An excellent write-up. Some homebrew games made better use of the ARM7, for example Aperture Science DS runs its physics simulation code on it.
Holy shit. That game is seriously impressive
It fascinates me how restricted console CPUs were a mere 15 years ago. Compare it to e.g. the Switch today which is lightyears ahead on speed and memory.
But then I’m also too young to remember home computers with less than hundreds of Megabytes of RAM.
A few megahertz, a few kilobytes of RAM, and some clever custom sound and graphics hardware, that’s what it took to power most of the iconic games of the mid-80s to early 90s. Writing for such platforms is really incredibly instructive. “Easy” isn’t the word I would use to describe it, but it’s very uncomplicated and distraction-free.
I highly recommend this talk for more details on “custom graphics hardware”. This is a short talk that gives all the details on how a Game Boy works, and it’s super informative.
Agreed, that’s very good.
Something under-appreciated in this article is that restraint also allowed a console with two screens to get almost 20 hours of battery life on a 1000mAh cell, which seems ludicrous now.