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$12 MIT Computer Based On NES, Not Apple II

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the different-can-different-beans dept.

Education 308

ericatcw writes "The $12 computer that a bunch of designers and grad students are talking up at an MIT conference this month as a potential, cheaper alternative to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) for Third World students is actually a knockoff of the original Nintendo Entertainment System gaming console released in the mid-1980s, reports Computerworld, and confirmed in a comment by the project's spokesman, Derek Lomas. According to Lomas' account and pictures, the Victor-70 is an 8-bit NES clone that accepts its cartridges and is wholly contained in the keyboard. It is also likely to be an unlicensed clone made in China, according to Lomas, though he notes that may not matter patent-wise in the US, due to the length of time that has passed."

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308 comments

In addition... (5, Funny)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502469)

In addition, the console in a keyboard comes with a fully illustrated manual explaining the proper method of blowing into the cartridges in order to make them function properly...

Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502521)

Blowing can actually damage edge connectors of NES Game Paks and other PCBs by depositing humidity, which attracts more dust and more corrosion. I've made an illustrated guide to cleaning cartridges [pineight.com].

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503141)

Holy shit everyone already knows this mr know-it-all. That's the point of parent.

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503171)

Or use everclear and drink whatever you don't use to clean your cartridges when you're done. And then try to see how far you get in Contra after that!

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (2, Informative)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503193)

Indeed, rubbing alcohol (or, better yet, an electronics contact cleaner) would be a far better alternative to blowing into the cartridge. That said, 20 years ago when I had an NES, I didn't know that, and, besides, that's not nearly as funny...

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (4, Informative)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503481)

rubbing alcohol (or, better yet, an electronics contact cleaner)

Don't use rubbing alcohol! That will also eat away at the contacts. Use either an electronic contact cleaner or hydrogen peroxide.

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (1)

dickens (31040) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503213)

I had good luck with burnishing the contacts with plain white paper.. just abrasive enough, once alcohol didn't seem to be helping.

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (1)

juiceboxfan (990017) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503249)

The problem with using rubbing alcohol to clean contacts is that it removes not just dirt but also any protective lubricating film.

Substituting contact cleaner for the alcohol would be a better method. The contact cleaner removes dirt and leaves a film that will reduce wear and tear on both the cart and the system.

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503519)

Damage? the NES cartridges?
Yeah, that might be cause for worry, except that the dang things are frickin indestructible.

You can chuck the thing out of an airborne craft and it's more likely to survive and work than whatever it hits.

Re:Don't blow. Use rubbing alcohol. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503581)

I've always found the best tool for cleaning an edge connector is just a simple pencil eraser.

Re:In addition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502989)

which is still better than buying AppleCare and taking it to an Apple store for a genius to, er, blow.

Re:In addition... (5, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503521)

What's funny is the NES is the only console I recall having this problem. They must have used a lousy socket in the actual NES unit. (the carts just have regular edge connectors like any other gaming system uses)

They had that weird "push the cartridge in, then lock it down" setup, rather than the simple friction method used by other consoles. Friction has this added benefit of wiping the cruft off contacts as you push the cart in, which I'm betting the NES didn't do as well, causing the problems.

In fact, one of the NES cart fixes I recall was pushing it down slightly so there was some friction, and squirming the cart around in the connector. ;)

Good news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502473)

Now we can teach children in developing countries the importance of gold coins, magic mushrooms and floating stars.

In Soviet Russia (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502491)

You play tetris on victor 70

Re:In Soviet Russia (4, Funny)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503035)

FAIL! You never play Tetris - Tetris plays YOU! Ask anybody who has spent hours on it and then have trouble adjusting to normal life without falling blocks.

Sweet!! (3, Informative)

strimpster (1074645) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502497)

Now a whole new generation of kids can have great enjoyment from the Nintendo. It's kind of like a console hand-me down of sorts lol.

According to the article it is a knock-off device that one of the students found in India on the streets for $12. Adding the Internet access and other necessary componenets most likely will not hike up the price over the OLPC.

If someone finds the company that makes those devices, I want to buy in. This could take off.

Re:Sweet!! (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502849)

Trying to get a TCP stack working on a 1.25Mhz 8 bit machine is no mean feat. I'd wager that you're likely to add more than $12 worth of parts to it before you get anything resembling a web browser (even a crappy text only one running at NTSC resolution) working, especially one that is optimized for moving a handful of sprites around the screen instead of displaying text.

Re:Sweet!! (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503017)

Apparently, it's doable [wikipedia.org].

