Actually, maybe it's just that I like to comfort myself with the thought of all my former schoolmates going to Hell when they die - if they haven't already...
I'm not going to lie; of course I've played emulated games, but only when there was no alternative. There have been so many lost, obscure, games that I never thought I'd get to play in any sort of official capacity, it felt like I wasn't doing any harm. You know: like eating some chips out of a bin.
But now... step forwards Antstream.
Streaming is the future of gaming, but Antstream also believes it's the past; this new service, which went live to backers yesterday, is a retro gaming streaming service, featuring hundreds of officially-licensed old games - some more esoteric than others.
Antstream lets you play its games on pretty much anything with a screen, using your choice of controllers. You can even challenge friends and compete against the global Antstream leaderboard, and are awarded gems for completing certain milestones.
Currently, the bulk of what's on offer are assorted Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga games, along with a good selection of arcade titles, and a slightly odd handful of Mega Drive games. Don't expect to find any Sega or Nintendo classics in there (yet, anyway); as everything on Antstream is officially licensed, some licensees aren't yet ready to share their back catalogue.
And, frankly, I can't imagine a time when Nintendo ever will, when it's still pumping out mini classic consoles, and re-selling ancient games through its eShop.
So, while you get Skool Daze, Dizzy and Jack The Nipper, you don't get anything from, say, Ultimate Play The Game or Melbourne House. There's Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja and Shadow Fighter... but no Final Fight or Mortal Kombat.
Nevertheless, I did appreciate is how obscure some of these games are. I never knew there were games called Swettibitz in Space and Drunk Policeman... but, well, they exist - and Antstream gives you the opportunity to play them. I mean, they're terrible, obviously, but at least they're there.
Antstream has been asking backers what other formats we'd like to see represented on its platform, and it's fair to say I'd like to see all of them - home computers and consoles alike, both big and small. Part of the appeal of the service is sifting through the obscurities.
Unfortunately, while much of what Amstream offers is extremely promising, there's one massive issue with it. And that issue is this issue: Antstream doesn't let you save games.
Frankly, and it pains me to say this - because so much of what Antstream is aiming for it gets spot-on - but it's kind of a fundamental issue. Admittedly, many of the games featured here couldn't be saved back in the day, but we live in different times.
We're not the kids we once were, who could give up an entire Saturday to complete Xenon 2; we need to be able to dip in and out. Making this omission even more baffling is that there are some games - such as a couple of editions of Premier Manager - which did support saving back in the day. Premier Manager is not a game you dip in and out of.
I contacted Antstream last night to confirm that you couldn't save, and they responded by saying that a lot of people have asked for this option (no shit), so they might look at adding it in the future. I honestly don't know how Antstream has made it this far without anybody on their team suggesting that a save facility might be a good idea. It's like releasing a car without any brakes.
Also problematic is its interface; there seems to be no way to search by format or genre. Again, a weird omission, and even weirder when the layout of the menu seems to change every time I log into it. Sometimes I'll be presented with a list of C64 games... other times they'll be missing, and I'll be offered Amiga games instead.
There's sometimes a curated list of shoot 'em ups... other times that won't be there and there'll be a list of beat 'em ups instead. It's bizarre, and these are not small problems; they're kind of fundamental for a service like this, which is essentially taking on ROM sites and emulation.
Even the most basic of those sites will let you find games on the format you want, and all emulators will let you save your games. This has to be fixed now if Antstream stands a chance of succeeding.
Likewise, you don't need to ask me EVERY SINGLE TIME I log in whether I want to sign up for exclusive offers and marketing emails!!!!!!
As massive as its issues are, there's much about Antstream which is very promising.
The games load almost instantaneously, the interface - at least in terms of giving you instructions etc. - is clearly laid out, and there's a social and competitive element, which allows you to issue challenges to other users. These are usually timed mini versions of full games, which require you to, say, stay alive for as long as possible.
All of that works great, it's all nice and friendly, and if Antstream can broaden its selection of games, it really stands a chance. I like that the focus is currently rather UK-centric, but I can see it needing to expand beyond our borders, and introduce more games with international appeal.
It also needs more heavy-hitters, more marquee titles - big arcade games, or a Sonic The Hedgehog-level gaming icon - to really bring in the crowds.
Antstream is positioning itself as the Netflix of retro gaming, but in among all the dross on Netflix there are also big blockbuster movies and original content, which get bums on seats. I'd love the service to one day maybe introduce original indie "retro" games alongside all the old stuff.
So, it's a mixed bag currently, but as a foundation - and especially if Antstream can continue to add new content on a regular basis, fix its layout/search, and get that save feature in there - it's a strong foundation.
There are going to be those who scoff, and ask why you'd need this when it's so easy to emulate games for free, but Antstream removes a lot of the faff, wraps it up in a pretty bow, and... most importantly, for many of us... it's legit. I'm glad I backed it, and hope it succeeds.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANTSTREAM.