Tue May 16 2023
The Modder Brothers by Recalbox crowdfunding project is coming to an end. The minimum goal of 6000€ to help us has been reached, but it's not over yet, any additional help will allow us to do even better. You still have 3 days to participate in this campaign.
ModderBrothers by Recalbox is a range of accessories for repairing and modding (modifying) your retro computers and consoles. ModderBrothers by Recalbox aims to offer you a maximum of existing mods (available in open source/open hardware of course) but also original and innovative ones, created and assembled by enthusiasts, uncompromising on quality!
All the original mods created will have their plans, schematics and sources made public and free, to facilitate their accessibility, under an OpenHardware license.
By supporting us through this fundraising campaign, you will give us the possibility to create these first models, but also to consider developing many new innovative products, such as new composite and RGB mods, Action Replay type cartridges for ZX-Spectrum and C64/C128, flashcards for several consoles, memory extensions or even memory replacement cards to repair and give life back to your old computers... The list of projects is already long!
We have thought of you for that too. We have added to our campaign the possibility to receive a set of 4 "Versus" coasters (reversible) made in PCB for 20€ (+ shipping costs).
This funding is just the beginning, we plan to open a permanent shop to make these mods available at attractive prices, and others that we are already developing.
We already have more than a dozen new mods in R&D, and we're exploring new possibilities every day. We'd need 72-hour days to show you everything!
At the end of the campaign and once all the rewards have been sent in, the shop will open its doors with a maximum of stock and different mods.
You can find more details and participate in the funding on the project Kickstarter page.
For non-English speakers, we have also put on our official website a French translation of the Kickstarter page.
Fri Apr 07 2023
Emulation in a general way is the fact of recreating the behaviour of a specific hardware (e.g. a video game console) by transcribing its functioning to run the games (or programs) developed for this hardware, on another type of hardware initially not compatible (e.g. a computer, a smartphone).
Emulation will often try to reproduce as closely as possible the original behaviour in a more or less successful way. It may slow down the game if it lacks power or requires optimisation, but it can also improve the result, for example by improving the fluidity of a game or its graphic quality for a more modern and pleasant rendering.
This emulation can be done in two ways, software emulation and hardware emulation.
This is the most common form of emulation. In this case, a program (an emulator) will be developed, which will transcribe the behaviour of the original hardware into a language that your computer can understand.
This is what is found in Recalbox, all versions, on all media (Rapsberry Pi, PC, Odroid, etc.).
But it can be found in other contexts. If we stay in the field of video games, for example, on the Nintendo Switch Online service, which includes access to old games, these run on emulators developed for the Nintendo Switch. This is also what Sony uses to run older generation games (notably ps1 and ps2) on their newer consoles.
This form is much less common because the hardware required is expensive, and the work to develop an emulator is more complex than software emulation.
Developers usually rely on FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) which are chips containing programmable logic, which are programmed to behave exactly like the original hardware.
This is what is found in the DE10-Nano board (a small board like a Raspberry Pi but including an FPGA) which is used as part of the MiSTer FPGA system for console emulation.
As you will have understood, emulators will try to recreate the behaviour of the original hardware as well as possible. Depending on who develops it, several sources of information are used to create and improve these emulators. There are two main cases.
One can rely, if one has access to it, on the architecture documentation of the original hardware. The disadvantage in general is that these documents are rarely public and therefore often the only ones who can use them are the manufacturers of the original hardware. It is however the easiest way to replicate the original behaviour.
This is what is usually used by manufacturers like Nintendo in their emulators. This statement is not always true depending on the manufacturer and the documentation they have left from the time.
It sometimes happens that some of these architecture documents leak and end up on the internet, against the will of the manufacturer. Emulators available to the general public on the internet, such as those present in Recalbox, do not rely on this information, as there is a high risk of being illegal due to the fact that they are stolen documents.
This is the case that we will encounter on Recalbox and on all emulators developed by individuals or teams of enthusiasts, without the agreement of the original hardware manufacturer.
For the development of the emulator, the developers will do what is called retro engineering and will therefore simply rely on what is publicly available, mainly the original hardware, and sometimes its software (firmware or bios) which may have been extracted from the hardware.
This involves analysing this to deduce the behaviour, both at the hardware and software level. This may sometimes involve completely dismantling the original hardware, or occasionally even destroying certain chips in a controlled manner to observe them in detail.
The legality of emulation will depend on the laws of the country you are in.
For example, in Japan, the laws are very protective of manufacturers in this aspect and emulation of old video game consoles is totally forbidden (apart from the one proposed by the manufacturers), and all Japanese youtubers and streamers for example have to play only on original hardware.
In many other countries, like France or the United States, emulation is often legal, and the usage of roms will be conditioned to the different laws, or if the copyright owner has given you the authorization to use it (sometimes with payment).
This will be the case for the games included in Recalbox for free, for which the authors have kindly authorized us to redistribute them. You can find the list of these games at this address
Sometimes manufacturers even use what has been developed by the community in terms of emulation, such as Sony and its Playstation mini, which itself uses an open source emulator: PCSX ReARMed.
The bios is a firmware that corresponds to the software loaded on the hardware and allowing the console to operate. The bios is generally a proprietary software of the hardware manufacturer and cannot be provided with the emulator publicly if it is necessary.
Some of these bios are freely accessible, such as those included in Recalbox, and the others remain private data and it will be up to you to extract them from the original hardware.
However, they are not always necessary for the emulators to work properly, some developers have succeeded in reproducing their behaviour in the emulator's code, always by reverse engineering.