Contiki supports per-process optional preemptive multi-threading, inter-process communication using message passing through events, as well as an optional GUI subsystem with either direct graphic support for locally connected terminals or networked virtual display with VNC or over Telnet.

A full installation of Contiki includes the following features:

  • Multitasking kernel
  • Optional per-application pre-emptive multithreading
  • Protothreads
  • TCP/IP networking
  • Windowing system and GUI
  • Networked remote display using Virtual Network Computing
  • A web browser (claimed to be the world's smallest)
  • Personal web server
  • Simple telnet client
  • Screensaver

Okay, bored now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502499)

Seriously, the IC that's been used for the "pirate" Chinese NES for the past decade costs about $0.05 to manufacture, and you can buy the systems in flea markets across the world for under $10.

Still not impressed. But, if they want to re-invent the re-invented wheel, and for more money, hey, why not?

8 bit???? (2, Interesting)

RichardDaGeek (1005495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502505)

I have to question the usefulness of a 8 bit system in terms of running modern software, as well as being a useful as a whole. I mean does anyone know a modern linux distro that runs on a 8 bit processor?

Re:8 bit???? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502555)

why would you want to run linux on it?

Re:8 bit???? (2, Interesting)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502561)

I mean does anyone know a modern linux distro that runs on a 8 bit processor?

If not, I bet there's someone who considers your question to be a challenge, and will now make one.

Re:8 bit???? (2, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502741)

If not, I bet there's someone who considers your question to be a challenge, and will now make one.

I doubt it. Eight bits made the baby Linus cry and it's why linux started on a 386 system.

Re:8 bit???? (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502841)

Unless they have spent the last ten years working on the ELKS project [sourceforge.net] and know that porting Linux to anything less than an 8088 could lead to total protonic reversal.

Then they would consider it to be quite a challenge, and would now wait for someone else to make one.

Re:8 bit???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503127)

I mean does anyone know a modern linux distro that runs on a 8 bit processor?

If not, I bet there's someone who considers your question to be a challenge, and will now make one.

an extension to rule 34?

Minix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503473)

Linux may not be doable, but Minix may be...

Re:8 bit???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502565)

I was just going to ask if it ran Linux!

Re:8 bit???? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502589)

No, but lunix [sourceforge.net] and contiki [www.sics.se] both do, and are both somewhat unix-like.

Re:8 bit???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502637)

Usefull as a whole? Never heard of embedded systems? You think they use core 2 duos in toasters? Turn in your geek card, you fail here.

Re:8 bit???? (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502753)

IINM you can scale Linux to run on anything from a supercomputer to a wristwatch. When you get down to the level of the bare silicone, there's nothing you can do in 16 bits that you can't do (albeit a lot slower) in eight bits.

Re:8 bit???? (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503095)

There are things you can do with an MMU that you can't do without one, as long as you do not intend to emulate the whole userspace instruction set. Of course you can port some kind of Linux to an environment with no virtual memory and no memory protection, but it will have all the glory of Win32s.

Do uC what iC? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503275)

Of course you can port some kind of Linux to an environment with no virtual memory and no memory protection, but it will have all the glory of Win32s.

But sometimes, all the glory of Win32s is all the glory you need. See also uClinux.

Re:8 bit???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503501)

When you get down to the level of the bare silicone, there's nothing you can do in 16 bits that you can't do (albeit a lot slower) in eight bits.

So linux can run on tits too?

Could be made cheaper.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502509)

If they replaced the massive NES slot with an SD card slot. Also, think how many games, I mean business applications, you could fit on one SD card.

Re:Could be made cheaper.. (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502651)

If they replaced the massive NES slot with an SD card slot. Also, think how much porn, I mean business applications, you could fit on one SD card.

We all know that's you really meant, no need to deny.

At that price... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502525)

It costs less than my abacus!

Why Bother? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502543)

You can get 16 bit chips in graphical calculators now.

BIOS.... (4, Funny)

tsvk (624784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502563)

BIOS error, keypad not detected.

Press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, A, B, Start to continue.

Re:BIOS.... (4, Informative)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502767)

it's Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A.

Re:BIOS.... (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503111)

Wow you kids don't know jack.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, select, start.

Yo Grark

Re:BIOS.... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503251)

You don't need the "select" unless you have two players.

Re:BIOS.... (1)

FornaxChemica (968594) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503373)

Relic of the Future got it right [wikipedia.org]. You get the confirmation sound after pressing A. You guys haven't played Contra/Probotector enough, and don't tell you didn't need the 30 lives !

Re:BIOS.... (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503391)

Wow you kids don't know jack.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, select, start.

Select was only necessary to shift into two player mode.

