11

The price difference was indeed entirely in the packaging. The important thing to remember about mask ROMs is that, though the setup costs and lead times were high, they had the lowest marginal cost of any form of memory. The reasons behind this are fairly clear if you look through this ROM, EPROM, & EEPROM Technology document from Integrated Circuit ...


10

Whilst Timex assembled Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers, the Timex architecture of the TS/TC 2068 is a reengineering of the ZX Sinclair behaviour with improved and more reliable technology. In the particular case of the Timex 2068, it has 128K of RAM, 2 ROMs, an extended BASIC, a new paging scheme, new video modes, and a sound chipset. The downside is some ...


9

According to the Iwata Asks for G/S, Iwata created compression tools for the graphics in G/S (as well as other parts of other Pokémon games). Morimoto: What's more, there were the tools for compressing the Pokémon graphic code… Iwata: Ah yes, the compression tools. Morimoto: You were kind enough to create those tools. Iwata: Yes. (...


9

extend [...] with boards like this one It might be notable, that the mentioned X-pander-3 is a rather new and comfortable solution. Many extenders, as they were called back then, were much less capable, often barely a switch to enable power to either cartridge. Typical examples are Apotek's Aprospand-64 Cardcos CARDBOARD/5 Various Extenders from Rex ...


8

Various claims have been made about this, mostly along the lines of "SRAM is cheaper" (and compared to flash RAM, it is). But the most credible reference I've seen explains that of the options available at the time, SRAM was the least expensive one that could still fit save data for those games. EEPROM was less expensive, but had a much smaller space ...


8

The code for the decompression system has been decompiled and partially commented here. Essentially the compression used is a form of run-length encoding, with a few modifications to make it more efficient for Gameboy graphics. The main improvement is that graphics are split into bitplanes rather than being compressed as single bitmaps. That is, each pixel ...


8

The story I have always heard (I will try to find and add sources later) is that in the wake of the 1983 video game crash, which primarily affected the US, Nintendo decided to re-evaluate their North American branding, and what they decided on was to avoid as far as possible any association with the console being a toy. Thus the NES is an "Entertainment ...


7

Although not an extender in the true sense as it only had one cartridge port, the Magic Voice expansion allowed game cartridges plugged into it to take advantage of its abilities to provide speech in games. This ended up only being used by the Wizard of Wor and Gorf titles. However, it is technically two cartridges working simultaneously that an "end user" ...


6

There's a recent improvement in C64 fast loading technology made by Linus Åkesson. The main idea is to decode GCR inside 1541 thus gaining more transfer speed. An introductory article into the problems of GCR decoding inside 1541 (with the memory for both code and data of just 2048 bytes) is here: https://www.linusakesson.net/programming/gcr-decoding/index....


6

Here are the ones I've come across: SDOS V1.1, a "C64 disk utility and speed loader," which has had development done on it as recently as 2019. According to the readme, it's "Public Domain: open-source and freeware." It's based on earlier programs "VDOS" (1986), "SJLOAD (v0.96)" (2008-2009) and "SDOS (v1.0)" (2016). I discovered it on csdb.dk, but the ...


5

I'll assume you only want to modify small parts of the game, rather than the entire game. (If you wanted to modify the entire game, you'd just make a new cartridge holding the entire image.) Your objective: replace some but not all of the words* of the game with a new set, leaving the majority of the game unchanged. (* as in addressable data units, not ...


5

There is most definitely no technical reason. And since some NES games featured different colours than just grey (think Zelda), it can't be based on some licensing directive either. Once the forms for the enclosure are made, there is no substantial cost in choosing any specific colour. Japanese games do show this quite nice. So there can't be no financial ...


5

http://micro-64.com/database/gamesave.shtml lists three different methods of saving games on the Nintendo 64: EEPROM, 512 or 2048 Bytes battery-backed SRAM, 32 KBytes Flash, 128 KBytes You'd have to analyse each games saving requirements to know why the designers chose which options, but the trade-offs between EEPROM and battery-backed SRAM in the late 90s ...


5

The most common usage for an expansion bus extender was to simply eliminate the wear-and-tear on the computer's expansion connector from frequently swapping cartridges in and out. Instead, the expander offered a more "sacrificial" connector for this purpose, and could more easily be replaced if the connectors wore out. The most common case I know of for ...


4

As said in the Raffzahn's answer, it's mostly a marketting or design choice and has no technicalities. First, you are mistaken in beliving all western NES cartridges were gray : They were some games released in gold cartridges as well. But you're right in that it's still much less varied than the famicom which featured countless different colours. In the ...


4

asserting /GAME on the cartridge port of the C64 leaves three blocks of the C64 address space "unmapped" No, at least not alone. /EXROM also needs to be high. Otherwise standard RAM/ROM configuration prevails. Is it safe for the cartridge to respond to read and write requests to these areas? Yes. I assume here that the cartridge would have its own ...


3

There is an open-source C64 ROM replacement project in development: https://github.com/MEGA65/open-roms. It contains a DOS Wedge, it can also use JiffyDOS and DolphinDOS protocols to communicate with the drive.


2

To add to user Raffzahn's answer - this It generates RAS/CAS signalling for each and every access, no matter what address is used (*1). would imply that - talking about a system without any cartridges inserted - when a Program writes to the I/O area, for example some VIC or CIA hardware register, RAM memory in the $Dxxx area gets clobbered. Unless I'm ...


2

If you examine the cartridges produced during the active life of 8-bit computers, then first of all you need to look at the Japanese and MSX. One-, two-, three-megabit cartridges with mappers were produced in rather large editions - in general, the picture was similar to the one that Sega had for the Master System. Megabit ROM Cartridges


2

As Raffzahn points out, because memory can be bank-switched in the address space available to cartridges, the maximum size is limited only by the intersection between the technology available and how expensive and physically large you're willing to make the cartridge, and how you're willing to power it. Nonetheless, you're probably thinking of cartridges of ...


2

Action! is a programming language for the Atari 8-bit line. It was never ported to the Atari ST. I can't find a ROM of the cartridge, but the Internet Archive does hold printed manuals for the language as well as its source code, which was released under the GPL by Action! author Clinton Parker. Manual (2018 edition): https://archive.org/details/...


2

Cost would be the main factor. Only 512 byte and 2048 byte EEPROM chips were used in Nintendo 64 cartridges, while the SRAM chips were much bigger at 32Kb (32,768 bytes). EEPROM at this size would've been too expensive. Some Nintendo 64 cartridges used 128Kb (131,072 byte) flash memory, but this would've been the most expensive option. Another factor ...


1

The NES has 2KB of built-in RAM. EEPROM on a cartridge could store "game-save" data with power off, but was slow to access. Battery-backed RAM (8KB in all cartridges I know of--not 32KB) could be used not only to store game-state data, but could also be used as an extension to the 2KB of RAM in the system. Some cartridges that didn't need to hold game ...


1

The CARDBOARD/5 was an expansion unit released no later than 1985. Appendix A of its manual discusses enabling more than one cartridge at once. They mention 80-column display interfaces and IEEE-488 bus interfaces (for connecting to PET peripherals) as usable simultaneously with other cartridges. They provide a detailed description of handling the situation ...


1

The largest ROM space the Atari 2600 could address was 4K. But a number of bank switching schemes (and some fiendishly clever ways to do it cheaply!), allowed carts up to 32K. Although really there's no limit, you can always amend the bankswitching to allow more. This applies to all consoles, and computers. With bankswitching, possible with all ROM-based ...


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