Protect your Game Discs From your Kids

By: Peter Losh

When did you last spend a weekend taping music for a special occasion?

Chances are you haven't done this since the turn of the century, because you've been using MP3s.

With their play lists, search functions, and high-quality portable music, MP3 players are the superior technology. Few of us wax nostalgic for the days of muffled audio tapes, which offered limited play time, took up space, and wore out quickly.

For mobile music lovers, the times have never been better. But video gamers and parents of small children, still dealing with the physical media of application CDs and DVDs, may struggle to manage the ever-expanding disc collections they share with other people.

More often than not, shared discs are treated badly. Left out their cases and exposed to kids and pets, game and application CDs are soon turned into expensive coasters, damaged beyond all other usefulness. Traveling with disc collections can create all kinds of logistical nightmares -- for instance, volume 4 of an educational set may simply disappear when the family goes on vacation.

MP3-LIKE CONVENIENCE FOR DISC-BASED APPLICATIONS

A CD/DVD emulator brings MP3-like ease use and portability to video games, CD-ROM clip art collections, educational software, and other disc-based applications. It's the perfect solution for anyone sharing application CDs with members of the family or taking discs from place to place.

A CD emulator converts an application disc into a "virtual CD," or a file that you store on a laptop computer or a USB device and play just like a physical CD. There's no need to load the physical disc -- simply click on desktop icon to launch a favorite application. If you're so inclined, you can have several virtual CDs running simultaneously.

Although it emulates, or "acts like" a physical CD, a virtual CD operates directly on the hard drive, improving playback times by up to 200% and eliminating wear and tear on the CD-ROM drive. It can be shared over a network, customized to contain multi-disc sets and expansion packs, and organized with other virtual CDs in a searchable library.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CD EMULATOR

Most commercial CD emulators cost between $30 and $60 -- a bargain compared to many game titles, and a sound investment if you're able to spare just a few of your application discs from abuse. But while nearly all CD emulators have certain basic features in common, not all offer the same usability and disc support.

If you're interested in purchasing an emulator, you might want to download some evaluation software first to determine which product works best with the discs in you collection, and decide which brand gives you the best value for your money.

CD EMULATOR INFORMATION


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