A few years back I discovered emulation on Android, and was hooked. I thought it was amazing I could play games from my childhood on modern hardware and have dozens or hundreds of them without needing to swap cartridges or worry about filling up my hard drive. Most of the games I was emulating were no newer than GameBoy Advance games, so file sizes are pretty small.I lost interest for a little because I found playing these old games on a touch screen just wasn't quite the same experience. Maybe a year or so ago I picked up a GameSir X2 and I found this definitely improved the experience, but now with more modern hardware I've been emulating more modern consoles, up to Nintendo Switch1, which has considerably larger file sizes, so I've found myself looking for other solutions.
On a recent episode of Linux Matters, the hosts discussed using RetroDECK on the Steam Deck in order to emulate retro consoles. I tried it and I'm completely hooked! My appreciation for retro games has increased immensely since I can now play all sorts of games from even before my childhood up to the Switch. In addition to emulating retro consoles, I stumbled upon PICO-8, a so-called fantasy console2. This has peaked my interest even more since the games are mostly free, and you can view the source code for all of them! Learning game development is something I've always wanted to do, so I may have found my foot in the door. Stay tuned for more on this later!
I strongly discourage piracy, especially of modern consoles that are currently for sale. Yuzu have an excellent guide on their website on how to extract your own games for enjoyment on other systems. I personally do this to play on my Steam Deck because I mostly play in handheld mode, and the Steam Deck is simply more comfortable to hold and has a larger screen than my Switch. ↩