Games Archive

Leaked Game Boy emulators for Switch were made by Nintendo, experts suggest

Ars Technica reports: In most cases, the release of yet another classic console emulator for the Switch wouldn’t be all that noteworthy. But experts tell Ars that a pair of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for the Switch that leaked online Monday show signs of being official products of Nintendo’s European Research & Development division (NERD). That has some industry watchers hopeful that Nintendo may be planning official support for some emulated classic portable games through the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service in the future. It would be so much easier for everyone involved if companies like Nintendo embraced the classic gaming emulation scene instead of fighting it. Imagine if you could easily buy ROMs for classic NES, SNES, Game Boy, and so on, games, without having to resort to shady ROM sites.

Nintendo Game Processor: the lost game creation PC

The Nintendo Game Processor was a custom built computer — complete with a keyboard & mouse — that was built with one specific purpose: to visually create your own Super Nintendo games, via drag and drop, and write those games onto an actual SNES game cartridge. Although the machine was never released, the planned architecture was really interesting: two parallel systems, one console-like which executed games natively and another where the development environment resided.

The Dreamcast legacy

The Dreamcast is a bit of an odd beast. Coming on the heels of the unpopular Sega Saturn, the Dreamcast was meant to be a simple console built with off-the-shelf parts. The PlayStation 2 was already tough competition, and ultimately the Dreamcast fell out of the public eye as the Nintendo 64 was released with incredible fanfare. In some sense, it’s a footnote in console history. But despite not achieving the success that Sega hoped for, the Dreamcast has formed a small cult following, because as we know, nothing builds a cult-like following like an untimely demise. Since its release, it has gained a reputation for being ahead of its time. It was the first console to include a modem for network play and an easy storage solution for transferring game data between consoles via the VMUs that docked in the controllers. It had innovative and classic games such as Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Phantasy Star Online, and Shenmue. Microsoft even released a version of Windows CE with DirectX allowing developers to port PC games to the console quickly. We see our fair share of console hacks here on Hackaday, but what is the ultimate legacy of the Dreamcast? How did it come to be? What happened to it, and why did so much of Sega’s hopes ride on it? I missed out on the Dreamcast, but I’ve always been deeply fascinated by it, and on many an occasion I’ve come close to pulling the trigger on eBay. What always holds me back is the knowledge that most likely I’ll buy it, mess around with it for a few days, and then rarely look at it again. To any Dreamcast owners among our readership – would any of you say the Dreamcast and its most prominent titles are still worth it in 2021?

80% of Steam’s top 100 games now work on Linux

Proton has made enormous strides toward game compatibility through advances in related technologies like DXVK, which enable DirectX 9, 10, and 11 games to run through the Vulkan API. In fact, the project is so far along that Amazon has thrown its hat in the ring, working toward streaming Proton enabled games through Luna. The progress of this effort is updated all the time on ProtonDB, and today they crossed a major milestone as user reports on the site reveal that 80% of the top 100 games on Steam now run on Linux, and by extension, Steam Deck. I have long stopped even checking ProtonDB to see if the games I’m interested in run well on Linux – I just assume that the games I’m into belong to the 80%, with the remaining 20% being the massive garbage pile that are abandoned indie games, anime nonsense, and porn that have infested Steam over the years. Proton, and all the work Wine, Valve, and open source developers have poured into it, is arguably one of the biggest contributions to desktop Linux in a long, long time, and with the Steam Deck on the horizon, it’s only going to get even better from here.

Player builds complete 8-bit processor in Minecraft

Everybody knows how big of a sandbox Minecraft is, but this is taking it to the next level: somebody has built a complete 8-bit RISC processor in Minecraft, capable of running custom software: Sammyuri has reportedly spent seven months constructing an enormous–and enormously complicated–computer processor that exists virtually within the Minecraft engine. Although another Minecraft mod allows players to run the Mario 64 engine within Minecraft, sammyuri’s creation, called the Chungus 2, exists on an entirely different scale. The Chungus 2, which is short for Computation Humongous Unconventional Number and Graphics Unit 2, may be the single largest and most complex processor built in Minecraft as of writing. He even wrote an assembler so you can program it yourself.

Isn’t she just misunderstood? The Casio Loopy!

The Casio Loopy is a 32-bit machine with a SuperH CPU, released in 1995. This family of CPUs is probably more famous for its use by Sega, but the SH7201 used in the Loopy appears to be still in production by Renesas. I’m not sure how much the SH7201 has changed over that time; it seems to be an SH-1 system, as opposed to the SH-2 used in the 32X and Saturn, and the SH-4 used in the Dreamcast. The Loopy is a treasure. If you’ve never heard of this thing before – you’re in for a treat.

