Packing up the ol’ emulator

Late last year, I decided to try putting together an emulator on my PC. I downloaded the right software (retroarch), and some roms from games I used to own but don’t anymore. Legalities aside, I mostly just wanted to play games I used to have. I looked over my old systems and found roms for most games (TG-16 and PS1 stuff mostly). I got the whole thing working. I was proud of it. Whenever I wanted, I could dip into my personal video game past.

Except I couldn’t.

There are two issues. I’ve played games on consoles my whole life. I’ve always found playing games with a keyboard and mouse strange, so I wanted to be able to hook my surface pro up to a TV when I play. That’s not actually all that difficult. I already owned a dongle that lets me hook up an HDMI cord to the PC. This isn’t difficult, but it is a step. Hardly a big deal.

The actual big deal was in the controller setup. I had an Xbox 360 controller and I’d purchased a dingus that would help me connect it to my surface. It worked…80% of the time? The dingus took up the one USB port on the surface, which was sometimes inconvenient.

Late last year, I also purchased an 8bitdo controller that looks a lot like a SNES controller with analog sticks. It feels great. And it worked! For about a month, anyway. Since then, it’s worked maybe 30% of the time.

I gave myself an hour or two this weekend to try to update its firmware and figure out its flakiness. The process reminded me a lot of this XKCD. After some time, I entered and let that be a lesson to you” territory and decided to give up.

I’m archiving my emulator stuff on my PC (games take up a lot of space, and if I’m not using them, best to backup and delete) and just hooking my old Xbox 360 up to my second tv (my switch is hooked up in the living room). If I’m feeling the urge to play something old, I have a nice library of Xbox Live Arcade games I’ve downloaded over the years. On top of that, after I booted the thing up again, I found that its broken CD drive had been fixed. It was like a sign. Don’t play PC games, it was telling me. Play console games.

August 25, 2018