Mednafen

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Review

Roots of Video Games

I can tell for sure that you love to play video games, ain't that right? How do I know that? Come on, who doesn't love it nowadays. We are on the pinnacle of constant video game's evolution. We are in position to play any kind of game, from a lot of different platforms at any given time, and we are not just talking about games now, we are talking about THE games. I mean, the effort, budget, scrips, marketing, music and production that lies behind today's games are just out of this planet, it is a brand new universe of emotions and experiences.    

Mednafen screenshot

However, you should never forget where you came from, nor where all of this world of magic is also coming from. The roots are vital and understanding those is understanding everything. So, let's not forget about the beginning of things and let's enjoy the past. In order to do that all that you really need is one thing: Mednafen.

“My Emulator Doesn't Need A Frickin' Excellent Name”

Way in the past you needed the actual physical system in order to play good-old-times-games, and if you wanted to play a lot of systems at one sit you actually needed a lot of home video game consoles. Not so far in the past, you had emulators. And of course, emulation is awesome. Right? It makes it possible for old code to run on new machines, meaning your favorite old games are still alive and accessible. But again, if you wanted to play a lot of different games, you ended up in the need of working with a lot of different emulators, implying different interfaces and changes in commands and visuals, among other annoying things, as different old systems need different new emulators with no all-in-one solution to this problem at sight.

But evolution works in more than one way, forwards and backwards, and at some point in time everything gets together. That is how now you have Mednafen in order to satisfy your need of getting back to the good old days and playing the classics from the past. Literally an acronym for "My Emulator Doesn't Need A Frickin' Excellent Name", the tool is an OpenGL and SDL portable multi-system free software wrapper that bundles various original and third-party emulation cores into a single package.

The new old

Formerly known as Nintencer and driven by command-line input, the tool has the ability to remap hotkey functions and virtual system inputs to a keyboard, a joystick, or both simultaneously. You will also find it great to know that save states, among more features, is supported, besides the usual screen snapshots with just pressing a button. It can also record audiovisual videos in the QuickTime file format.

Supporting a LOT of different retro video game systems, including the most popular ones, this cross-platform emulator is no joke and it will be your new way to revive the old. About configurations, it might be a bit tricky at first, but Windows users will find their configuration file in Mednafen’s directory, expressing anything you might want to change about the program. Here is a list of the systems that are supported:

  • Apple II/II+
  • Atari Lynx
  • Neo Geo Pocket (Color)
  • WonderSwan
  • GameBoy (Color)
  • GameBoy Advance
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom
  • Virtual Boy
  • PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 (CD)
  • SuperGrafx
  • PC-FX
  • Sega Game Gear
  • Sega Genesis/Megadrive
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Saturn (experimental, x86_64 only)
  • Sony PlayStation

Did you say rewinding?

You should know by now that Mednafen brings some of the most efficient bits and bobs of other emulators under a single roof. However, the most amazing feature here is almost certainly the ability to rewind any game you are playing at the touch of a button. Yeah, you read it just fine, you will be in total control while playing, as the tool stores the last several intervals of the emulated console's RAM exactly as though it were creating a save state every half-second for you to be the God of time in there.

Love for the classics

You will love this program because it is quite simple and it still works really well. You will not get tired of the versatility nor the adaptability of the tool, as you go from Nintendo to PlayStation in just one second. So, if you are into old games but hate collecting emulators, you have just found what you wanted, as this is a program you MUST to check out.

by Augusto Baldi

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