Sunday, November 5, 2017

Analogue Nt Mini - Vs. System Support

Originally I was going to post a conclusion to my Analogue Nt series, but then I had an epiphany that was too long to attach to one of the prior posts.  Yesterday I was thinking about the Nintendo Vs. System and lack of comprehensive hacks available for the games that were released for that system.  I wondered if it was possible, given the Nt Mini's extraordinary capabilities, to get the pure Vs. System ROMs running on the system through its Flashcart functionality.  About six hours of testing later, I think can present a solution that can get many of these games working now.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Analogue Nt Mini - Browsing the Core Store

In part one of my Analogue Nt Mini series, I focused on the impressions I had of the hardware and the menu from the "official" standpoint.  In the second part, I focused on the most notable feature of the Nt Mini's jailbreak firmware, the NES Flash Cart capability.  In this part, I will discuss the other area in which the Nt Mini's jailbreak firmware is very impressive, Cores recreating other video game consoles.  The Nt Mini can recreate the hardware of many classic (and not so classic) 8-bit consoles like the Atari 2600, Sega Master System and the Game Boy by loading a Core into the FPGA.  Let's talk about what happens when you want to run games with one of these cores.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Analogue Nt Mini - Jailbreak Firmware as a NES Flashcart and Dumper

In the first part of my series on the Analogue Nt Mini, I gave my thoughts on my first impressions of the device.  In this article, I will continue by diving into the features of the firmware that allow you to play NES games on your Nt Mini.  The jailbreak software adds many features to your Nt Mini, but here we will concentrate solely on the NES features.  Features related to other systems will be covered in another blog entry or two.

The Analogue Nt Mini - First Impressions

Last Thursday my Analogue Nt Mini finally arrived.  I had discussed this FPGA-based console from afar when it was first released early in the year, but had no opportunity to review one first-hand at the time.  I ordered my Nt Mini during the second run of pre-orders.  Analogue planned to ship the second batch in September, but late shipping from the factory and a surprise customs inspection later, it ended up shipping the Nt Mini in late October.  Having paid full price for an Nt Mini, $449, plus $37 in shipping, I intend to do a complete and thorough review of all the device's capabilities.  Let me start by giving my first impressions of this high end recreation of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Shenzhen Solitaire - A Review of 2017's New Commercial DOS Game

I have a confession to make.  Until last month, I have never backed a kickstarter project.  I have talked about kickstarter projects on at least one prior occasion on this blog, but I was speaking from afar.  The usual excuses apply, the good reward tiers cost too much, the project carried considerable risk or the product offered just was not sufficiently personally compelling to persuade me to part with my hard-earned money.  Last month came a game which seemed like a good choice for a kickstarter project, Shenzhen Solitaire.  This is a new PC-compatible DOS game for the year 2017.  The price was only $10, the game had already been written and was going to be delivered on a floppy disk, so I was sold.  (Really living on the edge here in terms of crowdfunding risk here :) It was delivered to me yesterday, so let's review the game.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Analogue Super Nt - The Day After Preview

If 2016 was the Year of the HDMI NES, with the release or pre-order availability of high quality NES HDMI devices such as the NES Classic Mini, Analogue Nt Mini and the RetroUSB AVS, then 2017 is the Year of the HDMI SNES, with the release of the SNES Classic Mini and now pre-order availability of the Analogue Super Nt.  The Super Nt was announced yesterday and I would like to gather all the available information about it here after 24 hours have passed to allow for information from multiple sources to be made available online.

Monday, October 16, 2017

NES Clones Reversed Duty Cycles - Why you should Reject them

Clones of the Famicom have been around since the mid-1980s, but clones of the Nintendo Entertainment System were very rare until Nintendo's patents expired in 2005.  Since then, clones have become quite common, all advertising such features as improved cartridge insertion mechanisms, lower cost (compared to the official NES top loader), x-in-1s with Genesis or SNES hardware and more recently built-in HDMI support.  However, the hardware in many of these clone consoles is fatally flawed and will not give a genuine experience.  The flaw comes in the reproduction of the NES's audio in the form of reversed duty cycles.  In this blog post, I will explain why this is an issue, how to detect it and why you should not buy second-rate clone consoles.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Rise of Interlacing in Video Game Consoles

Until the Genesis and the SNES, all video game consoles used 240p resolutions.  However, in the quest to gain greater graphical detail without severely impacting performance, game programmers began to use interlaced video modes in the fourth and fifth generation of video game consoles.  Then in the sixth generation, interlacing was the norm and progressive scan was the option.  By the seventh generation, HD gaming was the norm and interlaced graphics usage was more or less here to stay.  Let's explore the issues surrounding interlaced video game graphics here.