A ROM (Read Only Memory) is the program containing the game you wish to play. It is necessary to play the game via an emulator. It can either be extracted from the original media (cartridge, disk, etc.), or be read directly by the emulator, provided you have the right equipment.
For those of you who retrieve roms from the internet, you should know that, depending on the extraction method used, the roms are not always a perfect image of the original media, and therefore the quality of the emulation may be impacted or not work at all with some poor quality roms. Some roms have also been modified by teams of dumpers (those who extract the roms to publish them) to insert their signature in the code or even add an additional intro to the game.
Some groups of enthusiasts have also set themselves the goal of developing methods to extract roms from the original media, without altering the content, in order to help preserve these old games, and the video game heritage more broadly, and to catalogue them.
For example, the no-intro group started this project because of the dumpers who were adding intro to cartridge games (hence the name of the group).
More information about these groups can be found in our wiki at this address.
Emulation of a system is rarely perfect because you are trying to reproduce the behaviour of the original hardware on a completely different hardware. Some emulators have greatly improved in quality over the years of development to have a rendering extremely close to the original, especially for emulators of consoles dating from the 16-bit and previous generations.
However, some hardware being more complex from a hardware architecture point of view, and also more recent, for example the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64, the work for the developers is more consequent to arrive at a result close to the original.
Below, for example, on the left is an image taken directly from a Nintendo 64 and on the right is an image of the first public version of the Nintendo 64 emulator for the Switch, on the game Zelda: Ocarina of time, you can clearly see the difference in the treatment of the fog and the rendering of the water.
Lesser known or less popular consoles are also often less well emulated because fewer people are looking at them.
It may therefore sometimes be necessary to use different emulators for the same console depending on the game you are playing in order to have better compatibility.
Recalbox relies of course on these emulators to integrate the consoles, some of them are even developed by members of our community or our developers.
To integrate an emulator (or core) in Recalbox, we impose some rules on ourselves. The emulators we integrate must be open source, just like Recalbox is, and we only add to Recalbox consoles whose commercial life is over. Finally, we only integrate an emulator if its overall performance is correct for retrogaming in good conditions.
For the same console, you will often see several cores appearing, which we make available to you in order to increase the chances of finding the one that will make your favourite games run as closely as possible to how they run on original hardware.
The world of emulation being in constant development, Recalbox's mission is to test and offer you the latest versions of the best emulators.
Wed Mar 22 2023
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES (Super Famicom in Japan), is a 16-bit generation console designed by the Japanese company Nintendo. Released in 1990 in Japan, 1991 in North America and 1992 in Europe, it is the replacement for the aging NES, which was beginning to lose market share to Sega's Megadrive released 2 years earlier.
The SNES was very popular and sold over 49 million units worldwide. It introduced many technical improvements over the NES, including more detailed graphics and a wider colour palette, the well known Mode 7 which allows sprites to be rotated and zoomed.
The console also introduced new game genres, including JRPGs which were exported, and horizontal scrolling racing games.
The SNES was launched with titles such as Super Mario World, F-Zero and Pilotwings, all of which were major commercial successes. Other popular games for the console include The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country and Chrono Trigger.
The SNES was also the first console to include online gaming capabilities, thanks to the Satellaview network gaming system, which was launched in Japan in 1995.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) came with a standard controller that has four action buttons, a directional pad, L and R buttons and Start and Select buttons. The SNES standard controller was designed to provide precise and intuitive control for games. It was so innovative that it is often used as a reference when talking about retrogaming. Two versions of the controller exist, with only the colour of the buttons changing to match the local colours of the console.
As a successor to the NES zapper, we also find the Super Scope, which is a little larger and sits on the player's shoulder. Only a dozen games have been developed for this accessory.
There was also the Super Advantage arcade stick, which allowed you to experience the arcade feeling on your SNES.
The Super Nintendo Mouse was originally created for the Mario Paint game but over 60 games are also compatible with it. Most of them, however, were exclusive to Japan.
Other controllers have been released by Nintendo (including a wireless controller) or under official license, but are less common.
The console has undergone several revisions over its lifetime, mainly to reduce the cost of production.
The original SNES was produced in several versions, notably the shell was different for North America. Several revisions of the motherboard were made to reduce the size and cost of production. The best known of these revisions in retrogaming circles is the so-called SNES One-Chip (or SNES-1C), which combines the previously separate CPU, PPU1 and PPU2 on the same chip. It is known to output the best video signal, as well as natively generating an RGB signal (if the right cable is used).
The SNES Jr. (Super Famicom Jr.) came later, released only in Japan (1998) and North America (1997), is a more compact version of the original SNES.
The Super Famicom Box is actually a pay-to-play box, only available in Japan and available in hotel rooms.
The Japanese manufacturer SHARP marketed in Japan only a television set directly integrating a Super Famicom, under the name Super Famicom Naizou TV SF1. It was sold in two sizes: 14 or 21 inches diagonal.
A final version of the console was developed jointly by Nintendo and Sony, but remained only at the prototype stage. This model was intended to add a CD-ROM drive to the SNES. Due to contractual and other disputes, it was never produced, and this is what prompted Sony to enter the console world with the Playstation.
Only one add-on was developed for this console by Nintendo. It was the Satellaview, marketed only in Japan, which connects directly to the bottom of the console. It connected to a network of satellites that provided access to news, audio and video reports, as well as games in the form of episodes updated once a week. The first game broadcast via Satellaview was BS Zelda no Densetsu, a remake of the first Zelda.
