Backwards is Forwards (WEB - NEW VERSION]

If you own old games you can download them to your PC and breathe a new lease of life into them

Feature by Josh Wilson | 14 Aug 2006
This year is it; THE NEXT GENERATION. Only with fewer Jean Lucs and with Sony itching to make you pay an extortionate amount of coin for their latest box. A new breed of consoles is all well and good unless you're poor. Truly, the console I believe will do best is the Wii, not only for its new arm-flailing gameplay style, but also because Nintendo are letting you play their back catalogue on the new console. They are embracing emulation and giving you the opportunity to play all their quality games from the past for free. A good idea eh?

A little known fact is, you could be doing this now, and not just with Nintendo games. If you own old games you can download them to your PC (or even PSP) and breathe a new lease of life into them. All you need for this is an emulator for the relevant console. This is a program which, well… emulates the console and allows you to play the games on your PC after downloading the ROM file (the game, basically) without the hassle of digging it out and setting up your old consoles.

However you can only do this for games you own (I can't stress this enough), for legal reasons, otherwise you're just stealing, which I, nor The Skinny condone in the slightest.

To get these programs and the appropriate ROMS you need to head to; here you will find a wealth of info on emulators for practically every console, and then at you can find downloadable versions of pretty much all your old games.

And that, in a paragraph, is how to get yourself emulating.

Now there is the tough question of what to play. You can pick up old games on eBay (LEGALLY) for next to nothing, so you really can have thousands of games to choose from. Fortunately for you, we can make the tough decisions on your behalf… Here is our Top Ten retrosexual must emulate games. Enjoy!

1: Super Mario World (Snes): The main title for Nintendo's main character. 'World introduced us to in-depth and complex platforming, with more secrets than a mason's briefcase. If you manage to complete 'Tubular' even I will kneel down and call you god [CW]

2. Sonic Chaos (Master System): Mario's nemesis at the peak of his game. It is platforming on amphetamines and will test your reactions well as you try to get all those rings and save a chaos crystal via the assault of a (floating) wheelchair ridden old man. Uber thumb twitching fun.

3. Galaga (Arcade): You may not have heard of it, but you will have played it. Arguably the best arcade game ever, you control a ship and shoot flying aliens as they try to drop bombs on you. Frantic high score driven action (you can get this on Xbox arcade nowadays as well…)

4. Earthworm Jim (Megadrive): The game that spawned its own cartoon. Full of brilliant, twisted, random humour, you platformed past many an enemy. My favourite being Bob the Killer Goldfish. Awesome.

5. Elevator Action Returns (Saturn): The term 'best game ever' is bandied about just a little too often in my opinion. But in the case of the Sega Saturn, and Japan only Elevator Action Returns (although it's now available over here on the Taito Legends 2 collection) it's as close to a true statement as can be for the side-scrolling platform title. After being dumped at the top of a huge building, your task is to clear floor after floor of various baddies, and reach the bottom with you're life intact. It may not sound much, but it's just so damn enjoyable that it's a game all need to experience. [CP]

6. Guardian Heroes (Saturn): This holds cult status nowadays, and could be difficult to find. Essentially just a beat 'em up, the game also had some deeper RPG elements, allowing for concentration on various fighting stats/styles. Mixed with nice graphics and a great control system, it is definitely worth a look.

7. Illusion of Time (Snes): A personal favourite, this little known RPG, had one of the best stories ever, as you crossed a globe with a history, slightly twisted from our own. Infinitely charming and touching, very few games have ever been so poignant. [CW]

8. Tempest 2000 (Jaguar)– The Atari Jaguar console of the early nineties may have been an unmitigated disaster, but it did give birth to a little arcade shooter called 'Tempest 2000'. Oh so simple, but the addition of multiple different enemy types, and a vast number of collectible power-ups makes this simple concept thoroughly addictive [CP]

9. Super Mario Kart (Snes): A game of pure addiction. Everyone knows its more recent incarnations, but the game that started it all is still the most balanced, most varied and most mayhem. It stands out as some of the most fun you can have with your best mate before questions start being asked.

10. Flashback (Arcade) – Although platform titles are considered some of the most simplistic in this great pursuit of gaming, Flashback proved this to be far from the truth. With the rotoscoped animation (akin to the early Prince of Persia titles) combined with the hand painted backdrops giving Flashback the kind of visual clout that still stands tall even today. Yet even the visuals pale in comparison to the addictive gameplay, and the sublimely implemented story, which has a brand of maturity much missed from most modern gaming titles. It may not last more than a weekend's play, but Conrad's adventures are bound to keep all enthralled. [CP],