Re:BIOS.... (2, Informative)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503465)

Not only that, but the Konami code for Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (some of you may know it from the Xbox360 Arcade) was "B A B A Up Down B A Left Right B A Start".

Re:BIOS.... (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503549)

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, select, start.

Nope. The code ends at "A" The "start"/"select, start" bit is just where you're telling the game to start a 1 or 2 player game now that you've put in the damn code. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] FTW!

Re:BIOS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503381)

No...you're both wrong

it's Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

Re:BIOS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502769)

it was B A B A, not A B A B.

konami code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503255)

has variations [wikipedia.org], which include adding SELECT and another B, A or A, B to the end, and several other minor tweaks...

This is not a "$12 computer". (0, Flamebait)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502625)

This isn't a "$12 computer", this is a "$12 game console".

That's not even a new idea. I've seen cheap old-school console knockoffs at grocery stores for that kind of price range.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:This is not a "$12 computer". (5, Interesting)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503013)

Well, strictly speaking, by definition a $12 game console is a $12 computer as well.

It may be all very ho-hum for you with your GHz PC and internet connection, but I think it's interesting. It has :

- Keyboard (important step up from the traditional game console of old).
- Known / Familiar hardware, being a NES clone.
- TV-out, which means that any low-income family that has a TV, can get a relatively cheap computer.

Combine that with a decent software cartridge with :
- Word processor
- Spreadsheet
- Good kids educational software
- BASIC (or Pascal,if you're feeling sadistic. The logical steps/sequence in programming apply across all programming languages.)
- A few MB of flash ram for storage of docs,etc
- File manager / DOS of some sort.
- A port or two would be nice for a printer/modem, but it's probably pushing it.

annnnnd with all that you're suddenly on par with the IBM PC-XT of 25 years ago, and it helped revolutionise personal/business computers then.

So, seeing that the hardware's done, all MIT has to do is come up with a NES cartridge with decent software. Seems doable.

Re:This is not a "$12 computer". (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503311)

Well, strictly speaking, by definition a $12 game console is a $12 computer as well.

Try telling that to a Web-TV user. He gets email and surfs the web all without needing a computer!

Re:This is not a "$12 computer". (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503067)

Totally a dumb idea as they are trying it. But it could be done and be practical.

1. Forget putting it into a keyboard. Standalone keyboards are such a commodity they are dirt cheap and by leaving it external the possibility of different layouts becomes much easier since a small outfit doesn't have to make a gadget in a dozen flavors. Plus it lets you leave out the keyboard/mouse and let people scrounge or buy a bulk lot locally.

2. Forget 8-bit. Go just a bit higher up the food chain. Admit up front that even if you avoid it on 1.0 you need a future upgrade path to a web browser and it would be best if that didn't mean tossing the entire platform and software base. Today's word is ARM.

3. Build a tiny little box with several USB ports, an S-Video (easy to adapt to composite) port, audio i/o, possibly a VGA port and depending on pricing a pair of PS/2 ports. (If the cost of adding the ports is less than the cost of two more USB + price diff on keyboard/mouse.)

4. Develop a SIMPLE Operating System for it. Linux is way too big for the sort of cheap ARM chips available today. Most modern BSDs are also probably too big. Think much smaller. UNIX used to run on small machines though so it could be POSIXish.

5. USB drives would be the software delivery method. When writing software for a machine with at best a megabyte of RAM and 2D TV graphics you can fit a boatload of software on a single 256MB flash drive.

6. Ship them with a software development environment. The oldskool machines always had BASIC available and it spawned a generation of users who, if not outright developers could at least read code and make small changes. A modern BASIC wouldn't be the worst thing to ship and there are good Free implementations available. I'm afraid a fully self hosted development environment probably isn't possible on such a limited platform but ship the cross compiler on a CD in the box or make it generally available for download.

Not all Linux is GNU/Linux (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503243)

Linux is way too big for the sort of cheap ARM chips available today.

GNU/Linux is probably too big, but that doesn't mean Linux is. DSLinux and other uClinux distributions run on ARM CPUs.

A modern BASIC wouldn't be the worst thing to ship and there are good Free implementations available. I'm afraid a fully self hosted development environment probably isn't possible on such a limited platform

Think again. There are BASIC compilers that run on a Commodore 64.

Seem R&D did not need MIT. It's on sale now! (3, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502631)

Not sure why MIT needs to get involved in anything here. This $12.50 computer is currently produced, and sold on the street in India *now*. So R&D, manufacturing, distribution and marketing is done and working.

Computer includes word processor, games, a gun for gaming, as well as BASIC.