Apart from the addons, it was possible to improve performance, especially graphics, via the cartridge port and some games included extra chips for this. The first game to take advantage of this was StarFox (or StarWing depending on the region), in 1993, which integrated the Super FX chip into the cartridge, allowing the console to handle 3D. A second, more powerful version of this chip was produced, the Super FX 2. Only three games benefited from it: Doom, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Winter Gold. With the release of the modern SNES Classic Edition, the game Star Fox 2, using this chip, but cancelled at the time, was added to the list.
A third party manufacturer, Bandai, also managed to get permission to develop a cartridge addon, Sufami Turbo, on the condition that they cover all costs (manufacturing, distribution, etc.). This was only marketed in Japan and consisted of a cartridge with two ports to insert smaller cartridges. The game was played from the first slot. The second cartridge, of another game, was optional and allowed to add content to the game loaded in the first slot.
The SNES was marketed until 1999 in North America, 2000 in Europe and 2003 in Japan, and was gradually replaced by its successor the Nintendo 64.
It was the arrival of the next generation 32-bit (and above) consoles, with better graphics and performance, that accelerated the end of the console's life.
The SNES was sold and supported until 1998 after more than 10 years of life. It ended its life due to a lack of interest from developers and gamers in favour of next generation consoles (Playstation, Nintendo 64, Saturn), which did not prevent games from being released during its last year (Sonic R and Phantasy Star Collection).
Although the SNES is no longer produced and game production for the console has all but ceased, the SNES is still considered one of the most influential consoles of all time. It is widely admired for its superior library of games, which includes titles such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid.
Today, the SNES is often considered a classic console and is enjoyed by gamers of all ages. There are even modern reissues of the console, such as the SNES Classic Edition, which allow gamers to play SNES games on a modern TV.
Tue Feb 21 2023
Recalbox, the free & open source emulation solution is back with the release of its latest version, Recalbox 9, on Friday, February 24th. This version brings a lot of new features, which should delight fans of retro video games!
On the hardware side, Recalbox 9 is now compatible with the brand new GPi Case 2W from RetroFlag, which we had the opportunity to compare to the previous GPi Case 1 here.
Among the most important new features, version 9 of Recalbox introduces an in-depth rewrite of Bluetooth, improving the pairing of audio devices. The pairing of controllers is now fully automatic at first startup, and the pairing has been drastically optimized!
In addition, retro shaders make a comeback, offering full immersion in the games of yesteryear. Kodi compatibility has also been improved, with support for 4K resolution on Raspberry Pi 4/400 and enabling hardware video decoding on Raspberry Pi 4, Pi 3 and Pi zero 2.
Recalbox RGB DUAL users also benefit from significant improvements, such as the addition of a multi-resolution calibration screen, HDMI priority to easily switch between Scart and HDMI, better compatibility thanks to the addition of ten or so extra emulation cores, as well as several PAL/NTSC modes, and 240p@120Hz resolution for 31kHz screens... among a dozen other optimizations!
A strong supporter of the indie/homebrew scene, Recalbox 9 also includes the demo of the upcoming HIT Mega Drive game ASTEBROS, the prequel to "DEMONS OF ASTEBORG" by the French Neofid Studios, as well as the GameBoy game Pong Recalbox Edition, developed by Studio 40A. Finally, Recalbox 9 also includes the addition of new emulation systems, such as the Philips VG5000, the Z-Machine system, and the Macintosh system, and the controller shortcuts are now operational on GameCube / Wii, offering a more ergonomic gaming experience than ever before.
PC users are not forgotten, for all those playing on a computer with an iGPU (Intel HD/Iris Graphics...) and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card, Recalbox will now prioritize the graphics card instead of the one integrated in the processor, without any action on your part, to enjoy the games in the best conditions.
Available in preview since November 2022 for people who support us on Patreon, Recalbox 9 is the result of a collective work, between suggested improvements/optimizations and addition of new features requested by our Patrons. As a reminder, our users can support us via our Patreon and enjoy many advantages (early access to new versions, access to ultra-fast scrap servers, retrogaming playlists, discounts at our partners...).
With more than 60 new features, improvements and deep optimizations (see attached changelog), the release of Recalbox 9 is great news for all retrogaming fans, who will now be able to enjoy an even more complete and enjoyable gaming experience, with enhanced features and expanded compatibility. And thanks to the legendary simplicity and accessibility of Raspberry Pi nano-computers, Recalbox is now easier and more affordable than ever.
REMINDER: despite supply difficulties, we would like to remind you that the Raspberry Pi are regularly in stock at the (only) official reseller in France, Kubii.fr, at prices a lot cheaper than the prices charged on all MarketPlace currently.
Sat Jan 21 2023
This article is part of a series of short articles that we propose to make you (re)discover some consoles or computers emulated in Recalbox.
The Mega Drive, also known as Genesis in North America, is a 16-bit generation console designed by the Japanese company Sega. Released in 1988 in Japan, 1989 in North America and 1990 in Europe, it was designed to counter its competitor Nintendo which offered at its release the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) which dominated the market.
The American name of Genesis was changed mainly because the rights on the trademark "Mega Drive" were already taken by another company.
The Mega Drive was a commercial success, selling almost 40 million copies. The marketing campaigns were very aggressive and wanted to target an audience older than its competitor by targeting teenagers. You have surely heard of the slogans of the time in France especially with the slogan "Sega c’est plus fort que toi" ("Sega is stronger than you") and in the rest of the world "Sega does what Nintendon't" (or "Genesis does what Nintendon't" for North America).
It has been critically acclaimed for many popular games, including the Sonic Team games (The Sonic Series, Ristar), Gunstar Heroes, Golden Axe, The Legend of Thor, Sun, and many others.
In addition to the Games developed on the Mega Drive, it was backwards compatible with the games of the Master System by inserting the Sega Power Base Converter.
