Check Out The Raspberry Pi Powered “GameBoy Zero”

Who remembers when the original Game Boy was released? Released by Nintendo back in 1996, the Game Boy was the first handheld gaming device for a lot of people and in recent years, people have looked to emulate the system. While being able to play with your smartphone like it was a GameBoy is nice and all, what about upgrading your Game Boy to play something a little more modern?

The Game Boy Zero may look like a Game Boy with two extra buttons, but in reality, it’s a lot more. Featuring a new colour LCD screen the Zero is actually powered by a Raspberry Pi which runs an emulator, giving you access to all kinds of  games using software called Emulation Station, giving you games all the way from the original platform and the MegaDrive to the GameBoy advance.

By modifying a Game Boy cartridge the creator, Wermy, managed to conceal a micro SD to SD card adapter, meaning you can easily update and change-up the software the Game Boy Zero plays. With two extra buttons (for the X and Y Buttons) and even two (slightly concealed) buttons on the back to act as the L and R buttons, the creation is anything but unimpressive.

Run a Game Boy Emulator in Your Terminal

For many, the days of the terminal are long over, much like the original Game Boy. Now one developer has brought the two together, allowing those with nothing but a terminal to hand to pass the time with some Game Boy classics. The entire emulator runs on PHP, requiring PHP 5.6 or 7 to be installed, but beyond that, it is just a single piece of software to install and then you can get started playing some of your old favourites.

There’s not a lot of reasons for such a program to exist, especially not in PHP, however, the developer himself stated that he simply did it to see what PHP could do and because he thought it was funny. He even implies that PHP could be able to emulate other systems with the performance increases brought in by PHP 7, so we could see more terminal emulations down the line from him or any other intrepid PHP developers looking to explore what PHP is truly capable of.

For those who are interested in trying out this emulator, you can head over to the project’s Github page where you will find all the instructions you need to get started, as well as all of the code it is built upon for those who are interested in just how it works. It’s great to see that the old classics are still capable of inspiring such unusual projects and makes you wonder just what fans will come up with next!

Dolphin Emulator Now Has DirectX 12 Support

DirectX 12 is a low-level API which has the potential to allow for console-like optimization across a wide range of PC hardware. While it’s still early days, there’s a great deal of excitement surrounding games with plans to use Microsoft’s revolutionary API. For example, Quantum Break is a DirectX 12 exclusive so it will be fascinating to see the performance numbers on various setups. Additionally, there are rumours circulating which suggests that Rise of the Tomb Raider might receive a DirectX 12 patch. On another note, the Vulkan API is an open source alternative supporting Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Linux, Android and more! Competition is vital to push technology forward, and it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities to see emulators adopt both APIs.

Dolphin is one of the most promising emulators and allows users to play Gamecube and Wii games! This is a fantastic project because it’s possible to experience iconic Nintendo games at high resolutions. On the original hardware, the output resolution is quite limiting and features a really murky look on modern Televisions. As always, it’s incredibly difficult to create a working emulator with low hardware demands. Currently, Dolphin works very well using the DirectX 11 but there’s some room for improvement.

The user “hdcmeta” on the Dolphin forums, has created a DirectX 12 backend which exhibits performance improvements of up to 50%:

“Generally, graphics-intensive games get a nice win, while (Gamecube CPU)-bound games (Zelda OOT from the ‘bonus disk’ is a good example) are the same – graphics wasn’t on the critical path there. At higher resolutions, graphics becomes more important, so the relative improvement can increase there. In general, CPU usage is now much lower for the same workload relative to DX11/OpenGL.”

Here we can see the percentile difference between DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and OpenGL:

 

This is astonishing and showcases the kind of optimization on low-mid range hardware. I’m interested to see if the performance increases scale in a similar fashion on higher end GPUs. Whatever the case, it seems DirectX 12 has a major benefit in emulators and this is going to be great news for anyone wanting to play older Nintendo games in glorious detail.

Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Running on RPCS3 DX12 Powered Emulator!

Emulation of the PlayStation 3 is quickly becoming a reality, it seems not a week goes by until we hear that yet another commercially available game is up and running on the latest emulator, and that’s great news for gamers, especially those who have high-end gaming PC’s that are capable of playing them.

