I’ve been helping with the case design of a new product called the Gameport. (I also named it.) Basically it’s a portable, multi-system emulator which you load games onto via a USB port, kind of like a digital camera in reverse. Currently it runs Atari 2600 and Colecovision cores, and other systems are possible through software upgrades. Currently the size is 3.5″ x 5″ x 1″, the final product will probably be a bit smaller on the X-Y and not as thick.
Concept art of final product – with texture!
For more information and details please visit the main page using the link below. Also note that I am just doing the case design, so please direct questions and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
78 thoughts on “Port your games around with the Gameport”
Looks nice Ben. Although Gameboy/Gameboy Color Emulation is a must!!! (They are *retro* in my book lol)
Holy crap, so YOU where working on this as well!
This looks very cool; any idea when it is available? or the price? I have been waiting for something like that for a long time!
hah i agree, also adding a fourth button would allow possible snes emulators aswell
why not just get a gp2x? it already does emulate all retro systems!
what is the target price for this? hope its not over 20 dollars.
nice! imagine, every 2600 game in your pocket in a case designed by Benjamin J Heckendorn.
It’s looking great! Keep up the good work.
I’d love to get my paws on one a little closer to launch.
one question why get that when you could get a PSP or gp2x and get all this other crap on it.
Well, for starters, this would be easier to get running. I must admit, the GP2x is cool, but very expensive and not the most user friendly guy on the block. That said, I have no problems with the GP2x, and I would only buy this if it would cost less that the GP2x by a considerable amount.
I’m getting a Flashback 2 Portable, myself. Hopefully, this doesn’t knock the F2P out before it gets to production.
If this can’t do SNES, it’s not worth buying no matter how cheap it is.
LSK, what are you 5?
Great idea, but what is with the button placement? And if you are going to do 2600 emulation, why not try and get a paddle in there somehow? I also hope that this thing can do homebrew games, because that would just make it even cooler!
Hmmm. Interesting. I already own a GP2X, but if this is cheap enough (Not as low as 20 dollars, though. Be realistic!) I’d definitely consider it. The GP2X has a lot of inherent dangers involved in the way that if you’re not a technical-minded person, you can easily make things go awry with it. Also, even though it DOES have TV out, it’s not always easy to get up and running. I love it, but I’d love to have a machine that does the emulation and TV out without too much fuss.
Colour me intrigued!
So where is the limit to its abilities? Where does the line get drawn? At NES? SNES?
No, but I’m still annoyed that Earthbound and Chrono Cross didn’t get their deserved GBA re-releases.
Nothing can replace my portable Atari 2600 (once Ben sends it to me) but this looks very cool and if it can ever do Atari 7800 games than that makes it all the cooler. However I agree with with the person ablove…I want a Flashback 2 portable and I hope this doesn’t stop that from happening.
On their website they say it can do SNES and Atari 7800
I don’t see the point of the F2P, if this one does the same and more ?!?
I don’t see the point in getting a F2P if this one does the same and more ?!?
I don’t see the point of the F2P if the gameport does other consoles as well and while the F2P looks cool, this one has Ben working on it! if you look at their cheesy video, it can play music too, but I haven’t seen anything about it on their web site.
hardware dedicated to the task or generic hardware with a crude emulator. wow sounds like f2p will win hands down.
Will it be just MSX 1 or can it handle MSX2 games? I would love to play Metal Gear or Space Manbow. If not, that is fine too. Still have the ever-awesome Gradius games for the MSX. And PENGUIN ADVENTURE!
Werejag, did you actually read anything about the Gameport before bashing it?
It does not use “a crude emulator.” It uses a gate array (probably FPGA) that is reconfigured depending on the system one wishes to run. Once the FPGA is programmed, it IS dedicated hardware until it is reprogrammed.
A lot of limited-run industrial hardware is actually just implemented on an FPGA for the final product.
The audio system is sure to be a little more complicated and harder to recreate, though.
LSk, good point though Earthbound did get relased in a combo cart that had mother 1+2 on it. But I would be cool with just up to nes since a portable like that doesnt lend its self to the snes controller layout very well
I really would like to to play NES and SNES games they are a MUST! If it doesn’t i don’t think ill buy it.
Great job ben. I will buy it when it come out
there more about it there http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=107755
Wether or not it will end up being able to emulate the more sophisticated consoles likeSNES would come down to the FPGA used (Spartan 3?) and how Nintendo feel about that now that they are re-selling older titles on the Wii network?
At least the GP2X tries to pretend to be a “portable media player”.
I have doubts this thing will fly.
Not to hack on Ben, but the case design is a bit; “el-cheepo, hong-kong knock-off, toyish”. This crit’ comes from a professional product designer, others may be more than satisfied? Ben shouldve been a bit more adventurous like some of his earlier “retro” designs, more brushed ally! I suspect your average schmuck seeing it in a s-mart is going to value it at US$20 or less.