Internet Enabled (3, Informative)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502971)

The current version can't connect to the internet. The MIT students are trying to see if they can get networking on it without going past the $12 price point.

The thing hasn't been updated in a long time so their goal is to see if there's better tech that can be put together for the same price.

Purpose of Involvement (3, Informative)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502999)

I'm not certain, but I think their plan is:

1) Select the lowest cost computer you can find.
2) Write educational software for it.
3) market the hardware+software solution to schools and poor families in developing countries.
4) Profit! but while making the world a better place too.

Re:Seem R&D did not need MIT. It's on sale now (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503029)

Who knows. Perhaps press? Some attention?

Its incredible that this is considered a viable idea. For 4 or 5x the price you can get a OLPC. I think a computer lab with 10 of these is a lot better for students than 50 students having these 8-bit beaters in their homes.

250 games in 1! (3, Insightful)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502633)

It appears that this is essentially the same setup as those dodgy Chinese handhelds loaded with a bunch of hacked and remixed NES ROMs.

So why didn't anyone else think of this before? It's perfect; put together this ultra-cheap but still highly programmable hardware with some efficiently-designed educational software, and you've got something that can, despite having a tiny fraction of the OLPC's specs, still make a big, positive impact on kids in the developing world.

If this project is managed right, it could end up doing the OLPC's mission for it and then some.

Re:250 games in 1! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503477)

At least the DTV-64 had a 'real' 64 in it. It was a FPGA implementation of one + a emulated drive with a bunch of games.

I see this just being 'yet another retro game console relived' and dying on the vine ( like it should )

What's the story? (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502645)

Step 1: Rip off 20 year old patented technology
Step 2: Cram into smaller container
Step 3: Get MIT guys to give you free press
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Profit

I mean, what's the actual deal here? Some manufacturer in China is producing a miniaturized clone of the Nintendo skipping out on the licensing fees so they can get it to market in the $12 range, MIT students/alumni are smiling at it around a table. So what exactly is MIT doing?

Is it suddenly dawning on them that if you strip all of the patent protection and licensing from a project that a $100+ chunk of electronics is only $12 worth of components, shipping and handling, and Chinese labor?

-Rick

Re:What's the story? (4, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502899)

Step 1: Rip off 20 year old patented technology

Why would you consider this a "ripoff"? Patents are granted for 20 years, with the express intention that after that period, the invention can be freely used by others.

What's bad about this?

Pirate multicart (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502993)

Why would you consider this a "ripoff"? Patents are granted for 20 years, with the express intention that after that period, the invention can be freely used by others.

Because it isn't just the patents. Looking at the Picasa album, I see that the computer appears to be bundled with a multicart containing unauthorized copies of several copyrighted Nintendo games. I'd bet it even has proprietary Tetris instead of GPL'd Tetramino [pineight.com].

Re:Pirate multicart (5, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503345)

Copyrights should only last 20 years as well. Lets all just start acting like that is the case.

Re:What's the story? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503015)

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. I just don't understand what MIT's angle on it is and why their lack of angle is note worthy. I suppose my wording was a bit on the negative side though, so I can understand where you were coming from.

-Rick

Re:What's the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503027)

Adding a networking capability.

Re:What's the story? (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503167)

You make it sound as if it was unfair.
This is the expressed goal of patents.
Nintendo had their patent monopolies, and in exchange, everybody gets to benefit from the technology today. This is a win-win situation.
Nintendo got their money, and we get our cheap systems. I don't understand why you call this "ripping off" technology.
For me, it's making the system work as it was intended.

Re:What's the story? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503297)

As I stated above, my wording was a tad more negative than intended. The majority of the Nintendo hardware patents, so far as I know, have expired, although much of the copyrights on the games and marketing distributed with that system are still standing. So the company producing the package is ripping off someone.

The question still stands though, what does any of this have to do with MIT?

-Rick

I'm disappointed! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502653)

The Apple IIe had some awesome Pac Man and Space Invaders clones that were decidedly illegal because they mimicked the arcade machines you put quarters in perfectly.

How perfectly? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502693)

The Apple IIe had some awesome Pac Man and Space Invaders clones that were decidedly illegal because they mimicked the arcade machines you put quarters in perfectly.

For one thing, companies like Atarisoft [wikipedia.org] published plenty of authorized ports of arcade games on Apple II and other 8-bit platforms. For another, how perfectly? Not every aspect is copyrightable [copyright.gov].

Re:I'm disappointed! (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503011)

because they mimicked the arcade machines you put quarters in perfectly.

And all these years I thought my quarter-putting prowess was a private performance...

