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July 2022 Retro Gaming Article


July 29, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Analogue announces their developer program openFPGA and the inclusion of Space War

Analogue announces their deeveloper program openFPGA
Intent on video game preservation, Analogue's dev kit allows developers to support legacy media.
Using their Pocket Gameboy console, Analogue has announced a development environment called openFPGA. It's purpose seems to be creating a way to adapt legacy video games to an open platform where they can be in a future-proof environment. FPGA (Field Programable Gate Array) is a technology that allows hardware to play video games without the original hardware. A game cart could contain the info for the FPGA to "become" an SNES in order to play the SNES game on the cart/software.

Analogue announces their deeveloper program openFPGA The ill-fated Coleco Chameleon attempted to use this principal although the project was laden with intentional fraud and dismissed as a scam. Analogue is far above that and has created a viable and proven hardware system, with their Gameboy Pocket and this new dev environment for creating a wide array of games. This is a great project to keep an eye on as it's the first (I believe) to use FPGA technology in an open manner for video games.

Space War

Space War has been dubbed the "first" video game... like ever. It hails from 1962 and was played on a PDP-1 at MIT. The PDP-1 was not a gaming system, but part of the fun of access to a university computer is seeing what else it can do. It was able to play a home brew space shooter. It even used a controller box, that could be thought of as the launch point of controllers for later video game systems.

Despite the academic potential of the PDP-1, the MIT students who created S[\pace War were setting a precedent for future games. Not knowing this venture would inspire legions of video game developers, they created a criteria for games.
  1. Games should demonstrate and tax the resources and capabilities of the device it is played onGames
  2. Games must avoid routine and be a different experience each time
  3. It should be fun
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell played a lot of Space War and created the first commercial video game, Computer Space. With the majority of gaming's history already in landfills and games vanishing due to age, server shutdowns, and discontinued hardware, Analogue's openFPGA might be a good starting point for your game development career.

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