The Raspberry Pi was initially developed as an educational tool. With its bargain price and digital IO, it quickly became a hacker favorite. It also packed just enough power to serve as a compact emulation platform for anyone savvy enough to load up a few ROMs on an SD card.
Video game titans haven’t turned a blind eye to this, realising there’s still a market for classic titles. Combine that with the Internet’s love of anything small and cute, and the market was primed for the release of tiny retro consoles.
Often selling out quickly upon release, the devices have met with a mixed reception at times due to the quality of the experience and the games included in the box. With so many people turning the Pi into a retrogaming machine, these mini-consoles purpose built for the same should have been immediately loved by hardware hackers, right? So what happened?
Continue reading “The Mini Console Revolution, And Why Hackers Passed Them By”
Fans of game consoles from the golden era of TV game appliances have been in for a treat over the past couple of years as a slew of official reboots of the stars of the past have reached the market. These so-called “classic” consoles closely follow the styling of the originals, but under the hood they pack modern hardware running an emulator to play a selection of games from ROM. Even better, with a bit of hacking they can run more than just the supplied emulator, people have managed to use them to emulate completely different consoles. Even then, it’s unexpected to find that a PlayStation emulator on a Super Nintendo Classic runs PlayStation games better than the same emulator built in to Sony’s own PlayStation Classic console.
The feat from [8 Bit Flashback] is achieved despite both machines having near-identical hardware specifications based upon the Allwinner R16 system-on-chip. The Nintendo provides smoother action and more responsive controls, making for a far superior gaming experience. How is this achieved? The most significant difference is that the SNES Classic had the RetroArch front end installed upon it, which may have lent some optimisations and tweaks to make the system more efficient.
Readers with an eye for unusual consoles may remember another Nintendo/Sony hybrid, the ill-fated early-1990s prototype SNES with a CD-ROM which was the first machine to bear the name “PlayStation” (or “Play Station” as it was sometimes styled, leading Sony marketeers to be hot on writers using a space between the words a few years later).
Continue reading “Nintendo Does Sony, Better Than Sony”