PDP-1 in FPGA plays first video game

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PDP-1 in FPGA plays first video game

Post by hrvoje » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:52 pm

Hello everyone,

Sorry if this isn't the appropriate place to post. I would just like to share a hobby (strictly non-commercial) project of mine in case you might find it interesting.

It's a FPGA re-creation of DEC PDP-1, one of the very first minicomputers made. It's also the machine which ran the very first computer game, Spacewar!

The original game code runs with output to a HDMI connected display, and also features teletype, paper tape and console emulation. It can also play music, making it one of the first machines to do that.

Feel free to check it out, all code is open-source.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iymD9eysqXo
Playing music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROPyR-tV7A4



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Re: PDP-1 in FPGA plays first video game

Post by Antiriad2097 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:29 am

Interesting project, for the historical preservation aspect if nothing else.

They had a PDP-1 when I went to see the Game On exhibition years ago (the one that started at the Barbican). Iirc, it was just a physical exhibit and the game was emulated on a PC beside it.

Spacewar is a surprisingly advanced game for the time.
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Re: PDP-1 in FPGA plays first video game

Post by Matt_B » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:11 am

Nice bit of work there.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View California has the only working PDP-1 in the world, and you can get a pretty good idea of why it's the only one when you see how they were built.

Their design pre-dates the integrated circuit by a few years, so everything is put together from individual electronic components - diodes, transistors, resistors, etc. - mounted on hundreds of logic boards. And it only takes one of them to blow to render the board its on useless and in need of replacement before it's operable again.

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