ESP32 runs MSDOS emulator to play pinball game #ESP32 #Emulation #Gaming @TomsHardware

This miniature pinball table contains two LCD screens and runs an X86 emulator powerful enough to set Digital Illusions’ 1992 DOS classic Pinball Fantasies in motion. The programming part of the build sounds pretty tricky, as Jeroen Domburg was faced with code that contained comments in three languages, some in-jokes, and some gaps.

“Pinball Fantasies was entirely written in hand-coded x86 assembly,” Domburg writes in his exceptionally detailed write-up  of the project. “As I intended [to] use an ESP32S3 as the mind of the tiny pinball table, I couldn’t use that directly; the Xtensa core in that chip doesn’t know what to make of x86 instructions.

Using an 8086 emulator written in C, he added the graphics, IO and DOS calls the game uses and no more.

The hardware included an ESP32-S3, which sports a dual-core 240MHz Xtensa LX7 processor, half a meg of RAM, and comes with a useful integrated parallel LCD interface. That display is a 320×640 LCD, plus a little amp and speaker for audio and some buttons to provide input. Optional extras include a second LCD and a plunger to give the authentic pinball startup motion. The case is 3D printed.

See the video below and read more on Spritemods, GitHub, Tom’s Hardware and Hackaday


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