Game Builder Garage Already Has an Emulator

Nintendo's Game Builder Garage has been out barely a week and it already has an emulator running on it

Published: June 21, 2021 11:55 AM /


Game Builder Garage

Hydr8gon, a Redditor, has announced the completion of the first emulator in Game Builder Garage, a CHIP-8 emulator. The CHIP-8 can play games like Tetris, Pong, and Connect 4. However, given that there are only 512 nodes available for Game Builder Garage, this means sacrifices had to be made for the emulator to work. 

I was constantly hitting it (the 512 node limit) and having to go back and optimize my node usage to squeeze more things in. In the end, what I have is more of a proof of concept; it is by all accounts an actual emulator running in GBG, but it has quite a few limitations that I'll get into at the end of this post for anyone that's interested.

Hydr8gon does get "into it", as he details that the emulator can only run the "MAZE" program, which in of itself is only 34 bytes. It had to be copied into GBG by hand, which apparently wasn't too much of a big deal. Sadly, the game isn't really a game, as all it does is generate "a fancy maze-like pattern on the screen". Hydr8gon would like to do more, but with the current 512 node limit it's apparently quite difficult or even impossible to accomplish at the moment.

MAZE running on the CHIP-8 Emulator.

There's a lot of tech-speak, but essentially, the RAM and framebuffer used up a lot of the available 512 nodes. Basically, in order for the emulator to, well, emulate, Hydr8gon had to lower the framebuffer to 10x6 instead of the expected 64x32. For the RAM, the 4096 bytes of potential memory shrinks down to just 34 bytes, which is just enough to store the MAZE program, which isn't a playable game at this point, but instead essentially a video.

If you'd like to check out the whole post and see how the sauce was made, be sure to go here. For more information on Game Builder Garage and other cool programs/games that come out of it, be sure to stay tuned to TechRaptor.

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Patrick is a former Staff Writer for TechRaptor and has been gaming on every console he could get since he could hold a controller. He’s been writing for… More about Patrick