Retro gaming emulators that include (legal) ROMs?

Fun & Games Technology
Retro gaming emulators that include (legal) ROMs?

Tunnels of Doom

The holiday break is a good time for 30/40/50/etc.-somethings to take trips down memory lane and dig up games from their childhood. For those of us who either don’t have old systems in their attics/basements or who have grown bored with their contents, there are always emulators.

The hassle with emulators is finding games to play on them: if you have the original disks, you can, with some effort, transfer them to your computer. There’s also the path of least resistance, downloading ROMs, but that opens up complicated set of legal and ethical issues. Another option is to find emulators that include the ROMs–legally. Here are a couple I’ve found:

Miner 2049er and Bounty Bob Strikes Back
Big Five Software, makers of two of the best old-school platform games, released a dedicated emulator that plays the 8-bit Atari computer versions of both.

Harmless Lion obtained permission to include the TI-99/4a system ROMs and many TI classics, including Hunt the Wumpus, Parsec, and Tunnels of Do… (OK, I just lost about half the readers of the blog here. Oh, back so soon? I know you are just looking for info on how to play Tunnels of Doom).

(These two bundles are Windows-only, but they played fine for me under VMware Fusion.)

Parabellum’s Java Vectrex Emulator
The Vectrex Game ROMs are available for free, which makes it possible for Vectrex emulator developers to include the games along with their emulators. This emulator is cross-platform; you can download versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Be sure to check out the wealth of homebrew ROMs available. These are created by the community, and although they aren’t the games you remember from your youth, they have an old-school feel and many are as good as the best from the old days.

Know of any other legal emulator/ROM combos out there? I’m sure there are more; post them up in the comments, please! My wish? Shamus.

Gaming Hacks
It doesn’t take long for an avid or just wickedly clever gamer to be chafed by the limitations of videogame software or hardware. If you want to go far beyond the obvious, there’s an awful lot of free fun you can have, using the creative exploits of the gaming gurus. Gaming Hacks is the indispensable guide to cool things gamers can do to create, modify, and hack videogame hardware and software.

Retro Gaming Hacks
Whether you’re just discovering Tetris or you’ve been a Pong junkie since puberty, Chris Kohler’s Retro Gaming Hacks is your indispensable new guide to classic games. Kohler has compiled the how-to information that used to take weeks of web surfing to find and presents it in highly readable Hacks style.

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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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