While emulation is a murky legal issue, there are plenty of legitimate ways of playing older games thanks to official emulation. One of the best and brightest ways to access classic games is Nintendo’s Virtual Console, part of Nintendo’s online store that uses software emulation allowing older titles to be played on modern consoles. The 3DS, Wii, and Wii U all have extensive libraries that differ slightly region to region. Sony abandoned PlayStation hardware’s backwards compatibility features in later editions of the PS3, but if you have an older PS3 (CECHBxx, CECHAxx, CECHCxx, CECHExx) and it should be capable of playing most PS2 titles. Of course all models of PS3 will play original PS1 discs. Otherwise you’ll need to use PlayStation Now, Sony’s streaming platform, which will allow you to stream older games on a PS4. The Xbox One, meanwhile, has limited backwards compatibility with a host of titles available to play (with more to come), whether purchased digitally or using an Xbox 360 disc.
Classic Games Expos
Chances are if you live in the western world, there will be a classic or retro games scene that holds events close to you. They will vary in size and quality, but they’re a great opportunity to meet collectors, play old arcade games, or try out classic consoles you may have missed. Even small shows can surprise with rare eastern consoles that were never released in the west, forgotten classics like the PC Engine, or the once rare Neo Geo. They’re usually also full of merchandising stores where you can buy clothing, bits of game-related swag and usually buy from dust-gathering collections of older games. There’s something thrilling about a 10-year-old arcade machine, with wires sticking out, that still plays a classic from your youth. If you’re not so much into old arcade machines, the retro scene is often entangled with pinball fanatics, with a great selection of boxes to showcase your pinball wizardry.
Online casinos are both a place to gamble and a shrine to classic gaming. While they’re often not considered such, thanks to the prevalence of betting and gambling, in actual fact casinos are home to the most classic of all gaming. Games like roulette and poker existed long before video games, yet have found their home alongside the young usurper. It’s even possible to do a bit of anonymous casino playing using bitcoins, suggesting that savvy creators have galvanised these classics by embracing technology and the web to become central to the experience.
The Wild West days of eBay are over – it’s unlikely you’ll see governments selling air-craft carriers on the auction platform these days. Much of eBay is now taken up with small specialty shops that want to reach a larger audience than their own website. This is a boon to collectors and people interested in rare and retro consoles. You get trustworthy sellers who know how to store and maintain hardware and you get the most eclectic collection of games and consoles – with limited editions and even hand-modified peripherals. If you’re looking for something unique to round out a collection, eBay should be your first stop.