Just the signal, not the noise

Ho, Ho, Ho 8bit'ers,

Given the current prove and data, it can no longer be ignored ... yes, it's Christmas. ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ

In order to pack this festive occasion in the correct dress, we put a format change on the virtual parquet, and present you 13 small but nifty packages - unfortunately without a bow - under our 8-bit Christmas tree.

It's time for the family. But who doesn't like to play on the parental couch between coffee, cookies and Christmas roast with the things for which one otherwise has too little time? That's right. Us!

We hope that one or the other small Christmas gift will find favor with you and wish you a lot of fun with our Christmas issue #13.ย 

Merry Christmas

Gameboy on WiFi

GameBoy on WiFi
Source: https://there.oughta.be/

30 years later and your Gameboy can finally download the interwebs. Ok, not really, but Sebastian Staacks actually built a WiFi cartridge for the Gameboy.

His 32kiB cart has an ESP8266 inside which does all the heavy lifting regarding protocols, communication and data transform. Of course, there is no fully fledged browser and probably never will be, but you can build your very own Twitter or Reddit client or connect to anything else, that communicates via HTTP or Telnet.

Sebastian gives away all the details for free. And if you actually want to build your own WiFi cartridge, you find all the details in his article.

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Tiny Switch

Tiny Switch
Source: https://youtu.be/zJxyTgLjIB8

Incredibly, at first glance this is the smallest Nintendo Switch clone in the world. So small, in fact, that it can be hung directly on the Christmas tree, and should make just about every Christmas bauble blush with shame.ย 

But to stick to the facts, of course it's not a Switch Clone. But the ESP32 gives a lot of room for interesting experimentation.ย 

Scott Bezek - developer of the whole thing - has implemented a GIF player, but since the ESP32 comes with WiFi, there are plenty of other options open to the little device.

Scott's video goes into all the details of the development process, and it's just fun to watch.

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FPGA Experiments

24 FPGA Experiments
Source: https://www.conrad.de/

FPGA's ... some hate them, some love them. Will Green is no stranger to us, and based on rather obvious data, Will definitely doesn't seem to be one of the haters.

Unfortunately, what he has put up here is a little late, as it is a Christmas calendar of sorts.

24 FPGA Experiments ranging from 6000 cores on an FPGA to a VAX on a Spartan-3 board and lots of other crazy stuff give more than enough fodder for the upcoming tinkering days.

There are so many glittering diamonds in there, if you don't find anything, we can't do anything more for you. ๐Ÿš‘

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Sonic Release

Sonic Release for C64
Source: https://csdb.dk/

Oh ... yeah. Last week we had the preview for Sonic on the C64 in, and then just a few days later mrsid6581 and team put the release right after it.

I have rarely seen so many Sonic screens on Twitter ๐Ÿฆ” ... but the game and its implementation are both just an absolute burner.

Even if it is everything but news, we must still document the release here, because milestone remains milestone.

What a great Christmas present. Thank you!

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Space Debris

Space Debris
Source: https://markuskaarlonen.com/

Rather seldom we have something for the ears. The exception was the ProTracker video in issue #26.

And even if we would like to see it that way, Space Debris is not a Space article ... no, it's about the Amiga mod of the same name by Markus Kaarlonen.

Composed by him in 1991 on the Amiga, later remastered and currently remixed again, Space Debris is a bit of an acoustic time machine for Amiga fans.

And Markus' story about the creation process is a must for everyone who has ever sat in front of ProTracker and friends.ย 

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Source: http://ligurio.github.io/

Can I call myself a 'biker' if I ride a Japanese rice stove? Can I call a boomerang that doesn't return a 'stick'? Does it count as burning calories if I forgot the pizza in the oven? And can a game call itself retro if it only has ASCII output?

All questions that regularly keep me from sleeping at night. Not that much of a problem for Sergey Bronnikov.

His collection of TTYGames won't win a PixelArt award, but there are a number of real fun games among them.

Check it out.

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8-Bit Battle Royal

8-Bit Battle Royal - Next Level
Source: https://youtu.be/cG8OCLC6WRc

Commander X16, Mega65 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next in one video?