The console came out with a 3-button controller which is the one we've all known. All games released on the console are compatible with this controller, even if the ergonomics for games provided for 6 buttons is not always ideal (eg passage through key combinations, or press the start button to switch on the other 3 buttons).
In 1993, Sega released an improvement to it to add 3 additional buttons, as well as a mode button. The goal was to improve ergonomics, especially on games being ports of the arcade, which often worked with 6 buttons. The mode button allowed the controller to operate in 3-button mode to improve compatibility with some older games.
Other controllers were released by Sega or officially licensed, but were less successful.
The console has undergone several revisions throughout its life, mainly to reduce the cost of production:
The Mega Drive 1 is the initial model, known for the quality of its sound chipset.
The Mega Drive 2, more compact and released in 1993. This model has been designed mainly to save costs, at the expense of sound quality and image rendering.
The license-built Mega Drive 3 was released at the end of the console's life in 1998. It is not compatible with the various existing add-ons.
The Nomad is a portable version of the Genesis, it was only marketed in North America from 1995.
The Multi-Mega, released in Europe and North America in 1994, it includes the Mega Drive, as well as its Mega CD add-on.
Other models, mostly built by third-party manufacturers, were also manufactured.
To extend its lifespan, two additional add-ons have been developed for the console.
The Mega CD (or Sega CD in North America) is an add-on developed by the Japanese Sega teams, adding a CD-ROM drive (audio and games), released in 1991 in Japan, in 1992 in the United States and in 1993 in Europe.
Two versions of this add-on exist, the first, bulky is compatible only with the Mega Drive 1, the second, more compact, is compatible with the Mega Drive 1 and 2.
The second, the 32X, was however developed by the Sega of America teams and incorporated additional processors whose purpose was to transform the console into 32 bits. Released in 1995, this module uses specific cartridges.
Finally, a last add-on was released in 1992, limited to Japan only. This allows you to add a Karaoke feature. The Mega CD Karaoke, as its name suggests, works in conjunction with the Mega CD and is attached to the left of the latter
The Mega Drive was sold and supported until 1998 after 10 years of life. It ended its life due to lack of interest from developers and players in favor of new generation consoles (Playstation, Nintendo 64, Saturn), which did not prevent games from being released during its last year (Sonic R and Phantasy Star Collection).
Wed Jan 04 2023
As many of you know, the Recalbox team has developed a module (also called Hat) compatible with Raspberry pi3, pi4, pi400 and pi Zero 2W, the Recalbox RGB Dual.
Basically, on these boards, Recalbox can be connected to screens in different ways, digital via the HDMI port (micro-HDMI for pi4 and pi400, mini-HDMI for pi Zero 2W), or analog via the mini jack to RCA connector (pi3 and pi4 only).
Digital signals are natively supported by modern flat panels, however cathode ray tubes (or CRT), for which games up to the generation of 64/128-bit consoles were specifically developed, do not support this type of signal, and are only compatible with analog signals.
Recalbox RGB Dual allows you to bring to your Recalbox the possibility of being connected to two types of additional analog outputs, SCART (Euro-SCART) and VGA (D-SUB - DE-15) and, as its name suggests, the Recalbox RGB Dual allows you to transmit an RGB signal.
But what is this RGB signal and how is it different from other possibilities like the composite output present on all Raspberry pi with the jack output.
There are many types of analog connectors on the market. The list below summarizes the different connectors encountered in the general public (other types of specific connectors exist in the professional environment).
A single coaxial cable with Type F connector. This type of connection was much more common in North America (USA, Canada). On a single cable, both audio and video signals pass, which strongly impacts the quality of the rendering, it is generally the one that gives the worst final rendering to the screen
Three RCA connectors Red, White (for stereo sound) and Yellow (for video signal). The video (and synchronization) signal being separated from the sound signals, the quality of the rendering is superior to a signal passing through an F plug
Quite widespread in Europe, arrived later in North America (arrived from the generation of 16Bits consoles).
A 4-pin connector carrying only the video signal (the sound passing through a separate RCA connector)
The video signal is separated into two lines, Intensity (or Luminance – coupled with synchronization) and Color (or Chrominance), which reduces the worries of degradation of the video signal compared to a composite signal.
These two connectors are identical but not compatible because the internal wiring is different. They consist of a 21-pin connector. The Euro-SCART connector corresponds to the format used in Europe and was mandatory on all TVs sold in France since 1980 (and until 2015), while the JP-21 connector is widespread in Japan and Korea.
It is a connector that can pass several types of signals, there are also on the market composite adapters to SCART or S-Video to SCART, however these passive adapters do not improve the quality of the initial signal.
The audio signal passes in stereo on two dedicated pins.
On the other hand, thanks to the many pins present, it is possible to transmit more complex signals, such as an RGB signal.
The RGB signal passes through three different pins the different red, green and blue colors needed, as well as a synchronization signal (horizontal and vertical) of the image on a fourth pin.
This synchronization stream can come from different signals sometimes existing depending on the source: Composite video as sync: Retrieves the composite video stream directly to use only the synchronization information. The video stream, however, can interfere with the synchronization stream Sync on luma: retrieves the signal from the S-Video luminance stream Csync: contains only the synchronization signal and is therefore not subject to interference from another signal passing through the same pin, it is the one used by Recalbox RGB Dual
It is this connector coupled with an RGB signal, synchronized in Csync, which makes it possible to obtain the best rendering on a cathode ray TV.
This 15-pin connector is prevalent especially on computer screens, and is generally absent from CRT televisions.
