New Upgrades For Classic Consoles
While the homebrew crowd is still going strong creating new games for old systems, there are a pair of projects nearing completion that are even more ambitious. These are hardware expansion modules that expand the abilities of the base hardware beyond original spec. Both the Colecovision & 7800 promised expansions that never came, so in way these projects are fulfilling promises from decades ago.
Opcode Games is well known as a master programmer of arcade conversions to the Colecovision, creating accurate ports of games that were never thought possible on the Coleco hardware. To open up the possibilties of more ambitious games, Opcode is developing the Coleco Super Game Module. much of the hardware on the board would have been available back in the 80's, so it's a fairly accurate picture of what would have been a possible commercial product. It also adds some extra oomph to make it easier to port games from the Japanese MXF computer, which would instantly offer a much needed boost to the number of Coleco titles. I've seen Opcode's module in action at the Midwest Gaming Classic, so it is very close to being done.
Curt Vendel of Legacy Engineering is nearly finished with an expansion module for the Atari 7800. This professionally encased add-on offers extra power for future homebrew efforts as well as being able to retain high scores for original Atari games that supported the nigh-mythic high score cartridge. This also is using the type of hardware that could have realistically been available as an actual product in the 80's. Legacy is looking at a fall release.
There are many intriguing details on both project if you care to read the forum posts about them. Both projects raise interesting questions about whether this is a valid retro gaming platform. Is it somehow purer to create new games within the confines of the original hardware? Is it still a real 7800/Coleco once you've expanded it, or is it some hybrid format? I think as long as the games are fun, and it keeps the spirit of the original (neither is going to give you Xbox level graphics on your old consoles, sorry to report), then this is a fun and worthwhile project. We will likely be adding both here at the Retro Thing offices, and we'll let you know what we think. In the meantime, what do you think of this new direction in retro homebrew gaming?
Join the Coleco conversation on Atari Age
Join the 7800 conversation on Atari Age