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Emulation Basics – Start Here

Emulation Basics

By Shadow Links

This guide is intended to be a resource for general use of emulators of any kind. Various tips, rules, hints, and definitions are written here to help you.

Never download emulators for the PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS, or PS Vita. None of these systems currently have a working emulator and any that claim to be are scams and can infect your computer with malware.


  • Not all games are compatible with emulators. Usually the site for the emulator contains some sort of compatibility list. Some do have compatibility list with the game in the program itself.
  • Games usually have a region. NTSC-U is United states, NTSC-J is Japan, and PAL is Europe. It typically has to do with the rate that the game is rendered (50Htz or 60 htz) Normally it is not a problem, but the language it is in can be or you may need to change the BIOS region to fit the game.
  • Emulation usually runs at 60 fps. If a game seems slow there are a few things you can do. Frame skipping skips frames at a certain rate and can increase speed at the cost of losing smooth movement. Other options sometimes can be found in the emulator as speed hacks or fixes. Be careful here as some changes can break emulation.
  • Know your system – Windows version and 32 or 64 bit
  • Always try to use the most recent revision of the emulator for maximum compatibility.
  • Sometimes you may need to provide your own BIOS files. These usually can be found on the internet somewhere.
  • To load games you need to normally find it in the emulator and then click run. Game formats vary but are normally in the form .xxx where xxx is a shortening of the system name (ex. .gba, .gbc, .z64, .n64. or .rom) When loading the game you can normally see what formats it will accept. Compressed .zip files are sometimes accepted.


  • BIOS – the basic input/output operation system of the system. The base software that a console runs on.
  • Emulator – An Emulator is a program that simulates a different type of hardware.
  • Fps – Frames per second
  • GFX – Graphics
  • Homebrew – Unofficial software made without the help of the console manufacturer.
  • NTSC-J – Region coding for Japan
  • NTSC-U – region coding for the USA
  • null – dummy codes which do not do anything but allow you to bypass needing a plugin. For debugging purposes
  • PAL – Region coding for Europe
  • plugins – code bits that handle a certain part of emulation such as graphics/sound/controllers and can be interchanged with others usually.
  • Roms – games
  • save states – save files of the exact moment of the game. Unique to emulators. Different from in-game saves
  • SFX – Sound effects

Written by Shadow Links

Written by Nerd Bacon

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  1. Pingback: Top 8 Games to Play on 420 - Nerd Bacon Reviews

  2. I haven’t really tried emulators except FreeDO, and have never been able to get ti to work properly. I’ll have to set aside some time and delve into this area more deeply- three are a lot of old console games I really miss.


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