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MiSTer FPGA, Is this the future of retro game emulation and preservation?

For years retro gamers have been preserving older games like the Sega Genisis, SNES, Atari and more through emulation, mimicking older software to think it's running on its original hardware on newer hardware. Like running Game Boy games on your PC.

But now in recent years, there's been a new way to play retro games more accurately called FPGA.

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing – hence the term "field-programmable". The FPGA configuration is generally specified using a hardware description language (HDL), similar to that used for an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Circuit diagrams were previously used to specify the configuration, but this is increasingly rare due to the advent of electronic design automation tools.

With an FPGA it mimics the original hardware to run older software. The most recent and popular developments have been the MiSTer Project. MiSTer is an open project that aims to recreate various classic computers, game consoles, and arcade machines, using modern hardware. It allows software and game images to run as they would on original hardware, using peripherals such as mice, keyboards, joysticks, and other game controllers.

Retro gaming company based in Seattle, WA, Analogue. Has been making FPGA-based retro consoles of the SNES, Sega Genesis, and a few others. Their products have received a very well positive reception for its accuracy and performance of there products.

Another retro gaming company, Playmaji, Inc based in California has made the PolyMega retro console (not to be confused with the PolyStation clones). The difference between the PolyMega and the Analogue consoles is the PolyMega uses emulation than FPGA and emulation does have its downsides of inaccuracy but it's more easier to develop and update since emulation is software. FPGA depends on the hardware and it will cost to update and upgrade.

FPGA retro gaming as for now been focusing on classic 2D console and computer games from the '80s and '90s.  But sometime in the future, we will see FPGAs of more advanced systems like Dreamcast, Playstation, Nintendo 64, Gamecube and Xbox. It will be years before we see that, there's a video discussing a potential future replacement to the MiSTer FPGA platform to allow for larger and more performance-intensive FPGA cores to be implemented.

Ther'es an article that discusses full details of the MiSTer FPGAs. from


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