Until someone cries. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Matt Heffernan has done it again, and as usually, he has done it right. Without saying much more, we just want to recommend his latest 8-Bit Battle Royal video to you.

And no, nobody is crying so far.ย 

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Planck 6502

Planck 6502
Source: https://planck6502.com/

Credit where credit is due. We owe this tip to Steven Combs, who linked 10 Gifts for Retrocomputing Fans in a tweet a few days ago.

Part of this wonderful list was a project that at least we didn't know about yet: Planck 6502.

Just imagine RC2014 but with a 6502. ๐Ÿ˜

Jonathan Foucher is the father of this mildly wild thought and has also made it a reality. Great project for anyone who likes to build working computing machines with hardware and 40+ year old processors.

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Canabalt Cartridge

Source: RGCD

Gametime! ๐ŸŽฎ Canabalt means anything to you? In 2009 this sidescrolling endless runner was released for a whole bunch of platforms.

Among others also for the C64. Creator Adam Saltsman made a real hit with the game, and that was reason enough for the team behind dyichris.com to make a custom cartridge for the C64.

Say hello to the Canabalt Cartridge. You can order it soldered together as a challenge in parts. And if you love Canabalt, you can now get the game as a piece of hardware for your beloved, favorite platform.

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Vacuum Tube Computer

Vacuum Tube Computer
Source: https://youtu.be/q9oB-6963DU

Usagi Electric is one of those weirdos (no offense here ๐Ÿ˜˜) you just have to love.

I mean, who's going to be building working electronics based on vacuum tubes in 2021? (That's right, pretty much nobody).

In his latest video, he has completed the first part of an actual computer - the 1-bit CPU - and we get to witness the first startup.

What could have become of him if he had learned something meaningful in the first place? ๐Ÿ˜‚

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WASM Fantasy Console?

WASM4 Fantasy Console
Source: https://wasm4.org/

We are avowed fans of Pico-8 and TIC-80, probably the most widely known fantasy consoles.

But where there is a good idea, there are implementations. And Bruno Garcia had the more or less brilliant idea to build a fantasy console based on the WASM VM.

And that's pretty damn close, because WASM is fast, the VM is available for a whole lot of CPU architectures, and there is a bunch of languages for which WASM is available as a compiler target.

Sounds exciting? Then check out WASM4. So far there are only a few games and a number of demos available, but with a little bit of luck this will change quite soon.

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PDP-10 Emu

PDP-10 Emulator
Source: https://github.com/paulnank/

Something for the seniors. ๐Ÿ‘ด There was a time when people would have pulled a tooth to call a PDP-10 their own.ย 

Considering the computing power in our hands nowadays, I prefer to keep my teeth, but the PDP-10 is an interesting machine in more ways than just one.ย 

The history of what is actually called the DECsystem-10 computer spans from 1968 to 1983 with a whole series of CPU's and technologies for their implementation.

Paul Nankervis doesn't want to let the machine rest in peace, and has written an emulator in JavaScript for the browser. ย 

If you always wanted to lay your hands on this piece of computing history, you can do so now thanks to PDP-10-JS.


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Source: http://swallowmygraphicdesign.com/

And the last package under our Christmas tree: Mac Nostalgia or MacOStalgia is a piece of art. Literally.

Michael Feeney asked himself how current 2021 everyday applications would have actually felt on macOS 9.

Chrome, Spotify, Slack, Zoom ... with the help of a self-designed UI library all these applications come back to life on OS9, at least virtually.

The result is something to behold.

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We'd like to take this celebration as an opportunity to say Thank You! Since our start half a year ago, 8bitnews has seen an unexpected growth. And we have also grown a lot, and learned plenty of new things and skills. (cross-client email templates โ€ฆ yeah. ๐Ÿคช)

We thank you as a loyal reader, because in the end we write our magazine just for you, and we appreciate it when someone doesn't jump up in the cinema after the movie is over, but also watches the full credits up to the end.

To you, your loved ones and your family: We just wish you a Merry Christmas.

There won't be an issue next week, we won't be back in your inbox with top fresh 8-bit news until January 07, 2022.

Take care.

Jan & Bastian

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