RPCS3 has certainly been making impressive progress and is now in its prime as far as development goes, with constant updates and improvements that are making it a workable and fully playable emulator for quite a few games. Sure, it’s not quite playing the more demanding games such as The Last of Us just yet, but it really is only a matter of time now before that nut it cracked. The latest demonstration, which is something anyone can download and try for themselves, assuming you have the retail disc of the game (or the ISO), is of Naruto Shipuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations.

YouTube user ‘Zangetsu’ shared a video recently which shows the Naruto game running on the  emulation with fully functioning in-game visuals, and matching audio at 30fps, triple the playable FPS of the previous attempts for this game. That’s right, the emulator is playing fully commercially available games at 30fps! Which is groundbreaking to say the least. Although 60fps would be even better, but let’s not get too picky, it’s early days.

The emulator is using the DX12 engine to churn out the graphics, and as you’ll see in the video below, it’s running perfectly well.

  • Rpcs3 v0.0.0.6
  • GIT Rpcs3 : 21/01/16
  • PS3 Game : Naruto Shipuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
  • Statut : Playable in DX12
  • Graphics Render : in DX12 Very good
  • Sound : Perfect
  • Save : Works

As you can see in the video, the user is running the game on an AMD FX-8350 CPU, paired up with an Nvidia GeForce GTx 980 and 16GB of RAM, meaning those with similar hardware specifications should be able to recreate similar results.

For more information on RPCS3, check out their official emulation website here.

Xenia Shows Promise for the Xbox Emulator Market

Xenia is an Xbox 360 device emulator. It has been in development since January 10th 2013 with 2956 commits of code to the popular open source code sharing website – Github. The developers have been very busy for the past two years creating this beast of an emulator, however, it is still in early days of development.

Recently they have been able to get Halo Reach to start on the emulator and managed to load into the game menu, but the game runs into an error when trying to select a game mode, which you can see the video below.

Things look promising for the project, they are trying to make a start on multi-platform, but won’t be able to run on Mac until Apple starts to support Vulkan. For now, you need to have Windows 8.1 with python 2.7 and Visual Studio 2015 installed to run it.

They have also been able to get Frogger 2 to run in the emulator:

The project is created by Ben Vanik, a developer from Seattle who works as an engineer for google, also he has worked for Microsoft in the past. He states on his blog how the emulator works.

“At the highest level the emulator needs to be able to take the original PowerPC instructions and run them on the host processor. These instructions come in the form of a giant assembled binary instruction stream loaded into memory – there is no concept of ‘functions’ or ‘types’ and no flow control information. Somehow, they must be quickly translated into a form the host processor can understand, either one at a time or in batches”

Pretty complex stuff,  he also has to extract the XEX file from games and then reverse engineer the code to try to make it work on the Xenia emulator.

PlayStation 2 Emulation Finally Arriving on PlayStation 4

Sony has officially confirmed that it is “utilising” PlayStation 2 emulation for the PlayStation 4, following the discovery that a number of re-released Star Wars games for PS4 were PS2 originals.

Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter were included as part of the Star Wars: Battlefront PS4 console bundle this week, in the form of a single PSN code, with the latter three games being familiar to PS2 owners. And, indeed, instead of remastered versions of Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, gamers were treated to emulated versions of the original PS2 games, without any kind of announcement from Sony at the time.

The initial absence of any formal announcement from Sony was strange considering that, when it revealed its PlayStation Now streaming platform back in January 2014, PS2 emulation was billed a big part of its backwards compatibility strategy. But now Sony has confirmed that PS2 emulation is indeed being used, and suggests that we should expect more in the future. “We are working on utilising PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation,” Sony told Wired. “We have nothing further to comment at this point in time.”

Wii U Emulator Launched for PC – Almost Works

Emulation of other devices is no easy task, especially when it comes to more recently released console hardware as it takes quite a lot of processing power and a lot of skill, as well as trial and error from the developers of the software to get it right, even then it’s often on a per-game basis. The latest emulator is certainly capable of loading Wii U games, but it’s far from perfect, which slow loading, graphical glitches, crashes and there’s not even any audio, but for anyone here who knows about emulation, you’ll know this is a huge step in the right direction.

