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How can you tell if an old release that is ported to newer consoles emulated?


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Now I'm asking this because I remember the release of Mario 3D Collection is all emulated. Kirby's Dream Collection is probably emulated, however I could be wrong. The Jak series on PS4 is totally emulated. Now I just saw a listing of the Asian physical version of Final Fantasy XI on Switch, however, I was pretty skeptical whether or not that the game is fully emulated or not. I would like to know, thank you.

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If it’s a new release, listen for people whining about it being emulated or whining about it not being emulated

Reddit will usually give you an answer pretty quickly upon release of a game and often even before release based on trailers. In the end, if the gameplay experience is enjoyable, does it matter?

If you can't tell it's emulated, it probably doesn't matter. 🙂
I don't think emulation itself is an issue, and often it might be preferable in terms of wanting a game to play exactly like it always had. But emulation can come with other issues, such as being bad at handling aspect ratios and scaling graphics, shimmering, crappy filters, etc. And of course the dreaded input lag. But all of those are also potential issues for non-emulated ports.

 

7 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

Reddit will usually give you an answer pretty quickly upon release of a game and often even before release based on trailers. In the end, if the gameplay experience is enjoyable, does it matter?

In my experience, Reddit tends to be the worst place to get concise information about those kinds of things 😛 There's usually a lot of people just going by intuition, or loud posters that don't actually know anything on the subject. The classic old "well I don't see any input lag, so there isn't any".
Then I guess, I'm sure that also depends on the individual reddit community.

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From what I learned after the release, Nintendo created custom emulators so that when certain assets were loaded, they could swap them out for better quality versions.  They at least did that for Mario 64.  If they had enough time, I bet they could have done it for more than just textures and had been able to swap out higher poly-count models and maybe even small snippets of code for bug patching.

And that begs the question, when a game+emulator is bundled together with special instructions and modifications like that, when is it no longer "just emulation".  I mean, I get that it starts with the base ROM, but when it comes to functional code execution, you start with a base file and then swap out what you need to improve the situation.

This makes Super Mario 3D All-Stars more of a hybrid game, because custom code was created to improve the experience.  Not to much was customized but, again, with enough time and money they may make significant QOL changes and, potentially, even inject additional functionality.  Who knows what might be practically feasible.

As others have said, the real question is what makes a great gaming experience.  Chances are, if you are buying a game like these, a remastered version of an old game or even a complete remake like Link's Awakening, you are picking those games up because you want to re-live the OG experience, but you're also looking forward to a slightly modernized experience.  Regardless of if it's emulation or a new compile of the old code, if it's well made and fun, the makers have accomplished their goal and it might be worth simply not caring about.

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