Sunday, October 3, 2010

Magnificent Obsessions: Building a Game Console

If I said someone was working on building their own computer gaming console that would plug into a TV you'd probably say something like "I can believe it".

If I said the person wasn't working on a 63 or 32 bit modern system but was going to build their own 8 bit computer system along the lines of the Nintendo Entertainment System you'd probably say "I can't imagine why anyone would do it but I can still believe it".

If I said that the person in question isn't going to use any modern components except for an inexpensive modern microcontroller. All the support chips, memory, video timings, and the like will be handled with components that were available back in the 8 bit era. At this point you'd probably agree with me that this qualifies as a magnificent obsession.

Brad Graham from Lucid Science is attempting just such a feat. He's building the Lazarus-64 which he started thinking about while on vacation and named because:
The name "Lazarus-64" was penciled on the top of the notebook, and it seemed fitting considering the mythical character that rose from the dead.
The project is very much a work in progress but there has been a lot of progress. Going through the work Brad's done so far will remind us old fogeys just how complicated early systems were. No simple systems-on-a-chip back then. I'm looking forward to seeing how far the Lazarus-64 will progress. It reminds me of how much programmers and designers could get out of systems that seem incredibly limited by modern standards.

No comments: