NES Processor Cloned On A FPGA


[Bradley] decided to tackle the challenge to recreate the original Nintendo Entertainment System’s processor in a Field Programmable Gate Array. Say what? The original NES is a Legacy System, still used but no longer manufactured. If a system breaks, it becomes more and more difficult to repair or find replacements parts as time passes. By using a programmable integrated circuit such as a CPLD or a FPGA to clone the functionality of the original hardware, legacy systems can live on long after the original hardware has given up the ghost.

It took [Bradley] about a year to fully implement the NES processor as part of his Master’s project at Bradley University. He used what was known about the processor combined with some detective work with logic probes along the way. The programming was done in VHDL and those files are available for download (click on Documentation).

With the ubiquity of NES emulators on every device known to man you probably won’t be replicating this unless you want a reason to play with a FPGA. What interests us is the hardware solution this type of work provides for obsolete hardware that still serves a useful purpose. If you’ve used a FPGA or similar device to keep an old system running, let us know about it in the comments.

58 thoughts on “NES Processor Cloned On A FPGA

  1. yeah, this seems a little ridiculous that it’s getting this much hype. He didn’t build an FPGA nes… or even it’s cpu (which is apparently a well known 6502 — I thought it was a Z80 too @ellisgl), but like Jonathon said, he just grabbed some code from somebody else stuck it on an fpga (minus a few parts he pulled out) and connected it to his NES. It’s cool that it works, but his Master’s project? WTF…

    Also apparently his name isn’t bradley, hahaha nice.

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