(Note to mods/admins: I've made sure that everything in this post is on the level. I hope this post doesn't run foul of the "No ROM links" rule, although I really can't see why it would. :P )
I like emulating old games, but I like to do so ethically - that is, emulating games I already own, homebrewed titles, or games that have been made legally downloadable by those originally responsible for them. The last one is often a lot of fun, because it grants access to many games that I missed out on, and I think that's an experience worth sharing. I stress that this thread is not really meant to be about discussing views on emulation itself (after all, it's been more-than-amply covered before :P ), but for gathering *legal* (and by legal, I mean explicitly made legally available by those responsible for it) emulation resources that will be suitable for use on the Pandora, for interested parties to make use of.
I figured that it might be worth posting this, even if only to make a change from some of the recent topics - I also wonder if it may possibly be of use for demonstrating emulation on the Pandora without running afoul of the law, too. :P
Anyway, first off is, of course, PDRoms, which many who are into emulation will most likely know well, but some folks newer to emulation might not. PDRoms offers homebrewed software for over 50 platforms, a number of which will be/are already emulatable on the Pandora.
Back to the Roots offers a large selection of Commodore Amiga* ADF games and HD games, from various companies who have licensed BttR to redistribute them. There are some great titles available here, such as Fire & Ice, and Chuck Rock, amongst many others.
*(Note that purchasing Amiga Forever is a prerequisite to emulating any Commodore Amiga software, as it contains legitimate Kickstart ROM images, and the like, which tend to be required for Amiga emulation.)
The fan-site Dream17 has been granted permission to distribute Team17's old Amiga titles in ADF and Software Preservation Society IPF formats, along with CD32 versions of a handful of games. Games such as Worms: The Director's Cut, Superfrog, and Alien Breed are to be found here, along with many more.
Factor 5 provide downloads of three of their old Amiga games - BC Kid, Katakis, and R-Type. They note the following: "Katakis, R-Type and BC KID are not provided for the public domain. You are entitled to download and use these games only for non-commercial purposes. All copyrights are retained by their owners. Any distribution of this data through any medium unless specifically permitted by the copyright owners is not allowed.".
Borrowed Time, which at the time of writing is currently offline but still accessible via this archive, offers a few Amiga titles including Oscar, and Shadow Worlds. Some of the titles (such as Cool Croc Twins) are unfortunately missing from the archived version of the page.
Cinemaware provide a big selection of their Amiga software for download, along with some extras such as desktop themes to go with them. Games available include the likes of It Came From the Desert, Defender of the Crown, and Wings, amongst others. Note that you'll need to register a username and password in order to download the files found here.
Gremlin Graphics World provides titles from, unsurprisingly, Gremlin Graphics, across several systems. The Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16, and Commodore Amiga are all represented. The Atari ST has a section set aside for it, but there are currently no games available there.
Infinite Frontiers provides a number of files for the C64, C16, Amiga, Atari ST, the 8-bit Atari computers, the BBC-B, ZX Spectrum, VIC-20, and some others. The collection includes titles from various sources, including Llamasoft, Scott Adams, and Anco, amongst others.
Lemon64 has been granted permission to provide a number of games to download - just take note of the names, and look for them via the site's game-search utility.
The Nintendo Entertainment System fan-site NES World has a page about homebrew software available for the NES. According to the homepage, this section now lists over 200 homebrew titles - however, it is worth noting that there are a few which are not available for download, for various reasons.
Last of all, at least for now, D-Pad Hero is a Guitar Hero-esque homebrew game for the NES. I'm told that you need good dexterity to succeed. :P
That's all I have for now - if anyone else has any further legal emulation resources to add, feel free to share, and I'll edit them into this post when time permits. :P
(Credit goes to the author of this article for the Amiga-related links.)
EDIT: Thanks to everyone for providing additional links! I'll quote you guys, here, so over to you;
I would like to add "Good Old Games" for some classic DOS games. They are not free (6 or 10$ depending on the game), but the great thing about GOG is that they have NO DRM and that you can download your games as often as you like. Also, you get lots of bonuses like scanned manuals, soundtracks, artwork, etc.
Support them, so they can expand their catalog and help preserve gaming culture (and promote digital distribution without DRM) :D
Great job there!
Currently, the site is having some problems, but http://www.c64.org/ hosts pretty much every single C64 game/program/demo out there. They have contacted numerous people to get distribution rights for the software. Also, just google c64.org to see all of their subdomains (they are archiving manuals from all the programs, C64 music, etc... Quite the nice network of stuff.
Best add http://www.worldofspectrum.org/ - the largest repository of legal speccy downloads, including all the old magazines other associated stuff. Actually, sod the games, that site is worth it for the archives of Crash!, YS and Your Spectrum magazine scans :)
the id super pack is available on steam for £37, and includes full game files for every id game pre-Quake4! perfect for the interpreters.
I also have a couple more of my own to add;
iD Software sell a few of their vintage titles as downloadables. These include Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons and Goodbye Galaxy, sold as a set for $10, along with Heretic, and Hexen, for $15 each. Whilst the latter two perhaps may not run well, the Commander Keen set certainly will!
Epic Classics sells games from the old Epic MegaGames back-catalogue. Titles include Jazz Jackrabbit CD, Jill of the Jungle, and Epic Pinball. The full list can be found here.
The full version of One Must Fall: 2097 has been made freely available by its developer - the game is linked to toward the bottom of the page.
Additionally, Liberated Games may also carry some emulatable titles. However, since the required operating system is not listed for every title made available here, it can be a bit hard to tell unless you're already familiar with the games in question. Regardless, it's a site well worth checking out.
EDIT: Yet more great links. :D
Shameless plug: A few years ago I gathered a lot of links to "liberated" classics over at Neowin. My original post was lost in a careless edit, but there's lots of other links in the thread as well, but I don't have the time to maintain it anymore. It covers both computer and console games, btw. So if you're looking for inspiration on what to port or request a source release of, klicky here and find something you like...
Also, Wikipedia has a couple of good lists of open source video and computer games, including previously commercial games that have been re-released as open source, as well as a list of previously commercial video/computer games re-released as freeware.
EDIT: Got another one - the full version of SkyRoads is available directly from its developer. It runs at full-speed with DOSBox's cycles set to around 1500 cycles or higher, so it should run nicely on the Pandora.
EDIT: A contribution from Guy Montag follows - thanks Guy!
3D Realm released some of their old DOS games as freeware:
ANOTHER EDIT: Whoops, I forgot to add Matthias_H's link - sorry Matthias! It's here now.
Here's another massive *legal* emulation resource :-)
EDIT (July 4th 2009): The post is now (hopefully) fixed. :P
EDIT (July 7th): Some arcade games are now joining the list. The folks at the MAME project have permission to redistribute the following; Circus, Robot Bowl, Car Polo, Side Trak, Rip Cord, Fire One, Crash, Star Fire, Targ, Spectar, and Teeter Torture (all from Exidy), Alien Arena (from Duncan Brown), Gridlee (from Videa, Inc.), and Robby Roto (from Bally/Midway). They can be found here.
EDIT (August 11th): It seems that Gaelco has World Rally available for download, for use with MAME.
EDIT (November 8th): Protovision provides their excellent 1997 Commodore 64 platform game It's Magic as a free download. Also, Binary Zone Interactive hosts their old C64 PD disks for free, too - these range from scene demos, to music disks, to disks full of games (there are three game disks available at present).
EDIT (November 15th): A large archive of information, classic books, and software for the Atari 8-bit computer family is available at AtariArchives.org. Of particular note are the 8-bit Software Library and Atari Program Exchange sections. As ever, this site has permission to redistribute this content from the copyright holders of the items available there.
EDIT (May 27th 2010): Two MS-DOS games from 1993, when Street Fighter II's popularity was at its height, are legally available as freeware. They are Sango Fighter, which is based in ancient China, and Super Fighter, which focusses on a more contemporary battle to take down an evil drug baron.
EDIT (June 12th 2010): Kindly provided by Trooper in another thread;
Sadly it is quite difficult to find single sources for Amiga PD/Freeware and
legal games, As they were mostly distributed via magazine coverdisks or hosted
on the authors/publishers website.
There are probably more, But i have found two sites that host a large (But by no
means complete) database of PD/Freeware games, With a fair few legal commercial games
(Offered with prior permission from the copyright holders) available for download.
There are other legal places to download commercial Amiga games, Most usually
the authors/publishers website, As mentioned above.
One such site is http://thalion.exotica.org.uk/. Though i'm sure others
will post links to other LEGAL sites too.
Hope this helps.
EDIT (June 15th 2010): Kindly provided by torpor in a different thread;
For the Oric-1/Atmos system, legal ROMS can be found on http://oric.org/ and there is a discussion tracking the nature of the Oric ROM scene on http://defence-force.org, which is also where Oric-1/Atmos devs are collating to discuss their current software efforts. There are a few interesting new projects for the Oric-1 in the works, and the last few years have seen quite a few active (and genius) releases from some talented Oric fans ..
EDIT (August 18th 2010): I found this one earlier: Halo 2600 - a freely-downloadable Atari 2600 homebrew rendition of the Halo franchise.
EDIT (August 28th 2010): From Wraggster;
hmm dont forget the DCEmu Homebrew and Emulation Network - http://www.dcemu.co.uk
EDIT (November 16th 2010): On the other forum, Blue Protoman mentioned a website which offers a selection of formerly-commercial games for MS-DOS, http://www.plbm.com/ . To get the games, click to view the list of MS-DOS titles, and then click on the "ORDER HERE!" link - this will inform you that the titles have been discontinued and made freely available, and provide you with the links to download the full versions.
EDIT (February 19th 2011): Mike Wyatt, the current maintainer of BeebEm, offers on the BeebEm site's software page a 1986 BBC Micro game he wrote (but never released), called OddJob.
EDIT (February 19th 2011): From Asmo Z;
I don't know if this is the right place or if it's any use for others, but from my Amiga days I remember
http://www.nic.funet.fi/pub/amiga/ as my source for PD games and other stuff.
EDIT (February 26th 2011): The Dream17 links have been fixed, thanks to kilowatt.
EDIT (March 20th 2011): In the thread "The greatest 8 minutes of SID music ever", BaDToaD not only gives an awesome history lesson on the C64 game Warhawk, but also has this to say;
Anyway, anyone that wants to play Warhawk or the harder to find Proteus has my permission (just thought I'd put that for Prometheus' benefit ;))
I hope you enjoy that little snippet of Warhawk "History" ;)
EDIT: I've found Proteus and the Warhawk final beta (for some reason called Warhawk II by whoever found/leaked it hehe, it too had motherships) so they are available online.
All three versions play great on the Pandora and look lovely on the small screen :D
Permission granted :) I know that Mike (Flash) Ware, the main coder of Warhawk will be happy for you to add it.
EDIT (June 3rd 2011): I've just been informed that Electronic Arts has made Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar available for free, legal download here. I think this is quite a big addition. Enjoy, folks.
EDIT (July 16th 2011): I stumbled across a now-legally-freely-available paint program for MS-DOS whilst browsing elsewhere. It's PC Paint 3.1, and it's available from here, both in original form and a patched version which works with DOSBox, with the full clearance of the original author.
Edited by Prometheus, 16 July 2011 - 10:48 PM.