The Importance of Emulation in the Age of a Pandemic

Not a fan of the recent Mortal Kombat 11 expansion? Find yourself reminiscing on some of the better days of Capcom? Emulation is readily available for you, and fighting games are readily available in multiple forms to play in training, arcade, and online against live foes. With most of the world still under some measure of quarantine, emulation has proved an important key to continue engaging in fighting games.

One of the key features of modern emulation is the ability to play games with people online- a feature not often seen or implemented properly during the earlier days of internet for gaming consoles. For the purpose of this post, I want to focus on Capcom Vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium. This particular title has multiple versions that are available to play, spanning multiple versions across emulators such as MAME, Dolphin, PCSX2, and NullDC. Each emulator has its advantages and disadvantages, but regardless, having the ability to easily reach and play this title is important amongst all of them.

Given how many people lack access to a secure income right now, it’s the perfect time to pick up a classic like CvS2 and play. It’s not like Capcom is focused much on releasing quality FG product at the moment, and its current netcode problems with Street Fighter V seem to have reared their ugly heads once more. Or, you can catch people up with a classic that perhaps they simply never spent time learning properly before, especially now that resources have improved drastically since 2001. After all, despite there being 6 seprate grooves in CvS2, it’s never been easier to research what each does, what their strengths are in comparison to the others, and even which characters work best with each groove. Communities have had plenty of time to grow and foster their information flow, and new things still get discovered in games of all ages as more people roll in.

This blog post isn’t something extravagant or making robust points about anything in particular. Emulation has been around for years, but with a second modern age economic recession and a global pandemic that has ravaged most of the western world, it still sits still when it could be growing more interest in the history of fighting games as the community has expanded. After all, I only played the Gamecube version a handful of times when CvS2 first came out for it, and I have simply never had the time or method of play it since. But now that modern fighting games continue to frustrate me with mediocre netcode in the best of times, and me lacking a PC powerful enough to play games like Killer Instinct fluidly, emulation becomes my main method of playing titles that interest me and with people across the country. Games like CvS2 have been here for so long and developed into a robust scene, and its a game both newcomers can pick up and play and expand upon core principles that are still relevant in today’s fighting games.

I focus on CvS2 because it’s what I’ve been playing, and my time spent playing it has never felt like a waste. Honestly, I think it’s important that more people explore the roots of fighting games as we continue to grow as a community, and while Tekken 7 is a great game of the modern age, it’s still not CvS2. The style is completely different (as it should be), and it doesn’t have the “classic” feel, because it’s a fighting game that isn’t even 5 years old yet. One day, T7 will likely become a fighting game of that sort- but it is not that just yet, and it’s much easier and accessible to pick up and play CvS2 if you lack the hardware, or even if you just want something different than what’s currently available. I think it’s important that we explore important titles like 3S, CvS2, MvC1, and others- even if we don’t all become serious competitors in them. It allows us a chance to grow, perhaps in ways we didn’t originally intend or design.

And I want more people to play with.

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