Re-living computing history with a PDP-8 (Raspberry Pi)

The Raspberry Pi is a great tool for re-living and learning from the past, whether it’s emulating classic video games, emulating an IBM System/370 for learning JCL and COBOL, or, in today’s example, emulating a PDP-8, one of the early computers, and the first to run “Adventure”, among other early games.

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The ClockworkPi GameShell is full of DIY fun

Devices like the GameShell are my absolute favorite. Made for DIY fans and Raspberry Pi users, they are basically mini computers inside a wonderfully easy-to-build shell. I’ve 3D printed something similar in the past but now the whole thing is available for $139 preassembled, a boon to those who don’t want to go through rolls of plastic and fiddle with messy prints.

This little device comes with a DIY case and buttons as well as all the hardware you need to build your own retro gaming rig. Features include:

  • New clockworkPi V3.1 (Quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, WI-FI & Bluetooth on-board,1GB DDR3 memory,?Micro HDMI output)
  • ATmeage168p programmable?Keypad
  • 2.7 inch TFT?RGB@60fps screen
  • Dual speaker
  • 1200mAh rechargeable lithium battery
  • Lightkey module (for shoulder buttons)
  • 1 front shell + 2 back shells
  • 16GB MicroSD card
  • clockworkpi OS, Linux Kernel 4.1x supported
  • 14PIN GPIOs development cable
  • Assembly instructions & sticker

It comes with a few indie games built in and can run emulators including NES and SNES ROMs.

Darrell at TechCrunch filmed himself building the thing if you’d like to see how complex – or non-complex – the whole process is. After all, if he could build it… “All told, I had mine put together in less than an hour, and even though I did get in there with my teeth at one point (to remove a bit of plastic nubbin when assembling the optional Lightkey component, which adds extra function keys to the console), I never once felt overwhelmed or defeated,” he wrote which means that anyone with a little time and a little desire can follow in his DIY footsteps.

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Learn some practical – and fun – coding with the pi-top[4]

If you want to learn coding, there are any number of ways to go about it. Pick up a book, find a class, or even take courses online. However, if you find yourself craving a more practical – or even fun – application of the code you write, then your choices are a bit more limited, in terms of pre-built kits to help you along the path. There?s one going on Kickstarter right now that may be of interest to you, the pi-top[4].

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