What about the few machines I had trouble depositing money in?

=)

Programming (2, Interesting)

MrMunkey (1039894) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502659)

Does anyone have some links to programming tools for the Victor-70? A BASIC interpreter was mentioned in one of the articles. I know I should STFW, but I'm at work and /. has already degraded my productivity enough.

nesdev.com (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502725)

Does anyone have some links to programming tools for the Victor-70?

If it's as similar to the Famicom as people make it out to be, this web site [nesdev.com] might be useful.

MOS Technology 6502 (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502683)

Someone read/heard about the MIT guys using a 6502-based machine and assumed "Apple II", which used the original chips*. The source for the original article could've called it the 2A03 Ricoh variant used in the Famicom/NES for clarity.

* As did many a Commodore computer; other notable devices using 6502 variants/successors were the venerable C64 and the Atari 2600.
And no, I'm not a computing historian. [wikipedia.org]

Re:MOS Technology 6502 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503437)

* As did many a Commodore computer; other notable devices using 6502 variants/successors were the venerable C64 and the Atari 2600.

The C64 used a 6510 (a variant of the of the 6502.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64 [wikipedia.org]

Why Bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502727)

Older TI calculators have 16 bit 68020 class processors in them. I don't see the point of recreating the limits of the past with new silicon.

Right...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24502905)

because all of the 'developing, third-world' kids have a color TV set available to them for a monitor.

Oh, and a functioning power grid.

See, the OLPC is good because it works All By Itself when issued with a human powered generator.

Is there a 'missingthepoint' tag available?

patents vs. copyrights (3, Interesting)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502909)

patents may expire in 20 years, but copyrights don't.

i'm sure the NES had some sort of firmware on the console that's still covered by copyrights. this would make the work a little harder. the creators of this thingie would have to first develop their own firmware, right ?

What firmware? (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502957)

i'm sure the NES had some sort of firmware on the console that's still covered by copyrights.

Citation needed. The only copyrighted ROM inside an NES console that anyone on nesdev.com knows about is the ROM in the CIC lockout chip, and the Famicom didn't even have that.

Re:patents vs. copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24503323)

There is not. All code resides on the cartridges save some of the anti-piracy stuff that wouldn't need to be included anyway.

Saw one of the laptops (2, Interesting)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24502911)

Crap, I saw the laptop mentioned (http://revolv.in/2008/02/15-laptop-seen-in-mumbai.html) in a small rural market in Mexico next to a bunch of pirated DVDs. Thought that due to the location and price (I think it was 30 dollars) that it had to be a gimic like a screen that was nothing but a sticker. If I would have know that something like this exists I would have checked it out more.

Anyone have information on the "Victor-70" ? (2, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503273)

I haven't heard of this before. Sounds interesting, a 3rd party clone to run my old NES cartridges. I searched for "Victor-70" and got some guy's myspace page - I'm guessing even if he's offering NES games, I don't want anything of it.

12? You're paying too much (2, Informative)

orb_nsc (819661) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503335)

I actually have one of these...I bought a Famiclone when in the Philippines earlier this year. It was housed in what looked like a PC keyboard (which worked) and came with a Famicom game slot in the top, two game pads, a light gun and a mouse. The included game cartridge had a few ripped off NES games as well as a BASIC compiler and a word processing program (which seems useless considering the fact there is no way to print) and some educational stuff that used the mouse. It was called the "HUG New Educational Computer 2003" and comes in a box with an attractive Asian model holding it. The actual unit is made from the cheapest, most brittle plastic imaginable, but it works. I paid the peso equivalent of $10. I left the lightgun in the Philippines though because it was cheap plastic it looked identical to an Uzi, and I didn't want anything like that in my luggage.

Re:12? You're paying too much (1)

orb_nsc (819661) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503425)

Whoa, I just saw the Picassa images and that is the EXACT famiclone that I bought, though the light gun was different. Same software on the cart as well. If you're ever at Gaisano Mall in Davao City, Philippines, you can pick one up for yourself. (They're probably available at many more dodgy retailers across Asia though)

gotta love the pistol controller ... (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503343)

That pistol controller in the box (first picture) must be great for Al Quaida's version of "educational" games like America's Army etc. ...

Family Basic V3 (2, Informative)

FornaxChemica (968594) | more than 5 years ago | (#24503507)

The paradox here is that the Famicom (NES) was so ahead of its time there was already in early 1985 a Basic language program sold by Nintendo in Japan, ãfããfYãfãf¼ãf(TM)ãf¼ããffãï¼ï¼" (Family Basic V3). So it was in a way a computer well before MIT students thought this up.
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