Monday, December 28, 2020

The EverDrive GB X7 - The Ultimate 8-bit Game Boy/Color Flash Cart?

EverDrive GB vs. EverDrive GB X7

For too long, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color had been rather neglected by the flash cart builders.  The old cartridges by companies like Bung faded out of existence as Nintendo sued Bung out of existence.  There were a few more recent cartridges like the 64MB EMS Smart Card, but it was really klunky to use and had poor game compatibility.  A few cartridges were more focused on music production than game playing.  In 2014 Krikzz released the EverDrive GB, a flash-based device with an FPGA with enough resources to handle basic games.  I bought one then and was satisfied with it, as I indicated in my review.  Three years later he released the SRAM-based EverDrive GB X-series.  Having finally acquired an EverDrive GB X7, let me share my thoughts and views of the device and try to answer the question, "Is it the Ultimate GB/GBC Flash Cart?"

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Life After Death - The Unlicensed Market for NES and Famicom Games after their Lifespan

When Nintendo and its authorized third parties stopped releasing new games for the NES and Famicom in 1993 and 1994, respectively, the established pattern would have dictated a period where no new games would be available until the eventual birth of the homebrew scene.  However, this really did not happen for the Nintendo 8-bit platform, games have been development continuously from the birth of the Famicom in 1983 to the present day.  In previous articles I have taken a look into Unlicensed Western and Taiwanese developers active during the active lifespan of the NES and Famicom.  In this article I will give a brief overview the afterlife of this iconic hardware.

Monday, November 23, 2020

FPGA NES and Famicom Solutions' Mapper Support Matrices

There have been several hardware devices released over the past four decades which play NES and Famicom games.  Any regular reader of this blog will know that the NES and Famicom have many, many different ways in which it supports memory management.  Hardware devices which support a wide variety of games use FPGAs to configure their logic to handle the various memory mappers used by NES and Famicom games.  Below I will give matrices of each device and identify the mappers it supports.  Both iNES 1.0 and NES 2.0 mappers will be identified.  None of these devices support UNIF format mappers and UNIF should be fully deprecated by NES 2.0 now.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Review of Products Three for my Apple //e

A minimally-functional Apple //e requires very little in the form of upgrades.  Add an 64KiB memory expansion, a floppy disk controller card and a disk drive or two and you should be all set.  But a few upgrades can really improve the experience, and to allow my Apple //e to be the best Apple //e it can be, I purchased three modern upgrades for my newest vintage computer.  Here I will review each product, describe its features and caveats and indicate whether I recommend it.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Apple II - Classic Games and Resources

When I re-started my Apple II journey I wanted to share some of the knowledge I had acquired over the years and put into full service when I began to build my Apple //e system in October.  For me, an Apple //e is a gaming machine, and there are lots of great games for the system.  I will discuss some of them first, then give links to more information which I have found helpful for Apple II users.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Running the Apple //e - Intermediate Topics

In the last blog entry I focused on the basics of how to get an Apple //e up and running.  In this entry I am going to focus on some of the more advanced issues that users may encounter with running software, programs and hardware on an Apple //e.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Beginner's Guide to Running an Apple //e

The Apple II platform lasted a very long time.  The first Apple IIs were released in June of 1977 and the last Apple //e systems were last sold by Apple in November of 1993. No other non-PC compatible home computer had as long an official lifespan.  Unlike its early home computer competitors, Apple is still in business, still independent and still highly relevant to the consumer today.  Apple first entered the public consciousness with the Apple II and II Plus computers, and its Apple //e computers were many, many schoolchildren's first encounter with a computer. The Apple II was the first computer with some attention given to playing games, and over a fifteen year period thousands of games were released for it. There are several emulators for the system and some emulate the system to a very advanced degree, but the hardware is also fairly easy to use.  Here I am going to give a beginner's guide into using Apple //e hardware.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Speak to Me! - Speech Synthesis with Early Home Video Games

When considering the evolution of video game audio, of the three components of audio, sound effects, music and speech, those components were introduced into video games in that order.  The earliest video games generated simple tones and noise to produce simple sound effects.  Music chips were well developed by the late 1970s, bringing a slightly more sophisticated method of sound generation to video game players.  Speech, which requires the utilization of more complex sounds to be intelligible, tended to be brought to home consoles and computers in the form of specialized speech chips.  In this article we will trace some of the lineages of speech in early video games.