Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Great Unknown : 720p and 480p Retro Solutions

While retro video games and consoles have been getting the digital treatment in the forms of emulators, PCs and services like the Virtual Console, buying hardware to specifically play retro games in a digital form (as opposed to a clone console) is a relatively recent phenomenon.  There has been a draw for people who want to really use their cartridges on a high quality, high definition system using a modern TV.  There has also been a market for people who want a plug-and-play box where they don't have to fiddle with emulator options.  Most modern TVs use the HDMI connector for passing digital content through to a LCD panel's display processor.  HDMI licensing issues aside (search my blog for information about those issues), most of these retro devices support a maximum resolution of 480p, 720p or 1080p.  While some of these devices support 1080p, many only support 720p or 480p. which can lead to thorny problems with lag and image resizing.  Let's take a look at the issues in this blog article.

First, here is a list of current or actually released retro-centered solutions by the maximum resolution they support :


Saturday, June 23, 2018

New Accessories and Ideas for the Game Boy Camera

Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Game Boy, while a modern marvel in and of itself, had a very unique peripheral released for it toward the transition from the monochrome Game Boy to the Game Boy Color.  That device was the Game Boy Camera, a cartridge with an twistable camera lens capable of taking four-color photographs in a 128x112 resolution surrounded by borders.  It could save up to 30 user-taken pictures to its battery-backed memory.  The program included some rudimentary editing tools, simple games and many little touches which were weird by Nintendo's standards.  Nintendo also released the Game Boy Printer, a small thermal printer which functioned as the only official way to memoralize photos outside the cartridge.  While the Camera was considered a modern marvel itself in its day, the Camera has had a cult following ever since.  Let's look at some of the ways in which continued interest in the Game Boy Camera has manifested itself.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Legal Remedies for Copyright Infringement of Open Source Software & the Trouble with Temporary Copies

Clone consoles are nothing new, clones have been made since the Atari 2600 became successful.  During a console's market life and for years thereafter, clones were usually illegal because they infringed on the maker's patents.  But patents expire, usually after twenty years, and after the consoles that utilized those patented chips and technologies could be freely recreated.  For successful vintage consoles, hardware clones usually follow their patent expiration.  Early clones used reverse engineered ASICs to replicate the functionality of an Atari 2600, a NES, a SNES and a Genesis.  But newer clones frequently use ARM processors and run emulators to cut down on costs and improve features.  One such clone, the Hyperkin RetroN 5, caused a great deal of controversy when it was discovered to have used emulators without permission from their original authors.  Let's dive into the legal ramifications of the this behavior.