It transmits an RGB signal on three pins like the scart, as well as two separate synchronization signals (horizontal and vertical) on two other pins.
Composed of three cables with RCA connectors for video streaming (sound passing through a separate RCA connector).
This format is more prevalent in North America and arrived on the generation of PS2/Gamecube consoles. It is a connector that has arrived on the end of life of CRT screens and is also present on flat screens. The video signal is separated into three distinct streams: Y: Luminance and synchronization Pb: Difference between blue and luminance Pr: Difference between red and luminance
The signal for the green color is generated by deduction with the other three data.
This signal separation improves video quality compared to the S-Video connector and allowed some TVs to display higher resolutions such as 480p.
The RCA Composite format is the most widespread in the world.
This is why nowadays PVM screens (CRT screens for professionals, mainly television control rooms and the medical community) supporting RGB are selling a fortune in this region, as in Europe, and that "RGB Mods" for televisions are numerous.
Europe and Japan were very lucky to have the best in connectivity (peritel) and signal (rgb) for televisions.
The Recalbox team always seeks to allow you to play in the best conditions, the only connectors retained by the team correspond to the only ones allowing to pass the RGB streams, with the best possible quality, in analog, to CRT screens, and easily available to the general public: the SCART and VGA connectors.
Regarding the synchronization on the SCART connector, it is done via a Csync signal, coupled with an RGB signal to have the best possible video stream via this connector. The CSync signal is created very precisely by combining the two synchronization signals in the Pixel Factory of the Recalbox RGB Dual.
It should be noted, however, that analog signals are much more sensitive than digital signals to external interference. It is therefore advisable to use good quality cables (VGA or SCART), ideally with shielding on each wire inside the cable, to reduce the risk of disturbance.
If you were hesitant to take a Recalbox RGB Dual and this article convinced you, you will find more information and the possibility to order one on this page.
Attention : As indicated in the list above, the cabling of the JP-21 format is different from the Euro-SCART format, so it is necessary to use a SCART to JP-21 adapter to be able to connect Recalbox RGB Dual to Japanese or Korean hardware.
PS : On modern displays (flat panels) you may have VGA or SCART connectors. It is recommended on these screens to stay on an HDMI digital connection. The signals passing through the analog connectors of modern screens are transformed into digital by the screens in order to adapt it, which induces a loss of image quality, in addition to adding input lag when you play.
Tue Jan 04 2022
As you may have read, we have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Recalbox's first hardware project: Recalbox RGB Dual
Recalbox aims to make retrogaming simple and accessible, and allows everyone to rediscover and transmit their passion for video games.
The Recalbox RGB Dual takes these values of simplicity and accessibility even further: it allows you to play your games on a CRT TV, without any configuration.
Today I'd like to tell you the story of the project.
The Recalbox RGB Dual project was born with one intention: to make the "pixel perfect" experience simple and accessible, i.e. to have the game render exactly as it looked at the time.
The first lines of code on the Recalbox CRT project were released in June 2021. To start with, we had to unblock the situation on Raspberry Pi 4: there was no solution to play CRT from the Raspberry Pi 4. But luck was with us: @cpasjuste had already worked on a small program allowing to output an RGB signal from the Raspberry Pi 4.
Once the first image was displayed on my CRT TV, the big CRT work could start! Several elements needed a lot of work:
Quickly helped by @toniosj who took in charge the configuration of the display modes and the emulators options, the list of supported games and consoles in pixel perfect was quickly extended...
Recalbox was becoming an increasingly successful solution for playing on CRT. However the existing solutions, despite all their qualities, did not allow me to meet our criteria of simplicity, integration and quality.
So I picked up the phone and called @Bkg2k to suggest we embark on this crazy adventure: **create our own H.A.T. to offer a unique user experience on Recalbox + CRT!
A H.A.T. that would offer support for ALL 15kHz and 31kHz games, that would be plug and play, and that would display an incomparable image and sound quality.
A few hours after this call, the first prototype, hand-soldered, was born!
This was followed by a long series of evolutions and tests that led us to create 4 different versions of prototypes. With, each time, an improvement and corrections:
Each development phase was reviewed, validated and above all corrected by our "Chief of Electronic Technical Officer" @Emandhal. Each of his tracks, each of his copper plans was for us like a work of art that had nothing to envy to the inventions of his predecessor: Da Vinci.
The prototypes were ready, the quality was there, the Recalbox system was already on its way to be 100% CRT compatible. It was time to present our project to retro gamers all over the world! Great novelty for the team, to use a crowdfunding platform to propose to everyone to support the project.
The writing of the campaign page was quite fluid: believing at 1000% in the project whose story we want to tell helps :D The challenge was rather to explain the features of the project without putting you to sleep with too technical considerations...
With the help of @atomik_recalbox we imagined and produced the videos and visuals that accompanied the campaign at launch. Thanks also to @Pit64 for the captures, to @CommanderOcto for your support and for the posters and cards of the Recalbox 8.0 Event.
Before starting the campaign, we sent prototypes to a number of players in the retrogamer community so they could get an idea of the quality and experience that Recalbox RGB Dual offered. The goal was to present the project from our prism, but also to let the French retrogaming community tell you what they thought about it. And what a pleasure to see the first videos released the night the project was announced!
Thanks again to @Elardramora, @Cyril2.0, @oldschoolwasbeautiful, @HFSPlay and @retrojeux for their presentation and test videos of the Recalbox RGB Dual day one !
It was necessary to have one, and it happened on this day.... Kickstarter is a guarantee of quality and relevance for projects that require participatory funding. To protect contributors and support creators, they proceed to a meticulous verification of each project. This verification took a little more time than expected and led us to postpone the launch of the campaign a few days after the announcement of the project...
