The Null Device

FPGA Arcade

First there was the C-One, the Commodore 64 of the future, and now some hackers are using FPGA chips (i.e., dynamically reconfigurable hardware) to reimplement old arcade game boards, all on a chip; just supply the ROMs. The FPGA designs apparently even have extra "code" to convert the arcade-video-monitor signals to VGA, for those who don't have one of those big glass bottles sitting around. (via Slashdot)

(This is cool, not just because of the hipness of the the retro-video-game thing; the fact that you can make a small FPGA chip emulate any digital circuit, from a Pac-Man board to a Commodore 64 with an IDE interface bolted onto it, all by downloading the right information into it, is very cool. Now you have hackers creating open-source "hardware" components for FPGAs; i.e., code which, when integrated into a project, makes a complete 6502 core or USB interface or whatever, and others bolting them together to make all sorts of highly miniaturised gadgets. Unfortunately, FPGAs seem to only work for digital circuits, so something like a purely analogue open-source TB-303 core (suitable for embedding into mobile phones, childrens' toys and other gizmos) would not be possible.)

There are 2 comments on "FPGA Arcade":

Posted by: okiba75 http://okiba75.net Mon Feb 24 03:56:37 2003

This sort of hardware would be infinitely better than any Gameboy variant that I can think of. Imagine a handheld device with the entire complement of MAME v0.6x ROMS onboard?

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Mon Feb 24 04:16:58 2003

Yes. Though would a FPGA with arcade boards on it be more practical than a fast CPU with an emulation program? Would it give better battery life?

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