Yes, this is the thread for the rather fantastic practise of emulation.
Basically, emulation is having a system within a system. Nearly every system, whether it's a console or a computer, can be emulated. Personally I haven't actually bought a video game in over a year, because I simply emulate all my shit when I feel the urge to play something. Near enough any modern computer can emulate up to at least N64, and a high-end computer can emulate pretty much anything. There's even an emulator for Wii.
But why? Well, actually (said in a snobby hipster-esque tone), there are several reasons. In the case of consoles, emulation can be an improvement on the original experience. For example, when done on a high-end graphics card, Gamecube games can have more detail, clarity, and overall clearer graphics through an emulator than actually playing the console. You'll see details that are in the original game, but the console didn't quite have the processing power to display. And, for consoles such as PS1 and N64 which have 3D graphics but are choppy, most emulators have features that smooth the graphics and improve the colour clarity to give the appearance of a current generation game.
It's much more practical to emulate than to actually buy a system for several reasons. The physical presence of the system, although more genuine, also fills up a fuckton of space. Whereas any hard drive can comfortably contain several systems and their best games. A NES game is about 200kb, a GBA game is about 4 MB at most and a N64 game is about 40MB at most, with games like Mario 64 taking up little more than 8 MB.
And you can emulate rare or expensive systems. A Sinclair ZX Spectrum will set you back around £150 and a few weeks for shipping, whereas an emulator will take the best part of 10 seconds to install and is free. Or, if you're the masochistic sort, you could save yourself £400 on games like Caltron 6 in 1, Action 52, E.T. and Miss World Nude '96. But if someone was making me play these games, I'd pay them £400 to let me leave. And there's no clutter.
Jeez, the thought of having all these consoles and systems so readily available just gets my cock flapping. Where can I start?
I use http://doperoms.com/emulators/ to find my emulators. There's also MESS, which supports a fuck load of systems, but I can't get it set up for some reason, so I have no personal experience. However, single-system emulators are often better anyway, because they are dedicated to improving the experience of that particular system. With MESS, it seems as if they've just crammed every system you've never heard of into one package. DopeROMs also has a fine selection of ROMs. Just pick any game and download it. You can't really go wrong. If you don't like it, just delete it and pick another.
That's about it, I guess. Post any emulators you know of that are good, any good ROMs, anything.
EDIT: No one am post in my sexy thread? I exerted all my mental energy on its creation.