Anyway, on Friday evening we announced the project during the live event that accompanied the release of Recalbox 8.0-Electron. And what a welcome from you! More than 400 registrations on the mailing list to participate in the financing at the opening of the campaign in only one evening. Huge.
We used the opportunity of the Recalbox 8.0 Release Event which took place on December 4th and 5th, the day after the announcement of Recalbox RGB Dual, to expose and test the Recalbox RGB Dual to the community! Once again, the feedback was unanimous: it rocks 🚀
(picture by @Soriya)
Surrounded by the cream of retrogaming, we also had the opportunity to hand over the controller to @Jarm0u and @FFVIMan, two regulars of Super Mario World SNES and Super Mario Kart SNES. Guess what?! Very little or no difference with the original hardware according to their feedback 🚀
@Jarm0u, @akkeoss and me testing the input lag (picture by @Soriya)
The Kickstarter campaign was able to get off to a great start on Wednesday, December 8th because you supported us with 20,000 euros on that first night. What a pleasure to see that all this work is bearing fruit: the "niche" project was perhaps not so much :D
As the number of contributors increased, some very relevant ideas were brought up by the community. Ideas that talked about buttons to turn on the Rasbperry Pi when it is turned off. Ideas about being able to connect your fan to the H.A.T., etc...
And as you know we listen to your ideas! So we decided to add 3 features on the board if funding levels were reached: frequency selection switches, a wake-up button and pins to power your fans!
In addition to the hardware part, we continued to work hard on the system : @davidb2111 @Bkg2k @Pit64 @Akkeoss @gugue_u @PierreC - RétroSalon and all the beta testers worked like crazy on Recalbox 8.0.1, even during the kickstarter campaign !
Since the last version presented, Recalbox now supports the choice of frequency at game launch (50Hz, 60Hz, AUTO). This allows you to play PAL games in 60Hz and in full screen ! A little Zelda A Link To The Past in French AND in 60Hz AND in full screen, how about that?
And a lot of new features are coming very soon, stay tuned!
To finish, here we are already almost two weeks after the end of the campaign! 1492 contributors and 88 000€, it's a huge success for the Recalbox project and for the team!
And nothing would have been possible without you who read us, who supported us, on this campaign or on the Recalbox project, since always.
So once again:
Fri Dec 03 2021
Recalbox, the famous operating system dedicated to retrogaming will release this Friday, December 03, 2021 at 9pm CET in its new version "8.0-Electron"! More than six months of work have been necessary for the team of volunteers to propel emulation and retrogaming into a new era, establishing new standards in terms of fidelity and accessibility. More free and open source than ever, here is a summary of major changes of Recalbox 8.0
With Recalbox 8.0 coupled with the new Recalbox RGB Dual module, you can now easily play all games and consoles on your CRT TV and recreate the exact sensations of your childhood!
Recalbox 8.0 now 100% "Pixel Perfect" thanks to Recalbox RGB Dual, with an image STRICTLY IDENTICAL to the original consoles!
Indeed, the main reproach made against all emulation solutions is that they can only be played on modern HD screens. Until today, playing on a CRT screen could only be done at the cost of a lot of configuration or the purchase of expensive and often unavailable hardware.
Recalbox RGB Dual is a brand new module (H.A.T. - Hardware Attached on Top) that just clips onto your Raspberry Pi4, Pi400 or Pi3, giving your Recalbox... two new video outputs: SCART and VGA!
Recalbox 8.0 paired with the new Recalbox RGB Dual allows it to produce an analog signal 100% "Pixel Perfect", EXACTLY MATCHING the original consoles of the time, with zero configuration!
IT'S SIMPLE: Recalbox RGB Dual is the fidelity of the original works on a CRT screen, combined with the power, ergonomics, and ease of use that have made Recalbox internationally renowned!
Recalbox RGB Dual is a module that simply clips onto your Raspberry Pi4, Pi400 or Pi3!
Recalbox RGB Dual - Key points:
100% Plug and Play and integrated with Recalbox Compatible with all systems supported by Recalbox First Raspberry Pi 4 / Pi 400 / Pi 3B/3B+ compatible CRT solution Easy and ergonomic Recalbox interface Respect and fidelity of the original games TV 50hz/60hz compatible 15KHz signals on SCART (31KHz on VGA in W.I.P.) Automatic selection of the original resolution and framerate of the games Audio filter on both channels Automatic selection of the AV channel RGB signal 240p optimized theme Support Recalbox project Cleanest video sync signal Designed by the Recalbox team, for Recalbox.
Click here to know more about Recalbox Rgb Dual
The release of Recalbox RGB Dual is an important step in the life of Recalbox, an open-source project composed only of passionate volunteers. That's why we will rely on the KICKSTARTER crowdfunding platform to ensure the launch of Recalbox RGB Dual. A campaign launched at the same time as the release of Recalbox 8.0, for a period of one month.
26 years after its release in France, and after exceptional recent advances in emulation, Sega Saturn is coming back to life and finally arrives on Recalbox on Raspberry Pi 4! This is an opportunity to rediscover its incredible catalog of games, often unknown, because the best titles have unfortunately never gone beyond the borders of Japan... The results are particularly impressive. The 2D games run perfectly at 60FPS, as for the 3D games, most of them run between 40/50 FPS. And we don't despair about the increasing performances with future optimizations! (Yabasanshiro's "auto-frameskip" function is well done and allows you to enjoy most of the games without slowdowns).
The Sega Saturn is now supported by Recalbox on Raspberry Pi 4 and PC !
