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Common Definitions


What is an emulator?

An emulator is a program which mimics other systems, such as game consoles. Emulators try to translate or interpret the original program code of the original game and try to make it work on your PC. Games for emulators of cartridge based game consoles are usually stored in ROM files. Games for emulators of CD based game consoles like the Playstation however use the original game CD.

What is a ROM file?

Most classic games are stored on game cartridges. For example the Atari 2600, Nintendo NES and Sega Genesis (among many others) use game cartridges. The games are stored on those cartridges using ROM chips (Read Only Memory). Some people have created special devices which can read the data from those ROM chips and which can save that data on a PC in a ROM file. In other words, a ROM file contains all data from a game cartridge.

What is a ISO's or CD/DVD Images?

Systems which don't use game cartridges, such as the Playstation, don't have ROM files. In the case of systems such as the Sony Playstation you can create a copy of the CD/DVD in your computer's hard disk. Those files are commonly called CD/DVD Images or ISO's.

ISO's can be loaded(or mounted) using programs such as Daemon Tools without having to write(or "burn") them to a real CD/DVD.

What is a BIOS file?

A BIOS(Basic Input Output System) file is a copy of the operating system of the system you are trying to emulate. Some emulators require the bios files of the original systems to be present to be able to run the games.

What are plugins?

Plugins are small files(.dll mostly) that offer an emulator certain functionability or handle a part of the emulation process. One more use for plugins is that emulator authors can update a plugin faster than an entire emulator. Some plugins can be optimized to work on certain hardware(example: graphics plugins).

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