One of the most frustrating aspects of selecting which game console to purchase is that you know it will be obsolete in just a few years. The gaming companies stop producing new games for the older systems as they bring in new consoles. If you want to stay on top of all the new games, you will have to purchase a new system as they are produced. Some gamers have employed the use of an emulator to duplicate the game play of older systems and games.

We ll explain the emulation process as clearly as possible because it can be confusing   and sometimes illegal. An Emulator is a program that is able to mimic another system. It was created to fight obsolescence of digital devices because it recreates the original gaming environment of the device it emulates.

Some programmers have used these devices to recreate some of the more popular gaming consoles such as Atari, older Nintendo models and Sega. These programs are not illegal by themselves. However, when you download the read only memory (ROM) files of old games that used to be in cartridges, you will run into legal issues.

There is a lot of misinformation about ROMs online. Many sites will tell you that the copyright laws allow for you to have one extra copy of each game you own, thus allowing you to download a ROM and play it on your computer. This is simply not true. There is a lot of gray area in this section of the law, and the ROMs available for download are illegally obtained. The extra-copy rule applies only in the event that the first copy is somehow damaged and does not apply to emulation.

Both Nintendo and Sony have pursued cases in the past and encouraged more intense laws to stop the use of these programs. And while the FBI may not confiscate your computer for simply downloading a ROM, it is still a possibility that you will face charges.

There are a variety of ways to legally purchase and play classic video games. The Nintendo Wii will allow you to download older games from their online store. But you do have to pay for many of these games. There are also bundles of classic games sold by most game distributors that are usually very reasonably priced. To avoid possible legal action, we strongly suggestion you avoid illegally downloaded copyrighted material such as ROMs.

There are still some court cases with emulation when it comes to the gaming companies that are out of business. These games are called orphans, and although some existing companies are attempting to purchase them, the battle is still making its way through the court system. But it is still illegal to download the ROMs for the orphans.

Before downloading an Emulator and illegally obtained ROMs, you should know that it is illegal and you could be prosecuted. There are many different devices available that will download the ROMs, but we suggest you find your favorite legally obtained handheld game console like the PSP go, PSP 3000 or the Nintendo DSi.

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