As near as I can tell, there seems to have been roughly speaking two schools of thought when it comes to graphics hardware among early consoles, what I will call the Atari and Texas Instruments schools. The Atari school is exemplified by the Atari 8-bit computer series' ANTIC coprocessor, which contained a minimal instruction set that described, operationally, how to construct the screen. The TI school conversely, is typified by the TMS9918 chip, which contains a series of hardware registers, which describes the placement of objects on a screen, which are set by the CPU. Of course, neither of these examples are the first of their kind, but I would rather consider both to be the ur-example of their ilk.
What I am interested in are examples besides ANTIC of the Atari School of graphics hardware design. Also, I'm aware that displays are somewhat common in 3D hardware, so I'm mostly interested in the pre-3D era. Myer and Sutherland's 1968 paper On the Design of Display Processors lists a few examples of this approach, for instance the DEC-338. The real question is what counts as a "display list" design. The MSX2's V9958 has hardware accelerated line drawing commands. On the other hand, TI's TMS340x0 series chips were just general purpose programmable CPUs with graphics-oriented instructions. In my mind, for a design to count, it must be able to execute a series of instructions or commands, on it's own, without CPU-intervention, while having a sub-Turing complete (or at least, very limited) instruction set. (Yes, I know that all these systems have finite memory and thus aren't equivalent to a UTM strictly speaking anyway). So perhaps there are no conditionals, or no jumps, or something like that.
Examples I am aware of:
- Aforementioned ANTIC
- Aforementioned DEC-338
- The Amiga's COPPER probably narrowly counts (unsurprising given the same team was behind it as the Atari)
I am not really convinced that the 7800 or Amstrad roller ram really count as display lists, since neither are really instruction sets. On the other hand, the TMS340x0 is simply too powerful and general purpose to be an example of what I mean.