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astral cat

I spotted this on famicom world forum and though you guys might find it interesting! I think it's a cool idea smile

As you may know, Famiclones are everywhere in the developing world--and tons of them are tricked out with keyboards. Furthermore, since the patents have expired, these devices are now (mostly) legal!   The devices are often sold as "educational computers" and typically come with BASIC programming and multi-carts.

Do you know about playpower.org? We're trying to support the open-source community that makes new 8-bit games... and then build relationships with the clone manufacturers...  give the games away to the manufactures, so that the new games will be bundled with the clones... which means that the games would end up in the hands of millions of low-income kids every year.  That's the goal, anyway!

This 5 minute video explains it all...  http://poptech.org/popcasts/derek_lomas … urce_games

In the process, we are trying to re-imagine world cultures through an 8-bit lens. Like our 8-bit learning games based on Hindu Mythology.  Seriously, Hanuman makes a great game character.  http://poptech.org/blog/educational_gam … dent_teams

Last december, we hosted a workshop in Hyderabad India.  Our next workshop is in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  As part of this, we've made a bunch of programming tutorials available at wiki.playpower.org, if you want to help make games/graphics/music.  And we have a volunteer site at volunteers.playpower.org

We'd be really open to any ideas or suggestions that you guys have...

Any personal experiences with clones?  Met anyone who has learned BASIC from the keyboard clones?  Game suggestions?  Or maybe you think we are sick and twisted for promoting 8-bit computers to low-income kids...  I'd love to know what you think.

Cheers,
[email protected]

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East Kilbride, Scotland

That is great. It's easy to forget that there are still computers out there we all haven't had the chance to play with yet. It sounds like a great idea, and a good opportunity for some widespread exposure in the developing world.

Thanks for posting this Tom.

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this is a very cool project.
the wiki is a bit sparse, but i learned something.
i had no idea there was a c compiler for the NES
or a set of c libs for NES dev. very cool.
thanx for posting!

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Minneapolis

Yeah, sounds cool. I have seen this before. I like how they're interested in leveraging these machines for low-end computing devices. I just think of how, in the US, a "cheap" computer is maybe $400 or so. But a 65c02 computer is going to be less than $10 if you do it right. However, in order for these kinds of platforms to be useful for learning, it will need the following things:

-Storage medium with easily available, swappable storage. In this way, storage can be cheap and a "sneaker net" can be established. Removable media like floppies is a MUST HAVE item for places where the internet isn't available.
-Built in programming language, and an easy one at that. BASIC would fit the bill.
-Easy to understand manuals for programming the thing: I'm thinking like the beginner-styled manuals that came with every Apple II computer
-The ability to run off batteries and not just AC (for areas where wall power isn't available)
-Hardware expansion capabilities. Especially DIY friendly ones. So you can have things like printers, extra RAM, etc. So that these machines aren't so crippled, and will be usable for things other than educational videogames. Think not just of the children, but the impoverished adults who would like a computer for doing WORK.

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FYI: No Carrier is a tech consultant on this project.

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astral cat
herr_prof wrote:

FYI: No Carrier is a tech consultant on this project.

oh wow, that's awesome smile

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@arfink i agreed with everything yew said except....

arfink wrote:

-The ability to run off batteries and not just AC (for areas where wall power isn't available)

while this is a good idea,
i feel is unnecessary since the computer uses a TV as a monitor.
and those almost HAVE to have AC power.

i think im gonna donate to this project.
it seems like a great cause!

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Minneapolis

True, I suppose you have a point there. Adding a monochrome LCD could solve that problem. Something which I would think of as an ideal third world computer would be something like the Tandy 102- cheap, portable, battery operated, expandable, comes with BASIC, rugged design. It wasn't cheap back in "the day" but it could certainly be made so today.

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Camden, London

This is great.... but..... I think computer games delayed my career a little bit as opposed to help it out haha

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Brazil

WTF? The next workshop is here in São Paulo? Holy shit, need to check this out! Specially for the music part.

Here we still have a nes clone selling called dynavision (the latest version I saw had wireless controllers).

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San Francisco

aaaaawwww man this looks awesome. i will be checking this out.

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

*Initiates slow clap*

Glad to see reverse engineering and console cloning being used for the betterment of mankind!