Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video games from our childhood - From 16GB to 16 KB :-)

Note: Throughout this article, "we" means my generation of people (i.e.) people who are almost close to my age.

Everyone knows the phrase, "Thank you mario, But our princess is in another castle". This article focusses mainly on that phrase and its whereabouts.

There must have been a period of time in every kid's life where he/she used to play video games. Though many cool portable gadgets have come these days for this generation children, Though many cool games with 3d/4d capabilities have come these days, nothing can match the joy of playing good old nintendo video games which we had when we were kids.

Video games from our childhood - From 16GB to 16 KB :-)


We had only two categories of video games when we were kids. One was called Hand Video Game which used to work on two pen torch batteries (which our parents use to hide during exams). It had simple but wonderful games like the car race (similar to crazy taxi in facebook) and the brick game (similar to modern day tetris) which we would play for hours together trying to set high score after high score. Another category was (this was supposed to be a costlier category when we were kids) TV Video Game (this was the nintendo video games i was talking about). Those days, we would pay hundreds of rupees to buy a video game casette. And there were casettes that had many games in one (i still remember when i was astonished once by seeing a 73 in 1 casette).

To name few of my very favourite games (most of them were all time top favourite for almost everyone who played it).

  • Super Mario - IMO, there is no better game than this till date (simple, yet very addictive)

  • Contra - Mostly considered as a boy's game :-)

  • Duck Hunt - Great one during the days we used to play with the gun and feel as if we were policemen shooting the duck

  • Baseball - We hardly knew the rules, but we still played it because we did not get cricket casette for cheap rates

  • Adventure Island

  • Paper Boy

  • Pacman - Now google has taken it to the next level ;-)

  • Bomberman

  • Galaxy

  • And much more..



Though not as professional gamers, we do play a lot of games in computers (some famous ones include need for speed, fifa, cricket, counter strike, age of empires, etc.), nothing can give us the joy that those games gave us when we were kids. Recently after seeing a tweet from my friend gkns, i was very desperate about playing these games in my computer. Intuitively, my mind said there would definitely be emulators that can emulate video games in our computer.

Before talking about how, there is one small point to note. Earlier i used the term casette, now being in the computer era, i am rephrasing it as ROM (Read Only Memory) disk. Many of us would have opened the plastic casette and found a chip with a black circle spot in it. That chip is nothing but the ROM disk that contains the game (just like the CD/DVD's in which we buy games today). Those disks were capable of storing data in no more than kilobytes (reasonable because those days floppies of size 1.44MB were predominant and the chip was like one fourth of the size of a floppy).

And now, being in this computer era, simulating the entire video game device becomes very simple. We need two components. One is obviously, we need the game data from the ROM disk and another one is a software that can process the data and do the job that the video game device does but using the computer's wide available resources. The emulation software is available for both windows and linux.

Windows Emulators: Nestopia (1.13 MB), FCEUX (900KB)

Linux Emulators: xnes and kemu (Just search for "nes emulator" in your package manager and install it)

ROM Disks: You can download ROM Disks of my favourite games here. You can also download disks from various freely (and most likely illegaly) from http://www.coolrom.com.

All you have to do is, download the emulator and the ROM Disk and then use the emulator to open the ROM Disk. So, why download games of size 16 GB when we can enjoy even more at just 16 KB :-) Download now and have fun. Dedicated to all who played video games as a kid :-)

P.S.: I seriously expect a lot of comments for this one :-D

-Vignesh