The development team are hoping to update the software every two weeks, but you’ll need a Windows 7 machine, as well as an Nvidia graphics card to get it running. Of course, as things progress, more hardware configurations will become supported, but for now they’re working on the basics.

I’m hopefully this will make good progress, as the N64, Gamecube and the original Wii are already very well emulator and this is just the next logical step. Check out some of the videos below and see how its coming along, but for now, the Wii U is the best place to play Wii U games.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyE5fMa0jI8

Beautiful Handheld Wooden Emulator Re imagines a Classic

The Raspberry Pi series has opened up a new frontier in the evolution of tech which has enabled a whole new generation of developers the option to efficiently and cost effectively power their creations. This device however, is quite simply a fabulous reimagining of the Game Boy Advance SP handheld console which was originally released in 2003.

The design has arrived courtesy of creative mind Love Hulten, who has designed his own take on Nintendo’s handheld and has coined the machine the PE358. Below is a selection of screenshots which conveys the vision.  As you can see, the console is very lightweight with dimensions being 8x8x4cm.  The material used is American solid walnut and the console also folds in half which mirrors the Game Boy Advance SP

The emulator device is powered by the familiar Raspberry Pi A+- and it is more than capable of playing the same GBA SP games.  But there is a slight problem with that, as you can see, there is no cartridge slot which means you will need to track down the ROMs for your favourite GBA SP games.

The detail within the below image are fantastic, the screen design reminds me of an old Black and White TV, it has that class which certainly beats the Game Boy Advance SP flimsy plastic design which I personally did not like when it was released.  It may have been ahead of its time, but I found the design to be horrible at the time, it certainly had its fans considering the SP sold 43.52 million units as of June 30th 2009.

This last image below conveys the look when it is folded in half, and there is a chance that you might be able to buy this creation, considering it might not be a one-off design like most of Love Hulten’s works. Either way, it’s a fantastic and imaginative design which will no doubt have its fans within many avenues.

Thank you gizmodo, lovehulten and wikipedia for providing us with this information.

Browser-Based Game Boy Advance Emulator Shut Down by Nintendo

Nintendo, in its on-going mission to ruin our fun, has forced a popular Java-based Game Boy Advance emulator offline. The emulator, which allowed users to play GBA games in-browser, has been taken off GitHub after Nintendo issued a takedown notice, citing copyright infringements for every game offered through the emulator, rather than the emulator itself. Nintendo complained that offering titles such as Advance Wars, Dragon Ball Z, Super Mario Advance, Pokemon Emerald, and The Sims 2 is an illegal use of the company’s intellectual property.

Nintendo’s takedown notice to GitHub reads:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We represent Nintendo of America Inc. (“Nintendo”) in intellectual property matters. Certain material posted on the web site located at http://jsemu.github.io/gba/ infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo. This notice is provided pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 USC § 512 and GitHub, Inc.’s DMCA Takedown Policy.

Nintendo requests that GitHub, Inc., disable public access to the web site at http://jsemu.github.io/gba/. This web site provides access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright-protected video games and videos making use of Nintendo’s copyrighted Pokémon characters and imagery in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights. The copyrighted works at issue include but are not limited to the following:

Shortly after receiving the takedown notice, GitHub shut down the emulator and suspended the users account, presumably to prevent any further infringement. However, since the code was open source and available for download, it is still floating about, even being hosted by different accounts on GitHub.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Watch How This Hacked Macintosh OS 7.5.5 Runs on the Apple Watch

Back when Macintosh OS 7.5.5 first got released in 1996, you were required to sit in front of a big desktop computer and a CRT monitor. Those of you who still remember the latter bulky displays will probably think ‘boy, those were some good times’, eh? But technology advances and it looks like the 20-year-old OS gets a bit of attention again, but not as you imagined.

A developer with a lot of spare time on his hands ported the old 7.5.5 operating system on the Apple Watch. While this seems useless, it does however point out a clear fact, namely how far we’ve come in just 20 years. I mean, imagine that we were using the OS with a keyboard and a mouse on a big rig back then and now, you can use it on your watch.

The developer achieved the result by running the OS on a ported version of the Mini Vmac Macintosh emulator. It is nice to see the old OS up and running again, but don’t expect to actually use it on your watch. The Macintosh 7.5.5 was not designed with touch screen support. Why? Because nobody knew what touch screen was back then.

