he wasn’t _that_ cool.

I am a big evangelist for the chinese linux handhelds, which are sort of the modern day successor to the Gamepark handhelds in terms of community support and homebrew. There's something I like a lot about having tons of form factor options and price ranges and being able to run whatever you can compile for them. When the GP32 and the GP2X were around I was pretty young and this was well before people were comfortable buying their kids no-name products off of the internet for christmas. Nowadays these things are like $40 on the lower end of things. Super fun to mess around with.