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Dream computer - OpEd



Via one of the guy's YouTube videos, I happened across http://www.the8bitguy.com/2576/what-is-my-dream-computer/

Now, not to rain on anyone's parade - but retro dream computers are just that, dreams.

I've been playing with computers since the Apple ][+ days - so I've got plenty of nostalgia for retro computers. But guess what, when my parents gave me a TRS-80 Color Computer as a gift a few years ago, I wondered why they bothered.

Sure, it's the computer I had in my teens and I've got a lot of great memories of it. And it's got a decent built-in BASIC. But there's no point. Emulation is good enough if I ever decide I want to spend time reliving those memories.

The problem gets worse for a hypothetical dream computer as there is no existing software, and there just wouldn't be enough people interested in creating software for it. Sure you could spend time creating another Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros. clone. Or you could just load up an emulation of the original.

Of course, it's fun to dream. Just don't expect them to come true.


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Actually a couple of times when people make FPGA cores of various old systems, I wonder why there are so few cores of brand new retro computers, ones that circumvent most of the limitations of the old times, while still staying faithful of the era it mimics.


I know about 10-15 years ago there were a couple of reconfigurable systems that you could make behave like a dream retro computer, but I never quite got into those. Today I suppose something like Pico-8 (which if I understand correctly mostly is emulated on PC's) is the closest to the fantasy platform I might be interested in.

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Thinking about it, the real distinguishing feature of older computers and consoles was the GPU, not the CPU. While the CPU could make certain operations and calculations easier or harder, the GPU dramatically impacts what is possible.


And the GPU on those older consoles and most computers was closely tied to the capabilities of a standard TV (along with what was economically viable anf technically possible for VLSI at the time.)

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