However, a hack would be possible to add touch screen interactions on the OS, but who would dedicate that much time and effort to do it? Just sit back and enjoy the nostalgia of old times in the video below.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Xbox 360 Emulation Just Made a Huge Advancement!

Emulation of Xbox games was near impossible, although many attempts have come close to something that almost works, nothing has really been playable. The Xbox 360 has suffered a similar fate, with its odd hardware setup proving complex to emulate over the years; until now.

Xbox 360 Emulator “Xenia” has been in development for some time, but it’s just taken a huge leap forward in terms of usability in what could be the opening of the flood gates for improving the software, bringing more games into its compatibility list.

Ben Vanik, creator of Xenia, has released a new video of the emulator running A-Train HX at a steady 60fps, albeit with a few of the graphical shaders missing, hence the extensive glitches.  This demonstration isn’t about the graphics though, it’s about getting the CPU/GPU core emulation right and so far, it looks like Ben is making some very impressing progress.

Check out the official GitHub for more details.

Nintendo Patents Game Boy Emulator for Phones

In what could be seen as potentially a big change of opinion for Nintendo, the company has filed a patent for a Game Boy emulator for “a personal digital assistant” and “a cell phone”. 

Nintendo has previously been strictly against the idea of releasing its games on other platforms and more specifically, mobile devices. Investors have on numerous occasions rallied at Nintendo, which been losing money recently, to re-release classic Nintendo titles on smartphones and tablets. It’s no surprise, as clearly the company could easily make a fortune by selling Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games to the hundreds of millions of smartphone users that exist today.

“A software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform such as GAME BOY.RTM., GAME BOY COLOR.RTM. and/or GAME BOY ADVANCE.RTM. on a low-capability target platform (e.g., a seat-back display for airline or train use, a personal digital assistant, a cell phone) uses a number of features and optimizations to provide high quality graphics and sound that nearly duplicates the game playing experience on the native platform. Some exemplary features include use of bit BLITing, graphics character reformatting, modeling of a native platform liquid crystal display controller using a sequential state machine, and selective skipping of frame display updates if the game play falls behind what would occur on the native platform.”

Is this merely an act of experimentation or is it something we’ll see in the future?

Source: TechCrunch

GBA4iOS Deemed As The Best Game Boy Advanced Emulator for Apple’s Smartphones

It’s hard to find an original Game Boy nowadays or even buy games for it from a handful of 3DS eShops that still survived up until today. Game Boy fans have to resort to emulators in order to play their favourite old titles.

Smartphones appear to have become the best emulation alternatives in order to get that Super Mario Land game loaded and play it on-the-go due to the low hardware requirements needed to actually simulate the Game Boy and the game itself.

Up until now, Android users were able to emulate these games on their mobile devices. The Play Store has a variety of emulators, granting its customers a large list of applications to choose from. However, Apple has not been too kind when it comes to emulators, having them restricted from its AppStore.

Up until now, two Game Boy iOS emulators by the name of gpSPhone and GBA.emu were available and limited only to jailbroken devices, having them as the only options available for the platform at hand. GBA4iOS, developer Riley Testut’s creation, however aims to be a more simple and easy solution to iOS emulators. It is said to use a loophole in Apple’s app installation system, having the user set the smartphone’s date back one day. The app can be directly downloaded via the GBA4iOS website and the best part is that the app is free!

Besides the above mentioned, the app is said to be the best GBA emulator on any platform, having full support for Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy support, accelerated speed, multiple and locked save states, as well as customizable skins and Dropbox syncing for saves between multiple devices. It is said to even use some iOS features as well, such as AirDrop and the MFI Bluetooth controllers.

The app does however have some flaws. For example, it does not have any advanced emulation features such as video and sound filters. There is also word of a 2.1 update scheduled to be released at the end of the summer, which promises multiplayer support via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct.

THank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Is Emulation the Best Feature of the Nvidia Shield?

Introduction


Emulation is a popular pass time for many PC gamers, and in recent year there has been a big increase in GPU horsepower in the mobile market, allowing us to enjoy many classic games on the go, not just  on our desktops. The Nvidia Shield is one of the most powerful mobile gaming devices on the market, and this is especially thanks to its Nvidia Tegra 4 GPU/CPU, which is not only capable of running many older games such as those from the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive, but also a lot more advanced 3D titles from consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and more. What I hope to find out today is whether or not these games work well enough to justify using the Nvidia Shield as a dedicated emulation device.