This looks like an interesting product. It looks too much like a GameBoy, though. Making it black would be a quick way to make it look better. A controller port would be nice, too.
I think this will fly. But, a long go-round with some courts may happen. It’ll win on the “mp3 player ticket” – that is, the player itself isn’t breaking any laws. The user may be breaking the law by having illegal ROMS on it, but that’s the same as having an mp3 player with unlawfully downloaded mp3’s on it. An mp3 player is only designed to play music. Storing illegal music on it is the user’s fault, not the manufacturer’s.
Say I own CD. So, I put a song from it on my mp3 player. I also own Super Mario Bros 3 for the NES. How is putting a ROM of this on a Gameport any different?
All in all, this is a really cool idea. Finding quality ROMS, on the other hand, can be difficult. The same bunch of glitched-up of NES games have been circulating for years.
…please, please don’t ask where to find ROMS…
This is really cool… sorta…
I think the case design looks way to much like a Gameboy. But I’m glad some kind of company is trying to make a handheld console that’ll play old consoles.
I don’t think I’ll get one though… It’s way to much fun building these things. But….
If they’re next one can do 16bit games… That might be a different story!
While I love what he does, Ben Heck really needs to take a few lessons in industrial design. That thing is ugly as hell.
LOL! Yeah, “Form follows function” then continues on to; boring, uninspired and cheap.
Well, I think it’s design is just OK. The button layout looks like they ripped off a piece of the gamecube controller, and glued it into a GB case. However, it’s still in design, and my guess is that if the first one does OK they will make another run with a better look and maybe more functionality.
I’m very interested in this, but the button lay-out is bad for anyone who likes to the ability to hold one button with their thumb (say, a run button) while hitting another one with the same thumb (say, a jump button). For such a technically interesting product, I wish there was a better button layout, and am surprised nobody else has mentioned this.
Other big gripe : no support for the Atari 5200. I’m not a technically minded guy so maybe that was impossible? Either way, it’d be cool to play Adventure II on the go.
Don’t worry about the case design. After reading all of this I’m sure he’ll make some changes.
Come on give the guy a break it’s just a prototype for crying out loud!
This is probably the most awesome thing I have ever seen. However, it seems to lack a few things.
I agree with a lot of people who already said it needs four buttons for SNES games. Those people have seemed to forgotten that the SNES had shoulder buttons, too.
Don’t forget, too, that several Genesis games used a six button pad.
If this system simply isn’t powerful enough to emulate the SNES or the Genesis, than all that is moot anyway. This seems likely since there is no mention of the SNES or Genesis on the web site you linked to.
I can honestly say I am not interested if it won’t play my 16-bit games.
This is an incredible project and I really hope it gets off the ground. I would love to see Atari 5200 and Commodore 64 support added especially. Absolutely terrific device! Keep the information and updates coming.
I’m already geared up to get one of these. I told them I’d even pay $500-$800 for a decent prototype I can betatest.
Reading through the forums, they listed the price as $50 direct online, $75 for retail stores. Keep in mind this is the wholesale price, BEFORE markup (they said they’d be willing to give discounts for bulk orders).
For this reason, I think it’s safe to say that when these things are available, they’ll be WAY cheaper than a PSP or GP2X, depending on the markup.
As an interesting note, they also said in the forums that it will be able to handle a SNES, but not a Genesis, because the 68k (the Motorola MC68000 processor in the Genesis) would use up too many gates.
I’m sure there will be restrictions though. The three button issue isn’t so bad, because most SNES games didn’t use all four buttons (often X and Y did the same thing). They probably also won’t be able to simulate many games, because the SNES supported co-processors in the cartridges (the most famous of which is probably the SuperFX, but there were tons of others that weren’t marketed to consumers). I doubt they’d be able to shove any of those into the FPGA too, but who knows.
The post where they say the SNES will be supported is here: http://gameport.tv/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8
They also note that the Genesis might be possible with clever trickery, and since the platform is completely open and anybody can implement new systems, it’s possible that some enterprising designer may implement a Genesis.
Gah, I posted too soon, I missed a forum post that stated the following:
“The final case is inspired by the nintendo game&watch; there is a 4 directions cross on the left, 4 rubber buttons (placed like a d-pad) on the right and two triggers.”
So all the designs shown so far are non-final, and the final device will have the exact number of controls needed for SNES input.
I can already emulate all those systems and more on my GP2X, giving me handheld C64, Amiga, ST MD/Genesis, Snes, NEO-GEO, MAME, most 8bit consoles and even some 32bit ones to a limited degree; GBA, PSX…
For me its a case of, why bother with this toy?
What happened to the Gameport website? Is this project dead?
gameport.tv says it’s merged with wanga.tv – which is (as of now – July 31, 2008 – 4:30PM Central) a Drupal “You need to set this website up!” page.
no gameports huh?
I want a gp2x for xmas ! 🙂