The Gameboy VGA struggle

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Super Gameboy

The Gameboy VGA struggle

The Gameboy VGA struggle

As some of the Gameboy project followers are aware. One of our main concerns was how to output the Gameboy’s screen to a VGA monitor. This has given us a major headache, as we simply having no idea (at all) how to do this.

We searched the internet hi and low and found nothing but “dead-end” projects. We finally stumbled across this gem of a site;

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http://www.fpgaarcade.com/

The owner of the site (AKA Mike), is in the progress of developing and manufacturing a FPGA board designed specifically for the gaming/Arcade community. The “Replay” board.

This board is simply amazing, if you technical ability allows you (which mine doesn’t). You could run a Gameboy Core directly from the board (no emulation) and then out to VGA/DVI. You can even add a filter to edit the way the output is displayed. This will allow the Gameboy’s DMG screen to be displayed pixel perfect on a larger format screen, complete with green tint and pixels!.

For the Gameboy project however, we just need the replay’s ability to output to VGA, as we’re running to original Gameboy hardware. The board can capture the Gameboys video signal, then using the onboard Xilinx Spartan 3E FPGA, it can be outputted using the DVI port.

After posting for help on mikes forum. We received a number of replies from some of the helpful members there. Mike also replied after seeing the project. And offered not only loan us a “development board”, but too also offer his skills to help solve our screen dilemma!

Putting the Gameboy project aside for the moment. I’m amazed i haven’t seen this board on the various “Arcade/Retro Gaming” based forums we visit (maybe im blind). The potential for it’s use is huge. It also has a expansion slot for use with an upcoming JAMMA connector, i can see that becoming very useful for people looking to replace damaged boards. Or people looking to create an authentic feeling repro arcade.

Although i don’t think it’s possible yet (unless Mike corrects me). I’ve already fantasied about having the REPLAY as a dedicated board in our “bare bone cabs” (which aren’t in production yet).

i can see it now…..dedicated rewritten Genesis\MegaDrive Core….. with a basic “frontend”. Then it pulls the video snaps and your roms from the SDcard slot!

or even a “mulit system” Replay board, complete with keyboard encoder and with modulor CORES.That’s then able to pull your roms from the SDslot. There’s a hole in the market, bye bye 60 in 1 boards!

You can find more detail about the Replay board at mikes website. I hope some of you find it useful.

http://www.fpgaarcade.com/

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mike and the community over at fpgaarcade.com/ for not only showing interest in the project. But for offering their time and skills to help make it possible.

Watch this space!

replay board

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