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Ouya to bolster launch games with NES, SNES, N64 emulation

System will come out of the gate packing a hefty retrogaming punch.

Ouya, the open-source game console running Android, has come under fire for the look and feel of the games demonstrated so far on the system. Ars’ own Florence Ion talked last month with several developers currently involved with Ouya launch titles, and while they were clearly enthusiastic about the promise of developing for an open system, the games themselves so far lack, well, a bit of polish.

A console typically lives and dies by its launch titles (see the unfortunate Sega Saturn), but Ouya now has the opportunity to stand directly on the shoulders of giants with its initial content offerings. According to Ed Krassenstein, the Ouya forum administrator, Ouya will launch with NES, SNES, and Nintendo64 emulators available (hat tip to TechCrunch). NES emulation will be provided by EMUya, SNES emulation will be via SuperGNES, and N64 emulation will be via Mupen64Plus.

Lee Hutchinson/Wikimedia Commons

As TechCrunch observes, the noteworthy thing here isn’t necessarily that emulation is coming to the platform, but rather that the emulators themselves appear to have been officially blessed by Ouya and can be installed directly, without side-loading.

Emulation software itself is useless without some actual games to play, and therein lies the rub: getting the contents of NES/SNES/N64 ROM cartridges off of the cartridges and onto a computer requires some specialized equipment that most folks don’t have. So, just about everyone playing emulated cartridge games does so with ROM images downloaded from various places around the web. The legality of downloading ROM images even of games one actually owns is shady at best, and so touting the OUYA as an emulation machine means potentially tempting customers into engaging in copyright infringement in order to build up a library of ROMs—assuming they don’t have such a library already.

Ouya’s open nature means that emulators will absolutely be available one way or another—users not being bound to big developers and their rules is one of the attractions of the system, and officially recognizing that no small number of users will want to use the system as a retro-gaming “uberconsole” is simply acknowledging the giant elephant sitting in the corner. The type of user most attracted to the Ouya is also the type most able to install an emulator and locate vintage ROMs to play, and so making emulators available for the system at launch merely lowers an already very low barrier.

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1 Comment

  • c704710
    Mar 31, 2013 2:27 pm

    retrode . com perfectly legal & easy
    snes & gen out-of-the-box. n64 & others with adaptors

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