Gaming on Wayland

A considerable amount of people assume Wayland isn’t particularly suitable for gaming, usually because you can’t turn off the compositor. This post will challenge that assumption and see how the current state of gaming on Wayland is, with a focus on KWin, KDEs compositor. A very in-depth look at how Wayland works for gaming – from input lag to rendering – compared to X, including latency benchmarks.

You don’t have to play ‘League of Legends’ to enjoy the masterful animation of Netflix’s ‘Arcane’

If you’ve been putting off watching Netflix’s Arcane because you don’t play League of Legends, stop that right now. Friends, you’re missing out on some truly incredible animation. The first TV series from Riot Games and French animation studio Fortiche, created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee, Arcane landed on Netflix on Nov. 6, rolling out three episodes per week until the finale on Nov. 20. And while fans and players of League will find references, Easter eggs, and character signatures aplenty throughout the show, any viewer can jump into it and fully appreciate the series’ compelling story, nuanced characters, and unique, stunning animation style. To be clear: I don’t play League of Legends and I loved it. It’s a bit outside of the usual OSNews content, but Arcane is an absolute milestone in both animation and storytelling. It will be the benchmark all other animation studios will be compared to for years to come, and rightfully so. Yes, my fiancée and I both play League of Legends, but even if you don’t, Arcane is something you simply do not want to miss.

PlayStation 3 architecture: a practical analysis

In 2006, Sony unveiled the long-awaited ‘next generation’ video-game console, a shiny (albeit heavy) machine whose underlying hardware architecture continues the teachings of the Emotion Engine, that is, focus on vector processing to achieve power, even at the cost of complexity. Meanwhile, their new ‘super processor’, the Cell Broadband Engine, is conceived during a crisis of innovation and will have to keep up as trends for multimedia services evolve. This write-up takes a deep look at Sony, IBM, Toshiba and Nvidia’s joint project, along with its execution and effect on the industry. An extremely deep dive into the somewhat unusual architecture of the PlayStation 3. Not for the faint of heart, for sure.

EAC has come to Linux and BattlEye is inbound

The Verge: Valve promised it would work with anti-cheat software makers EAC and BattlEye to ensure some of the most popular games will run on its upcoming Steam Deck Linux-based gaming handheld, and one of those companies is now officially on board — Epic Games announced today that its Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) now supports Linux and Mac. Not only that, it’s specifically set up to work with the Proton and Wine compatibility layers that Valve’s relying on to bring Windows games to the Deck. BattlEye is coming to Linux, too.

Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? Blame Windows

Valve’s “Steam Deck” handheld PC has caused quite a stir among PC gaming geeks, but the biggest shakeup might not be its Nintendo Switch-like form factor. The software running inside of it is the real surprise. Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? Blame Windows. The Steam Deck and the software inside of it are the culmination of a nearly decade-long “hedging strategy” embarked upon by Valve chief Gabe Newell and company many moons ago, when Microsoft tried exerting more control over developers with Windows 8. But it’s also the next phase of Valve’s escape plan. Also, Windows is simply a terrible choice for the Steam Deck. The base model only has 64GB of storage, and Windows 10 will easily take up two-thirds of that.

Valve unveils handheld console running Linux and Steam

Update: It runs Arch Linux, and the Steam Deck interface is built on KDE’s Plasma. The Verge reports: Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. It starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well. The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot. This is an excellent value for money, and what’s awesome is that this is a Linux device (it can run Windows too, if you choose to install it, since it’s just a PC). It runs a new version of SteamOS, using the amazing Proton to run Windows games. This is how I’ve been playing my games for a long time now, and I can’t reiterate enough just how good Proton has become. At this price point, with these features, and with Steam’s massive reach, this device is going to be a massive hit. My fiancée and I have already decided we’re getting one, since it’s just so perfect for what it offers. I’ve been looking at similar offerings from Chinese manufacturers, but they usually come with compatibility problems, far higher prices, and Windows. This new device from Valve seems to fix a lot of these issues, and I can’t wait to see if it’ll hold up in reviews.

