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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Put Your Homebrews on Cartridges

Start your own homebrew retro-game assembly line.

So you’ve developed your own homebrew game for the Atari 2600 [Hack #75] or maybe another classic system. You’ve probably spent a significant amount time developing your game by using an emulator. Frankly, though, nothing beats the sight and sound of the real thing, and you’d be hardpressed to sell just your ROM file through digital distribution. It’s time to bestow that game of yours to the world in a real, physical cartridge, and fortunately for you, it isn’t all that difficult to do!

Before I begin, here are some definitions you should know:

ROM (Read Only Memory)

A generic term used to describe the program file, or the physical chip the program file is stored on. The ROM chips in game cartridges are usually mask ROMs, the programming for which was stored as a result of the manufacturing process. Mask ROMs cannot be erased or reprogrammed.

PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory)

A ROM chip that can be programmed to hold data. PROMs are available in many different sizes and configurations.

EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory)

A ROM chip that can be erased with UV light and reprogrammed many times. An EPROM will have a clear window in the center, usually covered with a sticker or label to protect from accidental erasure.

EEPROM (Electronically Erasable, Programmable Read Only Memory)

A ROM chip that can be erased and programmed electronically. An EEPROM might store high-score data or other data persistent ...

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