A game console itself is a series of chips placed on to a board, however unlike a PC motherboard it contains specialist chips that can normally not be upgraded.
The placement of the chips on the board is called the hardware architecture and it is an art as much as a science, it needs to be carefully crafted to get the most performance out of the system.
It also needs to implement anti-piracy measures, which is why many systems required a physical mod-chip installed in order to by pass copy-protection or region-lock.
Knowing the hardware is vital for understanding why a game was written the way it was, game programming is not easy and developers wanted to get the most out of the hardware. This resulted in them having to write strange code in order for the hardware to be pushed to the limits. It’s this attention to hardware detail which makes developing an emulator a very tricky task and results in some games being unplayable or missing certain features.
The table below contains the information we have collected about the hardware architecture of each games console.
|Nintendo 64 Hardware Architecture
|Sega Saturn Hardware Architecture
|PlayStation Hardware Architecture
|Sony Playstation 2
|PlayStation 2 Hardware Architecture