Retro lovers have many ways to bring their old machines back to life. One of them is to perform an aesthetic reconstruction, but instead of being based on the original hardware, use the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, many of these rebuilds lose fidelity to the original hardware by bringing along a Linux with a game loader. For the purists, the ZXBaremulator allows those nostalgic for the ZX Spectrum to do this.
Rebuilding our childhood and adolescence is something that many interpret as a way of not knowing how to abandon the past. Others see it as a historical recovery to a time that will not return and that has not been repeated in subsequent generations. Fortunately, everything related to computing has a great capacity for preserving and even reconstructing that past. Emulators have been part of it, but the recent retro craze combined with the ability of certain systems to reproduce as closely as possible the systems of yesteryear have given it a bit of a revival.
What is a Near Metal or Baremetal emulator?
Well, a emulator near metal or baremetal It is the one that runs directly on the hardware without the need for an operating system in between. In other words, when you boot the system instead of running the operating system, what it does is run the emulator. This allows more power to be sent to the system emulation. Due to the fact that the CPU will not be managing all the processes in the background. This applied to low-cost, single-board computers such as the Raspberry Pi is extremely interesting. Since it allows us to completely emulate the operation of the original system in terms of its use. Something that many will prefer in order to repeat as much as possible the fidelity with the machines of yesteryear and that brings it closer to the operation of FPGA solutions.
ZXBaremulator, the closest thing to a Spectrum on a Pi
The ZX Spectrum was a computer that did not use a complex operating system, since it only had one program loaded in memory. Which was the program that we had dumped from tape, so there wasn’t really an operating system like there was on many 8-bit systems based on the Z80 or 6502 processors. They just didn’t have the power to run a complex operating system.
The example that we leave you as an emulator close to metal is the ZXBaremulator, among its features we can highlight:
- Precise emulation of the 48K, 128K and +2A models.
- Allows you to use PS3 and PS4 Dual Shock controllers, Xbox 360, One and Series controllers.
- We can also use the Nintendo Switch, but in this case without Bluetooth support.
- Allows you to use a standard USB mouse as if it were the Kempston Mouse.
- Accelerated loading of virtual tapes in TAP/TZX format.
- Emulation of both the internal speaker and the programmable sound generator, AY-3-8918 chip.
- Audio output via HDMI or the audio mini Jack in the event that we make use of the composite video output.
- You will be able to connect your old tube TV if you have the necessary adapter.
- It has support for the Recreated ZX Spectrum USB keyboard.
- In case you want to use one of the keyboards from the original Spectrum models, then you have the option to connect them via the GPIO connection.
- In case you want to connect the original keyboard of the machine, then you can do it through the GPIO connector.