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What is FPGA Gaming?
Emulating video game consoles via software has been a popular way to enjoy retro gaming for some time now, but the method does have issues like buggy games or distorted audio. It’s difficult to properly imitate hardware using software, but this is where field-programmable gate array (FPGA) emulation comes into play.
FPGA Explained
FPGA is a type of chip called an integrated circuit, which uses programmable logic blocks that can be altered as needed. This allows for the chip to be programmed to recreate the hardware circuitry of classic game consoles, making for a more true-to-life version.
MiSTer is an open-source project for retro gaming fans and FPGA hobbyists alike to come together and create reproductions of classic gaming hardware, including everything from consoles to arcade boards. Depending if gamers put it together themselves or buy it pre-configured, MiSTer will cost $320 or $615, respectively.
Worth It?
The amount of money required to just get started with FPGA is staggeringly high, especially since software emulation is available for free. FPGA may not be for those gamers who are just starting out, but for die-hard video game emulation hobbyists, it is a great way to do it, assuming they can afford the steep price tag.