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How people play Nintendo games on a computer, and why that's probably illegal

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Whether or not you've used a video game emulator yourself — and if you have, it's okay, I'm not gonna snitch — it's impossible to deny their prevalence. Since the age of modern computing, people have figured out how to use code to mimic game consoles like NES and Genesis in order to play them on everything from laptops to smartwatches. Sometimes it's a near-perfect recreation of a childhood memory. Sometimes it's a virtual reality "remix" of a popular cartoon fighter (blatant self-promotion) or something indescribably trippy. In either case, it's probably something the game's developer and publisher are pretty mad about.

My occasional partner-in-crime Chris Plante invited me back to What's Tech — not sure why, given these other episodes I've done on emoji and ASMR (more blatant self-promotion) — to talk about video game emulation. Namely, we talk about what it is, why it's often considered an illegal practice (at least obtaining the game files themselves), why it's really important for maintaining gaming's history, and how the big names in gaming have reacted, both embracing and chastising the practice.

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