Emulation: Playing Smash Bros. on the PC
Using statistic tracking services, I have noticed that a few visitors are directed to this site because they are interested in a rom image for Super Smash Bros. This is because I put the word "rom" on the index page of this guide and search engines seems to have picked up on that word. I assume that since you, the people who are searching for roms, are here looking at my guide because you are interested in emulation. As mentioned on my index page, obviously I have a working rom image of Smash and an emulator set up. In order to help out visitors who are interested in emulation, I made this page to help you know what to expect when using an emulator to play N64 games, specifically Smash Bros. and point you in the right direction.
Let's start with a bit of philosphy. Emulation of console games is something in the "grey" area. To my understanding, it is perfectly legal to write, distribute, and use emulation programs, but downloading games from the internet and playing with paying isn't quite legal at all, since games are usually copyrighted by their publishers and developers. However, a lot sources say that it is legal to have a so called "backup" copy of a software, such as Smash. The backup, of course, is a rom image. Many emulation sites state that a person may keep the rom image if he/she actually own the catridge for the game. So according to this, I can legally download the rom because I actually do have catridge. This sounds kind of conflicting, doesn't it? It's really quite confusing, since there aren't really any clear laws or regulations regarding the issue of emulation. Emulation stradles the legal boundary, so if you want to download a rom, download at your own risk.
Well, we're now done with the boring stuff and can go to some actual information. I have tried several emulators, and after some testing, I concluded that the best emulator program for the Super Smash Bros. rom is a program called Project64. If you don't feel like searching, here's the link: www.pj64.net. Project64 is free, like most other emulators. Supposely, this is one of the most popular N64 emulators out there. It is feature rich, comes with good documentation, and is easy to use. The biggest problem with other emulators is that they produce some severe graphic errors when playing Smash, which are so distracting that the overall experience is compremised. Project64 gave no errors that would affect the gameplay. Version 1.5 had some video problems with Smash though. A video problem I've noticed is that the projectiles and shields in the game are two dimensional and seem to be turned at an angle, making them hard to see. For example, on TV, Samus' big charge shot is very noticeable, but when playing on Project64, the charge shot, even when fully charged, can barely be seen. This is not a major problem, but it just might mean that cpu Samus might get some cheap KOs. Most of the problems listed above seemed to have been corrected by version 1.6, which can be found on their website. Like all emulator programs, Project64 is good with some games, and bad with others, so if you download something other than Smash, Project64 might not run the game as well. Try out several emulators before you decide which ones to keep.
Because Smash and other N64 roms are 3D video games, they demand a fair bit of computing power. You may be thinking that N64 games shouldn't require much, since they are so old. Well, obviously N64 roms aren't as demanding as new PC games, but playing them takes a bit of memory and processing power. Make sure you have a least a seperate graphic card when you try to use emulators. Before I built my current PC, I played on a Compaq, with a 2.5Ghz Celeron processor. 2.5Ghz isn't bad, but the the game lagged every so often, probably due to the weak integrated video solution. With my new Athlon XP and FX5600 graphic card, playing Smash on the PC rarely lags. Yon don't need a super powerful gaming monster rig to use emulators, but make sure you have decent hardware, or even "old" games like Smash will lag.
You may be wondering that why I downloaded the rom for Super Smash Bros. even though I have the N64 system and the actual game cartridge. Wouldn't it be better to play on the actual system. My answer is yes, it is better to play on TV than on the PC. Even though current emulators do a pretty good job, they still can't replace the real N64 experience. It's just not possible to get the same amount of control with a real N64 controller when you are using a keyboard. PC gamepads don't really help the situation, since they usually have the wrong layout and sensitivity. And if you want true multiplayer mayhem with your friends, a real system is the only way to go. So why do I play Smash on the PC? Because it is convienient, that's why. My family only has one television, but I have my own PC, so having Smash on my comp means I can play almost any time I want. It's not as fun to play Smash alone, but I play just for fun and to kill some time. That's probably what most people use emulators for, to have some harmless fun.
Finally, we get to the most important question of all: Where can I download a working image of Super Smash Bros.? Well... I can't really tell you, since downloading roms isn't really legal and all, and I don't want to get sued or get banned from my webhost. To tell you the truth, I don't really remember where I got the rom from anyways. Even though I can't tell you where exactly the rom images are, I can tell you that with a determined effort, you can find almost anything on the internet. Before you go digging around though, make sure that your system is equipped with up-to-date antivirus, firewall, and anti-spyware programs, because the places where not quite legal software are found can be full of malicious programs. So as I have said before, download at your own risk. I do not endorse downloading roms, but they are out there for persistent people to find. Hopefully this article was of some help to you. Good hunting, and godspeed. Heh heh.