C3Subtitles: 33c3: The Ultimate Game Boy Talk

The Ultimate Game Boy Talk

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Video duration
The 8-bit Game Boy was sold between 1989 and 2003, but its architecture more closely resembles machines from the early 1980s, like the Commodore 64 or the NES. This talk attempts to communicate "everything about the Game Boy" to the listener, including its internals and quirks, as well as the tricks that have been used by games and modern demos, reviving once more the spirit of times when programmers counted clock cycles and hardware limitations were seen as a challenge.

The Nintendo Game Boy was an 8-bit handheld gaming console that competed with the SEGA Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. Compared to its competition, it had very little RAM (8 KB) and no color support (4 shades of gray at 160x144). It was succeeded by the Game Boy Color, which fixed this main shortcoming, but shared the same architecture. During the 14 year life span of the 8 bit Game Boy platform, game programmers kept understanding the hardware better and better, and continued finding new tricks for better graphics effects, such as sprite multiplexing, parallax and palette effects. This talk explains all the hardware details of the Game Boy: The programming model of the 8080/Z80-like LR35902 CPU, the system's sound, timer and I/O functionality, and programming details as well as common tricks involving the graphics processor ("PPU"), which was specifically designed for LCD output. The listener will get a good understanding of 8 bit programming and creative programming on extremely limited hardware, as well as common tricks that can be generalized to other systems.

Talk ID
Saal 1
4 p.m.
Hardware & Making
Type of
Michael Steil

Talk & Speaker speed statistics

Very rough underestimation:
4.9 wpm
26.2 spm
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English: Transcribed until

Last revision: 1 year, 11 months ago

Talk & Speaker speed statistics with word clouds

Whole talk:
4.9 wpm
26.2 spm