Uzebox is an AVR-based console that brings back the days of 8-bit video games.
Do you remember reading comic books while waiting for your Amiga 500 to load the latest game, or the joy you felt when slipping in your first 8-bit Nintendo cartridge? We still do, and nostalgically recall a simpler time when many of the games and hardware were easy to use, easy to understand, and most importantly, easy to mod.
As previously reported on Bits & Pieces a few years ago, Uzebox is an open-source console that brings back the minimalist days of video games. Based solely an ATmega644 and an AD725 RGB-to-NTSC/PAL encoder, it uses a split software approach where sound mixing and video signal generation are done in real-time by background tasks, enabling games to be developed in C. They have over-clocked the CPU “slightly” from 20 to 28MHz, but at room temperature, so it’s really not a big deal. Beyond that, the system supports 256 simultaneous colors and four sound channels, and has a SD card interface from which games can be loaded from.
It was the brainchild of Alec Bourque, who created it with one goal in mind: “To be as simple as possible yet have good enough sound and graphics while leaving enough resources to implement interesting games.”
During last year’s Maker Faire, we had a chance to get our hands on the console as we hit the virtual 8-bit ice for a Blades of Steel battle — it was as if we traveled right back to the ‘90s. What’s nice is that Uzebox even uses standard NES/SNES controllers.
Unless of course, you’d prefer a keyboard. That’s because Bourque has unveiled his latest project that has been in the works for quite some time: the Uzebox keyboard. The interface, which is based on the uber-mini ATtiny25, enables users to connect any PS/2 keyboard to the player 2 SNES port. With the use of SNES controller cord, the interface is so small that it can be easily embedded into an SNES plug or the keyboard itself.
Intrigued? You can check out all of Uzebox’s recent updates and games on its official website. Meanwhile, you can watch it in action below.