Thursday, April 5, 2018

Retro consoles

The modern retro gaming revival with retro-consoles and dedicated consoles started around 2001 with some Jakk's Pacific TV games. 2004 saw the Atari Flashback. The same year the C64 Direct-to-TV was released. A joystick modeled after the Competition Pro joystick with some 30+ games built-in, then the C-One. But it really kicked off in the 201X with for example the Nintendo Classic Mini from 2016, the C64 Mini from 2018 as well as the Atari VCS, formally known as Ataribox.

Don't get me wrong, I love retrogaming. But I would not go with any of these. Well may be the Jakk's Pacific, as it doesn't claim to be any computer. And the C-One at least had a 6502 clone as hardware. But in my opinion most are just software emulators with a modern CPU (usually ARM), running on Linux in a fancy box. And like in the case of the C64 Mini not even have a functioning keyboard. You can instead go with any emulator, like VICE, running it on your modern PC. That is free of charge.

It's okay for me though to recreate an original main board, add the vintage CPU (or a modern clone) and other support chips to a new retro console. Even add some logic to handle USB for an external keyboard or joystick and an HDMI jack.