RTA Guide/Platform Differences
The primary differences between the platforms comes down to lag, loading and level of competition. For a more detailed listing of version differences, including regional differences, check out the Game Versions page. If you're a beginner, starting out on Emulator is recommended because it's the easiest to get into and requires least amount of investment. However, if you plan on taking the game more seriously, the majority of the top competition across all categories is on the original console, N64. Virtual Console is a less popular option, but is still available for play and submission to the leaderboards. The reasoning for the platform preferences within the SM64 community is complicated, but Drogie's video below does a good job explaining the thought process and history behind the way things are.
As an example of the impact of lag and loading has on each platform, Tabascoth put together a TAS 120 Star Run, and played it back on each. See the video below for the results.