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An emulator is a software often used for emulating older video-game consoles within one's computer. The frequency of available emulators range from the Nintendo Entertainment System, to the Xbox, to the Nintendo DS, and most everything in between. (Even the VirtualBoy!)

The two most commonly used SNES emulators are ZSNES and Snes9x. They let you emulate Super Nintendo games. The emulator is a must-have application if you want to hack a ROM image, or play most any game on your computer.

Ironically, most emulators are legal, but ROM's are not. This double standard has helped fuel anti-copyright movements.

Common features of emulators

  • Save-State/Load-State The emulator has all the fun things to help us play the beloved, nostalgic games that we spent countless hours trying to beat. Thankfully, most emulators come with the 'save-state/load-state' feature. These allow you to instantly save your exact position in the game (music, sprites, etc. all stay the same), and [usually] just as instantly, reload that position at will. This helps to beat games in astonishing times.
  • Rewind The 'rewind' is more or less used when one forgets to save-state, or wants to just retry a jump/attack/block/etc. that they may have messed up on. While not nearly as common as the save-state/load-state features, the rewind allows you to rewind your game back a predetermined amount of time. It can be quite annoying to use this feature as it could help you, or place you above a pit of firey hell. There is the risk of you 'running out' of rewinds, as you are, by default, given only 15. This means, every 3 seconds, you get another rewind (using the default setting, of course). It can be a confusing tool as a novice, so therefore, practice is needed to master it. Not recommended while making TASes, as it may desync the final playback. Note: This is available only in the latest few versions of ZSNES.
  • Movie Recording Used most commonly for TASes, the 'movie record feature allows you to record your game, either from the reset of the game, or your current position, and play it back to you. In other words, it is a record of keystrokes. It can be difficult to explain, so allow me to use an example. You record a movie. You do your thing and save on frame, say, 1234. You go for a little bit, and die. You load state. The movie erases all keystrokes made between frame 1234 and whenever you loaded state, thus giving the appearance (in the final playback) that nothing you never loaded/saved at all. If that doesn't make any sense, try it yourself. Rewinds are not recommended in the recording of your movies, as they desync your playback. This is because rewinds are not quite perfected yet. Use my example above. Say you save on frame 1234. You go for a bit, and die. You rewind. Since rewinds take you back a set number of seconds, not frames, it can confuse your emulator into thinking you did/did not do something, when you really didn't/did. This make you look like a jackass when you brag to your friends about your mad skills, and your playback shows your just standing there, occasionally moving back and forth, depending on what you did, because your playback desynced. And it sucks when you, say, walljumped after practicing for a half hour, because all that time and effort is gone. This leads to humiliation and may result in, but is not limited to, crying and/or punching of computer. (But now I'm just ranting)
  • Fast-forward The 'fast-forward' feature allows you to quickly run through a segment. Basically, it speeds up the game. Useful during boring segments, like unedited credits. Can be mapped to a key, or configured to be the speed at which the emulator runs at. Not recorded as a keystroke in a movie recording.
  • Slow-down Next to the save-state/load-state features, this is probably the most used tool when emulating a game. It slows down the game to a predeterminded speed, the best being x3~x5 (3 times ~ 5 times) slower than normal. Best when used to pull off difficult jumps or glitches. Can be mapped to a key, or configured to be the speed at which the emulator runs at. Not recorded as a keystroke in a movie recording.
  • Frame-advance The 'frame-advance' tool is the same as slowdown, but allows frame-by-frame gameplay. Best used in Snes9x.

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