21 years after its release in France, the PlayStation 2, Sony's sixth generation console, is now available on Recalbox for PC! Find all the sensations of the best-selling console in the history of video games (more than 150 million copies have been sold!), with -- according to Sony -- more than 10,000 games available on this console... enough to occupy your long winter evenings! We provide the latest version of PCSX2, with CHD support and a compatibility level of over 98% thanks to the hard work of the emulator developers.
98%+ compatibility, thanks to PCSX2!
The brand new ultra-compact board "Raspberry Pi Zero 2W" from the Raspberry Pi foundation is now fully managed by Recalbox! Very cheap (around 15€), this board makes Recalbox even more accessible, either in a GPi Case for a "portable" use, or as a mini home console, with its performances very close to the Raspberry Pi 3. It will be the ideal card for small budgets, or people who don't necessarily want to play 3D games again (if you play in a GPi Case: the PS1 and the N64 work very well!) (WARNING : Switching from Pi Zero to Pi Zero 2 W in a GPi Case requires a reinstallation of Recalbox)
What a boost for Retroflag's GPi Case!
If you are in love with the GameBoy, but the GPi-Case (which runs on Raspberry Pi 0 / Pi 02W) is not powerful enough for you, you will fall for the Pi-Boy DMG from Experimental Pi! This "box-screen-loudspeaker-battery-and-much-more" allows you to easily transform a Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+ or even 4 into a portable retro game console. Simply flash the standard image according to your board and Recalbox configures everything for you! AMAZING!
With the PiBoy, you have the power of a Pi4 everywhere with you!
Many new systems were added to the nearly 120 systems already supported in Recalbox :
With over 120 supported systems, Recalbox is THE solution to preserve the video games of our childhood!
Many new emulators were also added to the hundreds of cores already in Recalbox, for more compatibility, precision, and ease!
With +120 systems supported, Recalbox is definitely THE solution to preserve the video games of our childhood!
Always more plug 'n play, Recalbox 8.0 continues to make your life easier by including dedicated overlays for all systems! As a reminder, overlays are graphic layers that allow you to fill in the black bands on the right and left sides inherent to the launch of 4:3 format video games on 16:9 TVs (and of course, if Recalbox is launched on 4:3 screens, they are automatically disabled) Useless... therefor indispensable ! (easily disabled in 1 click, as always !)
Thanks to the addition of the Genesis Plus GX Wide core, you will be able to rediscover all your Mega Drive games... in 16:9, without any image distortion! All games are not (yet) compatible, but the emulator does some miracles: it allows it to interpret, load, and display more information on the screen, thus filling a 16:9 screen with a game initially planned for 4:3, without distortion and without changing its aspect... As brilliant as it is breathtaking!
The Megadrive is good. The Megadrive XL is great!
The event of the summer 2021, the incredible Megadrive action-adventure game with notes of MetroidVania "Demon of Asteborg" is now playable from Recalbox 8.0 ! BETTER THAN THAT : "Demon of Asteborg" is even included in Recalbox 8.0 (demo version) ! Developed with passion by the French studio Neofid Studios, "Demons of Asteborg" is simply the biggest game ever developed on SEGA Mega Drive. It's around 15 Mega bytes, that is... 120 Mega bits. CRAZY ! Go to demonsofasteborg.com to buy the full game rom, 100% compatible, add it and play it with Recalbox 8.0 !
Thanks to Recalbox 8.0, discover "Demon of Asteborg", the new Megadrive hit!
When you love your Recalbox, you want the best for it. Serious design, well-thought-out ergonomics, premium materials, and exemplary heat dissipation, the Argon series are the best cases available today. With the native compatibility and manual ventilation adjustment provided by Recalbox 8.0, there's no excuse not to pamper your Raspberry Pi 4!
See you soon on Recalbox !
Fri Nov 12 2021
Here we are, almost: the Recalbox team is proud to present, in its Beta version, the new version of Recalbox: Recalbox 8.0-Electron
Several months of work separate us from version 7.2.2, and the new features are numerous:
With native support for Raspberry Pi to Scart/Vga adaptors along with Recalbox's new CRT configurations, playing your favourite games on Televisions & Monitors becomes a reality. Plug your adaptor, switch on your TV and enjoy the same image quality as on the original hardware.
Regarding new boards, in addition to the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 support, the PiBoy DMG is now automatically detected: Just flash the SD and Recalbox configures everything.
PC owners can now enjoy Playstation 2 games. We're providing you with the very latest version of the PCSX2 emulator, with full support of CHD and a global compatibility of more than 98%, thanks to the hard work of PCSX2's developers.
Raspberry Pi4 owners are about to discover most of the treasures of the Saturn console. Not all games will run and not all games will run smoothly, but the auto-frameskip of Yabasanshiro is smart enough to let you enjoy games without slowdown. The emulator has support for CHD disk format, but it is not recommended as it may fail in several games. (wiki)
Fans will be pleased to know that not only have we added the Hatari standalone emulator (which has more options then the core), but also both emulators have a new & very easy model and bios management for ST, STE, MegaST/MegaSTE, TT and Falcon series. (wiki)
With Amiberry upgrading to 4.1.5, and the new awesome Uae4ARM core, playing Amiga games as well as CD32 and CDTV games has never been so easy (wiki)
Old Computers are still the Kings: several old computers have been added and we did our best to make them usable by everyone, adding our own options and extensions in emulators themselves. We're also proud to offer you in exclusivity, the Recalbox port of BeBeem, a BBC Micro series emulator which was very popular machine in the United Kingdom! Due to lack of time, the sound is not ported yet. But it will very soon.
