Alright, guys. I've been telling everyone I would make this thread for some time, now, and I think I've decided that I might just post the tutorial here instead of on my profile. Let's dive right in, shall we?
First, there are some basic keywords you need to know.
Emulator- An emulator is a program made with the specific purpose as playing an N64 game. You will think of this as your N64 console.
ROM- Roms are the N64 games themselves you use the emulator to play. You will think of these as your N64 cartridges. Another name for a Rom is an emulation (what is being emulated by the emulator you are using).
Plugins- If an emulator is the N64 console, then the plugins are the wires you hook up to your N64. I'll explain more about this later.
Directories- A directory is the folder you keep either your Roms, emulators, or plugins at. Do you have a cabinet somewhere that you keep all of your spare games, controllers, old busted consoles, and wires? Yeah, pretty much the same thing.
"Why are these keywords so important?" you may ask. "I can just download the program and start playing, right?" Well, kind of. Most of it is pretty straight forward, but it would be easy to get caught up on the more intricate parts of installing and using Emulators if you don't have a clue as to what you're doing. So, let's deal with the more confusing bits first.
Plugins are a very important part in running emulators because without plugins, there is no guarantee that you will see or hears things working properly (or even at all). Plugins control audio, graphics, and controller input/output, and not all plugins work for the same games. For instance, you might use a plugin on, say, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that makes the game run as perfect as it would on a real N64. However, those plugins might cause a game like Goldeneye to have extremely odd graphics or snippy audio. You have to find the right plugins for the game you're trying to play.
The good news is that most every N64 emulator you can download already has plugins that are pre-installed so that you can play most any game without a problem. However, if you really want the absolute best experience you can possibly have to feed your nostalgia with, you're going to have to do a little bit of work (more on that later). But you don't have to worry, because that's where directories come in.
Thus, where I start my tutorial.
You will want to make a folder somewhere on your computer (your desktop, if you prefer) to hold everything you need. You should probably call it something indicative of the contents (simply naming it "N64" should do). Now, you can't just pile everything in there like a big mess though, now can you? Well, you can, but that would get confusing very quickly. So, open that nifty folder you just made and make a few more folders-one for Emulators, a second for Roms, a third for plugins, and a fourth to download the stuff into so you can move it around later. Great! You're already well on your way.
Now, when you download an emulator, it will probably install it's own folders for these things wherever you put it. So, installing that fourth folder can help. Just copy and paste anything you download into the correct folder.
Alright. Now that you have everything set up, it's time to get downloading. It is probably a good idea to set your computer and/or web browser to automatically download new content into the fourth folder you made in your N64 folder. You don't want to have a bunch of files scattered around your computer you have to go searching for, do you? No. So first, I'm going to give you a few links to try for downloading games (Roms).
My favorite (you might have to try some of the others because this site may not have every game you're looking for): http://www.freeroms.com/n64.htm
A couple for backup: http://www.romulation.net/roms/N64/
Alright, so you have all the games you want (even if you don't you can just download more). Make sure to have put them all into your Roms folder, because that's where you're going to set the directory for later.
Meanwhile, I am well overdue for a shower. I'll keep this thread going with a continuation of my tutorial later (don't worry...I wouldn't lead you all this way for nothing).
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