In our first issue in late May we got you in touch with the Mega65 project. And we received quite a number of questions from early readers and people who found the post in our archive later on. And as if they heard the questions, Paul Gardner-Stephen and Detlef Hastik (the creators) reached out to us as well, to provide us with (AFAIK) currently non-public information regarding the plans and progress.
So should FPGA driven hardware be your cup of tea, then this one is for you, and it is for your eyes only 🕵🏻♂️.
Paul and Detlef have quite some history. Paul is the creator of the C65GS - kind of a C64 accelerator you might be familiar with. Detlef is an 8bit guru and some might remember his Breakpoint submission "SHizZLe" for Pokémon Mini which is still #2 in the Breakpoint all stars high scores. Both teamed up 6 years ago, recruited an extraordinary team of 16 and worked on Mega65 just in their spare time. And we talk hard- and software here, so the current status is a feat.
The first 100 available devkits were sold out immediately. The team currently works on a first charge of 400 devices to be sold in autumn this year. The second charge of 1000 devices will follow in 2022 and customers will have to wait around 3 months after an order. Fair, given the current supply chain situation and the fact, that everybody is working in their spare time only.
What makes the Mega65 outstanding, is the fact, that it is FPGA based. This means, it can actually emulate close to everything, at least 8bit and 16bit CPUs, graphic- and sound-chips and other periphery. The clou: Gameboy Color und Spectrum cores are available already, and with MiSTer-Cores in the making, Amiga, ATARI ST and other classic systems will come soon. Just insert your old 3.5" Atari ST or Amiga 500 discs into the floppy drive and start playing via HDMI on your TV screen - a nerd dream come true.
If things develop as foreseen by the team, the machine will carry a price tag of around 600€. Given the numerous possibilities and the retro factor, that sounds more than fair to me personally. Especially since everyone involved does this just for fun, not for profit.
We will follow the project and keep you posted, but if you really want to call a Mega65 your own, I guess you will have to scrape the distributors page on a daily basis after the summer. This thing will IMHO sell like fresh rolls from the bakery.