Episode 261 ventures into the new frontier of emulation
The MiSTer project: Yet another reason to be thankful for the classic gaming creator community.
This week, we're celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S., and I can't think of a more fitting topic for the occasion.
This particular episode is highly technical and consists entirely of one-on-one interviews, but it's a chance to pull the curtain back on a few key areas of the modern classic gaming scene Retronauts hasn't really touched on much to date. Nevertheless, the work being done here is critical to games preservation and recreation, and I use some of it on a nearly daily basis myself!
The larger topic here turned out to be the MiSTer FPGA system, a rapidly evolving open-source platform dedicated to reproducing as many classic consoles, computers, and arcade machines as possible, with as much fidelity as possible. It's a lot like MAME, except that it does its repro work via hardware instead of in software.
The current state of MiSTer closely resembles the early days of MAME, in fact. Since this episode went up for patrons a week ago, several new cores have been officially announced, including Game Boy Advance and PlayStation. I've not dabbled in MiSTer as much as I'd like, but I hope to change that in the new year (thanks to PorkchopExpress of MiSTer Add-Ons, who helped get me set up with a MiSTer of my own).
While I'm admittedly a bit lost at sea on the technical aspects of the MiSTer, that's what interviews are for. First, Artemio Urbina of JUNKER HQ talks about his work on MiSTer-adjacent projects like MDFourier. Then, the remainder of the episode focuses directly on MiSTer itself thanks to the presence of its greatest evangelist, SmokeMonster (formerly of the SmokeMonster Packs). It's a rare look into some of the most exciting work being done in classic gaming today, all helpfully presented in (mostly) layman's terms.
Anyway, the point of this exercise is that you should look into MiSTer. It's versatile, powerful, and will only continue to grow in capabilities and ease of use. On a weekly basis, apparently!
Episode description: Jeremy speaks to retrogaming curators Artemio Urbina and SmokeMonster about their efforts to help preserve and improve the state of classic gaming through projects like MDFourier and MiSTer.