Obviously there are some grey area legal issues when it comes to emulation, most of which focus around the piracy of compatible roms, so I feel obligated to mention that I do not condone anyone downloading games, but that there are also many other ways to obtain these games. There are tools and apps out there which let you rip games you own, and this applies to both cartridge based games as well as disc based games. Fortunately I’ve been collecting games for many years now and can use games I already own and have at my disposal, but keep in mind that you’re responsible for sourcing your own titles how you see fit, as we here at eTeknix take no responsibility for this, nor will be providing sources to where or how you can obtain the games. Boring stuff out of the way, let us get back to the action!

Getting roms configured on your Nvidia Shield, or to be honest any powerful mobile device can be a little tricky. Generally the more powerful your device, the better chances you’ll have of getting your games to run, as the task of emulating hardware can be quite demanding, especially when it comes to more modern titles such as those from the Sega Dreamcast. So while I am focusing this article on the Nvidia Shield, there is no reason why you can’t try this out on your mobile phone or tablet, so long as you think it’s powerful enough to do so.

The Nvidia Shield has a few extra tricks that make it a great choice for emulation, firstly because it has a controller built directly into it, as well as a high quality touch-screen display. You can use USB OTG to connect wired controllers such as the Xbox 360 controller, a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable to put the device into console mode and play on your big screen and more, so you’re not going to be limited to only playing this as a handheld, but virtually anywhere you want, on whichever screen you want (so long as it has Miracast or HDMI).

Today I’ll be taking a look at the Super Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, PlayStation 1, PlayStation Portable (PSP), Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. There are plenty more emulators and formats out there, but I feel the ones I have chosen cast a wide net over what is possible on mobile device emulation. Even older or less powerful systems such as Gameboy, MAME, NES and Master System generally all work from the same emulators I’ll be testing and already have widespread, proven compatibility with most mobile devices, so feel free to experiment with them at your own leisure.

Cloanto Releases Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2013

Cloanto released today Amiga Forever 2013 and C64 Forever 2013, the latest versions of the award-winning Commodore-Amiga preservation, emulation and support suites for Windows.

The 2013 editions for Windows had a focus on making the software easier to use, while providing new and more powerful features for advanced users and content creators. For example, the packages are easier to download and install, and emulated systems can be “repaired” with one click after unintended changes. Power users can now build ISO images and portable USB drive environments, use the visual Screen Clip Editor to better blend old screen modes into modern systems, or experiment with the new WinFellow emulation plugin or with a fresh build of the AROS Research OS. Outside the player, the RP9 thumbnail handler adds a new level of eye candy to File Explorer.

“One of the most fascinating challenges of user interface design has to be how to please both novice and sophisticated users. The attempt to keep things as simple as possible often limits learning and can be perceived as a ‘dumbing down’ by a more demanding audience,” noted Cloanto’s Mike Battilana.

“Even looking at recent versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux, you can feel the pain of some choices. In today’s search engines, queries that used to work reliably have become less precise. Word processors won’t let you select the exact characters you want. Lacking perfect artificial intelligence, we are increasingly being ‘autocorrected’ beyond recognition.

C64 Forever brings us back to an era in which users knew that they were, or could be, in complete control of the machine, rather than vice versa. Tens of millions of home computers came with a powerful reminder of this, as they included a programming manual. Even today, the Amiga continues to inspire for how it elegantly met the needs of different audiences, leaving a feeling of freedom rather than one of artificial limitations. In addition to preserving access to a digital culture of tens of thousands of games, demoscene creations and other titles, we are trying to introduce new generations to these different angles, as we are convinced that this deeper perspective can help achieve a better view of the future.”

In Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2013, the same interface transparently connects to three different emulation engines, giving consistent access to more than 25 computer models, all with fully licensed operating systems. The shared RP9 file format makes titles easily portable across computers and software versions. While novice users only need to press Play, advanced users can Edit titles and browse through options that are designed to also help understand how the software works.

Amiga Forever Home Page

C64 Forever Home Page