Following up an experiment in forced nostalgia and questionable parenting

Back in 2014 OSNews reported on Andy Baio’s experiment raising his son on classic video games and “compressing 25 years of gaming history into about four years”. Somehow the recent lack of activity on OSnews made me think of it. At the time Thom wrote: I sometimes wonder if I ever have kids (god forbid), how would I introduce them to the world of computers? Just hand them a dumb, locked, experimentation-hostile box like a modern smartphone or tablet and be done with it, or hook him up with a textual, CLI-based computer that I grew up with? I’m convinced that the latter would instill a far greater appreciation and understanding of technology than the former. As an avid gamer, I read the original article enthusiastically, but since then I’ve often wondered what the actual outcome of Andy Baio’s experiment was. So I thought it might be worth trying to find out. Happily Andy later gave a presentation in which he summarised some of his own conclusions. So if this was an experiment, what were the results? So without question, I think it’s clear, this affected the kinds of games that Eliot gravitates to now, especially compared to his friends, to start he likes hard games. Really, really hard games. Games that cause me to curl up in a ball and cry, or want to like, pick up my laptop and throw it in the garbage. The second result that I’ve noticed from our experiment: Eliot’s exposure to early games with limited graphics and sound seems to have kind-of inoculated him from the flashy hyper-realistic graphics found in today’s mainstream triple-A games. He can appreciate retro graphics on their own terms and just focus on the gameplay. But the most important outcome as far as Andy was concerned was that it left a deeper appreciation for games in general. My hope is that this experiment instilled a life-long appreciation for smaller, stranger, more intimate games, in my son. And hopefully he’ll continue to think more critically about them, enjoy them more, and maybe someday even make some of his own. But this was only six month’s after the original article. Was it a bit too early to come to that conclusion? Did the long-term effects actually result in a negative reaction, against video games? Well in 2019, five years later, Eliot released his own take on the History of Video Games. I think his words, a decade after Andy’s original experiment, speak for themselves. I highly recommend going and downloading an emulator (from a legitimate site!) and playing some of these classic gems in gaming history. There are many games that I’m sure I even don’t know about that are incredible. You may find overlooked gems that never got attention. Sometimes, people have a hard time playing video games that have a more “primitive” old, or 8-bit style. Try looking past the graphics, after all, there was a time when games didn’t even have graphics. So, for any new parents out there, it seems raising your kids on the classics is not such a crazy idea after all.

Power consumption of Game Boy flash cartridges

In order to research the topic, I tested the power consumption of several commonly available flash carts and some of my own designs. In this blog post I intend to show that there is more variation in flash cart power consumption than people might think, and a flash cart can even be more power efficient than a genuine cart! Everything you ever wanted to know about the power consumption of Game Boy cartridges.

World’s first video game in a font

You read that right! It’s a video game in a font! A font as in “Time New Roman”. The entire game is enclosed in fontemon.otf, no javascript, no html, all font. I don’t even know where to start with this insane work of art. In short, some fonts use scripts to draw complex glyphs, and that’s exactly what this person used to create a game. Amazing.

Proton has enabled 7000 Windows games to run on Linux

That’s one hell of a number of games. Proton has been receiving many updates in the past few months as well, with the introduction of the Soldier Linux runtime container and Proton Experimental on top of the regular Proton releases. We are still getting about 100 new titles working flawlessly (according to user reports) on a monthly basis, which is a very healthy and steady growth. Another point is the percentage of Windows games working out of the box in Proton over time. The number has been close to 50% since for a long time and seems to be fairly stable. Proton is one of the biggest things to happen to desktop Linux in over a decade – or more.

Playstation 2 architecture: a practical analysis

The Playstation 2 was not one of the most powerful consoles of its generation, yet it managed to achieve a level of popularity unthinkable for other companies. This machine is nowhere near as simple as the original Playstation was, but we will see why it didn’t share the same fate of previous complicated consoles. Excellent deep dive into the Playstation 2.

Game Boy Advance architecture: a practical analysis

The internal design of the Game Boy Advance is quite impressive for a portable console that runs on two AA batteries. This console will carry on using Nintendo’s signature GPU. Additionally, it will introduce a relatively new CPU from a UK company that will surge in popularity in years to come. The Game Boy Advance has some of the best Castlevania titles after Symphony of the Night, and I’ve always been amazed that the developers managed to squeeze those impressive games out of this tiny device.

Sega VR revived: emulating an unreleased Genesis/Mega Drive accessory

Until now, most of what we know about Sega VR comes from trade show appearances, marketing materials, patent documents, and firsthand accounts. This has meant that many of unit’s the technical details have remained speculative or completely unknown. When looking back and studying hardware that pushed so many of the technical boundaries of its time, however, those details are important! Whether Sega VR achieved its many ambitious goals or not, it remains a fascinating and notable entry in VR history. In order to study hardware of this nature, if you don’t have access to the hardware or its implementation details, access to the software is often the next best thing. The software will tell you exactly what it expects of the hardware, and given those expectations, you might find that you have enough information to emulate the hardware. At the very least, you’ll have enough information to emulate a version of the hardware that conforms to the software’s expectations, and that’s exactly where we’re headed! Rebuilding the announced, but never shipped Sega VR from the early ’90s. What an effort.