Why Emulating Nintendo Games Is Good, Probably (The Jimquisition)

Kotaku got itself told off by the gaming community for allegedly encouraging piracy. This is because it wrote about Metroid Dread being emulated in 4K, a news story that is news.

Meanwhile, Nintendo has made a great case for emulation by offering a premium subscription service that offers access to a selection of easily obtainable ROMs. The value just isn’t there.

So, let’s talk about emulation, Nintendo, and why companies need to better rather than expect us to pretend downloadable alternatives to their own storefronts don’t exist.


  1. “I don’t think its reasonable to make someone pay for a game and then make them prepare a network connection and charge a monthly fee”
    -Satoru Iwata

  2. I feel myself die a little inside when I hear people cheering a company saying they promise we won’t exploit you this time.

  3. I’ve seen plenty of Metroid fans telling the newcomers that if they want to experience the previous games they should emulate, because obtaining a legit copy of older games is such a ludicrous chore and Nintendo doesn’t release them on the eshop for some reason. Digital piracy is a service problem.

  4. As someone who grew up in a time when the only barrier to pirating a computer game was having access to a photocopier to copy the manual, the pearl clutching over emulation is just baffling

  5. Had Nintendo never re-released a single old game they ever made, the artists who initially made those games would have as much wealth as they currently have in this reality, where those games were indeed re-released.
    Re-released Nintendo games do not enrich their developers, they only enrich the company. Which is already rich. Because it’s a company.

  6. It’s almost as though the big gaming corporations feel entitled to our time, money, and (positive) attention, while doing nothing to demonstrate that they’re worth it.

  7. Nintendo’s vocal fans need to learn the difference between piracy and emulation. Emulation is 100% legal. Dumping your own games to backup is 100% legal. If someone wants to emulate a new game, it doesn’t mean they pirated it. It’s like people defending Nintendo for taking down online tournies of Melee despite most likely every single person at those tournaments has a physical copy they can freely dump and mod as they please.
    Also, yeah, the new NSO service is arse-wash. IDK how anyone can defend it for that price because they barely could justify the $20 they were charging for the base service.

  8. really wish more companies would do what Sega did and actually sell me the rom for old games. Those sega genesis games on steam give you the uncompressed rom files which you are able to run in whatever emulator you want. Sega could have stopped there and it would have been fine, but they actually went the extra step to make the emulator they ship it with a unique and novel experience for those interested in the nostalgia.

  9. “Emulation doesn’t hurt Nintendo, but I wish it did.” -random very cool reddit comment.

  10. Japan is the only country that Manages to live 50 years ahead of the world technology wise. while being at the same time 50 years behind.

  11. Nintendo fangurl here and I just want to say: Emulate the shit out of every old console, including Nintendo!

  12. Chrysostomos Chrysostomides

    Until the switch I never had hardware issues with any Nintendo console going all the way back to the Game Boy, but recently my Switch stopped charging and it turns out that not only did I have to repair the Switch itself but also replace the dock and charger. It would have cost me over half the price of console itself and it just wasn’t worth it. I also had issues with the joy-cons by the way. So I’ve been playing Metroid Dread on Ryujinx and quite frankly I’d be doing that even if my Switch was working. It’s absolutely the superior experience. Aside from the rare visual bug and occasional stutter it runs perfectly at 4K 120fps and looks absolutely great.

    I’ve also been playing Breath of the Wild on Cemu and it’s quite literally a generation ahead. It runs flawlessly at 4k 60fps with better textures, draw distance, shadows and reflections. You can also enable unbreakable weapons, have infinite stamina and there’s also mod support. Your stamina being depleted makes sense as a game mechanic when it comes to climbing but what’s the benefit of that when you’re just sprinting and have to stop every few seconds for LInk to catch his breath? Literally every other game allows you to just sprint freely, but Nintendo has to be NIntendo I guess.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of this entitles me to pirate games, but I AM saying that when an emulator provides a way better experience it’s hard to convince myself to pay for a lesser one.

  13. I’ve been saying this for years and I stand by it.
    Piracy is good for the industry as a whole, because it sets a baseline of service quality and accessibility. It at least creates some kind of pressure for companies to do the basic effort to provide something worth the money.

    This is true for streaming services, but I think it’s doubly true for the games industry, where companies seem determined to wipe any title (other than Skyrim) older than a generation off the face of the planet, either to be forgotten about, or so they can sell it to you again 10 years later (like Skyrim)…
    Were it not for piracy and emulation, it would be downright impossible to keep any real track of the history of the medium.

  14. My cousin who is kinda oblivious to the gaming world contacted me a few months ago to ask me how she can get Yoshi’s Story a game she felt nostalgic, I basically said to her that she had to emulate it, because it was practically impossible to get it legally unless she was willing to pay a lot for an N64 and a copy of the game; after that she said to me: “Nintendo, they’re a bunch of assholes” and to that i couldn’t agree more.

  15. No, you’re absolutely correct. The games deserve more respect, and this subscription IS the insult. I don’t care if I have to pay, I better be paying for a game, which then downloads, to my SD, for play any time, indefinitely. That’s how these games have been presented in the past, and let’s be real, I own Ocarina of Time 5 times over, put it on the Switch, properly, on eshop

  16. This video hits so many points. Such a good point on how Spotify and Apple Music have been able to get a foot in. You offer a broad and convenient service for a good price, and people will happily pay for it. Same with GamePass. People aren’t trying to emulate Xbox games on mass, because so many are available to play on Xbox fore a decent price. I saw one defender who also happens to have ‘Nintendo Ambassador’ in their bio. Saying ‘do better Kotaku’ whilst saying nothing about the devs who received no credit. They will try and act as the point of purity, for Nintendo. LOL.

  17. In this day and age, emulation and “piracy” are more important than ever, because we already know that game companies won’t do jack shit for the preservation of old videogames.

    Especially in the age of digital distribution and online DRM, once the main servers are turned off, your game won’t run anymore. Even if it’s a single player game.

  18. I basically stopped paying for retro games when the Switch came out and I realized they wouldn’t respect their consumers by allowing them to transfer any of their digital purchases from the Wii U. In hindsight I realize how naive that was, but at the same time, doesn’t it seem like a reasonable expectation that digital purchases should be transferrable across the same account? Yeah, I know corporate apologists will give a list of reasons for why that can’t work, but no. The only real reason is greed. I supported the Wii U despite it being a complete failure and instead of Nintendo respecting the people who supported that system, they just re-released the games on Switch and had us buy them again, then gave us the bird when we asked about Virtual Console purchases. So yeah, I won’t be paying for the “Expansion Pack” on top of the already lackluster Online experience. I enjoy the Switch well enough, but Nintendo doesn’t have a good track record with anything online.

  19. If Other M couldn’t kill Metroid, an emulator won’t.

  20. The only money I’ve given Nintendo in the last 25 years was for a MiniSNES, just so I could emulate the heck out of the rest of their catalog with Hakchi and Retroarch using their own product.

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