A week ago, it was discovered that Nintendo had asked to remove the Dolphin emulator from Steam, because according to the industry giant, emulators hurt development and stifle innovation. A phrase that has bothered many gamers and the media, including PC Gamer, who say that this statement is absurd and hypocritical.
This, since the emulation community has given rise to countless innovations over the years, even directly benefiting Nintendo. In the column on this site, written by Wes Fenlon, it is recalled that emulators created by fans are responsible for pioneering features and that they are now considered essential in official emulators. For example, instant save functions, known as “save states”. A feature that according to his research, debuted on Nesticle in 1997, although another emulator may have achieved it first.
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Instant save features that are so common these days, you don’t even think about them because they are a staple in any emulator. So much so that, as Fenlon emphasizes, it was used by Nintendo itself in the emulator for its NES Classic and SNES Classic, a feature that was based on an innovation (or at least popularization) coming from the emulator scene, created by fans.
In addition, the journalist recalls that thanks to emulators, there are “many wonderful fan translations that simply wouldn’t exist without emulators, which allow you to take the games apart and understand how they work.” So much so that big developers have highlighted this, such as Square Enix veteran Takashi Tokita, who said that the fan translations helped spark interest in RPG Live a Live, and finally, after 29 years, the game got a official launch in the west with its new HD-2D remake.
That is why the phrase “Stifle innovation” is classified by PC Gamer as “such a ridiculous thing”, since as Wes Fenlon recalls: “there is a whole company, Analogue, thanks to the last decade of advances in emulation of software and hardware. Analogue has built a business around the idea of creating beautiful versions of old Nintendo systems, like the Game Boy and the NES, that can run real game cartridges on circuits that mimic the original consoles.”
An idea that to finish, he says that could have been taken by Nintendo, “launching elegant retro versions of Game Boy or Famicom”, but he assumes that the company is not interested in innovating when it comes to hardware, contradicting his own words.
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