Taking advantage of the latest news in advance requires a little contribution from you: we count on you to report any problems you may encounter.
To do so, go to the dedicated Recalbox forum page
To install Recalbox 8.0-Electron Beta 1, you have the choice:
recalbox.conffile and modify the
Keep in mind that some problems will be corrected before the final version, others will not, due to time constraints.
And as the Recalbox documentation has also been revamped, finding the tutorials and info you're looking for has never been easier: https://wiki.recalbox.com
Have a good retro-game !
Wed Nov 10 2021
The Recalbox documentation has been revamped!
After many months of work, the whole Recalbox team is proud to announce the release of the new WIKI recalbox !
You will find :
Thanks to all of you who helped us to make this exhaustive documentation of the Recalbox project, either on this wiki project, or on any previous project.
And especially a big thank you to @Pit64 aka The Documentator for getting the project done 🙏
Sun Nov 07 2021
Nice surprise, during this shortage period, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi Zero 2.
Small but strong, it keeps exactly the same dimensions as its big brother the Raspberry Pi Zero.
It is therefore compatible with all your consoles or installations on which you use version 1 of the Raspberry Pi Zero!
In terms of performance, it greatly surpasses its big brother! The performance is comparable to that of the RPi3, which is impressive for a board at this price!
It will be a hit in our GPi Case or directly on our TVs, as shown by these various feedbacks on social networks:
And you know what? Recalbox is already compatible !
Go and download the latest version on the download page !
Q. Who is it for? What for?
A. Those with a small budget or those who want to ugrade their GPI case
Q. Is it compatible with the GPI Case?
A. Yes it is.
Q. Can I reuse my RPi zero SD with the RPi zero 2 in the GPI case?
A. No. You will have to install the lastest public beta or Recalbox next version.
Q. What kind of emulation can we expect?
A. On TV: Up to the PSX with no problem. For N64/DC it depends on the game. In GPI: Up to the PSX and the N64 with no problem. Ok on DC for most games.
Q. In terms of Arcade emulation?
A. FBNeo and MAME2003+ run fine. No need to get stuck on FBA any longer.
Q. Do problematic émulators run better on the RPi zero 2?
A. Sure, PSX, GBA, SNES and Arcade emulators run all fine.
Q. What about the heating in the GPI Case's cartridge?
A. After several hours playing Dreamcast games, the T° never went beyond 62°C, which is safe for plastics of either GPI Cases or regular RPi zero 2 cases.
Q. What about autonomy?
A. The Pi zero 2 will necessarily consume more power than the Pi zero, however we did our best to optimize power consumption according to the running emulator.
Q. Is there a standby mode like on the Odroid GO2?
A. No, this is not possible due to RPi and GPI limitations.
Q. WIFI and bluetooth are available?
A. Yes, both WIFI and Bluetooth are available.
Q. Given the size, are there any USB port available?
A. Yes, only one micro-USB is available. To extend it, use a powered hub with a micro-USB/USB adapter.
Q. Can we overclock the RPi zero 2?
A. People already do it. But we do not recommend it as the power consumption will rise quickly. In the GPI Case, this could lead to instabilities in addition to draining the batteries very quickly.
Q. Does the 512MB limit emulation?
A. No, except for the PSP which is not available on the RPi zero 2. However, it is not advisable to fill your SD with fuillsets and/or to activate all available systems.
Fri Nov 05 2021
We know each other, we won't hide it, we all have in our Recalbox a lot of games that we will never finish, and that we will maybe never launch... Why is that? Because we spend our time sanding down the games of our childhood, again and again.
What if I told you that I had the solution, to allow you to continue to sand your favorite games, but to rediscover them all the same?
Indeed, there is a great variety of HACKS, which are modifications of the code of an original game. Created by passionate amateurs, there are several types of hacks:
Several of these processes can be found in the same hack, for example:
It's quite simple: the hack is distributed as a binary patch (a simple file with a .ips extension) and must be applied on the original rom.
Once the rom is patched, you just have to launch the game on your favorite emulator... in Recalbox.
Several sites aim at gathering existing hacks:
There are several tools that allow you to patch a rom. The easiest and quickest is probably to use the online patching tool romhacking.net/patch. Upload your rom, your patch and download your new game.
The The legend of Zelda Parallel Worlds is a very deep hack of The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past on Super Nintendo.
The original hack was released in 2006 and its latest version is from 2017. The author has completely changed the storyline, even though we still recognize the general plot in the background. The world map is completely revised, the characters and music too, and the dungeons are MUCH more complicated. That's why the hack I'm going to talk about is a new version called Zelda3 Parallel Remodel which is a rewrite of the hack correcting the parts that are a bit too difficult.
In the beginning... You are a treasure hunter from a far away country, but very soon you hear about a plot led by Draegor, the king's assistant. He would have killed the king and kidnapped 7 people who had information about the Parallel Tower in common...
Your adventure starts the same night you go to rescue two of the seven people who would have survived this coup...
As I told you above, what is good with the hacks is that we find the pleasure of playing our favorite games but rediscovering them complement. It's a strange feeling, at least at the beginning, but the pleasure returns very quickly in the game. To leave the link house to find ourselves under the rain of Hyrule, it is enjoyable, nostalgic but new!
So we go on an adventure, and that's when we realize the work done: the enemies are numerous, the screens completely different, the dungeons are huge, the puzzles very advanced, and the difficulty is always there...
Anyway I'm in the hype, I finish writing this post and I go directly on my Recalbox to continue the game !
PS: a little bonus, the hack TMNT: Return to New York (NES) allows you to change turtle with the shortcut UP+START and adds many graphical elements, like a different color for each turtle!