The MiST project provides an FPGA-based platform for recreating vintage computers. We recently saw an upgraded board — MiSTer — with a similar goal but with increased capability. You can see a video of the board acting like an Apple ][ playing Pac Man, below.
The board isn’t emulating the target computer. Rather, it uses an FPGA to host a hardware implementation of the target. There are cores for Apple, Atari, Commodore, Coleco, Sega, Sinclair and many other computers. There are also many arcade game cores for games like Defender, Galaga, and Frogger.
The MISTer uses a Terasic DE-10 board that sports an Altera Cyclone V SE. That FPGA has 110,000 logic elements and about 5K bits of block RAM. It also contains two ARM Cortex A9 CPUs running at 800 MHz. There’s a gigabyte of DDR3 RAM that the FPGA and the CPU can share. The ARM CPUs can boot Linux and you can emulate some or all things in software if you prefer. While there is a VGA output, there’s also a video scaler making it possible to drive a standard HDMI output.
What makes MiSTer more than just an FPGA demo board are the three daughterboards (and, of course, the software and FPGA configurations). There is an SDRAM daughterboard, an I/O board, and an optional real time clock board. The project is open source, with all the schematics and Gerber files available.
The I/O board provides legacy VGA output and connections for audio outputs (analog and digital). It is optional if you don’t want those features.