First off a little about the emulators themselves. I've just been through this process and, as of doing it today the files work and are virus free. The playstation one's the trickiest, so I've saved it until the cut. For the rest, Emulator Zone has all of these emulators I mention.
For the Gameboy I've found that VisualBoy Advance handles not only Gameboy Advance but Gameboy and Gameboy Colour games, too. However, it does this weird thing with the speed by running it as fast as the computer allows, rather than at 100% automatically. Ever wanted to play Mario at 395% speed? My trainer on Pokemon now walks twice as fast as a regular-mode bicycle, and level-grinding in RPGs is a breeze. But on the other hand in games like Castlevania II the enemies spawn at triple speed too. *Gulp!* There's probably a way around it, but I'm not sure how yet.
For NES, NEStopia runs a little bit smoother than jNES if you're going to be running something else in the background, and sometimes jNES does something... weird to the games. But then, that's Cheetahmen II, and that's unplayably bad anyway. For SNES, I use Z-SNES, but unfortunately unlike the Gameboy emulators, it's not backward compatible.
When it comes to the Playstation 1 (PS), emulators are a little tricky to set up since they for some reason don't come with some of the files they need to get started. Since this is very confusing if, like me, this is your first emulator to set up, here's the most hassle-free process:
First off go to EmuAsylum. From there, scroll down to the 1.5.2 version of the ePSXe emulator (the only one that pays off all this with decent interface). Download that, and the .zip files of BIOS files, and the Graphics, CD and Sound plugin packs bac at the top of the page.
Unzip the emulator first into its own folder, then put the other three in the 'bios' and 'plugin' folders respectively, unzip them, then the .zip files that came out of the plugin packs. Don't choose to replace anything if WinRar or Winzip asks. Then go to this link which downloads one last file that it needs to process. Put it in the main folder alongside the .exe file (the one with the controller-shaped icon). That's the last of the downloads!
Then just download some game ROMs from Romhustler or wherever, and unzip the files they come in. I'd advise making a 'Games' folder in the ePSXe folder you've made, but it doesn't matter. Now open the emulator, go to Configure>Bios in the toolbar and use the Select box to pick SCPH101.BIN from the bios folder. Then go to Config>Game Pad>Port 1>Pad 1 and pick which keys you'd like to represent the buttons of the controller.
FINALLY Go to File>Run ISO and run either the .ccd or preferrably the .cue file from the game folder if there is one. And you're now playing the game!
Now for some of the games. To save this being a hellaciously long post, I'll stick to the funnies for now, and recommend a few at the end that I liked.
Reign of Fire (GBA)
Okay, so I downloaded this one thinking it was Breath of Fire, an old RPG series I've since gone on to download. But I didn't think the film was aggressively dumb, so I might as well check the game out, right? It's not like it's going to be the exact opposite of what the movie was about or anything?
You go around with a heavily-armed team shooting dragons down with assault rifles. Yeah, I remember that bit.
Winx Club (GBA)
It's kind of awkward to watch or play something for the first time after you've seen the hentai of it. But if I made it through Final Fantasy XII and any of your other favourite things that I can ruin, then I can manage this. I also downloaded W.I.T.C.H, but (A) I'm actually watching that series, and (B) the game's just boringly bad, not funny bad. And it doesn't have this:
OH GOD WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER EYES?
Other than that, this is actually a lot like Legend of Zelda, specifically the A Link to the Past / The Minish Cap instalments. One day I'm going to download and play all of the disney-magical-girl-princess-twinkle-
Judge Dredd (SNES)
You know, I never truly appreciated how hard a Judge's job is before. Whenever I shoot some punk six times to make him surrender, I go try to arrest him only to kick him in the face, making him explode. I wonder if the real Judge Dredd runs into that problem.
Goddamn it, that's another six pages of forms to fill out.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Gameboy)
AAAH! AAAH! AAAH!
So once I stopped screaming it turns out this is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up, where you fight vampires until they fall over, then crouch over them and hit 'Punch' to stake them before they get back up, health restored. They block and they jump, making the fights a reasonable challenge, even if Buffy, without a run button, strolls along her patrol like it 'aint no thang. Then I paused it to make some notes.
AAAH! AAAH! AAAH!
Zoids: Legacy (GBA)
I don't know what it is about games that need me to make a freaking spreadsheet to keep tabs on, but my Zoids team has rapidly what Fantasy Football is to regular guys. Or so I hear; I don't
get to hang out with those guys. Basically this is an RPG where an experiment has merged the universes of the different Zoids anime together, and you and your team travel around trying to get to the bottom of it. As well as guest members with set zoids, you can buy, make & win all the different zoids from the show, customize their armour, weaponry and even colour and tweak their performance in other ways too.
In case you were wondering what my team looks like
These are just a sample; i'll let you find your old favourites and hidden gems yourselves. Personally my recommendations are;
(PS) - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Ghost in the Shell, Doom and Final Doom,
(GB/GBA) - Zoids: Legacy, Pokemon Red and Blue, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Harvest Moon, SD Gundam Force
(SNES) - Megaman, Super Castlevania IV, Wolfenstein 3D,
Join me for the third installment where i'll reveal some of the truly weird games I found, give my thoughts on playing some of the classics for the first time and delve into the seedy world of hacked games.