For many years, the FlashBoy series of flash carts has been a great way for people to play Virtual Boy homebrew on real hardware, as well as hacks, translations or simply the few super rare games which the average fan could never get their hands on otherwise.
Obviously, the discontinuation of the FlashBoy Plus earlier this year left a big hole. And, being the huge undertaking that it is, Kevin Mellott’s upcoming MultiBoy32 multi cart is still rather far away on the horizon. So, aside from second hand units or a sometimes shady repro market, there currently is simply no way for Virtual Boy fans to enjoy homebrew on the real hardware. Let’s face it – emulation can only get that close but never be as good as the real thing.
Luckily, to fill the gap, Kevin Mellott has recently announced the HyperFlash32, a new one-game-at-a-time flash cart with 32 MBit of flash memory. Apart from a single homebrew demo, VUEngine Video Player, which is 128 MBit in size, that is enough space to hold everything the Virtual Boy’s library has to offer, even the largest homebrew game for the system, the infamous Hyper Fighting.
While sounding like just a bigger capacity FlashBoy replacement at first, new details shared by Kevin demonstrate that the HyperFlash32 is much more than that, in an impressive way. Here’s a quick overview of what the flash cart will have to offer, as of the current state of development:
- 32 MBit flash memory, holds one game at a time
- 32k x 8 nvSRAM, no save battery required
- SRAM contents can be dumped to/read from SD card
- PC connection via USB
- Fully custom, a bit longer than usual, cart shell incorporating an ingenious triple-layer PCB design
- E ink display shows label of currently loaded game, possibly multi-color
- Three capacitive buttons built into the cart shell allow for flashing games from an SD card, without the need for a PC
Find all the juicy details and early images in this thread.
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