Boss Rush Banter: Is it Okay to Emulate Games?

On Friday of last week, Nintendo released the next, long-awaited game in the Metroid series with Metroid Dread. Judging by reviews, Twitter buzz and early sales data, it seems that the game is a huge hit and a nice return to form for the long-running series. Over the weekend, a major online publication released an article saying that Metroid Dread runs great on Switch emulators, and suggesting–encouraging–people to illegally download the brand new game. If you’ve been online this weekend and you are into video games at all, you’ve probably seen discourse about this topic. People have come out on both sides of the argument, providing compelling points for each side. With that being said, what do you think? Is it ok to emulate video games?

On the pro-emulation side, the conversation centers around preservation of games. There are tons of games and systems out there that just aren’t being supported by the developers/publishers, and so proponents of this side say that it is ok to emulate hard-to-play games in an effort to keep those games alive.

On the anti-emulation side, people maintain that the games are the intellectual property of the people who created them. We are not owed anything at all, this side claims, and downloading illegal copies of the game is a form of stealing.

Personally, I fall somewhere between the two camps. I see that hard-to-play games are compelling to emulate, but at the same time, I understand that it is the intellectual property of the developer and they don’t owe us anything. If they decide to stop supporting a game I love, that is their decision. It is a business, after all.

However, one thing I think we can be absolutely clear on, is that Metroid Dread came out less than a week ago. It is readily available anywhere you could possibly want to buy the game. Emulating that game, in my opinion, is lazy and is absolutely stealing and is something that shouldn’t be done. Especially considering that this series is always on the verge of not being supported by Nintendo, and sales data is so critical to keep the series alive.

What do you think? Are you pro-emulation, anti-emulation, or do you live somewhere between the two? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on Boss Rush Discord.

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